Cats Claw (China Bayles)

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The series is becoming stale. The writing style fails to display the same enthusiasm as prior books. May 08, Liz rated it liked it. Not my favorite in the series, but I've moved on to the next book.

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Cat's Claw (China Bayles, book 20) by Susan Wittig Albert

I'm pleased that this focuses on Shelia and hopes are high for Rubys book, which is next with what looks like considerably better traction. No, this isn't a bad book. For me, I'd like more China and less time focuses on every minuet detail of the crime scene. Something just didn't work for me with this book. Fingers crossed for Widows Tears!

Aug 12, Carol rated it really liked it. Ruby's sister finds the body of a computer guru Larry Kirk who is in the process of divorcing his wife, at first it looked like a suicide but things start getting complicated and China gets drawn in. As usual good sounding recipes at the end. May 18, Paulette rated it really liked it. Another fine China Bayles novel.

My only quibble was her change of POV. While I appreciate the author wishing to let us in to the points of view of her other characters, I much prefer China to tell the whole story beginning to end. Jan 10, Brenda rated it really liked it Shelves: In keeping with my goals to catch up on my series, I visited Pecan Springs to see what is up with China Bayless and her family and friends. Susan Wittig Albert always manages to put together a good mystery, a good story, interesting herbal facts, and always a few recipes I 'll need to try! Jul 28, Celena Green rated it really liked it.

I liked that this felt more like a crime book, however with Shiela's POV taking up the majority of the book, it felt very different. Jan 17, Julie Bates rated it it was amazing. I enjoyed seeing things through the eyes of Smart Cookie. As always, a great story. Jul 06, Diane Large rated it liked it. This is my first China and Sheila read. Liked the setting in Pecan Springs and stayed up until 1: It was a good mystery for me to do that! Nov 24, Evan rated it really liked it Shelves: I wasn't sure that I'd like reading a book in this series where the perspective is split between our usual protagonist, China Bayles, and Sheila Dawson, but it worked just fine.

Jan 05, Gerry rated it really liked it. Not only do I like China Bayles and her friends, but love the information about herbs. The China Bayles series isn't the first thing I head for when I get a gift certificate, but it is good, comfortable prose for these chilly January nights. This story is slightly different from her previous ones, which were written entirely in first person. Her actual spouse wrote the third person portions, but the voice is so seamless that either they think a lot alike, or Albert did some serious editing.

At any rate, I can truthfully say that the combination works well. This story takes us bac The China Bayles series isn't the first thing I head for when I get a gift certificate, but it is good, comfortable prose for these chilly January nights. This story takes us back and forth between Bayles and her friend, the new police chief, Sheila "Tough Cookie" to her pals. I could live without all the herbal stuff. Those who live closer to the area may find it interesting; since the FDA does not regulate the uses of herbs, and Albert has apparently followed the advice of her publisher or attorney by adding the disclaimer that just because she is telling us the uses of these herbs doesn't mean we should go out and USE them, I find it a jarring break in the story line.

One other, more minor complaint is that she spends a little too much time on setting. We are going to arrest the villain, but first we have to take in every decorating detail of the building as we enter.

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Again, it slows down the pace. I don't know whether she and her spouse came in under length and she had to pack in filler, or what, but no one gives a rat's behind about the white wicker and the ivy when we're chasing a criminal. That said, I think Albert has done a reasonably good job of developing parts of her main characters. The relationship between herself and Ruby is the nicest surprise. Ruby used to be over-described to the point where it felt stilted, but now it is clear that although she is pretty strange looking, China loves her for the same reason I love my own in some cases strange friends: Somehow, she entered this essential sense smoothly this time, and it felt right in a way it never did before.

There are also some great metaphors: I love the one where Sheila maybe this is the spouse's metaphor? All of us have to do that with our work sometimes, and I thought it was particularly well done. The plot itself is interesting, well-paced, and has a plausible ending. The reader's buy-in is not strained by a lack of credibility.

The story makes sense. Social issues are occasionally included, and they are built into the narrative in a way that, again, is smooth and uncontrived. I liked the concern over wildlife habitat being converged on by burgeoning development; I wasn't crazy about the complaints that law enforcement hasn't sufficient power I am from Seattle; the SPD is currently being monitored by the FBI for its profiling and gratuitous use of deadly force. The term "lawyering up" hits my buttons.

Does everyone have the right to call an attorney if they find themselves in legal jeopardy? Of course they do. I have never been arrested, but if I were, I'd want an attorney, along with the presumption of innocence till proven guilty. Requesting legal representation is not sleazy or a sign of dishonesty, or a lack of moral character. Okay, I'm done with that; thanks for letting me rant a bit. There's one place she redeems herself: Just as she seems as if she may be creating an ageist stereotype, it turns out that what they have observed turns out to be of great use.

They are not a pack of prying old hens the stereotype after all, but they are curious, have extra time, and realize it when their combined information looks like something the police should know. I have neighbors like that, too, and have learned to appreciate them! All told, if you want a low-stress, easy read to fall asleep with, this little novel is a better-than-average choice.

