cries And whiskers
When an animal rights activist is killed by a hit-and-run driver on an icy Cambridge street, music critic Theda Krakow can’t get too upset. The victim cared more for wild animals than for people, and had no use at all for domesticated pets, such as the black-and-white cat Musetta that Theda adores. Besides, Theda is caught up in investigating the rise of a dangerous new designer drug that threatens the musicians and fans who make up the club scene she considers her second home. But when the feline-friendly writer learns that the accident victim was defying her own radical group to rescue feral cats on the eve of a ferocious winter storm, she puts her own prejudices aside to help out. As Theda and her buddy, the punk-rock shelter owner Violet, race to save these half-wild felines from the freezing New England winter, they uncover simmering tensions that make the activist’s death seem more than an accident. Could a friend have been the fatal driver? Is Violet more involved with the extremist group than she’s let on? Even while kittens are at risk and the new drug hits close to home, Theda tries to hang onto her journalistic objectivity. But when the threats become more personal and Musetta goes missing, Theda risks her reputation, her career, and possibly her life as the word “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning.
Read A Review:

Theda Krakow is a freelance journalist who covers the music scene in the Cambridge-Boston area. A new designer drug has become popular and is endangering both musicians and patrons. While Theda is making inquiries about the drug, a local animal-rights activist is killed in a hit and run. The cops believe it wasn't an accident. The autopsy reveals dangerous toxic levels of strychnine in her blood.

Theda's friend, who is pregnant, appears to have been drugged at the club they frequent. Bill, Theda's boyfriend and a homicide detective, is recuperating from a broken leg. Musetta, Theda's cat, starts showing signs of resenting the time Theda is spending with Bill.

Theda helps her friend Violet investigate when they discover that the animal rights activist was rescuing feral cats during a winter storm.

As Theda gets more involved, she finds out there is a lot of tension within the animal-rights group. Plus she is learning more about where the dangerous drug is from. She may have the biggest story of her career. But can she get that story without it being her last?

Theda is such a great character. I really enjoy the music scene she is involved in as well as the fact that she is such a cat lover. It goes well together. Bill is great as well. He tries to keep Theda from getting herself in trouble, but that doesn't always work.

I have read the whole series and have enjoyed each and every book. I highly recommend this book and that you read the complete series. Can't wait for the next one.

Dawn Dowdle

Freelance music critic and cat lover Theda Krakow explores unethical developers, rising drug use, and murder in her third mystery.

Zealous animal rights activist Gail Womynfriend is run over during a feral cat rescue at a proposed development site in a Boston suburb, a series of abandoned warehouse buildings on the waterfront. When her death becomes a murder investigation, Theda begins to piece together a series of seemingly unrelated bits of information surrounding rising experimental drug use in the music scene, developers and a strange new musical group who skirt regulations, and a friend who can’t explain her own car accident. Theda’s boyfriend, Bill the homicide detective, is laid up after an accident, but that doesn’t stop her from asking him to dig out information about Gail’s accident, as well as the drug scene, through his connections at the police department.

Simon’s quirky cast of characters include Theda, dedicated to her special cat Musetta, Theda’s lesbian friends Violet and Caro who run a funky animal shelter and race around saving endangered creatures of any kind, and a Wiccan, Bunny, a contact at the newspaper where Theda used to copy edit. They work together through threats and danger to solve the mystery surrounding Gail’s death.

Simon has a breezy style of writing. Her ability to make people and animals and the music scene come alive outside of paper make the complicated plot of Cries and Whiskers an intriguing read.

Lisa Lickel

Freelance journalist Theda Krakow is back with a cat story that is anything but cozy. When an animal-rights activist who cared more about wild creatures than people is killed by a hit-and-run driver, Theda is not particularly upset. She is busy covering the Cambridge, Massachusetts, club scene and investigating a new designer drug that is endangering both musicians and patrons. Her boyfriend, Bill, a homicide detective, is recuperating from a broken leg, and her cat, Musetta, resents the time that she spends with him. When Theda learns that the accident victim was rescuing feral cats during a winter storm, she decides to help her friend Violet, a punk rocker who owns an animal shelter, investigate. As she learns more about the tensions within the animal-rights group and the origins of the dangerous drug, Theda finds that she may have the biggest story of her career. It may also be her last. Simon has written a fast-moving story full of lively characters, both two- and four-legged. This series is highly recommended for mystery fans who love cats but who prefer to leave the crime-solving to humans.

Barbara Bibel, Booklist (10/1/07)

In Simon's energetic third Theda Krakow mystery (after 2006's Cattery Row), freelance music journalist Theda delves into the seamy underside of the club scene and the radical side of animal rights. When Animals Now activist Gail Womynfriend is killed in a hit-and-run, Theda and her pet-sheltering punk rocker friend, Violet, take over Gail's efforts to save feral cats from the brutal Boston winter. The more they investigate the accident, the more they learn about tensions among Animals Now's members, and Theda becomes uncomfortably suspicious of a friend. She's also hunting a dangerous new designer drug making the rounds of music venues and wondering about its connection to an elusive group of musicians who want Theda's attention, but only on their own terms. When her beloved cat, Musetta, goes missing, Theda risks everything to get her back and solve all these mysteries once and for all. Readers will thrill to Theda's engaging adventures in amateur sleuthing. (Dec.)

Publisher's Weekly (10/07)