When Blaize Clement died, fans of her Dixie Hemingway series were left wondering what happened to Dixie. Was the pet sitter ever going to get past the death of her husband and daughter, and move on with her life? Would she start a new relationship now that the man she was seeing left for New Orleans? And, what kind of murder would happen on the little barrier island of Siesta Key now? Blaize Clement's son, John Clement, tries to answer some of those questions in The Cat Sitter's Cradle.
At 7 a.m. one morning, Dixie isn't the only one to find herself in an unusual situation. She and Joyce Metzer were both walking dogs when they came across a young illegal alien who had just given birth in the bushes. Actually, they found what they thought was a dead exotic bird first, a resplendent quetzal. So, there they were, with a dead bird, and a young woman and her baby on their hands. And, they couldn't turn her in after she told them she was naming the baby Dixie Joyce Flores. Just one more adventure in Dixie's life. When she took a call from Ethan Crane, a lawyer who was interested in her, she thought, "I wondered how he would react if I told him I was at Walmart buying a cartful of baby supplies for an illegal alien and her newborn baby that I found this morning behind the bushes in a bed of blood-soaked leaves."
But, Dixie Hemingway's life is never about just one job. As a pet sitter, she has other jobs. One involves taking care of a cat and a tank of exotic, expensive fish for a wealthy couple while they were on a business trip. She didn't expect to counsel their daughter or find a body in their swimming pool. Just one more day in the life of Dixie Hemingway.
I was a little leery early in this story. John Clement seemed hesitant, a little slow in picking up on Dixie's character. It's easy to copy the details of her life, ones that had already been laid out by his mother. For a short time, it seemed this would just be another failed attempt at picking up a series after the author died. It seemed as if he had a hard time with the tone of the story and understanding Dixie. Her relationship with her brother and his partner seemed a little off. But, somewhere midstream, Clement picked up the flow, and he was able to bring the two storylines together. He also seemed to pick up on Dixie's character. And, he introduced a homicide detective that understood Dixie's history.
John Clement may have been a little slow in getting off the ground with the book he co-wrote with his mother. Once he found his rhythm, The Cat Sitter's Cradle fell into the established pace and characters. And, it's obvious that Blaize Clement made the right choice with the son and author who can continue to bring her character to the readers who cherish the stories of a cat sitter in paradise, Siesta Key in Florida.
John Clement's website is www.DixieHemingway.com
The Cat Sitter's Cradle by Blaize & John Clement. St. Martin's Minotaur. 2013. ISBN 9781250009326 (hardcover), 290p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.