June/July 1998

Stray Kat Waltz

Karen Wijewski
Putnam 1998, 320pp
ISBN: 0-399-14368-8

review by Harriet Klausner

After suffering the unexpected loss of a loved one, Kat Colorado does not want to deal with someone else's problems even if it is her job as a private investigator. However, Sara Bernard refuses to accept no, insisting that Kat is the only person who can stop her husband, a police officer, from killing her. Sara's friend and lawyer also pleads with her. Reluctantly, Kat agrees to take on the case.

The client turns out to be much more complex than anyone thought. Kat does catch Jed watching Sara, but he insists that he is only trying to protect from herself. A skeptical Kat also notices discrepancies in Sara's behavior. She takes no precautions, disappears when she feels like it, acts ambivalent when seen with Jed, and does not act like a woman in jeopardy. Kat starts to follow her client and learns that Sara leads a secret life tied to a rehab center. Kat, needing to uncover the truth, goes undercover even though she realizes how much danger she may be in if certain people learn of her ruse.

Karen Wijewski has created her best Kat Colorado novel yet because she turns her star into a very vulnerable person, who is hurting and not afraid to show it. The story line of Strak Kat Waltz is a classic example of misdirection. The readers think they are going to be involved in a spousal abuse issue that deftly twists into a medical scam based on an insurance fraud. The talented Ms. Kijewski brilliantly executes the smooth right turn from one story line to another. Fan favorite Kat Colorado appears on the brink of stratospheric popularity.

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