Willow’s Review of Cat in an Alien X-Ray by Carole Nelson Douglas + Giveaway
As you know, I’ve always been a lover of mystery novels and Carole Nelson Douglas is one of my household’s favorite authors. Given that we did a spotlight post on her a while back, I guess that would be pretty obvious. So when Angelique, one of the lovely publicists at Tor & Forge Books contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing Douglas’s newest novel in her fabulous Midnight Louie series, well let me just say that there was more than one set of dancing paws (and feet) to be found in the house. And so before I get to my review, I’d like to thank Angelique, the folks at Tor & Forge books, and the wonderful Carole Nelson Douglas for sending me a review copy of this title! Now, on to the review itself. =^.^=
Let me first start off by saying that the one thing I have always loved about this series is that it takes place in modern-day Las Vegas (even though the timeline of events have only spanned roughly two years since those in the first book). So as hotels come and go, technology changes, and the thrill and excitement of Vegas grows and wanes, Douglas does a wonderful job of blending today’s Vegas landmarks with her fictional ones. Her off the cuff pop culture references, both in the story and the chapter names, are also fun to see scattered amongst the pages. My personal favorite this time around was her heading for chapter 33, Synth You’ve Been Gone. Yeah it resulted in my having the original song stuck in my head the rest of the evening, but it was worth it and it made me chuckle the first time I saw it. Heehee
Now for those readers who are new to this series, and for those who started reading but decided to wait until the series comes to a close (I know of some folks who fit into this category), I wouldn’t recommend making this your first foray into the series. If you want to do the books justice, start with the first book, Catnap, and work your way up the chain of events. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! That being said, Douglas does a great job of providing just the right amount of backstory to remind long time readers of what has gone on in the previous novels. I actually greatly appreciated this because while I recently reread the series, there were connections that I forgot or completely didn’t catch originally on the recent read through.
Douglas’s characters still continue to delight me just as much now as they always have, though it’s no secret that Midnight Louie is my favorite out of all them, with Midnight Louise and Ma Barker and her clowder coming in closely behind him. I only wish there were more chapters devoted to him and his ilk. All hail to the real solver of all of Las Vegas’s crimes, Midnight Louie! May I offer purrs and tail waves in your honor. He’s one feline I wouldn’t mind curling up next to on a cool Vegas evening. ~purrs~
And of course it would be remiss of me not to give some attention to Douglas’s human characters, so permit me to say that my appreciation of Temple has pretty much held steady throughout the series. I don’t think there is really anything that she could do that would ever make me not like her. The same with Detective Molina, though it has been nice to watch her lighten up as the series has progressed. The lunch scene between her and Temple, and the initial phone call that preceded it, made me smirk several times because as much as they both don’t want to admit it, Molina and Temple really would make great girlfriends. The ladies aside, Matt was sadly a bit hit and miss with me this time around, mostly because I didn’t like that he wasn’t upfront with Temple about what he was really doing after his show ended for the night. Yes, I get that he didn’t tell her because he didn’t want her to worry, etc., but it still didn’t mean I liked it. There was something else that kept bugging me about him as I was, but I’m finding it hard to pin point exactly what it was. It’s odd though because when he first appeared in the series I thought he was perfect and instantly loved him, but the more I’ve seen of him and learned, the more on the fence I’ve become towards him. In contrast my views on Max have continued to grow with the recent books to the point where I can comfortably say that I quite like him now. I guess it took him losing his memory for me to really start to appreciate his character.
As for secondary characters: Silas T. Farnum…okay, if you don’t think of P.T. Barnum upon being introduced to this guy, there’s something wrong with you. The minute he showed up in the book all I could think of was “There is a sucker born every minute.” I shared Temple’s frustration where he was concerned and actually cringed every time he showed up in the book. The man is just beyond exasperating to say the least. And as for Kathleen O’Connor, aka Kitty the Cutter, well I’m sure she’d hate me for saying this, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her the entire book. This may sound strange, but I kind of want her to redeem herself before the series ends. Yeah she’s killed folks, yes there’s no question that she should be punished for the crimes she committed, but as screwed up as this character is, I’m hoping that Douglas will allow her one moment of happiness before she takes her final curtain call.
Since this is the 25th book in the series, you might think that at this point the storyline would be getting stale and the books less captivating, but I tell you this is not the case. Douglas’s Midnight Louie series is still going strong! Right from the start I found I couldn’t put the book down…there was just too much going on that as soon as I finished one chapter, something would happen that made me want to read the next one and the next and the next. Yes, this is definitely a page turner novel. Don’t believe me? Get a copy of the book and find out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
So as I bring this review to a close, let me simply say that I greatly enjoyed returning to the world that Douglas has created with these books and I’m greatly looking forward to the next installment of the series. Though at the same time it’s been rather bittersweet as well because since I first heard that Douglas was going to be taking each title of her series and basing it on a letter in the alphabet, I knew eventually there would come a time when the alphabet would end and thus the series with it. And with this being book number 25 and representing the letter X in the alphabet, I do have to wonder just how many more books remain in the series. But as long as there are Midnight Louie novels being written, I can say with certainty this feline will be reading them. =^.^=