Wild Kat

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

WILD KAT is Karen Kijewski’s fifth and, so far, darkest Kat Colorado mystery. In this story, Kat is hired by a man she has rescued from a car wreck—a wreck meant for his wife, Amanda Hudson.

Ever since she blew the whistle on Louden Industries for continuing to manufacture and sell a defective medical product, Amanda has been harassed. She is tired and she is scared.

Jude Hudson, a shoot-from-the-hip, drop-dead gorgeous cowboy, wants his wife to quit the campaign and quit the company. Amanda Hudson, a mousy, plain, insecure but intelligent woman, has become self-righteous and will not let go of her cause.

Jude hires Kat to keep Amanda safe and to find out who is responsible for making her life miserable. But, when Kat signs on, she becomes more than a private investigator—she becomes a target.

WILD KAT starts out nasty and crude and never strays far from that mood. Kijewski creates a moral dilemma for Kat, perhaps one with which the author has struggled. As a result, playful elements of earlier novels are simply not present.

There is still the humor readers have come to appreciate, but this time, it always has an edge and is confined to Kat’s inner dialogue and to chapter headings.

WILD KAT is set in the hot, dry environment of Sacramento, California. Kijewski’s descriptive language is as terse and biting as the setting is sere; the story is as prickly and desiccating as the desert sun. The reader may want to keep a wet towel and a glass of iced tea nearby, but will always want a hand free to turn the page.