Book Critique – Cat’s Lair (Leopard People # 7)
For review of all books in this series: Go here
Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: Shape-shifting Leopards, Mobsters and Love - A weird combination right? Well, it's worth reading on those lazy days or to bring you out of any kind of dull mood.
Cat’s Lair is the seventh installment in the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in May of 2015. The plot revolves around Catarina “Cat” Benoit - on the run and finding solace in this small town in Texas – and Ridley Cromer – new gym instructor at her gym where Cat goes for her self-defense training.
The entire Leopard People Series focuses on humans who have ability of shape-shifting to leopards. Each plot covers one couple that are destined to be mated in this lifetime just like so many lifetimes in the past. And surrounding this couple the plot expands on this species of leopard shape-shifters, their advantages as being so, their perils and how their lives move along in this 21st century. All of the plots are either set in Borneo Rain Forest - coast of South East Asia - and Louisiana and Texas in USA or eventually lead there. These leopards come from very hard and cruel lairs, but they come out on their own, find their mate, infiltrate the mobs and acquire the territories taking over them.
Catarina “Cat” Benoit is on the run from the one who was giving her terrible nightmares and wouldn’t stoop low enough if he ever caught her. She is trying to find solace in this small town in Texas far far away from her home in New Orleans. All she is trying to do is survive each day and find happiness. In comes the hot gym instructor Ridley Cromer who self-appoints himself as her personal guardian even though she didn’t want it . Her past holds her back to have anything present with Ridley. However Ridley pursues her. And to her astonishment something inside her also moves whenever she is around Ridley threatening to come out. How Cat fights whatever is moving underneath her? What is the past that is haunting her so much? Who is Ridley and why does he want to be close to her? Where does their journey lead the reader is what the rest of the plot is about.
This is the first story where we meet Eli Perez aka Ridley Cromer but there is clear hint that Drake and Eli have known each other in the past. Similar to how Drake had taught Jake the ways of leopard lives, so also he had taught Eli. And then there is more to that story. Not only the protagonists, but Christine also connects the antagonists and the lairs in Texas and Louisiana in this plot. This continuity that Christine keeps in the plots to tie them together is what makes these books excellent stand-alone reading too. One don’t have to read the series from the beginning to understand where it is going. However, one would want to read every book in the series as they evolve character-wise, plot-wise and also satisfy the curiosity of human mind.
Christine moves her plot back to Texas region where Jake Bannaconni has his lair. We saw his and Emma's story in Burning Wild (My review of the book here), the third book in the series. From Borneo Forests to Texas to Louisiana Bayous, Christine spins her erotic plots with ease. Now she is finally getting to the point where her two latest books take these leopard people - taking over the mobs.
Christine has certainly increased a notch higher with the eroticism and sexual attraction between Cat and Ridley. Just like leopards they go at each other at every turn of the page. And perhaps that is the crux of it - being leopard people the basic nature of leopards cannot be denied. Which actually makes sense considering the way Christine throws all kinds of erotic scenes at the reader. However, sometimes it does get a bit too much to read, making me wonder how one person can have so much capacity.
Christine makes the antagonist as equal with the protagonist in every way, and in some ways the protagonist is much similar to antagonist. Thus making the leading lady caught between the two powerful predators. Christine keeps bringing the good and bad of both the antagonist and protagonist in front of Cat, although she knows the antagonist was really bad, making her do her comparisons and draw her own conclusions. It’s not just outside beauty that should matter, but inner strength and goodness too - a message Christine sends time and again through her books.
Christine finally elaborates on how these leopard-shifters get from saving rain forests to taking over the mobs. As I said a brilliant plan if we can in fact do such a thing for real - with enough power, backup, money and above all morality, perhaps it is achievable when the right people are involved. I would love to see that happen in real.
One thing though that I never understood of American habits. I was raised in a culture where one finishes their morning ablutions like bathroom visits and brushing teeth before finishing off with showers. More than often I read or watch in movies where the characters complete their bathroom visits, shower and then brush their teeth right before they get dressed. Never understood why teeth at the end.
It is interesting that Catarina lives without a Car, a Cellphone or Credit Card - three of the four C's that seemed to be the need of this 21st century life (which my dad often teased us with, he would say 4C's though - Car, Cellphone, Credit Card and Computer). Her reasons may be different but I can envision at least being without cellphone as a much better way of living and seeing the world.
