The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives Review
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Three years after author Blaize Clement’s death, her beloved Siesta Key cat sitter, Dixie Hemingway, lives on, thanks to Clement’s son, John. The author’s transition (in 2013’s The Cat Sitter’s Cradle) was nearly seamless—and now, with the ninth book in the series, The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives, it’s almost as though Blaize never left.

The latest Dixie Hemingway mystery begins with a bang—or, more accurately, a crash. On the way to her favorite local bookstore, Dixie is passed by a crazed driver, who speeds around her, only to crash head-on into a landscaping truck, causing several other cars to collide. After racing to the rescue and saving a man from a burning car, Dixie then continues on to the bookstore, where she meets the store’s kindly old owner, Mr. Hoskins, and his big, fluffy, orange cat, Cosmo.

The next day, Mr. Hoskins and Cosmo both go missing. And while the police search for information about Mr. Hoskins, Dixie sets out to find his cat.

With his first attempt at picking up where his mother left off behind him, John Clement has settled quite nicely into his role as Dixie’s new scribe. He’s clearly mastered the tone and style of the series—to the point that most readers won’t notice that there’s been a change.

Clement has mastered his mother’s voice so well, in fact, that his installments in the series suffer from some of the same small issues as earlier novels. Most notably, Dixie tends to sound older than she really is. Though she’s only in her mid-thirties, she often sounds more middle-aged.

Still, the appeal of the series remains the same. Dixie is a lovably impulsive character with a difficult past and an unusual job. She’s surrounded by likable supporting characters—from regulars like her brother, Michael, his partner, Paco, and Dixie’s caring and quirky girl friends to new additions like Dixie’s wacky new client, Mrs. Silverthorn.

Best of all, though, is the setting. If you’ve ever visited Siesta Key, each book in the series is like a return trip—a relaxing stroll down the white-powder beach. If you haven’t, it still feels like a mini vacation to a small seaside town. And Clement continues to capture that laid-back style, making The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives another enjoyable escape from the daily grind.

Meanwhile, the beachy setting and the lovable characters work together to tell a fun yet surprisingly layered story. There’s a lot going on here—disappearances, car crashes, missing pets, and creepy clients, too—but it never feels too complex. And, somehow, all of the pieces come together in the end.

Once again, John Clement has made his late mother (and her devoted fans) proud, carrying on with the laid-back cozy mystery series that she left behind. If you’re in desperate need of a relaxing trip to the beach but your budget won’t allow for the flight to Florida, The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives is an affordable substitute.

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