Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Ninth Life by Clea Simon

What different voices in books this week. First, a young girl who doesn't speak is the narrator. Now, Clea Simon introduces us to Blackie in The Ninth Life. Blackie is another narrator who doesn't speak, and, at times is frustrated when he can't communicate as he would like. Blackie is a cat who doesn't remember anything until he's drowning and a teenage girl rescues him.

Care rescues Blackie, who only knows he's a streetwise older cat. And, to accompany Care, he needs to be streetwise. The old man who was teaching her to be a detective is dead, murdered, and now she's heading out out her own to find answers. But, Care lives in a dangerous world in the streets, and even some of the members of her old gang don't want her to search for the truth. She's bullied and threatened while she hunts. The only person who seems to care for Care is a young boy, Tick, but Tick has problems. His mother was an addict, and Tick himself is addicted to a street drug called scat. While Care is desperate to help Tick, Blackie doesn't trust him. He doesn't know if Tick is a scapegoat or if he's betraying Care. Blackie and Tick share a mutual distrust.

As Care and Blackie question criminals, and search the streets, docks, and deserted shops, they stumble towards a surprising answer. Blackie sees only the danger in the investigation, but he's determined to protect and assist Care. He knows why she's so desperate. "She seeks redress for her mentor. To avenge him and solve the mystery of his death, and that is the most dangerous motivation of all."

Clea Simon leads her characters to a surprising conclusion, and leads Blackie to an amazing realization. Simon, a writer who loves cats, creates an appealing, unusual narrator in Blackie. He relates the story with the vision and skills of a cat, and we see it unfold through his eyes. And, although the book is entitled The Ninth Life, Simon leaves an opening for the return of this remarkable duo, a cat and the girl he has claimed.

Clea Simon's website is

The Ninth Life by Clea Simon. Severn House. 2016. ISBN 9780727885715 (hardcover), 229p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Clea Simon said...

Thank you so much, Lesa! And, yes, I'm working on the next book already...

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Clea. FINALLY got into the internet, so I can mention this. Sorry about that!

Kay said...

I enjoyed listening to Cleo this weekend at LCC. I've not read any of her books, but this one sounds like one I'd like. So....yes, it's on my list and now on my Kindle. LOL

Clea Simon said...

Kay - I'd love to hear your response if and when you get to it! Thanks for trying it.
- Clea