Joshua's character has been a steady presence from the beginning of the series and we get glimpses of him here and there making reader wonder if he could be, if not more, equal in power to Jake, Drake and Rio - all leaders of their own lairs in Texas, Louisiana and Borneo Rain Forests. Elijah's character has been a presence since his introduction in the second book Wild Rain, except for in Burning Wild - Jake's story. Just like Joshua Elijah also seems as powerful and equal in power to Jake, Drake and Rio. Can't wait to read his story soon.
Another intense plot revolving around the shape-shifters bringing out the best and worst of them at the same time giving something back to the community. A good read for anyone who likes a combination of shape shifters with love, romance, eroticism, paranormal and fighting for greater good.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. I finally got to read the plot where the crime lord Rafe Cordeau is introduced and destroyed.
b. The plot doesn’t reveal the true lineage into Cat's birth parents. I was hoping Christine could have made a closure there. Or is she waiting to use it in some other plot? I wonder.
c. However Christine did leave an opening for future plots - Rafe's partners who might be threat to Catarina eventually, and a very big segue to shift the leopards from saving rain forests to infiltrating the mobs.
d. Eli Perez is the one who donates for Drake's bone grafting when Drake had been injured seriously - we read that in two stories, Wild Rain and Burning Wild, where Drake gets injured saving others. The connection explains all about Eli and more.
2) Sub Plots:
a. One of Saria’s brothers, Mahieu, and Charisse Mercier – another female leopard – are dating per the plot in Savage Nature. Will Christine elaborate on this in one of her next books, will she have a main plot or sub-plot for Mahieu?
b. Emma, Jake Bannaconni's mate is pregnant and so is Saria, Drake's mate. And now Catarina also is pregnant in this plot.
c. Jerico Masters and Evan Mitchelson - security / ranch hands all rolled into one at Jake Bannaconni’s property - aren't shifters but are loyal to Jake. Perhaps we will get to see more of them in future.
3) Christine also introduces a few non-leopard people as the plots proceed, but a few stand-out making me wonder if she would make them shifters in future plots
a. Susan Hindman, Senator Hindman’s daughter, is introduced in Burning Wild plot. Christine made her character as brilliant, sharp and fast-learner at a very young age. Will Christine make her a shape-shifter in a future plot is something one has to wait and see but all signs point towards that for me.
4) Christine introduces us to her future heroes of this series who are yet to be mated as of this book:
a. Joshua Tregre – I have read his story in the 10th book Leopard’s Blood. My review of the book here.
b. Shilo – a female Leopard being protected by the leopard people in Borneo Forest.
c. Elijah Lospostos – Rachael’s brother whom we met in Wild Rain (My review of the book here)
d. Felipe and Leonardo Gomez Santos – brothers from Brazilian rain forests introduced in Wild Fire
e. Jeremiah Wheating – a cub shifter who accidentally joins this group in the Wild Fire plot. Will there be more to him in a future plot is something we have to wait and see from Christine.
f. Mateo – Connor’s young step-brother
g. Dr. Abel Winters and his wife Mary Winters; Dr. Liam Mulligan, Dr. Mason – Leopard Doctors who help the leopard shifters when in need.
h. Remaining Boudreaux brothers – Mahieu, Dash, Gage and Lojos
i. Evangeline Tregre – Joshua’s cousin from his father’s side. We read her story in the 9th book Leopard’s Fury (My review of the book here).
j. Trey Sinclair - works for Jake Bannaconni.
5) Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On pg. 78, third line from the bottom of the page, the cop's name is mentioned as "Tucker" when he was "Tuttle" in reality.
b. On Pg. 107, para 5, line 4, it should be "She pressed both wrists to her thighs, but she…". It is printed as "he".
6) As I read this Leopard People books and as I see more and more of the plots are getting closer to or around New Orleans Bayous, it reminded me of another of Christine Feehan's series that is set in New Orleans. One of the team from her Ghostwalker Series (My review of this series is here) - Elite Air Force Pararescue Team - are also set in New Orleans Bayous. Will Christine have a cross-over plot between both the series? I hope she does. Would be interesting to see how man-made super soldiers fair with the naturally born super humans. (Christine, are you reading this? :)