Tag Archives: Clea Simon

A day in the life of Tara Winton by Clea Simon

More coffee. That would be a start. Maybe I should just mainline it. Tara laughs at herself, at the truth of it. If I can just get through this one page…

She closes her eyes for a moment, just to give them a rest, and she’s back once more at the club. No, she shouldn’t have gone out last night. She’s not a kid any longer, and her job – manager of corporate communications for Zeron – requires regular, wide-awake hours. But, oh, the band sounded good last night! Phil, the singer, still had it – that rock-star presence – that drew every eye as he grabbed the mike. As he lifted the stand up and wailed. And Joey, the drummer, kept them all moving. Got them all up on what passed as a dance floor in that rundown pub, shaking it as if it had been twenty years before.

“If we had world enough, world enough and time. . .” She’s humming, but at least it keeps her from dozing off. Mornings like this one, she regrets taking this gig. If she were still writing about music, she’d be raring to go. Struggling with how to capture the energy of the night, how to describe the thrust and pull of the music. Failing, most likely, but having fun doing it. What was the old saw? Writing about music is like bicycling about architecture. And what is she doing now? She stares at the computer screen, at the page before her. Priority One: Client conference update. . . Yawn.

She sighs, and makes herself sit up. She’s got to read this report. Coffee. That’s her drug these days, and she’s probably an addict. Well, at least it’s a harmless drug – and legal. Not like all the other stuff that was going through the clubs, back in the day. She didn’t partake of that – nothing harder than the occasional line – back when she was a rock critic, writing about something that really mattered. Seeing the old crowd last night, she couldn’t help but remember. Was it really twenty years? And now Frank was gone. Clean and sober, but just as dead as that singer, the one from that band – the Aught Nines? – who should have been a star, all those years before. . .


You can read more about Tara in World Enough, a Boston-based noir mystery.

This intriguing, hardhitting, intricately-plotted mystery set in Boston’s clubland marks an exciting new departure for cozy author Clea Simon.

The Boston club scene may be home to a cast of outsiders and misfits, but it’s where Tara Winton belongs; the world she’s been part of for the past twenty years. Now, one of the old gang is dead, having fallen down the basement stairs at his home.

With her journalist’s instincts, Tara senses there’s something not quite right about Frank’s supposedly accidental death. When she asks questions, she begins to uncover some disturbing truths about the club scene in its heyday. Beneath the heady, sexually charged atmosphere lurked something darker. Twenty years ago, there was another death. Could there be a connection? Is there a killer still at large . . . and could Tara herself be at risk?

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a World Enough/Aught Nines t-shirt (the band in the book). U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 4, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
After three nonfiction books and 22 cozy/amateur sleuth mysteries, Clea Simon returns to her rock & roll past this fall with World Enough (Severn House), an edgy urban noir. She is also the author of four mystery series with cats in them, the most recent being the black cat-narrated As Dark As My Fur (Severn House) and the “pet noir,” When Bunnies Go Bad (Poisoned Pen Press). A recovering journalist, Clea lives in Massachusetts. She can be reached at cleasimon.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ As Dark as My Fur by Clea Simon

As Dark as My Fur by Clea Simon is the second book in the “Blackie and Care Cat” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, April 1, 2017

A seemingly routine case becomes something far darker and deeper for novice private investigator, Care, and her feline companion, Blackie.

Blackie does not trust Care s new client, factory owner Mr Gravitz, who has hired the young PI to shadow one of his workers, a man he suspects is stealing from him. With his feline sixth sense, Blackie knows the client is not telling the truth but how can he protect and warn his companion, Care, when he is only a cat?

Combining elements of feline fantasy and traditional whodunit, As Dark As My Fur continues the adventures of this original and unusual detective duo: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives and for the memories of those they love.”

This is another intriguing book featuring Blackie whose past reincarnation as a PI shines a light on his ability to help Care. The way the mystery was staged, it kept my interest as each action caused a reaction and helped move the story along. There were a few scenes where I was on pins and needles hoping for the best outcome. I like the development of the two main characters and their relationship which is so believable, especially if you are a pet owner. It’s a good mystery one that is deeper and darker but pulled me in and I had to see how it would all end.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Musing ~ The Ninth Life by Clea Simon

The Ninth Life by Clea Simon is the first book in the NEW “Blackie and Care Cat” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, March 2016

The Ninth LifeIntroducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.”

