Debonair detective Joe Grey lives and sleuths along northern California's rugged coast, in the quaint--but dangerous--village of Molena Point. In this sixth of Murphy's books named for Joe, passions rise and two women exsanguinate on a mountain riding trail, their throats slashed, while their mounts run free in an ecstasy of fear. Dashing, silver-haired Joe has enough trouble just getting along with his housemate, crusty car mechanic Clyde Damen. But add bloody murder and the kidnapping of a terrified teenager, and Joe gets cat spitting mad! When Clyde's best friend, police chief Max Harper, is named top suspect and suspended from his job, Joe goes ballistic. Aided by his friends Dulcie and Kit, Joe stalks the killer in the dark niches of the crumbling Pamillon Estate--site of a potentially profitable land venture--where a wild cougar also lurks. Up the coast in San Francisco, gorgeous Kate Osborne has cause to worry when a murderer escapes from prison and comes after her. In addition to humans, someone is killing the cats of San Francisco. Speaking of cats: fans of Joe Grey recognize that he (and Dulcie and Kit) are felines themselves, though capable of communicating with select humans. Cat lovers will cuddle right up to Joe and his pals, but the story has plenty of murder and mayhem for those who like to take their detective fiction straight up. (Jan. 8) FYI: This series has won the Cat Writers Association Muse medallion for three consecutive years.