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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Nine Lives of Bianca Moon by Delas Heras is set in an anthropomorphic 1950s universe where journalist Flint Lockford, an Irish wolfhound, is killed in a suspicious piano accident just before he could propose to his girlfriend, Bianca Moon, a spirited Angora cat. As a ghost, he joins an ensemble of spectral beings at an abandoned courthouse, attempting to unravel the mystery of his demise. Meanwhile, newly partnered detectives, the collie mix Morton Digby and Scottish terrier J.B. Puddleworth, struggle to gain respect at their precinct while exploring Flint's murder. As they encounter various figures with possible grudges against Flint, Bianca, driven by anger and loss, initiates her own investigation with her friend Roxy, guided by the spectral whispers of Flint. Amidst these investigations, the race is on to unmask the murderer before Bianca's nine lives run out.
Delas Heras' The Nine Lives of Bianca Moon, with its ingenious construct of anthropomorphic animals embodying 1950s New York society, is an engrossing blend of satirical wit, mystery, and the supernatural. I loved how the feline protagonist, Bianca, and her canine counterpart, Morton, navigated the labyrinth of crime and specters. In this city where dogs lead the social order, the story cleverly explores societal nuances. Ghosts, paradoxically, offer complete arcs and an unexpected dimension to the tale. Heras' world is one of eccentricity and while we expect cats to possess the customary myth of multiple lives, having dogs carry out law enforcement injects unique charm. While the violence against the semi-immortal cats raises ethical questions, ultimately, the strength of the novel lies in its vibrant and imaginative storytelling, making it a worthwhile journey for mystery enthusiasts.