The latest outing of the super-feline trio headed by hard-boiled Joe Grey (Cat Laughing Last, 2002) begins with a bang: A bomb goes off in a church just before the long-anticipated wedding of Police Chief Max Harper and Charlie Getz in the northern California town of Molena Point. Because the feline loose cannon known as “the kit” uses her sharp claws and teeth to keep a ragamuffin boy from detonating the bomb at a more deadly moment, no one is seriously injured. The boy, Curtis Farger, is apprehended, but it turns out that he’s been under the command of his grandfather, no kindly old man, who escapes in the confusion. As for Curtis, Ryan Flannery, a building contractor newly arrived at Molena Point, recognizes him from her recent remodeling job up in San Andreas, where he ran with a pack of boys and a Weimaraner. Ryan hasn’t long to wonder about Curtis before her estranged husband, Rupert Dannizer, is found shot dead in her garage. Just as mysteriously, her old acquaintance, the Weimaraner, appears at her door. Not to worry, though: Joe Grey is on the case. He undertakes surveillance, searches houses, and places cell phone calls that reveal the killer.
Once she’s invented semihuman cats, Murphy has apparently exhausted her novelist’s imagination. Anyone who mistreats animals is a bad guy, including the Ice Maiden dominatrix. And the cats themselves act according to gendered human stereotypes. Why bother lodging such conventionally human minds within feline bodies?