Escape Claws

Escape Claws

by Linda Reilly

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Selected as a Modern Cat Connie’s Book Club pick

Here, killer, killer, killer . . .

For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who’s having some difficulty looking after herself—and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran’s property, and is determined to make her an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.
Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran’s yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat’s clues in search of a killer. Is Blue’s ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?  
Praise for Linda Reilly’s Deep Fried Mysteries
“I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzler of a mystery. Reilly cooks up a perfect recipe of murder and mayhem in this charming cozy.” —Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Hat Shop Mysteries
“Smart, sassy, and a little bit scary. Everything a good cozy should be!” —Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries
“Everything I want in a cozy mystery: endearing characters, an enchanting setting, tantalizing food descriptions and a top-notch mystery plot!” —Susan Furlong, author of the Georgia Peach Mysteries

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516104161
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/26/2017
Series: A Cat Lady Mystery , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 9,252
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Raised in a sleepy town in the Berkshires, Linda Reilly has spent the bulk of her career in the field of real estate closings and title examination. It wasn’t until 1995 that her first short mystery, “Out of Luck,” was accepted for publication by Woman’s World Magazine. Since then she’s had more than forty short stories published, including a sprinkling of romances. She is also the author of Some Enchanted Murder, and the Deep Fried Mystery series, featuring fry cook Talia Marby. Linda lives in New Hampshire with her husband, who affectionately calls her “Nose‑in‑a‑book.” Visit her on the web at

