As Dark As My Fur (Blackie and Care)
by Clea Simon
Review by Gayle Surrette
Severn House Publishers Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780727886828
Date: 01 April 2017 List Price $28.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
As Dark as my Fur takes place shortly after the events of The Ninth Life. Care and the cat, Blackie, have been living in the office of her mentor. Care had picked up a few investigative jobs but they mostly paid in food, clothing, or favors, not money. They're being evicted from the office and will have nowhere to live if she can't come up with a job that pays.
Then Mr. Gravitz shows up with money to hire her to find and follow an employee he suspects of stealing from him. He agrees to pay half of the fee up front. It seems almost too good to be true. If Blackie could talk, he'd tell Care it is too good to be true. Something isn't right about this job but as a cat, Blackie can't tell Care what he notices or suspects.
As it was with the first book, the point of view character is Blackie, the cat. He sticks to Care because he cares about her. Blackie also has strong feelings about the young boy that Care seeks, and the danger that she puts herself and him into in order to seek him out. In the past, the boy betrayed her and yet Care still cares for him.
Blackie watches Care's actions and tries to anticipate problems so he can help her. Sometimes he manages to hear or learn information that would be useful to her but can't pass the knowledge on because he can't communicate with her except in the most rudimentary manner. Often Blackie's whining about not being able to talk is annoying and repetitive, but the overall plot with its twist, turns, side issues, allies, and enemies help to keep the pages turning.
The world is a dark one, almost post-apocalyptic, but then it could just be the bad side of any economically depressed big city anywhere in the world. There's not a lot of hope in Care's world yet she still strives to be honest, brave, and caring.
Things don't turn out as you'd expect but there is hope that Blackie and Care will be around for another book. Maybe then readers will learn more about these two and the world they inhabit.