I was fortunate to win an ARC copy of Claws of the Cat, a historic fiction mystery, by Susan Spann. The first thing I did after receiving the email is look up ARC and learn that meant 'advance reading copy'. I'm an avid historical fiction book reader and was thrilled to win a book, especially a book with the word 'cat' in it.
In 16th century Japan, Hiro, a shinobi (ninja), learns that his master Father Mateo has a newly converted Christian friend accused falsely of murder. The young girl is accused of murdering a samurai and the son is judge and jury and quickly delivers a death sentence. Hiro and Father Mateo have three days to prove her innocence otherwise the girl and Father Mateo lose their life and Hiro is masterless.
Having read many European historical fiction books, the ancient Japanese cultures and customs were foreign. Where Europeans are driven by money, greed and recognition, the Japanese culture hinges on customs and respect. Imagine the possibility of giving up your life to retain your respect of family, friends and the community. Something very foreign in our western world.
Outside of the cute kitten that makes it's presence in the book and eats the bible (yes, imagine a cute little kitten eating a priests bible), I loved Susan's writing. I did receive this book free but just because a book is free, doesn't mean I always read it. I have a Kindle full of free books. I realized that many of the books I have been reading, some of them free and some are even best sellers, the writing is crap. Susan's writing flows, the words carefully chosen, her knowledge of the culture and time period evident and she understands her characters intimately. This is one of the few books lately that engrossed me and kept my attention.
If you enjoy historical fiction and an awesome mystery check this book out.