Books

Review of The Body in the Park: A Razzy Cat Cozy Mystery

By Courtney McFarlin (c) 2021

Spoiler Alert! This is a cute book!

Book Review by Joanne Brown

Rated 9 out of 10 stars

Why this book?

So, I have been feeling a little bit listless. Is it the winter doldrums? I mean six more weeks of winter – though I predicted it the day before Punxsutawney Phil did! Is it spring fever? Or. maybe it’s because I am wanting to do something different at my job? … Whatever the deal, I read this book because it came up on my feed on bookbub.com. (Remember, I told you about that in my last review … The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser.) It sounded different. It seemed light. It was a mystery, which I always enjoy. And, it was FREE!

I expected it to be just one of those feel good fluff books that I sometimes read just to pass some time and that that would be the end of it. Well, I was right and I was wrong. This book is a feel good book. And it is fluffy (more about that below!). But, I found out it was more than just a page-turner to discard when I was finished. It ended up being an imaginative and enticing little fun read that got me addicted – kind of like m&ms or potato chips – you know: Ya can’t eat just one! It’s not War & Peace. It’s not Gone with the Wind. It’s just a cute little book that sparked my imagination as I willingly suspended my disbelief and just enjoyed it. I think you will like it too!

In the beginning …

As we begin the book, we met Hannah Murphy, a writer for The Post, a small newspaper in Golden Hills Colorado. She had been writing – of all things FLUFF pieces (ha ha!) for the past two years! She yearned to write stuff with meat. And if truth be told, she wants to make a name as a reporter.

As she is leaving work that day, two things happen: 1. Her Editor, Tom Anderson, calls her into the office. He’s a scary guy to just about everyone at the newspaper, but Hannah is able to see past his gruffness. She isn’t afraid of him – very much. He tells her that he appreciates the hard work she has done and realizes that she wants to use her talent on bigger works. He informs her that he is going to give her a chance and says that the next big story that breaks is hers! . . . . and 2. Hannah’s best friend, her roomie from college, and also a coworker (she writes the Lifestyle Pages), Ashley Wilson, asks Hannah to hang out that night. Hannah declines. She feels a migraine coming on.

When Hannah gets home, she trips over her purebred Ragdoll cat Razzy. She apologizes, goes to the kitchen to see what she should eat, and feels such a wave of nausea and dizziness from her headache that she skips dinner and lays down for a little bit.

Things get a little weird …

She awakens hours later. She no longer has a headache, but she is barefoot and in the park near her place. She has no recollection of how she got there. She hears a child calling, “Mama! There you are.” As she does, Razzy walks towards her and sits at Hannah’s feet. Razzy looks at Hannah and speaks again, “Say somethin, Mama. You’re scaring me. Why are you outside?”

Hannah thinks it’s a dream. Razzy declares that it is not a dream. Hannah left the door open when she left and Razzy has tracked her to this spot. They get up to go home, Hannah still thinking that this is a dream when she trips and falls over something stretched across the sidewalk. It is cold and squishy. … the dead body of a man.

At first she thinks that her dream has taken a wild turn and that she needs to wake up. Then she realizes that she can feel the cold concrete beneath her feet. Checking her arms she sees that she has goosebumps all over them. She pinches herself to see if she is awake. Yes, she feels that. Then Razzy pitches in to help and bites Hannah on the top of her foot. Hanna realizes this is no dream. She calls 9-1-1on her cellphone – which she for some reason has with her.

Enter the handsome guy …

Hannah very quickly adjusts to the idea that she can understand Razzy while waiting for the police to arrive. She also realizes while she is on the phone with 9-1-1 that all everyone else hears are Razzy’s meows. The police arrives. Detective Ben Walsh interviews her. When he discovers that Hannah is a reporter he scowls. He has a bad view of reporters.

When Hannah first, doesn’t actually become a suspect in the killing of the man and second, doesn’t break her word and give away too much in her newspaper coverage of the dead body, Ben relaxes a little and begins to look at Hannah as a woman who happens to be a reporter. They begin to have a tenuous relationship as two who are working towards the same end – solving a crime. Why is Hannah trying to solve the mystery? It’s follow-up work for the newspaper.

In the meantime, Hanna shares her newfound ability to understand Razzy with Ashley. Ashley thinks Hannah should go visit a place called Mystic Treasures and talk with a woman named Anastasia Aspen. She has a “connection” and might be able to help Hannah sort out why Hannah has developed this gift of understanding her cat.

You have been given a rare gift. … the spirits have spoken, and they have chosen you. You have many tasks to complete. … All will be revealed in time. … you are in a unique position to right wrongs, to find the truth and shed light where darkness reigns.

