Kissed: Cat Miranda Mystery #1
by C.J. Shane
A Mystery-Romance Set in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands
Cat Miranda returns to her childhood home in Arizona to take over her brother’s art gallery following his untimely death. On her first night home, an intruder breaks in. Cat realizes that she is being targeted by a murderer with links to an 8-foot tall painting in the gallery titled “Kissed.” In her struggle to stay safe, Cat finds an ally in Miles Trevelyan, a charming visiting British scholar. The heat rises with more assaults on Cat, and between Cat and Miles, too, as their feelings for each other grow. Can they discover what's behind the painting “Kissed” before Cat becomes the next victim?
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Tucson writer C.J. Shane, author of the Letty Valdez private investigator suspense series, introduces a new, sassy, and smart-as-a-whip amateur sleuth with this latest novel. When Cat Miranda moves back to her hometown to take charge of her late brother's art gallery, she discovers passions simmering beneath the placid surface of picturesque Bisbee that bubble up in unanticipated ways.
The witty and seductively attractive art historian from England who turns up on her doorstep, for instance, takes her by surprise. So does the local interest in 'Kissed,' a painting her brother acquired from an artist who has mysteriously disappeared. Most surprising of all is the discovery of a dead body, mummifying behind the gallery wall. It's complicated.
As Cat's flirtation with her British visitor heats up, inexplicable goings-on relating to the missing artist take a decidedly deadly turn in this lively novel of romantic suspense. Fans of Letty Valdez will be pleased to note that the Tucson detective makes an (offstage) appearance in Cat Miranda's debut outing.
~ Helene Woodhams, Arizona Daily Star
Kissed by C.J. Shane is the first book in what I hope will be a new series from this talented writer. I have never before read a book by her, until now. I am pleased with this book in so many ways.
First, the characters are well-developed. A young Mexican/American woman is dealing with the loss of her brother. Cat got along well with her brother Luis. Luis owned and operated a small art gallery and was turning it into a B&B as well. However, he died and left everything to his amazing sister, Cat. Cat is a smart woman. She questions everything and investigates further into things. I liked that she was kind, open-hearted, and fun. She was also a go-getter. Cat is the kind of heroine everyone loves. I can’t think of any reason for a reader to dislike this main protagonist. Then, there’s this mysterious good-looking Brit that shows up unannounced. Both Cat and I are glad that Miles showed up when he did. He’s a charming, smart, and dependable guy. I loved that he was protective and willing to go the extra mile for Cat. Plus, the other characters were just as interesting.
Second, the plot is intriguing from the start. I loved how I wanted to be so deeply into the book and follow the characters anywhere they went. Fun, entertaining, and easy to read. There was this shadow of what is really going on at Cat’s art gallery and why all the sudden interest in buying it from plus, the intruder, as well as other things. C.J. Shane kept me in the dark just like the protagonists. That was a bonus. Many books can tell you within the first chapter all the what, who, when and where before I can get further into the read. As a reader, I enjoy not knowing everything-while wanting to know everything at the same time. This, writer did all that. I was hooked!
Third, Kissed offers a lot of humor, action, and like I’ve stated before, mystery. The Spanish phrases and words were a great addition and made the plot come alive. I took Spanish in high school and it was cool to know I guessed the meaning of the words before the characters defined them for me. Also, I enjoyed the mental and physical banters between the protagonists. Cat and Miles are the best character duos, ever. They are from completely different cultural backgrounds but they both share a fondness for Mexican food and other things like kindness to others. I laughed a lot and got lost within this book with ease.
Overall, if you’re looking for a mystery/contemporary fiction book-this is a must read! The pages flew by and the scenes were exciting. I didn’t know what to expect with this read. However, I did fall deeply in love with this work of fiction. C.J. Shane is a new favorite writer of mine, now. I am hoping she writes more like this one. Danielle Urban, Urban Book Reviews
~~ Following a difficult divorce and the loss of her brother, Catalina Amalia Miranda finds herself back home in picturesque Bisbee, Arizona. The plan is to reopen the art gallery left behind at her brother’s death and focus on picking up the pieces of her broken life. She arrives in town with a huge to-do list and a heart full of sorrow. When an unexpected visitor claims to have rented a room from her late brother, Cat is too tired to resist. The stranger, a handsome Brit named Miles, proves to be just what Cat needs as he thwarts a home invasion. Together, Miles and Cat discover a plot more twisted and depraved than a simple burglary.
Kissed is a solid book for mystery lovers. The stunning scenery and cultural diversity combined with vividly described works of art make for a visceral, visually well-developed reading experience. The characters are complex enough to be interesting. The blossoming relationship between Cat and Miles is complemented with plenty of cheeky, flirty dialogue. The romance moves at controlled pace, just enough to be believable. CJ Shane really hits the mark with this Borderlands murder mystery. Small town charm meets puzzling circumstances in this delectable detective-romance hybrid.
~Jennifer Jackson, IndiesToday
Kissed is a mystery/romance set in Bisbee, Arizona and revolves around Cat Miranda, a Mexican-American beauty who has recently inherited her brother’s art gallery after he passes away. Cat decides to move into the living quarters upstairs, but she’s soon surprised when she discovers that her brother has rented one of the rooms to Miles Trevelyan, a British researcher visiting the Borderlands in preparation for writing a book. And if that surprise wasn’t enough, the two of them are awakened one night when a burglar breaks into the gallery for purposes that are immediately suspicious. Cat and Miles then embark on a journey to discover the truth behind a Jax Beringer painting known as “Kissed.”
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the reader then jumps on a wild ride to unravel the mystery, which includes a not-so-little secret hidden behind one of the gallery walls, a David Hockney painting that ends up in the wrong hands, a bisexual artist with a trail of broken hearts in his wake, a female carpenter with a “unique” hammer stuffed in her toolbox, and way too many people showing up at the door wanting to purchase the gallery. Way too many.
One of the things that impressed me most about this book was the sense of place that seems to underscore the entire novel. Ms. Shane has done her research, and along the way we’re transported to the Borderlands region of Arizona where we learn about its people, its history, its culture, and its cuisine . . . all while trying to solve a mystery. And yes, she and Miles do eventually get their HEA, but not before they have to clear a few hurdles on the road to romance. Anyone looking for fun read, try Kissed. It’ll be well worth your time.