Three figures, shadowy against the light. That s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city and I am a cat.

The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.

This was interesting drama told from a different perspective, that of a cat and unlike those that I normally read. This is not a cozy so I was somewhat prepared for what was between the pages and I must say the author had a compelling way of telling a story that draws you in and maintains that level of intrigue that kept me pushing forward as I had to know how this was going to end. Blackie and Care are an unlikely duo and I liked how all the pieces, one by one, fell into places, of course with some misdirection that deepened the overall mission of this narrative.

A Day in the Life with Blackie the Cat by Clea Simon

The Ninth LifeDo not let my appearance deceive you. I am not like other cats.

Yes, I am a feline, with coal black fur and cool green eyes that belie my intense, some would say passionate, nature. And, yes, I am a creature of the streets, as the scars in my hide and my one ragged ear attest. But I am more than your typical feral, part predator, part scavenger, scratching out some kind of survival here in the city. And a good part of the reason for this is the girl, Care.

I owe my life to this girl, a stray in her own right, living on the street. I do not yet know her entire history, although I am sure that the gang that currently shelters her does not provide the healthiest environment for a young woman – even one as tough as she is, or one with such a ridiculous shock of pink hair. If she were not living here, in an abandoned building near the harbor, we may never have met. And then she would not have been there to save my life, pulling me from that storm drain where I was drowning, going under for the third and final time.

That she was out in that storm looking for solitude, seeking a quiet place to cry and to mourn her mentor, is clear to me. The old man was teaching her. Training her how to observe and how to think. How to assemble the evidence into a reasonable theory of past happenings. He made a living by doing this, by finding the lost and solving the mysteries of this rough city and its less privileged denizens, and she was his apprentice before he was so brutally killed. She would like to avenge him, if she can. Beyond that, I know, she still hopes to make such detecting her trade, and I, with my superior senses – with my intellect not muddled by emotion or family tie – will do my best to aid her.

I do so not simply because it is in her best interest. Life on the street is hard for a young woman, and her options are not good. Nor do I act simply out of gratitude. If I had been swept down that drain and out to the harbor, I would not have been missed. No, I feel a connection to this young woman, this Care, despite her unsavory acquaintances and that ridiculous hair. It is a bond I do not fully understand, although hints have come to me in dreams. For now, it is enough that the tie exists. I am a cat, and she is my girl. Together, we will find a way.


The Ninth Life is the first book in the NEW Blackie and Care mystery series, published by Severn House, March 2016.

Introducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.

Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.

The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.

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About the author
Clea Simon is the Boston Globe-bestselling author of 19 traditional/cozy mysteries in the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series, most recently Code Grey (Severn House) and When Bunnies Go Bad (Poisoned Pen). This March, her 20th mystery, The Ninth Life, (Severn House) launches the new, dystopian Blackie and Care series. A former journalist, Clea lives in Massachusetts, and although her books are getting darker, they still always include a cat. She’s not sure why. Visit Clea at www.CleaSimon.com

All comments are welcomed.

Another Day in the Life with Dulcie Schwartz by Clea Simon

Code GreyI’m not homeless, it just feels that way. Ever since I was kicked out of the library, I’ve been at loose ends. After all, I stayed here on campus over spring break specifically because Widener Library was going to be open, and I could get some real work done, finally, without any silly interruptions.

I don’t mean people are silly. After all, I love my boyfriend Chris and my friends Trista and Jerry, and Nancy, the departmental secretary without whom the department would simply fail to function. And there is a difference between people and books – I get that, no matter what anyone else might say about e! But the idea of being able to linger in the stacks until closing, here in the middle of everything I need … well, the appeal is obvious, isn’t it? Sure, it’s a tad lonely when I surface to eat, and I can’t forget to spend some time with Esmé. She’s not a cat who will stand being ignored, as you can see from the state of my scarf.

But here I am, out on the cold, wet Cambridge street, when I was hoping to be down at my carrel, two levels below the nastiness that is New England in March. Instead of dealing with all this slush, I was really looking forward to spending time in The Ravages of Umbria. Maybe finally figure out what is threatening Hermetria, the heroine of this great Gothic novel, and whether that mysterious stranger who joins her in the coach is a fiend or a friend …. Or perhaps related to my own, personal spectral visitor, the ghost of my late, great cat, Mr. Grey?

