Kat Colorado
Created by Karen Kijewski

According to the blurb, Sacramento, California's KAT COLORADO is "a wise-cracking, thirty-something California bartender-turned-P.I., a curious cat with nine lives... and a passion for pushing the scales of justice in the right direction."

I don't know about the passion for justice, but she certainly sticks up for her overly-extended family of friends, including best bud Charity, an advice columnist, and Kat's main squeeze Hank, a detective on the Las Vegas Metropolitain Police. Much is made of Kat's hard times as a kid (an alcoholic mom, never knew her dad, tragic death of her beloved kid sister, etc.) and her background in journalism and bartending in the first book, but they're barely mentioned in the second. She doesn't like, or even own, high heels, but she has a definite thing for (male) chest hair, as well as several other little quirks, all no doubt intended to make her appealing.

I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. 1988's Katwalk won a slew of awards, including the 1988 St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First P.I. Novel Contest, a Shamus for Best First Novel and an Anthony for Best First Mystery. Were these people asleep? I've found it a rather ho-hum series, to tell the truth. Sorry, folks, but it seems pretty generic and pre-fab to me.

What really bugs me, though, is that Kat isn't even particularly good at her job. In fact, she comes off as downright stupid, walking right into obvious traps and getting the shit beat out of her in each of the books I've read. And to make matters worse, she relies on her boyfriend Hank, who just happens to be a cop, a wee bit too much.

The well-deserved critical and commercial success of Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski opened the door for a lot of women private eyes written by women, but it doesn't mean they should all be published. My guess is that Kijewsli hit the right spot at the right time, and proved that women private eye writers can write books just as lame, derivative and cliched as their male counterparts, progress of a sort, I guess.

Alas, Kijewski says she has tons of titles lined up, all featuring plays on the word Kat. I can wait.

NOVELS

SHORT STORIES

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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