Wild Kat

Karen Kijewski, Author
Karen Kijewski, Author Doubleday Books $19.95 (343p) ISBN 978-0-385-46851-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 371 pages - 978-0-553-56877-6
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Injustice, greed and betrayal are rampant in PI Kat Colorado's fifth case, yet the death that sets the Southern California sleuth in motion is rooted elsewhere. Kat hires on to protect young Amanda Hudson, who has discovered that her employer, Louden Medical Supply, is continuing to manufacture a faulty heart valve that has been implicated in the deaths of many of its recipients. Louden has heretofore settled damage suits with money and hush clauses; whistle-blower Amanda is now being ostracized by fellow workers who fear losing their jobs--worse, she's systematically threatened at home to keep her mouth shut. When Amanda is electrocuted in her hot tub, the death is judged accidental, but Kat, who has been threatened herself (one note reads ``Dead Kats tell no tales''), and Amanda's hotheaded husband suspect murder. Investigating various leads at Louden and uncovering some unsuspected secrets about Amanda keep Kat on the move, but too many recaps of the action, the danger and the accumulated evidence slow the reader's pace to a crawl. Undeterred by the spooky invasions of her privacy, Kat is likable, savvy and game. The plot, however, doesn't seem big enough for her ; her personal attachment to Amanda is inadequately developed and the often reiterated central dilemma of social responsibility vs. individual need is unconvincingly depicted. Previous titles include Copy Kat and the debut Katwalk. Author tour. (Feb.)
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