But this reviewer was won over anyway by the "authentic voice" of this "wonderful reading experience."
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"THE NINTH LIFE by Clea Simon 5 stars.
A tragic, violent world joyfully realised.
I hate cats. I read this book in order to write a review but I may struggle because my notes are useless; Blackie is such an authentic voice I found myself dragged in by the first paragraph. He dug his claws in from the start and didn't let go. His thoughts on survival, body language, humans in general are fascinating, sad and funny in equal measure.
The style, the environment and the general feel of the start of this book put me in mind of the homeless network Sherlock Holmes uses. I found myself picturing Care's mysterious 'old man' as an ageing Sherlock taking on an unusual protégé. Care herself is a delightfully well realised hero. The esteem Blackie holds her in is well deserved, his observation that her comprehension matches his eyesight is telling. The highest of compliments from a cat surely?
The story itself is well paced, moving along just fast enough to keep you from getting impatient but not so fast you miss clues or feel rushed to a conclusion. The mystery of who Blackie is and why 3 men tried to murder him is so subtly managed that at several points I totally forgot about it, until I couldn't forget. Until his memories become part of the same mystery Care is investigating ...
Overall the world woven by the words of this sensible cat create such an immersive sense of tragic melancholy, intrigue and constant fear that I'm far too involved in the story to analyse the style and content. I can only see this 'world of casual violence and retribution' that these children are forced to inhabit. My reviewing abilities are fully compromised by becoming so thoroughly engrossed in a wonderful reading experience. I love the joy of discovering a new writer, a new voice to bring me into a world I would never otherwise know.