Here it is! The cover for Cat’s Paw, my 3rd Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, to be launched November 10th, exactly one month from today. I love it, and I hope you do too!
Meet Emilio. Emilio plays a significant role in my new Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, Cat’s Paw, so when I saw Leslie Cobb’s painting of the striking black cat, I knew it had to feature on the cover.
There is a real Emilio, a foster from the Oregon Humane Society whom I took care of for several weeks. He was indeed recovering from a terribly fractured leg, just as the Emilio of Cat’s Paw, but over time— lots of time— the bones knit and he was good as new. Everyone loved Emilio. The vet staff had to re-cast his leg several times, each time coming up with bright new colors and embellishments. Emilio was such an optimist, such a grateful boy. He taught me so much about resiliency, innovation, and rising above the curves life throws at you, sometimes in the form of an oncoming car. I enjoyed putting him in my latest Lynley Cannon mystery. Here is a selection from the book:
Cat’s Paw, by Mollie Hunt
“Emilio was a handsome jet-black stray who had come to Cloverleaf from another shelter. He had been relinquished with a badly broken leg that the other shelter had neither facilities nor budget to fix. It had taken many weeks in a full leg cast and even more in physical therapy for the big boy to recover, but now he was good as new, having no problem jumping from the bed to his food bowl and back on the bed again. Ad nauseum.
Even though I wasn’t getting much rest with the continuous rocking of bed springs as Emilio pounced back and forth, I was cherishing his company. I knew he would settle down eventually, and as the jumping grew less and the periods of curling up beside me, longer, I began to drift and dream.
The screened window was open; I breathed in the fresh night air and listened to quiet sounds of the secluded island, the far-off bass of the strait broken only by the occasional screech of a night bird. Sometimes a dog would bark or whine in the kennels. Once or twice I heard footsteps shuffle down the gravel path, nearing and then retreating as someone made their way home for the night.
In spite of the exhaustion of the long day, I slept only lightly. It was rare for me to do something new. It didn’t exactly scare me—if anything, I was thrilled about the week to come—but physically, my body recognized it as a challenge. Without reason, glimmers of doubt flickered through my mind: What if my artwork turns out awful? What if I disappoint Simon? morphed into What if there are bears in the woods? What if there’s a tsunami? The questions got sillier and sillier as my mind spiraled. What if I get appendicitis? What if I can’t find the bathroom? What if everyone laughs at me?
I could hear them laughing now, loud and malicious and continuing on and on…
My eyes popped open, and I realized the laughter was very real and had nothing to do with me. Just someone outside, laughing at whatever people laugh at in the middle of the night when other people are trying to get some rest.
With exasperation, I realized I was wide awake. I turned over, dislodging Emilio from his doze and causing him to think about food again. He plopped to the floor, and I slung a pillow over my head, hoping the person would quit having fun and go to bed like the rest of us.
No such luck.
The pillow didn’t do much good because as I lay seething underneath it, my ears tuned in to the conversation in spite of myself. The talker had a grating, slightly raucous voice that must have taken years of bitterness and frustration to perfect. A flatness that said don’t mess with me; inflections pressing home the point that she was always right. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but I began to feel sorry for the person on the other end of the line.
A shriek of sardonic mirth pierced the night. I sat up abruptly, throwing off the sheet and inadvertently causing Emilio to leap away again. When had he got back up? It didn’t matter; we were both on the move now.
The room was lit only by the faint glow from the half-moon in the velvet sky, but with my dark-adapted sight, I made it to the doll-sized sink in the kitchen wall, found a glass, and drew a drink of water. I didn’t intend to be nosey but I couldn’t help but give a peek out the window to see the individual who was robbing me of my slumber. And there she was, slouching against a tree not ten feet away. Her face was in shadow so I couldn’t tell if it was someone I’d met. Her voice was clearer now, and honestly, I didn’t mean to—didn’t want to eavesdrop, but before I knew it, I was listening right along to her sing-song, expletive-punctuated conversation.”
Cat’s paw cover reveal contest winners to be announced shortly. See you all November 10th!