Anastasia Aspen Chapter 4

What Hannah figures out…

Hannah realizes a number of things … first, that she might be in danger, that she can speak to and understand her cat Razzy. Razzy tells her that she wants to eat at the table, as it is more respectable than eating on the floor. She also tells Hannah that she wants her littler box moved so she can have more privacy. Hannah also learns that Razzy has an excellent sense of smell.

Razzy tells Hannah that she spends her morning meditating, then reading, then napping. Hannah is surprised to discover that Razzy is probably better read than Hannah herself. Razzy says she has read so many things – using Hannah’s iPad. – AND – she chooses free books and would like to have more offers.

Upon further research, Hannah finds that people with Celtic blood have been known to be cat talkers. Hannah has some Celtic blood in her.

The Body in the Park …

The dead man’s name is/was Mark Brown: He was single; but he was a player; He had no arrests, and a clean credit history, was active on social media, and played on a softball team sponsored by a bar.

The dead man had worked at a bank as a commercial loan officer. He had been there for 5 years, was moving up quickly, and had brought lots of new business to the bank. Mark had even brought people from California to this Colorado bank. Oddly, he was making commission on his works. Hannah learned that loan officers at his bank did not earn commission. Normally, they made bonuses as they reached certain benchmarks, they didn’t get paid bonuses. Mark, on the other hand, was making a LOT in his bonuses. He had recently bought diamond earrings for the girl he was dating.

Mark was the office jester – he was always laughing. Clients loved him. Perhaps to his detriment, however, he was known to flirt with the wives of the management people.

The cop …

Ben Walsh is the detective assigned to the crime: He is a new cop to the force, having hailed from California. He is a by-the-book kind of cop.

Hannah becomes intrigued by him: He smells of sandalwood. He has green eyes which fascinate Hannah. He also has a dimple she can’t seem to get past. He is the owner of a Maine Coon cat named Gus.

Plenty of suspects . . .

  • Gerald Harms: The Bank Manager
  • Rita Matthews: Bank teller
  • Georgia North: Bank lender
  • Wesley Laughlin: Bank Lender
  • Tim Waters: Long time friend and racket ball partner
  • Lanie Edwards: Former bank teller
  • Jordan Peters: Ex girlfriend and internet influencer

As I walked to the driver’s side of my Blazer, I felt something crunch beneath my feet. I peered through the dark, trying to see what I was walking on . . . the driver’s side window was broken. son of a biscuit!a note! . . . If you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave this story alone!”

Part of Hanna’s narration at the end of chapter 8

Things get a little more weird . . .

Hannah meets a few times with Detective Ben Walsh. And yeah, they start to share personal information and begin to date a little bit. Ben is a great cook. He invites Hannah to dinner at his house where she meets Ben’s Maine Coon, Gus. She discovers that she can understand Gus too! She realizes that she can understand all cats now!! Ben doesn’t know and a few awkward moments happen, especially after Gus asks Hannah to tell Ben that Gus hates the food Ben is feeding him.

A kidnapping happens …

Hannah is kidnapped. Razzy sees it happen and she manages to send Ben a text and get him to realize where Hannah is by tapping the “phone-find-me” app. Ben rescues Hannah.

The murderer is apprehended . . .

Not telling you who it is!!

Hannah tells Ben about her ability to understand cats . . .

Ben is freaked out by what Hannah reveals.

I’m sorry, Ben, I’m not trying to freak you out. But I needed to tell you the truth.

And this is the truth? I’m sorry, Hannah. I really like you, but I think you need help. This is insane.”

Conversation between Hannah & Ben just before Ben walks out the door. Chapter 17

Ben apologizes . . .

Hannah, … I wanted to apologize, … this isn’t the place to do it, though. Would you like to have dinner tonight? . . .

I don’t know. Not tonight, though. Maybe some other time. …

Think about it, that’s all I’m asking. …”

Part of the conversation between Hannah and Ben at the post-catching-the-murderer press conference Chapter 18

More to come . . .

Tom (remember he’s Hannah’s editor) is thrilled with her work and all her pieces she did regarding the murder and help solving the case.

Hannah goes back to visit Anastasia. Anastasia tells Hannah she is glad that Hannah was successful in her first mission. Anastasia also tells her that Hannah will have another task assigned to her. She gives her a beautiful fire opal pendant and tells her to research its properties/abilities.

. . . and that ends a cute story!

I did a quick inquiry on google about Celtics and talking to cats. I discovered where a couple of cat superstitions came from, but I didn’t find the things that Hannah did … again, it was a less-than-20-minute search.

I also didn’t know that a Ragdoll Cat was a real thing. It is. (I knew about Maine Coon cats.)

The characters were absolutely fun.

There are more stories in the Razzy Cat Mystery series. (I read them all so far! I couldn’t help myself, they were so cheap on Bookbub and as I was wrapped up to know what would happen (or not) with a number of the story lines, I just kept up the reading marathon. (I am like that with chocolate!)

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