Review: Trouble’s Wedding Caper

Trouble’s Wedding Caper by Jen Talty
Reviewed by Claire Matturro
Five stars

278 pages
Available as an e-book and a paperback.
KaliOka Press (February 4, 2019)

Jen Talty—a talented, best-selling author of romance books—weaves a complicated tale of deceptions, betrayals, broken hearts, thefts, and suspense in Trouble’s Wedding Caper (KaliOka Press 2019), but it’s so much fun! In this clever romantic suspense/cozy mystery outing, a traveling cat is the hero, but love and romance are not lost in the mystery.

Trouble’s Wedding Caper is the eighth book in a series features Trouble, the black cat detective. Trouble, for those not familiar with him, is an arrogant but astute cat who can sniff out clues that humans miss. His main problem, though, is how to communicate what he has discovered to the seemingly dense humans. Books in the series are written by different authors, but all contain Trouble, a mystery, and a romance.

In Trouble’s Wedding Caper, main character Annabel Wilder leaves New York City after her fiancé cheats on her during her best friend’s wedding. A crushed Annabel returns home to Jupiter, Florida, where she grew up. She seeks comfort from her best friend, who is happily married and pregnant, and still living in Jupiter. The best friend and Annabel tease each other about a young man Annabel’s had a not-completely secret crush on since high school, who is now a police officer in the city. She agrees to cat-sit for Trouble when his person, Tammy Lynn, takes a trip. Trouble settles in, relishing the setting and the fresh local seafood, but treacherous events soon derail his plans for a relaxing vacation.

A realtor by trade, Annabel is short on funds. She’s studying for the Florida realtor’s exam and working part-time for a man who could be a villain, or not. Seeking both a financial reward and some adventure—and just something new that will distance her from the broken heart and the lousy former boyfriend—Annabel bids on an abandoned storage unit. She hopes to find hidden treasures she can profit from inside the unit and with Trouble’s help, she wins her bid. That’s when the problems and the danger start.

The storage unit contains expensive wedding gowns, veils, and other trappings from weddings, plus a gigantic diamond ring and other jewelry. Yet a crushed wedding band and a torn veil foreshadow danger—and Annabel is the crosshairs.

Ethan, the local police officer that Annabel has been crushing on for ages, cautiously asks Annabel out on a first date. He’s gun-shy about romance despite his attraction to her. He and Annabel continue to see each other romantically, but someone deliberately crashes into Annabel’s car, driving her off the road. After that, Ethan and Annabel focus on danger, not their relationship. When the big diamond ring turns out to be stolen, Annabel is the focus of not only an angry man in a baseball cap but also the local sheriff.

From there, seemingly unrelated characters and events all come together as Talty ties up the not-so-loose ends. Trouble weaves in and out of the story, often finding the clue the humans miss.

One joy of this book is the absence of any graphic violence, which is, of course, a mark of cozy mysteries. But Talty takes that a step further because no one is even murdered—off stage or otherwise—in Trouble’s Wedding Caper. Which isn’t to say there isn’t suspense and mystery because there is plenty of both.

Trouble’s voice is delightful. His struggles to make humans understand what he knows or suspects provide endless and amusing appeal. Talty shows a remarkably deft hand with her descriptive details, and her writing is crisp, clean and well-paced. A clever, charming addition to the series, Trouble’s Wedding Caper hits all the spots that make cozy mystery fans love their genre.

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