Today, it’s my great pleasure to welcome Alison O’Leary to my Thursday Themes blog. Alison’s debut novel, Street Cat Blues, has just been released for publication by Crooked Cat Books (very appropriately!).
I’ve just started reading Street Cat Blues, and it’s drawn me in straight away. Over to Alison to tell you about this brilliant read…
Street Cat Blues is a crime novel with a slightly different take. It deals with a number of issues, including murder, racism, blackmail, illegal immigrants and bullying. It also explores the redemptive power of love and loyalty.
It is set in suburbia and I think that I would best describe it as cosy crime but with a noir bite.
The main protagonists are a big tabby rescue cat called Aubrey and Carlos, a mixed-race teenage boy. Both are outsiders and both are desperate to fit in, sometimes with far-reaching consequences. However, this isn’t some cutesy cat book. It is set very much in the human world and as well as Aubrey and his mates the streetwise Vincent and the dim but lovable Moses, it has a full cast of human characters including the kindly Molly and Jeremy Goodman who take him home from the rescue centre, Rachel and Clive whom Jeremy describes as a pair of sanctimonious God-bothering twerps, and the monstrous yet pathetic Maria who is fighting for the future of herself and her son Carlos in an unsympathetic world.
The story unfolds as a serial killer appears in the neighbourhood and appears to be targeting the elderly. Initially Aubrey wasn’t that bothered, particularly when one of the victims is Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalled as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats. However, when Mr Telling gets murdered that’s a very different matter. Mr Telling was a mate who often gave the local cats a little something when they dropped by and in fact Aubrey had him down on his stand-by list in case things didn’t work out with the Goodmans. After all, as he is only too aware, any pyscho can turn up at a rescue centre and pretend to be a cat lover.
Just as there is unrest in the human world with the neighbourhood being on high alert because of the murders, this is reflected in the feline underworld engaging in turf wars and struggles for hierarchy.
There was in fact a real Aubrey. He was given his name by my husband John who was reading John Aubrey’s Brief Lives at the time. Aubrey always said that he was grateful not to have been called Brief. Like his namesake in the book, the real Aubrey was banged up in the rescue centre for longer than any other cat. He was a big male and he just couldn’t compete with all the kittens. But we took to him straight away and he was never less than loving and affectionate although it would be true to say that he never missed a food opportunity. The idea for the book came from John really who, on observing Aubrey strolling about the garden in that purposeful way that cats often have, turned to me and said, ‘you know, that cat always looks as though he’s got a bit of admin to catch up on’. Or, possibly, a crime to solve.
Street Cat Blues is available from Amazon via this link
About the Author:
Alison was born in London and spent her teenage years in Hertfordshire. She has also lived in Somerset and Gloucestershire. After studying Law she decided to teach rather than go into practice and for many years taught Criminal Law to adults and young people. Since moving to the south coast, Alison has been involved in qualification and assessment development for major awarding bodies. When not writing, she enjoys crosswords, walking by the sea and playing Scrabble on her ipad – which she always set to beginner level because, hey, why take chances? Alison lives with her husband John and cat Archie.
Alison can be contacted on social media as in the pic below: