A sexy detective, a pretty redhead, a sullen teenager in foster care and several pets with personality collide in this lighthearted romance.
When an injured cat darts into Mitch Holt’s apartment through a window screen, the handsome detective—and devoted dog person—wants nothing to do with the feline. But after the cat helps him solve a case, Mitch decides his new furry friend can stay. Soon, another cat enters his life: Catherine “Cat” James, a lovely redheaded accountant fostering a troubled teenage boy named Ethan. While most women fall at Mitch’s feet, Cat—still recovering from an abusive childhood—keeps her distance. This surprises the good-looking detective: “Women usually found him attractive and charming. He rarely received the ‘go away’ signal.” But with the help of their bubbly friends and colleagues (as well as some rambunctious yet supposedly charming pets), Mitch and Cat soon develop an irresistible mutual attraction—especially once Mitch must rescue Cat from a dangerous situation. The latest pet-themed tale from Tiner (Dogs Aren’t Men, 2014, etc.) is a sweet, if predictable, story with positive messages about forgiveness, changing and making a difference in the world. Unfortunately, the characters lack nuance and believability. Mitch comes off as far too perfect, and his attraction to Cat feels forced. Beautiful Cat, meanwhile, seems relatively unscathed by her traumatic past. Ethan transitions unbelievably quickly from brooding teenager to smiling cheerleader for Mitch and Cat’s love. The various villains are just as bland, if not outright offensive: the book’s only non-Anglo character—a Hispanic teenager—is a gang member. The story is also burdened by a flat writing style that tells, rather than shows, different details. For example, Cat and Mitch’s journey to Thanksgiving dinner is described: “Cat was very glad she’d agreed to ride with Mitch. He handled the car with ease. Within minutes, they arrived at their destination.” Chicklit fans looking for a quick, frothy read may enjoy the book’s happily-ever-after aspects, but this story might prove too contrived for many readers.
Dull prose and unrealistic characters make this fluffy romance hard to engage with.