New York City’s Central Park may be the center of operations for a catnapping ring.
Separating felines from their rightful owners is the crime in shamus Frank Pavlicek’s latest case, and Frank’s not happy about it. He’s a modern-day Sam Spade, not Ace Ventura. Still, the obligations of friendship are pressing, and Darla Barnes had been an NYPD cop alongside Frank before they both went private. More than that, she’d once saved his life. So in response to Darla’s call, Frank travels north from Virginia to backstop her in the curious case of the purloined kitten. It will test Frank in ways he couldn’t have imagined. His passionate interest in falconry, for instance, will come front and center, along with Los Miembros, a gang of teenage punks famous for never having seen anything defenseless they didn’t want to hurt. With the aid and comfort of No. 1 Daughter and devoted assistant Nicole, Frank copes with animal-rights protesters, an enigmatic tycoon with a complex secret agenda, nocturnal ghosts, a giant owl (that may or may not be an illusion) and a variety of other unsettling phenomena. Catnappers? Not so much.
A much more solid performance from Straka (Record of Wrongs, 2008, etc.) than its painfully cutesy title would seem to promise.