TITLE: Claws for Alarm
AUTHOR: T.C. LoTempio
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 304 pages
PUBLISHED: Berkley, 2015
SOURCE: Received from Goddess Fish Promotions for blog tour review
Claws for Alarm
by T. C. LoTempio
GENRE: Cozy mystery
BLURB: “The purrfect sleuthy duo” is back and this time murder hits close to home for Nora Charles and her partner Nick, a stealthy little feline gumshoe groomed to solve a shocking crime.
Nick trotted along beside me as we made our way deeper into the warehouse. Suddenly, he froze, tail upright, the hairs puffed and fluffed out like a giant fan.
“What’s wrong?” I whispered, even though I knew he couldn’t answer. We stood in silence for a moment, and suddenly, I did hear something. A very faint sound, from far away . . . like a door closing.
“Come on,” I hissed. I lifted my head, sniffed at the air. It smelled pretty stale, but there was another scent, cigarette smoke. I racked my brain, trying to remember if I’d seen either Julia or Samms smoking.
Nick’s tail swished, and he pawed at arrows painted on the ground. He trotted ahead of me at a brisk pace, and I fell into step. We followed the painted arrows along a white-tiled hallway down to a door with a shade pulled all the way down. A sign placed haphazardly in the window proclaimed it CLOSED.
I tried the door, which seemed to be stuck. I looked at the doorframe, which appeared to be less than sturdy, and checked it for alarm wires. Seeing none, I raised my leg and gave the door a swift, hard kick. It clicked open an inch, and I pushed it all the way open. We walked into a tiny office not much bigger than a postage stamp. A large metal desk and battered file cabinet took up the majority of the space. Another door at the far end stood partway open. Nick suddenly tensed, and I saw the hairs on his back rise. His tail fluffed out, and he started to growl, deep in his throat.
I frowned. “What’s wrong? What do you sense?”
Nick reared up on his hind legs and then shot through the partially open door. I had no choice but to follow. The room I now found myself in appeared to be a slightly larger version of the previous office. Nick crouched in front of a large metal desk, and as I entered, he shifted his body slightly. I caught a glimpse of two feet, very still, shod in the pair of eggplant Louboutins I’d admired earlier in the evening.
“Oh crud,” I cried. “Please tell me that’s not what I think it is.” I walked around Nick and peeped around the edge of the desk. I saw a twisted figure in a white raincoat bunched up around shapely legs, a tumble of dark hair covering its face, the neck bent at an unnatural angle.
“Shoot,” I said.
“MA-ROW!” Nick yowled.
I heard a sound behind me as Nick dived under a nearby chair. My heart started to beat wildly in my chest. The last time he’d pulled something like that I’d been caught next to a dead body and hauled off to the police station. His fat rear had barely wiggled out of sight before the door slammed back and I found myself looking first down the barrel of a .45 and then, as I raised my gaze, at the grim, unsmiling face of Detective Leroy Samms. He looked at me, then at the feet, then back to me again. He lowered his arm, slipped his gun back into his shoulder holster. “Well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.”
I responded almost automatically. “He didn’t drag me. I walked in on my own.”
One eyebrow quirked. “Pardon? It’s an expression, Nora.”
“Oh, sure. I knew that.” The queasy sensation in my stomach was getting stronger, and I really felt like gagging. I started to push past Samms, but his strong fingers reached out and encircled my elbow in a grip of steel.
“No need to run off.”
I pressed my palm against my cheek. “I—I’m not. I just felt a little . . . squeamish.”
“Of course you do,” he said, still not cracking a smile. “I’ve got some Pepto back at the station. Fix you right up. Then we’re going to have a chat, you
and I.” His grip on my elbow tightened. “Ms. Charles, you’ve got some explaining to do.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of Meow If It’s Murder, the first in the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read.
I’m excited to welcome the author here to One Book Shy of a Full Shelf to talk about her sleuths. Take it away T.C. LoTempio……….
Why Cats are a Natural Choice for a Sleuth
I’ve often had people ask why I selected a cat as Nora’s sidekick in my Nick and Nora mystery series. Why not a dog, or a bird, or a snake? (yes, a snake). Well, the answer’s simple.
Cats themselves are natural sleuths.
That old saying, ‘curiousity killed the cat’ wasn’t just something someone made up. Cats have lots of natural curiosity, inquisitiveness, qualities that every good sleuth possesses. Those of you who own a cat know what I’m talking about, but if you don’t, check out these series where the cats are the star detectives!
The Magical Cats Series, by Sofie Kelly.
This series centers around Kathleen Paulson, a librarian from Boston, and two stray cats with special powers, Owen and Hercules, in fictional Mayville Heights, Minnesota. Kathleen has moved to Mayville Heights from Boston after her fiancée marries a waitress after an argument, and ends up adopting two strays, a tabby named Owen and a tuxedo named Hercules. Turns out the cats have magical powers: Owen can turn invisible and Hercules can walk through walls! Which provides quite a bit of humor! There is also a bit of romance in the form of uptight detective Marcus Gordon. Plenty of quirky characters and homespun charm! Kathleen often finds herself relying on the abilities of Owen and Hercules to piece together the puzzle!
The Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda (aka Dean) James.
Set in the fictional town of Athena, Mississippi, the action centers around librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Diesel is quite large for his size, but very lovable, and Charlie walks him on a leash and takes him pretty much everywhere he goes. Unlike the cats in the “Magical Cats” series, Diesel is more of a sidekick for Charlie than an active participant in the mystery solving – although he does lend a paw from time to time.
The Black Cat Bookshop Series by Ali Brandon
This charming series features a large black cat, Hamlet, as the star feline. Hamlet isn’t above snagging a book or two to lend his human, Darla Pettistone, a clue or two when she’s stuck in the middle of a mystery. Plus, black cats have natural psychic ability (or so my pseudo-black cat, ROCCO, tells me)
The Midnight Louie series by Carole Nelson Douglas
Unquestionably the “Bogart” of feline sleuths, Midnight Louie rules Las Vegas. When he’s not out strutting his stuff on the strip, Louie can usually be found lending a paw to help his human Temple Barr, solve a mystery!
And, of course….
The Nick and Nora series by T. C. Lotempio
Oh come on, you knew I just had to mention my own, right? Ex-investigative reporter Nora Charles still can’t resist a good mystery – but when she gets stymied she’s got her twenty-two pound tuxedo cat, Nick to help. Nick, who formerly belonged to a missing PI, has savvy detective skills of his own- which include spelling out key clues with his favorite toy, Scrabble tiles!
And if you are still skeptical about why cats make great sleuths, ponder this – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owned a cat!
T. C. Lotempio will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
MY TAKE: What a fun book! I am so thrilled to have been a part of this blog tour. I am a cat lover and cozy mystery enthusiast so this book seemed like it would be a perfect fit – and it was!
I am new to this author and delightful series but was able to jump right into the story in this second installment of the Nick and Nora mysteries. (I will be reading the first book: Meow is for Murder very soon – I’m hooked on this dynamic detective duo.) This was a very smooth read that I didn’t want to end. Ms. Letempio keeps you guessing until the very end with many twists and turns and several suspects. It’s an enjoyable journey to a surprising ending.
I highly recommend this series for those interested in a good, fun read with delightful characters.
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review – only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.