Only then the breach happened. First, the plumbing – aggravated by the horrible snow of this winter and all the repair work going on. And then, the break-ins. With all the students gone – well, almost all – I guess the university was easy pickings and the library itself was a target. So now the library is closed, and I’m out in the cold. Almost like poor old Jeremy. He was a grad student here too, once. Sometimes I worry that I’ll end up like him. Rambling, alone, lost in his books. Homeless, the police say. Which is why they think he’s behind the robberies. Well, that and the fact that they found that rare volume inside his coat, when they picked him up, unconscious in the hole from the plumbing excavation.

Only he couldn’t be homeless. Could he? Because if he were, then how would he have kept that one volume in such good shape? It’s been missing from the library for nearly thirty years. Besides, Jeremy loves books. He wouldn’t have stolen one, not from a library! And even if he’d borrowed it – borrowed and forgot to return it for a few decades – where could he have been hiding it for all these years? Keeping it so safe and dry that even that mysterious printer’s mark hasn’t been damaged at all? If only he’d wake up, maybe we could ask him. That accident couldn’t have been worse timed. At least he’s being taken care of now, and the book … well, that one volume is safe, anyway. And if I can’t get back into the stacks, I might as well see if there are others out there, so poor scholars like me and Jeremy will have a world to go back to. A library we can call home.


Dulcie Schwartz is the heroine of Code Grey, the latest feline-filled academic mystery series that bears her name, from Severn House. Booklist, the review publication of the American Library Association, said of Code Grey, “This unusual and intelligent series continues to surprise, with additional backstory on some of the characters adding layers of interest. Readers will not want Dulcie to finish her dissertation anytime soon.”

About the author
Clea Simon is the author of 19 mysteries in the Theda Krakow, Pru Marlowe pet noir, and Dulcie Schwartz series. A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and cat. She can be reached at www.cleasimon.com or on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @Clea_Simon.

My Musing ~ Code Grey by Clea Simon

Code GreyCode Grey by Clea Simon is the 9th book in the “Dulcie Schwartz” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House, August 2015

Did a down on his luck former student steal a priceless book? Grad student and cat lover Dulcie Schwartz thinks not and she sets out to prove it”

It’s spring break, and Dulcie Schwartz has stayed behind in almost-deserted Cambridge, Massachusetts to concentrate on her thesis. But when a former student turned vagrant, Jeremy Mumbles, is found injured, with a valuable missing book clutched in his arms, Dulcie can’t seem to let it go. What was he doing with the book? And why has it turned up after all these years?

With Jeremy now the prime suspect for a series of break-ins in the area, Dulcie is determined to clear the unfortunate former scholar s name. But when she finds a connection between the book he was carrying and her own research into an anonymous Gothic author, the search for clues takes on a new intensity and a new menace.

I found this book to be very engaging as the mystery taunted me with clues that were presented in a manner that grabbed my attention and kept hold of it until the last page was turned. The author did a wonderful job in creating a drama that intensified as the story played out with some clever plot twists that had me asking more questions and delving into the pages as I had to know how it was all going to turn out. A good mystery with paranormal elements, good dialogue and non-stop action made this an enjoyable reading pleasure.

A Day in the Life with Ernesto by Clea Simon

Kittens Can KillThere it is! Would you mind? Just kick it over here – yes, thank you!

I know it’s simply a button, one of those round-topped ones with a big, braided dome. But that’s what makes it special. That’s what makes it roll in such an intriguing semi-circle, as if it were trying to sneak up on me, the great hunter. For I am, you know. They may call me a kitten, but I am more than that. I am Ernesto the Fierce. There! Got it! Look at it go!

What? Why am I playing with a button? Knocking it back and forth on the floor here in my new house? Well, kick it back to me, one more time, and I’ll try to explain.

Oh! Watch it! If it goes under the sofa, I won’t be able to . . . wait, what’s that? Is that a drop of blood? A spot someone missed on the floor? Why, yes, my new person – the lawyer who lives here – did hit his head when he fell. But they took him away hours ago. He was very still.

