Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review: Words With Fiends by Ali Brandon

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #3 in A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Brooklyn bookstore owner Darla Pettistone and her oversized black cat, Hamlet, have solved a few complicated capers. But after a recent brush with danger, Darla needs to get Hamlet out of a feline funk...

Lately, Hamlet hasn’t been chasing customers or being his obnoxious self—something Darla surprisingly misses. Concerned, she hires a cat whisperer to probe Hamlet’s feline psyche and then decides to get out of her own funk by taking up karate to learn how to defend herself in case the need arises again.

But when Darla finds her sensei dead at the dojo, it seems that even a master can be felled by foul play. Darla decides to investigate the matter herself, and the promise of a mystery snaps Hamlet out of his bad mood. After all, Darla may be the sleuth, but Hamlet’s got a black belt in detection.

My Review

Darla Pettistone owns her own bookstore, complete with a bookstore cat named Hamlet. Since their last dangerous adventure, Hamlet has been depressed. It seems like he might be suffering from PTSD and Darla is more than a little concerned. She calls in an expert cat whisperer, who prefers to be called a feline behavior empath.

Darla, too, needs some help. With all the danger she has been involved in, she signs up for self-defense classes. Along with her teenage worker, they take karate. They do well in their classes, but are shocked when they find their sensei’s dead body. Darla can’t sit by quietly doing nothing. She jumps right into the investigation with Hamlet right by her side.

First, I have to say how much I appreciate that a series is advertised as a cat mystery and the cat lives up to his potential? He’s not just a pretty kitty on the cover. He’s very much a part of the story. He’s not a talking cat nor does he have special magical powers. He’s a bookstore cat who loves his human. His presence is felt throughout the book.

This is the third book in the series. I loved this one even more than the first two. With cozy mystery series, it’s always nice to start with the first book but not always necessary. It does give you a good feel for the character’s grown. I would recommend starting with book #1 but it’s not necessary with this series. There’s no continuing storyline that you’ll miss out. It’s just more fun to start at the beginning. At least it was for me.

Darla is a strong character. She’s vulnerable, but she’s not going to be pulling the covers over her head and hiding from danger. That being said, she also doesn’t act ditzy leaving readers wondering why she’s doing something stupid. Her actions are all understandable.

The supporting characters are well developed and likeable, except for the villainous ones, of course. I would like to see more of Detective Fiorello Reese, known as Reese. He and Darla are on their way to a special relationship but they are taking it at a slow pace. It’s very believable.

Of course Hamlet is my favorite character. He’s the star of the show! Darla makes a nice companion for him.

The story took many twists and turns. As hard as I tried to figure it out, I was totally wrong and didn’t see the end coming. Nicely done!

I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Literally Murder. It looks great too. I can’t get enough of Hamlet.

For reading challenges:
What An Animal Reading Challenge 2015
2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. I love this series can't wait to read this one thanks for sharing

  2. This sounds like a fun cozy! Terrific title!

  3. Hamlet sez, thanks for the paw-some review. And he wants to let everyone know he has long since recovered his feline mojo! :)

  4. The fact that Hamlet’s not just a pretty cover kitty or a talking cat nor does he have special magical powers is very appealing. And I love that Darla's taking self-defense lessons is excellent. I wish more cozy heroines were that proactive. This sounds really good.


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