A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, July 28, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Fear Familiar- by Caroline Haines- Feature and Review


When Eleanor Duncan rescues the unusual black cat from a university parking lot, she suspects he has run through at least eight of his lives. But it’s his ninth, and potentially last, that concerns her most. Alarming events appear to have followed him into her life. Eleanor is assaulted by a stranger and interrogated by the CIA. More terrifying is her husband’s seeming return from the dead. 

A trip to veterinarian Peter Curry reveals an even deeper secret. Familiar is an escaped research animal. The secret he carries opens the door to conspiracy, danger, and romance. Peter and Eleanor are determined to save the black cat’s life and prevent his return to the lab. Their decision to help Familiar turns their world upside down—and begins the saga of Familiar, the black cat detective.



Fear Familiar (Fear Familiar #1)

Fear Familiar by Caroline Burnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fear Familiar by Carolyn Haines (Caroline Burnes) is a 2017 KaliOka Press publication.

I loved this romantic suspense series back in the nineties, and I even kept a few of the Harlequin Intrigue paperbacks- so I was thrilled to discover that the first three books in the series have been released in digital format. (This first one is available in the Kindle Unlimited program, if you subscribe)

When Eleanor Duncan and a scruffy black cat more or less rescue each other in a university parking lot, she decides to keep him, aptly naming him ‘Familiar’. But, Familiar needs a vet so she takes him to visit Dr. Peter Curry, who gives Eleanor shocking information regarding an animal research center, and feels Familiar was a recent and lucky escapee.

Sure enough, someone wants that cat back in the worst possible way, and Eleanor soon finds herself embroiled in a web of conspiracy, intrigue and danger, which could put her life at risk.

This plot is very complex and original, and although the book was published back in 1989, it seems to have aged well, although it is clearly written before smart phones and other modern technologies, and you might catch an outdated phrase, or reference here and there, but mostly it goes unnoticed.

Eleanor’s character goes through a transformation, becoming stronger and wiser, as she struggles to control the ghosts of her troubled past, and get to the bottom of this puzzling mystery, discovering she has more strength and courage than she thought possible.

‘Familiar’ has his own ‘voice’, and he allows the reader to ‘hear’ his thoughts and follow his actions as he does his part to keep Eleanor safe. He’s one smart cookie, with cute observations about humans, and is a delightful part of the story.

The story is fast-paced and absorbing, with lots of action and a little romance, too. This book laid a solid foundation in which to build what would become a long running series that began in 1989 and ran through 2009, I believe, and is a testament to how popular it was. I would love to read them order, someday, so I hope they all show up in the kindle store someday.

In the meantime, the series has been revived with a ‘second generation’ of adventures featuring Familiar’s son- Trouble. You can even read them concurrently and double the fun!

I enjoyed becoming reacquainted with Familiar and his charming disposition. This series brings back fond memories and is a little nostalgic for me. So, I’m very happy this series is getting a new life, allowing dedicated fans a chance to reconnect with it, while also finding a new audience.

If you like romantic suspense, mysteries, or are a cat lover, you will probably enjoy this series.




Carolyn Haines is the author of eighteen novels, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. She was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of!


  1. It sounds good. Thank for sharing it. I will try to read.

  2. Thank you, Andarina!! I hope you will give a try. That you for stopping by The Book Review!!


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