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The Ninth Life is one of Clea Simon's best novels yet
February 14, 2016
The Ninth Life By Clea Simon
Severn House Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date: March 1, 2016
Clea Simon's newest novel, The Ninth Life, is an astounding novel that grabs the reader and doesn't let go.
The Ninth Life captivated me from the start. Whenever I was forced to put the book down to do chores or run errands, it stayed on my mind, the story haunting me until I picked it up again. The world of Clare, Blackie, and Tick is not a happy world. It is dirty and grim, with little hope. Despite this the novel made me want to linger, to stay with Clare and Blackie and to find some way to help - an impossible feat for a reader.
The story is told from the perspective of Blackie, a cat Clare rescues from drowning. A few days earlier, the Old Man, a private investigator who was mentoring Clare, was murdered. Clare desperately needs to find out who killed him and why. The Old Man showed her respect, taught her to think and follow clues - skills that would prevent her from becoming another street kid addicted to scat. Blackie devotes himself to helping Clare, protecting her despite his age. His senses and his instincts help him perceive danger, even when she is unaware. The streets teach that trust is slowly earned and easily broken. Despite this, she clings to her loyalty towards Tick, the child she thinks of as her younger brother. His divided loyalties and lack of understanding of the consequences make him easy prey. He helps Clare, but also endangers her. Like Blackie I hated him, didn't trust his weaknesses, but because he was important to Clare, he mattered.
Clare is a child on the cusp of adolescence, forced to grow up too fast. Yet, as unlikely as it seems, she retains her compassion. The Old Man taught her well, and gave her a hope for the future. Blackie is a cat who puts pieces together. He isn't a furred human, but he has a unique understanding of people and human nature. His memory of the time before his drowning is fleeting and dreamlike, but somehow his past is tied to Clare's case - the death of her mentor. Each of the characters was so real. I could almost touch Blackie's fur.
The Ninth Life is one of Clea Simon's best novels yet, showcasing her talent for creating vibrant characters both human and animal and for developing an unforgettable story. Her books have pioneered a new genre of animal mystery - pet noir. If you love animals and mysteries, you should never pass up the opportunity to read Clea Simon's novels.
The Ninth Life is available for preorder and will be released March 1, 2016
I received a copy of The Ninth Life from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Introducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.
Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.
The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.