Black Cat Ink by Nicole Kimberling
Small-town reporter Peter Fontaine has a cherry job, a hunky artist boyfriend, and an insatiable lust for rooting out the truth. In this third installment of the Bellingham Mysteries, he and Nick must try to recover a stolen statue in time to host their big Halloween party.
The catch? The statue was created by Nick’s ex lover and to find the culprit, Peter must first delve into Nick’s past. Will Peter’s slutty nurse costume be enough incentive for Nick to come clean about his life before Peter?
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Black Cat Ink is the third book in the Bellingham Mysteries involving intrepid reporter Peter Fontaine and his artist boyfriend Nick. This serves as a fun, entertaining story for fans to revisit good characters without needing to read the previous books. You certainly can and most likely would appreciate Peter and his almost pathological curiosity more if you’ve read all books in order, but it’s not strictly necessary. Instead this cool fall novella fits perfectly with the weather for something easy to read.
The story revolves around the latest mystery to absorb reporter and sometime delivery boy Peter. A statue has been stolen from the university and its one Peter kind of liked. Of course it’s of Nick’s dick so perhaps Peter is biased. Nick’s late lover had donated the statue to the university and Peter is determined to find the missing stone penis. His investigation uncovers an injured kitten needing a home, a goat loving delivery boy, Satanists/weed sellers and a host of strange and random characters.
This novella works in that it’s a fun romp without a lot of purposefully whacky elements. It’s not a serious, character driven story but meant to be sarcastic, tongue in cheek with a lot of obvious jokes and clichés. The plot takes several random elements and throws them together with a sly humor to make the story entertaining and witty without being too ridiculous. The writing treads the line of being over the top and cleverly humorous but does so well enough that you never roll your eyes at the antics. Not even when the delivery boy / weed deliver declares his life saved by Melinda the goat.
The story doesn’t develop the characters in the series any further but Peter is engaging with his near fatal curiosity and Nick’s taciturn responses. I’m not quite sure why these two are together but they are interesting to read and the story is meant to be taken loosely at best. One of the great strengths is that you can pick up this story without remembering or reading the previous books. It acts like a good standalone while giving enough information about what’s happened already.
Kimberling can write a witty, interesting story filled with humor and a sense of its own ridiculousness. While each element or character introduced is more absurd than the last, the story invites the reader to play along anyway. It’s a short entertaining bite but worth indulging.