Monday, January 17, 2011

Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons by Blaize Clement

Charlaine Harris' Lily Bard series featured a damaged character, a woman gang-raped who struggled to face life.  Blaize Clement's Dixie Hemingway is also a damaged character, only finding herself after five books in the series.  But, I'm afraid, in the sixth one, Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons, Dixie went off the deep end with her reckless actions.

Dixie Hemingway was a deputy with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department in Florida until the tragic death of her husband and young daughter.  After an emotional break-down, she turned for refuge to the family home on Siesta Key, living next to her fireman brother and his partner, where she worked as a pet sitter.  Dixie poured most of her emotions into her relationship with animals, and it's a job with a cat that traps her.

Dixie's first day assisting a man with his cat, Cheddar, was interrupted when his granddaughter, Ruby, showed up with her baby in arms, wanting to stay there.  When she went to leave the house, Dixie was followed from the house, kidnapped, and then released when the kidnappers discovered they had Dixie, and not the younger, Ruby, who resembled her.  It seems Ruby was caught up in a real estate scheme, and the threatened people would do anything to keep her from testifying.  Dixie wanted to help, but when the baby was kidnapped, she insisted on involving herself.

I had a problem with Dixie's personality in this book, and one major decision can't even be discussed without spoiling the book.  But, I did find Dixie's immersion in this kidnapping case to be out-of-character.  Maybe it isn't out-of-character for the woman she has become following her daughter's death, but it certainly is reckless behavior considering her former career as a deputy.  Within a few days of meeting Ruby's baby, she ignores all reasonable behavior.  I can't really discuss it more, but I'd like to hear your opinion once you've read the book.  My sister emailed me before I read this, so I moved it up on my TBR pile.  Once I finished, we had a lengthy discussion about Dixie's personality, and her decisions.  Despite our sorrow over a major decision, we understood.  But, I'm still convinced a former deputy wouldn't have acted as recklessly as Dixie did in the course of the kidnapping case. 

I love the cover of Blaize Clement's Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons.  And, as a former Florida resident, familiar with Dixie's home county, I've always enjoyed the descriptions of the setting.  But, I think I'm giving up on Dixie as a character.  I just can't trust her behavior anymore.

Blaize Clement's website is http://www.blaizeclement.com/

Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons by Blaize Clement. St. Martin's, ©2011. ISBN 9780312643126 (hardcover), 272p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

14 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Writers have to be so careful about character motivation. What motivates a character to do something like that (and it shouldn't put the character in too bad of a light) and is it believable that they would do such a thing? When readers can't identify with the protagonist anymore (or respect their decisions) it's a real problem.

Lesa said...

You're right, Elizabeth. My sister and I have read this entire series. We could accept her relationship decision. It made perfect sense, understanding Dixie and her background. Her behavior in the matter of the kidnapping was outrageous for a former deputy, despite the fact that she lost her own child. That's what I couldn't accept. What I won't accept is a character who operates recklessly.

Sharon said...

This is a new-to-me series. I like the sound of it. I'm going to look it up, thanks for the intro!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Sharon. I hope you enjoy the books.

Ingrid King said...

I thought Dixie's actions were out of character, too, but I think I can accept the motivation behind that. Losing her child will color everything she does for the rest of her life. Even though at the beginning of the book, we're led to believe that she's starting to heal (treading carefully here, I don't want to spoil the book for those who haven't read it), her reaction to and subsequent actions following the baby's kidnapping tell us otherwise.

I liked the book, and the ending left me looking forward to more - if nothing else, to see what the author does with Dixie in subsequent books.

Lesa said...

I do understand that, Ingrid. I guess the actions did tell us otherwise. I enjoyed the first five books. I just don't know that I want to go on wondering how long she's going to act impulsively, and, in a way that could have turned out tragically.

Literary Feline said...

I am sorry this one turned out to be a disappointment, Lesa. I, too, don't like it when a character's actions are out of character.

I found the first novel in the series in my TBR room this weekend while packing books. I imagine I'll at least give the series a try--it sounds like the first few books are worth reading!

Lesa said...

And, if you like the books, don't let me discourage you. I read all of them so far, and, if you read the comment, you know Ingrid accepted this one better than I did. So, you might like this one as well. Hope you give them a try!

kathy d. said...

I love the cat cover here. No opinion on the series as I haven't read them, but I am definitely sure about the cover.

Cats...what can I say?

Lesa said...

Great cover, isn't it, Kathy? I have a particular fondness for cats, too. (grin)

Book Bird Dog said...

One of my favorite pet mystery series! Thanks for the review.
Here's my crime book review and giveaway: Delirious

jcjcjcjcjc said...

I totally agree that Dixie's actions seemed out of character - in fact I was pretty shocked at first. But then I realized: this is no ordinary "who-dunnit" series, and Clement's heroine is no ordinary, cookie-cutter character. Just when I think I've got her figured out, a new layer is peeled back - and I find a character much deeper than what I had presumed.

I guess what I'm saying is that, I realized it wasn't so much that her actions were "out of character", but that I didn't really know her character like I thought I did. Like a real person - complex, sometimes contradictory, deep.

It left me with so many questions about what's going to happen next. I'm sad that you're giving up on her. It just made me want more!

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