I was thrilled to be selected as a reviewer for “Juggling Kittens” by Pandamoon Publishing. I probably would not have discovered this book (and author) otherwise, and that would have been a shame. The author has a true gift for combining his life experiences with fictional situations in a highly compelling storytelling style. Drawing on his own history as a teacher, Mr. Coleman creates protagonist Ellis Mazer, a first-time teacher in Ruddy Creek, Arkansas. Everything about the teaching experience rings true, and Ellis’s musings about his career and life would have made for fascinating reading even without the mystery element.
Ellis quickly encounters a missing student, local thugs, drug dealers, and various other situations that I sincerely hope are entirely fictional. Everything feels authentic for the time and place in which it occurs, and makes for a great story as Ellis tries to find his student while maintaining his career and preparing for a new baby.
The major characters are all well drawn and intricate, and felt very much like real people. Settings were described with enough detail that I could envision them without bogging down the narrative. There’s plenty of action and investigating for the mystery fans, adeptly interspersed with character moments and daily events.
All in all, an excellent (and slightly haunting) novel, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to read it.
Five out of five chunks of my favorite cheddar!