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Escape Claws 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Can't wait for the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read. Good characters with good cat characters. Light reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Lara Caphart and her family moved from New Hampshire when she was young. Before that, she spent a lot of time at her Aunt Fran's. Family, College and trying to make ends meet consumed her life. After 16 years and a message from her childhood friend that her aunt needs her, Laura returns to Whisker Jog, NH. Her aunt is having major issues with deteriorating osteoarthritis, her cat smells like cat (she has 11 of them) and she is being bullied by a developer, Theo Barnes, who wants her land. Lara is not going to let her be threatened by anybody and offers to stick around and help her. Lara isn't in town long before she finds Theo Barnes' dead body. Suddenly both her and Aunt Fran are being questioned and fingerprinted by the police. The case heats up when another body is found. Is it a suicide? Or another murder? Escape Claws is the first book in the new Cat Lady Mysteries series, and it is a good one. The characters are realistic, and a bit suspicious of Lara's appearance in town. They are small town, with all the quirks that come with it. I liked the relationship between Lara and her Aunt. Once they get by the initial awkwardness, they seem to be just as close as ever, after all they are family. There is a little touch of supernatural to the story as well. It appears that Lara has a spirit cat, that she had even when she was a child. I loved that part of the story, as the cat comes around when needed and is able to drop clues to Lara. The mystery moved a bit slowly, but being a first in the series, we had to get to know the characters, background and setting as well. I will say, I was completely surprised by the big reveal. The character had been in the story, but was not on my radar at all. I am looking forward to the second in this series, and luckily for me, it was recently released. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, with animals and a tad of the paranormal, pick this one up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good character development and a fast paced story which keeps the reader engaged.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
I like cats or other animals in cozy mysteries as much as the next person, but I admit, I was a bit concerned when the cast of characters was, well, all cats! Turns out the inhabitants of Aunt Fran's home really do have some unique personalities, and it was a perfect addition to get ready to read the book. I felt like Lara's return to Whisker Jog was way overdue, but life is like that. Between work and some sort of family estrangement, it's been almost two decades since she has been there. Aunt Fran needs Lara, and it turns out, Lara needs her too. I really liked this well written mystery. When a local town businessman/bully is the one found bludgeoned by Fran's shed, Lara extends her trip to town. Many of the townspeople are quite the characters and I was very surprised at the revelation of the killer in the end. Blue, the Ragdoll cat, was a fun and quirky addition to the book too. I look forward to more in this series, this was a great start.
bookwomen37 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this first book in a new cozy series. Lara has returned to Whiskey Jog, NH to help out her elderly aunt and her cats. While visiting she finds the body of the town bully, Theo. Everyone in town had a problem with Theo including her Aunt. Lara starts asking questions in an effort to clear her Aunt and find the killer. I liked the small town setting and the characters. Aunt Fran is not a stereotypical cat lady. The mystery was good and there were plenty of suspects to make it interesting. I was surprised by the killer. Along with the humans there are also lots feline characters including Blue, Lara's spirit animal. The cats all have different personalities and the book was not a typical cat mystery. I am looking for word to reading more in this series. Enjoy
bwilhoite More than 1 year ago
This was a great start to a new series. It was unique and original. I loved Blue the mystery cat. Can't wait to read the second in the series.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
Linda Reilly is one of my very favorite authors. And her newest book, the first installment of her Cat Lady Mysteries, ESCAPE CLAWS, was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. On. My. Goodness. It completely lived up to my expectations! Purrfection! ESCAPE CLAWS opens with an introduction to the Cast of Feline Characters. With a dozen cats in the story, this list is a wonderful and welcomed addition to the book. And Kudos to author Reilly for managing to give each cat its own distinct personality. From page one, I knew this was a tale I wanted to read. Not just the mystery, but the story of protagonist, Lara Caphart, coming back to her hometown of Whisker Jog (love it) to help her Aunt Fran not only with her eleven cats, but with herself. With bad knees, Fran Clarkson is moving slow, and not able to do as much for herself and her kitty kids. There is tension at the very beginning when Lara doesn’t get greeted very fondly by her aunt. However, both characters grow immensely from the first page to the last, and I can’t wait to see them grow even more throughout the series. The murder mystery in ESCAPE CLAWS is expertly handled by the author. Ms. Reilly truly knows how to keep her readers on their paws. From the discovery of the body, to the surprising reveal, I didn’t come close to guessing the killer. There is also a second mystery mixed into the story. Between the two of them, I was so entranced, reading for a couple of hours turned into “I’m not getting out of this chair until I’m finished”. Starting a new series is both thrilling and exciting. You go into it with high hopes. Well, worry not with the Cat Lady Mysteries. Once you start reading ESCAPE CLAWS, you’ll know you’ve found a series you’ll want to follow for many years to come!
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Lara hasn’t been home in quite a while, but when one of her friends contacts her about her Aunt Fran and her house full of cats she knows she needs to head back and reconnect with her aunt. She finds her aunt does not only need help with her felines but she has some medical issues to attend to as well. Fran is also being harassed by one of her neighbors who is determined to have a portion of her land. It seems Lara has arrived just in time. Just in time to find the bully, Theo Barnes dead on her aunt’s property and it wasn’t a natural death. She and her aunt quickly become the prime suspects so Lara adds “find the real killer” to her already long to do list. She may have an unlikely partner helping her solve the crime that makes her pursuit very interesting. Aunt Fran, aka “the crazy cat lady” and Lara and all the feline companions have pawed their way right into my heart. Heck, if I had a place like Fran’s I would be a crazy cat lady too. Her genuine desire to care for these rescue kitties drew me into the story. Lara’s devotion to caring for her aunt and the cats was heartwarming. These are two formidable women and make a great team. I like the way the author took time to introduce us to the characters, including the kittens. The first page of the story introduces the “Cast of Feline Characters” including Blue, a very important feline in this story. They are all unique with different personalities, just like real cats. We also meet several other residents of Whisker Jog, friends and suspects. The victim was not well liked so many people should have been on the list of suspects but Police Chief Jerry Whitley set his sights on Fran and Lara immediately. I am a big fan of Linda Reilly, all of her Deep Fried Mysteries were Perfect Escapes for me. I love the way she tells a story and sets the scenes. She has a very descriptive style that makes you feel you are right there with the characters. Again in Escape Claws, the mystery unfolds at a very comfortable pace. It was not an easy mystery to solve and it is offset by the inner turmoil Lara is facing. Her aunt needs her but she has to go back to her job. The storylines are woven together very skillfully. You don’t need to love or even like cats to enjoy this story, but if you do you will absolutely love this book. This series is off to a fabulous start! I cant’ wait to return to Whisker Jog!