It won't make the blood pound in your veins and keep you awake; it isn't too hefty a tome to hold in one hand or in your e-reader, which is how I read it.

Cat's Claw

If money is tight, wait a bit, and it will turn up in a used bookstore, because Albert's work will continue to sell well, at least in major cities and their surrounds. Mar 08, Fredell Boston rated it it was amazing. Her friend China Bayles gives her information that Larry recently asked her for legal advice in regards to a stalker. Also leading citizen,George Timms, was caught breaking into Larry's computer shop to steal his own computer back because of dangerous personal information it contained. When it Timms's mutually agreed upon time to turn himself in to the police comes and goes, and he's nowhere to be found.

China accidentally finds him dead, killed by a mountain lion at his "secret hideaway" in the hills of east Texas. So, he is no longer a suspect in murder of Kirk, he is still the subject of the investigation of the burglary--to cover up his pornographic proclivities. As the first female police chief in Pecan Springs, Sheila meets with much dissension and doubt. But she persists and eventually the real murderer is found--a disgruntled employee of Kirk's computer shop who was blackmailing customers with what he found on their computers.

May 05, Aurian Booklover rated it really liked it. The book starts with a gathering of the Texas Star Quilting Club, some old ladies of Pecan Springs, who are experts at gossiping and watching their neighbours. And lately, they have had their eyes on Larry Kirk. He is going through a divorce, as he is a work-a-holic, and his wife has found a new lover. But recently, a lady has been showing up at his house, especially when he is not at home. So what does that mean? And then Larry Kirk is found murdered. Do those old ladies actually have clues to The book starts with a gathering of the Texas Star Quilting Club, some old ladies of Pecan Springs, who are experts at gossiping and watching their neighbours.


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Do those old ladies actually have clues to solve the mystery? Sheila Dawson is the police chief of Pecan Springs, and she is really trying to make it a modern department, but she is hindered by the budget cuts the city council keeps throwing at her, and especially her second in command, who was hoping for her function when the previous chief was fired. She is not happy in her work, and even doubting her decision to stay as chief and have her new husband Blackie give up his job as sheriff. Lucky for Sheila, Deputy Chief Clint Hardin is going on vacation for 10 days, so she can relax a little and perhaps even go out in the field herself.

When the call comes in that a dead body has been found, at first it looks like a suicide, and Sheila knows her detective Bartlett can handle that fine by himself. But it is close where she lives, so she will hop over for a quick look. As chief of police, it is important that she is seen out and about, and not only busy with the necessary paper work. But when there is reasonable doubt that this is actually a suicide, Sheila decides to help with the investigation herself, but leaving her Detective in charge of the case. Is this case combined with the almost closed Timms case?

Timms is one of the most important and influential citizens in Pecan Springs, so this is sure to cause a scandal. Timms claims to have been blackmailed, but so far he has not told anything about the how or why. Unfortunately, Timms fails to show up, and even his lawyer withdraws from the case. He never liked his client anyway, so Timms is now officially missing. She is not sure if Sheila knows about it, so the next morning she decides to go take a look.

And there she does not only find a possible reason for Timms supposed blackmail problems, but also Timms himself. To me, this was an excellent change in writing direction. China Bayles is still very prominent, as she would be, being Sheila's friend. Now, we can have a wider range of stories from the wonderful mind of Ms. A Pecan Springs resident has committed suicide Police Chief Dawson uses this case to get back in the field for a bit. I truly enjoyed this novel and am hooked on the change of viewpoints.

Now to wait for the next adventure. For the locals, it is great, good fun to try and figure out exactly which hot spot she is referring to and to appreciate her spot on descriptions of the beauty of the landscape and the challenges of the drought. Her strong, female characters with untroubled bonds to good men are also a pleasure. The author is very familiar with Southwestern plants, particularly herbs and this gave a bit of the esoteric to the book. The three stars are not intended as criticism. The book does what it sets out to do very well which is to entertain without insulting one's intelligence.

I simply think books that garner four or five stars should have and attain literary aspirations i.

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I've enjoyed the character of Sheila "Tough Cookie" Dawson throughout the China Bayles series, but when I buy one of the herbal mysteries, I expect to be about China Bayles and her sleuthing. In this one, Sheila took center stage, and China was a background character, showing up now and then to act as a sounding board for Sheila's thoughts, and to occasionally share what she's learned.

I hope this series doesn't leave China behind again.

Cat's Claw (China Bayles, #20) ~ D0wnLoad PDF & AudioBook

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  • Cat's Claw (China Bayles, #20) by Susan Wittig Albert!
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  • Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Now that Larry is dead, she's sure it's connected to the burglary. And she's also sure she'll get plenty of resistance on her assessment Timms's time to turn himself in to the police comes and goes, and he's nowhere to be found. In her investigation, Sheila uncovers secrets, terrible secrets that would drive anyone to kill.