That lady Pru has come back to visit me since then. She seems to hear what I am thinking, which is more than I could say for that old lawyer, although he did give me that button, tearing it off as he fell. More than I can say for the various people who came to see him earlier today, too. I know at least one of them visited before he started coughing. Before he grabbed at his chest and fell. Before he was still. Since then, things have gotten weird. I can tell from the way they talk that they think I had something to do with what happened. That I made the old guy cough and choke, made him fall down.

Pru looks at them funny when they say that. I don’t think she believes that I made him fall, that I made him lie so still. She wants to know what happened, during those hours when he and I were alone. I’m not sure what to tell her. After all, I may be Ernesto the Fierce, but I’m also just a kitten. And I have a button to hunt. If you’ll just pass it back to me one more time . . . there!


Ernesto is the title feline of Clea Simon’s Kittens Can Kill, the fifth book in the Pru Marlowe pet noir, out this month from Poisoned Pen Press. The other books in the series are Dogs Don’t Lie, Cats Can’t Shoot, Parrots Prove Deadly and Panthers Play for Keeps.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 9 for the chance to win a signed copy of Kittens Can Kill. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Clea Simon is the author of 17 mysteries in the Theda Krakow(4), Dulcie Schwartz (8), and Pru Marlowe pet noir (5) series, as well as three nonfiction books. A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta. You can read more about Kittens Can Kill and Simon’s other work at www.cleasimon.com and is on Twitter.

My Musing ~ Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon

Kittens Can KillKittens Can Kill by Clea Simon is the 5th book in the “Pru Marlowe Pet Noir” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2015

The dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will. Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital’s money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl” animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?

This mystery had lots of twists and turns to keep me entertained from beginning to end. Pru uses her secret talent with great aplomb that helps in solving the pieces of the puzzle, which is murder. A good read, a great cast of characters and a wicked whodunit brings it all together in this pleasantly appealing series.

A Day in the Life of Dulcie Schwartz by Clea Simon

Grey HowlTalk about herding cats! I never thought a three-day conference could be quite so crazed. But the guests are just arriving and already everything is going wrong. I may be book smart, but suddenly, I’m in over my head: What’s with the sound system in Hall A? Why is the acting director being such a space case? And I know Stella Barnes is a rising star – but must she be such a diva? All my friends are telling me about her fling with Marco Tesla but is the hunky Professor Barnes under her spell as well? And is that the only reason all these academics come to these conferences? Mr Grey, I’m going to need all the help your feline spirit can send my way if I’m to get through this one alive.

If I can only keep everything under control, this could be my big break. Even though I’m only a grad student (fifth year), I’ve been named the department’s liaison to the conference – which means that I’ll get serious face time with all these stars, scholars from all around the world. When I finish my dissertation – I’ve got to stop saying “if” – these contacts will be invaluable. Surely, someone will want another newly minted PhD with an expertise in Gothic novels. At least, if I can keep everyone on track and at the right venue.

That’s worth my time, surely. Even if I’d much rather be working on my own thesis or, even better, at home with Esmé the cat. She’s not a kitten anymore, but she still deserves some play time, and really, I can concentrate better when I’ve got a purring kitty by my side. Maybe tonight, after the Moonlight Party, I’ll be able to do some work. Maybe Chris, my boyfriend, will be home – those strange disappearances of his are beginning to worry me. This should be easy, right? A cocktail party in one of the university’s most beautiful courtyards. It’s not like somebody could die there… could it?


You can read more about Dulcie’s adventures in Grey Howl, the seventh Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery from Severn House. The first in the series is Shades of Grey, and the books (all of which feature the feline spirit, Mr Grey) are available at bookstores and online outlets.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on April 24 and you will be entered to win a copy of one of the earlier books in the Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery series (Shades of Grey, Grey Matters, Grey Zone, Grey Expectations, True Grey, Grey Dawn). Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random. U.S. residents only please.

Meet the author
Clea Simon is the author of 15 mysteries in the Theda Krakow(4), Dulcie Schwartz (7), and Pru Marlowe pet noir (4) series, as well as three nonfiction books. The latter two mystery series are ongoing and include her most recent books, Grey Howl (Severn House) and Panthers Play for Keeps (Poisoned Pen Press). A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Somerville, Mass., with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta. She can be reached at www.cleasimon.com and is on Twitter.


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