Writer Julian Wilkes has been pretty lonely since his break up and so he reluctantly agrees when his sister pressures him to get a pet. When he goes to the shelter, Julian is immediately drawn to a large orange tabby that seems to be pleading with Julian to take him home.
Macavity Birch is a cat shifter who has been cursed by one of his relatives for pulling an unwelcome prank. Mac now is stuck in his cat form during the day, rather than being able to shift at will. He got himself stuck in the shelter and now he is relieved to be rescued by Julian. Mac figures he will stick around for a day or two and then make his break.
What neither man expects is Julian’s strong attachment to his new cat, and Mac can’t bear to break Julian’s heart by losing his pet. So Mac ends up sticking around and even letting Julian in on his shifter secret. But there is trouble brewing, as Julian has stumbled upon a journal written by one of Mac’s old relatives, a journal that reveals secrets Mac knows his family would rather keep hidden. Now Julian is in danger if Mac can’t convince him to give up the journal before it is too late.
I’ll admit, I was drawn to this one by the “stuck in cat form” aspect, as well as the atypical shifter angle, and in this area I think the story does well. Jensen does a good job bringing out Mac’s kitty side. He starts off with kind of an aloof self interest (oh so common in cats), until he gets to know Julian and sees what a sweet guy he is. And when Mac is stuck in cat form, he is just so feline and all his little behaviors reminded me so much of my cats. There is some light playfulness here as Mac is forced to sneak around Julian’s house in human form when he changes at night and as he deals with being forced back into a cat every morning. I also liked watching how these guys interact when Mac is in cat form and is trying to communicate with Julian. Mac reveals the truth to Julian fairly early on, so the tension there ends pretty early in the book. But I think it works since we still see Mac stuck in his curse as the guys try to navigate their new friendship and fledgling relationship.
So from the shifter side and the connection between the guys, I think the story works. But the larger plot regarding Mac’s family secrets and the journal it didn’t all come together for me. I guess I was expecting more magic, more mystery, and more intensity here and things remain pretty low key. Mac is freaked out that Julian has this journal, but the secrets that are revealed are nothing that seems to warrant that level of anxiety. There also really isn’t any mystery uncovering; Julian just reads the story and learns the truth. I just felt like there was a lot of potential to this part of the storyline, but as it was, things fell kind of flat and I am not sure it added much to the overall story.
Best in Show is a pretty light read with a cute set up. I liked the relationship end of things and I think the paranormal aspects are handled nicely. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between the guys and seeing Mac in his cat form. I think the mystery end needed to be more developed for it to have the intensity it needed, however. But overall I found this one entertaining, and if you are in the mood for a fun, easy shifter story you may want to give this one a try.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.