I always have some fear when an author whom I really enjoy starts a new series. On the one hand, I’m excited to read something new from a favorite writer. On the other, what if the new is more of a rehashing of a previous book or series? With Kathi Daley, author of not only one other series, but two, I was even more curious, eager, and anxious. I shouldn’t have worried. Romeow and Juliet is the first in her new Whales and Tails cozy mystery series and it is a breath of fresh air.
Set on an island off Washington state, Caitlin Hart helps her aunt Maggie operate a cat sanctuary. But life is anything but routine. Cait has a lot on her plate at the moment: Maggie hasn’t been feeling well; she and her friend Tara are in the process of purchasing property into order to open up a shop; and there’s a tense political climate on the island due to a proposed condo development. Not to mention the two embarrassing encounters Cait has had with the loan officer and the fact that her first love is back on Madrona Island. While looking at the old island cannery with Tara, Caitlin discovers a dead body-and may have stumbled on a much larger mystery in the process.
Cait and her family, friends, and fellow islanders are personable and intriguing. I really enjoy the way Kathi introduces her readers to all of the various characters little by little; it makes me feel like I’m at a gathering of new friends. The story is smart and, while it is similar in some ways to the Zoe Donovan mystery series, it’s also fresh and varied enough to successfully lead off a whole new series.
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