Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons Review
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At this time of year, I tend to seek out books that take place in tropical locales—light, breezy books that can transport me to warm, sunny places, even though it’s cold and cloudy outside. For that reason, I’ve come to look forward to the winter release of author Blaize Clement’s latest Dixie Hemingway mystery, set on the sandy shores of Siesta Key, Florida. But the emotional content of Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons sometimes makes the read a little less than sunny.

When deputy-turned-pet-sitter Dixie Hemingway took a job taking care of an orange shorthair named Cheddar for injured old military man Mr. Stern, she never suspected how dangerous the job would be. But she quickly discovers that Mr. Stern’s granddaughter, Ruby, is mixed up in some serious business with some serious criminals—the kind who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

While Dixie struggles to keep Ruby and her baby daughter, Opal, safe, she also struggles to settle into her new relationship with handsome Lieutenant Guidry, but everything seems out of sorts. Since losing her husband and daughter four years ago, she’s gotten used to being on her own—and having Guidry around takes some getting used to.

While Clement isn’t afraid to touch on serious issues (like the sick kid and spousal abuse of Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof), the abundance of drama in Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons makes it feel a bit heavier than earlier installments. Ruby’s daughter, Opal, brings back all kinds of memories of Dixie’s daughter, who was killed in a car accident when she was just three. Her memories and mourning—while completely understandable and appropriate for her situation—put a dark cloud over the story, and it never really goes away. In fact, it only gets darker after Opal is put in danger.

Only adding to the novel’s melancholy tone is Dixie’s new relationship with Guidry. While she’s happy with him, the relationship seems to make her feel more guilty than happy: guilty that she’s replacing her late husband, guilty that she’s not telling him everything, and guilty that their relationship means that she doesn’t spend as much time with her brother’s partner, Paco. As the story progresses, the issues only get more serious—which makes the dark cloud hovering over the story even darker.

On the other hand, all of the story’s emotional content does help to further develop Dixie as a real, human character. She’s tough but flawed—and obviously scarred. And that makes her a character that you can easily get behind.

So if you’re looking for a simple adventure with a strong and well-developed heroine (and a four-legged friend or two), Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons is a good pick. But if you’re looking for a light and sunny mystery to chase away the winter blahs, you might want to look for something a little brighter.

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