Review: ‘Claws for Alarm’ by T. C. LoTempio

Claws for Alarm Book Cover Claws for Alarm
A Nick and Nora Mystery
T. C. LoTempio
Cozy Mystery
304

Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade. 
 
Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacey from a perfectly executed framing.

Claws for Alarm by T. C. LoTempio is the latest book in the Nick and Nora cozy mystery series, where tuxedo cat Nick uses his feline detective wiles to lead human guardian Nora in the direction of the truth, using scrabble tiles and general Houdini-like behaviour. I read the first book in the series, Meow If It’s Murder, about a year ago – I enjoyed it, and was happy to see what happened next.

I did like Claws for Alarm, but it wasn’t as engaging as Meow If It’s Murder. Nora rushes to the rescue of her sister, Lacey, who has been accused of murder. The pair don’t get on (for reasons that aren’t very clear), but blood is thicker than past grievances and Nora sets about proving her sister’s innocence. Head detective on the case – and past boyfriend/one-night-stand – replaces the cute FBI guy from book one; though LoTempio is clearly setting up for FBI guy and Homicide guy to fight over fiery red-head Nora in the next book… Nora promptly ignores requests to leave the sleuthing to the police, and nearly gets herself killed several times.

I found the mystery in this story intriguing. Twists and misdirects abounded, and I didn’t know who all of the baddies were and why they were bad until near the end. There were some good red herring characters! However, I’ve got to say I wasn’t 100% invested. Sure, I wanted Lacey to be cleared and the bad guys to be caught. But there wasn’t a great deal of character development, and Nora seemed dead set on working against the Police at every turn, despite assurances that they also didn’t think Lacey was the true killer. I wouldn’t say it went as far as being frustrating, but the book definitely lacked some of the brightness of the first book in the series. I’m looking forward to the next book, and am hoping it will regain a little of the pizazz of book one!

Amazon

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Claws for Alarm by T. C. LoTempio in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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