Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

Talking immortal cats, a satanic librarian with glowing red eyes, bumbling amateur detectives, and comedy--so much comedy!--are the ingredients in Cat Out of Hell. Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, had me hooked from the title alone.

And stayed hooked, because I listened to the audiobook [Recorded Books: 5 hr 14 min] all in one day. British audiobook narrator Mike Grady has a soothing voice, a counterpoint for the outlandishness of the tale and the moments of horror encountered therein.

The story is set in contemporary England and the narrator is Alec Charlesworth, a retired bookish man with a terrier named Watson. Alec and his wife chose this name especially for the opportunities to quote lines from Sherlock Holmes:

"Come Watson, come. The game's afoot."
"You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you invaluable as a companion."
"Watson, come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, com all the same."

Cat Out of Hell mixes nineteenth-century occultism with modern culture. Think of the Bunnicula children's stories by James and Deborah Howe which feature a vampire rabbit. At one point in the story, a cat recites lines from Tennyson's "Ulysses" which Alec says "I needn't dwell on because everyone in the world knows them quite well by now because of Judy Dench doing them in Skyfall.

If you are in the mood for a cozy cat mystery with a spike of Beelzebub, or need a devilish touch to convince you to tackle a talking animal tale, this will hit the spot!

Readalikes: Good Omens (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman); Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Lish McBride); and Something Rotten (Jasper Fforde)

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