Friday, September 5, 2014

Fat Cat at Large by Janet Cantrell: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

Fat Cat At Large

Where Did Quincy Come From?

Other than the animal rescue shelter in Chicago where Chase Oliver picked him up, you mean? I was lucky enough to be the caretaker and servant to two rescued feral cats not long ago. One of them was Quincy’s prototype. They came to me pre-named by the woman who was fostering them, and the names were perfect.

The slim, handsome fellow, a Russian Blue with thick, dense fur, did have a name change before we got him. He was first named Lady Jane Grey (look for this name in the second Fat Cat book, FAT CAT SPREADS OUT). However, by the time it became evident that he needed a new name, he answered to Jane. His name was changed to James because he would answer to that one, too. I sometimes called him Sir James because of his regal composure.

His litter mate was named Agamemnon and that name stuck. He was a mighty little warrior, just like the ancient Greek, and he was so smart it was almost creepy. Agamemnon had to be my model for Quincy. It was a natural fit.

That guy was hard to entertain. If you dragged a feather toy, he leapt a couple of times, then followed the string with his eyes up to the stick, then to my hand. “Ho hum,” I could hear him thinking as he quit playing and washed his face. “This is just her. Not a bird at all. No wonder it doesn’t smell right.”

He was quite young back in the days when Elf Bowling was popular. The first time he heard me finish the game and make Santa pop up saying “Ho ho ho,” he was instantly in my lap, staring at the bobbing Santa and swiping at it with his paw. The next time I played, he was in my lap to begin with, intensely interested in the whole thing. How could I not let him play? The player bowled the ball at the taunting elves by hitting the space bar. If you hit it at the right time, you got a strike. I would hold Agamemnon’s paw over the space bar and “help” him by pushing it down the best I could to get him strikes and spares. He would, no lie, play an entire ten frame game waiting for the Santa finish.
More than once, when I would be in the bedroom with the door closed, he would jump onto the cedar chest beside the door and try to open it. He would curve his paw over the doorknob and attempt to turn it. He knew exactly how to open the door! Physically, he couldn’t do it, but he sure knew how.

That first scene in FAT CAT AT LARGE where Quincy unzips his soft-sided carrier from the inside? Yep, Agamemnon is where that came from. He was hard to crate to begin with, but when I finally got both of them crated and was gathering my purse and phone and car keys to take them to the vet for shots, it was dismaying to find Agamemnon’s crate empty and gaping open.

Also, like Quincy, Agamemnon stayed on the pudgy side. He loved to eat. His brother, James, was always slim and trim, but Agamemnon, a sleek all-black beauty with shiny fur (James’s looked like matte next to his glossy finish), was hard to take and keep the pounds off. He never got too heavy to leap to the top of any piece of furniture in the house, though.

He also loved to attack the paper as it came out of the printer. Quincy hasn’t done that yet, but, come to think of it, he should.

It’s been fun to resurrect my memories of the smartest cat I ever knew and let him live again through Quincy. I love being a writer!


Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Wednesday, September 10th for the chance to win a copy of Fat Cat at Large. (US entries only, please.)

Blurb: When she’s not dreaming up irresistible dessert bars for her Minneapolis treatery, Bar None, Charity “Chase” Oliver is running after her cat, Quincy—a tubby tabby with a gift for sniffing out edibles. But what happens when this cat burglar leads Chase to the scene of a real crime?

The jig is up for Chase’s adorable plus-size cat, Quincy. His new vet says “diet”—that means no more cherry cheesecake bars. From now on he gets low-calorie kibble only. But one taste of the stuff is all it takes to drive him in search of better things. Quincy’s escape is the last thing Chase needs after the nasty run-in she has with underhanded business rival Gabe Naughtly.

Chase tracks Quincy down in a neighbor’s kitchen, where he’s devouring a meatloaf, unaware of the much more serious crime he’s stumbled upon. Gabe’s corpse is lying on the kitchen floor, and when Chase is discovered at the murder scene, she becomes suspect number one. Now, with a little help from her friends—both human and feline—she’ll have to catch the real killer or wind up behind bars that aren’t so sweet.