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
I love it!! Escape Claws is the first in Linda Reilly's new Cat Lady Mysteries series, and I can't wait for the next one to come out! This mystery pulled me in from the very beginning and kept my attention throughout. It was definitely hard to put down, and equally hard to have a favorite feline. After receiving a call from her best friend, Sherri, that Aunt Fran was having trouble with a town bully and also was caring for too many cats, Lara took a few days off from her part time job in Boston, along with her artistic paintings, and headed for Whisker Jog, NH. It will be her first visit there in 16 years, since her parents moved from there to Sudbury, Massachusetts. Lara didn't hear anything from Fran after writing to her several times, and while she didn't forget her beloved aunt, her life finally took different directions. Lara's heart aches when she sees the state of disrepair of Aunt Fran's home and how much older than her 50+ years Fran looks. Hesitant to listen to Lara, Fran does let he into her home. One of the first tasks she takes on for Fran is cleaning the dozen litter boxes for the eleven cats she cares for, strays or abandoned and left on her doorstep. She learns that Fran has a rapidly-degenerative arthritis, for which her doctor recommends knee replacements. She simply can't see her way to have surgery and find someone to care for her cats while she has the replacements. And the cats are her closest family members now. A local businessman, Theo, is trying to bully Fran into selling a strip of land she owns so he can add it to one he already owns, build, and sell condos. She doesn't want to sell, but he is not leaving her many options, and on what she collects on disability barely covers her needs. The sale would certainly help her financially. Lara wants to help, provide all the solutions, and get back to Boston as her funds are very limited. The following morning, Lara is outdoors and sees what looks like the cat she loved as a child, a Ragdoll cat named Blue. Deciding it could be a descendent of Blue, she follows it - and finds the body of Theo, murdered during the night hours - possibly when Lara heard raised voices during the night? Fran is a person of interest in the murder, especially with the history she had with the bully. Lara and Fran, Sherri and Daisy, and children that Fran looks after are such wonderful, caring characters! Lara's best friend Sherri owned a cafe near Fran's, and Daisy, her mother, helps her with anything needed in the cafe. They are all very well defined, especially as Lara begins to learn a secret or two about Fran. These are the characters who really make the novel work beautifully! Well, them and the cats... There is a rich assortment of folks in Whisker Jog, and Lara begins to feel her attachment to the town grow again. She decides that she is staying as long as the killer is on the loose, but the murder doesn't seem to be solving itself. Figuring out who the bad guy/ gal might be seemed easy, at first, as most of the folks in town are simply good people. I had one who I thought was the killer, but I was so wrong. The real murderer was a complete surprise to me, one that I had never considered! The novel ends with great satisfaction, and I hope the next one is out soon! I highly recommend Escape Claws to every cat lady and cozy mystery lover who enjoys well-executed stories full of strong, friendly people and adorable cats - even the one named Blue that Aunt Fran says she never had.
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
What a fabulous start to a new series, if you love cats and cozies this is a book for you!!! The characters were well developed and fun to become acquainted with, not to mention the small town feel the book gives you. The death and mystery unfolded seamlessly and makes it easy for you to devour the book. Lara was a great main character and I appreciated how she changed as a person throughout the read, you get to see her make true realizations about herself and I loved that. The cats were a terrific fit, each with their own personality and I look forward to what the future holds for them. I can't wait for the next book, and you won't want to either!!!
bluegreen91 More than 1 year ago
This first-in-series starts out a bit somber, with Lara visiting her Aunt Fran for the first time in 16 years. With her aunt's bad knees and clowder of cats, Lara is concerned for Aunt Fran's well-being, both physically and emotionally. When someone who shares a history with Aunt Fran is killed, Lara feels compelled to stay with her aunt until the murderer is caught. By the end of the book, the general mood has been lifted, and I'm eager for a second book about Lara and Aunt Fran. There are some great supporting characters, too: Sherry, Lara's childhood friend; Daisy, Sherry's mother; Dora, former actress and Fran's friend; Jerry Whitley, police chief; and Gideon, lawyer and childhood friend of Lara. I had a hard time putting this book down, with the whodunit, the cats, and Lara & Aunt Fran's reconnection. I didn't guess the culprit until he/she was revealed, but the reveal was easy to understand and made sense. I'm so glad I got an ARC of this book, and am happy to give my honest review. Can't wait for the second book in the series!
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
Escape Claws by Linda Reilly is the first in a new cozy mystery series and I'm already anticipating the next one in this series. Lara returns home to Whisker Jog, New Hampshire after having been gone for sixteen years to visit her Aunt Fran who needs help. Although she hasn't kept in touch with Aunt Fran, Lara has kept in touch with a friend who alerted her to the fact that Aunt Fran needs. Lara started to slowly fall in love again with Whisker Jog as she tries to reconnect with her Aunt and make amends for not keeping in touch with her over the years. I really liked Lara and felt that she was sincere in her feelings for her aunt. I also liked that she is an artist which is quite different from many of the other cozy mysteries out currently. I was on pins and needles to see what decision Lara would make about staying or leaving Whisker Jog again. Ms. Reilly's descriptive writing made me feel very comfortable in Whisker Jog and the many characters that were introduced were extremely likable. The plot moved swiftly and there were plenty of suspects after the town bully, Theo Barnes, was murdered. The twists kept me guessing along with the clues provided by Blue, the rag doll cat/ghost. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.