Ninth Life

Lauren Wright Douglas, Author Naiad Press $8.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-941483-50-6
Cynical, softhearted private detective Caitlin Reece makes her second appearance (after The Always Anonymous Beast ) in this topical, well-paced mystery. The perpetually broke Caitlin is lured to a midnight rendezvous by 10 new $100 bills. A young woman named Shrew shows up, but she is being chased by two men in a car and has time only to toss something into a dumpster, which Caitlin discovers is a blinded and abused cat. After hearing the next morning that Shrew has died in a suspicious accident, Caitlin meets with Alison Bell, Shrew's associate in an animal rights organization called Ninth Life, and learns that the cat was evidence of lab experiments on animals conducted at Living World, a self-proclaimed ``cruelty-free'' cosmetics company. Caitlin doesn't want the case--Living World obviously plays rough--but she is persuaded by the money and by Alison, to whom she is attracted. Besides cosmetic company thugs, Caitlin comes up against members of CLAW, a splinter group of Ninth Life. The straightforward narrative is occasionally too cute, but overall this is an enjoyable and thought-provoking novel. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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