Edith Penn once solved their problems as the local witch, but now the town of New Birmingham has a lot more to deal with when her body’s discovered and her thirteen cats are unleashed to wreck havoc. The dying starts, families at risk when they open their doors to the stray felines that walk the streets.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Sean McDonough for giving me the opportunity.
The Thirteen Black Cats of Edith Penn concluded my reading of 2021 with a gloriously gruesome bang. Two paramedics discover the corpse of Edith Penn in her home, where her body has been consumed by her cats – yeah, what a way to start off, right? It’s the kind of shocking event that would immediately hook me, yet my level of interest only increased tenfold as McDonough presented the compelling mystery of Edith, drip feeding information that I readily gobbled up. While it followed the fate of the cats after the flesh-eating incident and the other strange goings on of the town, it also hopped back in time to where young Edith made some startling discoveries about herself. It was all witchcraft and forces better left alone, involving everything from occult practices, to outright bloody mayhem where nobody was safe.
I’m never shy about voicing my dislikes, but I have nothing negative to say about this one. I always found myself thinking about it, even when it wasn’t possible to sit down and read it, and that’s rare. McDonough’s writing excelled in everything it set out to do, making me laugh one minute and uncomfortable the next. There were multiple characters to keep up with, their lives full of emotion and often highlighting the terrible things people are capable of. The supernatural elements also ticked the right boxes, and I especially appreciated the consequences of magic, as well as how it was depicted as such an unpredictable force.
In conclusion: The Thirteen Black Cats of Edith Penn had humour, murder, and fluffy kitties. With a host of characters, it had those to feel for, and those to wish horrible things upon. I loved everything to do with Edith herself, and the mystery surrounding her death. There’s no question that this book impressed the hell out of me, and I’m surprised there’s not more eyes on it right now. Being my first experience of McDonough’s work, I won’t pass up checking out his other books.
The silence was too full for an empty apartment. A dead body had a way of announcing itself. Eventually, you learned to hear it.
© Red Lace 2021