Dinosaur Cat

Garrison Allen, Author, Allen Garrison, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $20 (336p) ISBN 978-1-57566-304-3
Allen (Baseball Cat, 1997) strikes an unrelievedly upbeat tone in this chatty cozy, the fourth Big Mike tale. Empty Creek, Ariz., bookstore owner and former Marine, Penelope Warren and her rotund Abyssinian cat, Big Mike, are on the trail of the person who shot fossil hunter Millicent DeForest. They are exploring the scene of the crime, where dinosaur bones abound, when someone, presumably the killer, triggers a dynamite-aided landslide that buries the bones and clues. While the police begin excavating, Penelope digs up background on the academic Millicent and fossil hunters in general. She discovers that five Russian dinosaur skulls were recently stolen in Moscow and that a parade of international visitors has suddenly come to Empty Creek: a Japanese man atoning for his failure as a Yakuza; an Israeli selling what he claims are fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls; and a Russian couple who incessantly quote Dostoyevski. The police at the site unearth an old human skull with a bullet hole in it, and Penelope suspects the two murders are related. Then she and her lover are shot at as they float over the site in a balloon. Not until the Israeli is shot and Big Mike calls her attention to the man's fake Dead Sea Scroll fragments, is she able to link the evidence and nab the killer who wants exclusive rights to the fossil remains. Plotting suffers (and reader interest wanes) as the story's thick cast of characters and local goings-on cause crime-fighting in Empty Creek to take a backseat to local gossip and innuendo. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 427 pages - 978-1-59722-209-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 318 pages - 978-1-57566-426-2
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