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Confession: I NEVER bake drop cookies, I turn EVERY cookie recipe into cookie bars. I simply don't have the patience to spoon out cookie dough batter by the dozen. I would much rather cut whatever sized square I want when I'm ready to eat. So the setting for this mystery series, a bakery named Bar None in Minneapolis that specializes in dessert bars, has tremendous appeal for me.

Bar None is owned by Chase Oliver and her dear friend Anna, who is also the grandmother of Chase's best friend Julie. Their two employees are Vi and Laci, who do not get along at all. The bakery is extremely busy because college students are headed back to town so the two foes are forced to work side by side. In addition to dealing with her cat Quincy's weight issues and a ghost from her past in Chicago appearing out of nowhere, Chase is having an ongoing fight with businessman Gabe Naughtly who wants to force Chase out of her bakery in order to make room for his donut shop. Following another confrontation Chase follows her food-hunting feline to Gabe's home where she finds him with a steak knife stuck in his chest. She (stupidly, if you ask me) attempts to pull the knife out and is instantly accused of murder when Gabe's business partner shows up.

It's a good thing Quincy is the star of the Fat Cat mystery series, because he completely steals the show. Food is his life, and he spends every waking moment trying to figure out where he can find more of it. Whenever there's a paragraph featuring Quincy's thoughts you just know that he is about to take off on another adventure that is going to end up getting poor Chase into trouble. I found Chase and Anna's relationship to be somewhat complex. They are family by choice, yet it surprised me how often they clashed as business partners and how easily Anna was able to believe the worst of Chase. There is even a great love triangle in the making. (Chase!!! Pick the vet!!!)

This book is a must read for ailurophiles everywhere. It is destined to be on the list of all-time great cat cozy series.


Angel Prancer Pie said...

Sounds like another great read. Our Mommy has been scoping them out tonight online. That means we'll get lots of laptime this weekend!

Denise Z. said...

I'm a dog person, through and through, but when we started dating, my beloved had a rather large cat, Big Boy, who was as sharp as Quincy and who fortunately liked me. I thought Quincy's story sounds grand and I'd sure like to read more about him. Plus, I always like to get in on a series on the ground floor.

Unknown said...

Love the cover; thanks for the chance to win this fun book :)

Alicia said...

Another to add to the list!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read. I think Quincy will become one of my faves, too!

patucker54 at aol dot com

Random Felines said...

how LOVES reading and this sounds great :)

Clickner said...

Sounds like a good read.

petite said...

A book I cannot resist. Delightful. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

traveler said...

A captivating book and a beautiful cover. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Debbie S said...

I loved reading about how Quincy came to be. Your cats sound wonderful.
momzillasteel at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I always bake my cookies in a 9x13 pan because I HATE making sheet after sheet of drop cookies !

skkorman said...

I love cozies that feature cats in them—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Unknown said...

A cat on a diet is NOT a happy creature!
libbydodd at comcast dot net

Karen B said...

A book set in Minneapolis - just a few minutes north on 35W from me - that revolves around desert bars and a fat cat. Purrfect!


the moody box fan said...

That face! I can't get over how cute that cat is. Looking forward to this read.

moodyboxfan [at] gmail [cot] com

Marty the Manx said...

Sounds fun! Would love a change to win this book breck1986(at)hotmail(dot)com
Marty's Mom

Malka E said...

cats, foods, the midwest! another one to add to the towering tbr list!

Kaye Killgore said...

Cats and food, what could be better.

kiki w said...

Looks like a great cozy mystery.

Mariodacatsmom said...

Another book that sounds good. Thanks for featuring it.

Unknown said...

A fun cozy with cats, looks purrfect.

cyn209 said...

this book has been on my WishList!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Sue said...

I currently have a very large cat nicknamed Fat Cat so I must read this book and meet Quincy.