Ken Kuhlken

BOOK REVIEW: JUST IN TIME FOR VALENTINE’S DAY, LOCAL MYSTERY AUTHORS TAKE A STAB AT WRITING ROMANCE NOVEL IN NO CATS, NO CHOCOLATE

No Cats, No Chocolate, by Ken Kuhlken and Alan Russell, Hickey’s Books, La Mesa

Book review by Miriam Raftery

February 10, 2013 (La Mesa)--What happens when a pair of formerly acclaimed but now down-on-their-luck mystery novelists hit rock bottom? 

In No Cats, no Chocolate,  local authors Ken Kuhlken and Alan Russell  pen themselves in as the main characters.  Best noted for their literary-quality mystery works,  they resolve to make some quick cash writing a romance novel after an outline sent as a lark lands an assignment from a publisher.  Delilah Bluefeather and Violet St. Claire ( the authors’ noms de plume), are born. Worse, they must complete the task in days, while on a road trip to jump-start their careers  with a coveted appearance on Oprah’s show.

The book  is a sequel to Road Kill, in which the same quirky duo embarked on a journey to convince readers across America to buy their books.  It’s a clever literary trick for the authors to write themselves in as characters in their own works—and create a series to boot.  As a former participant in a writing critique group led by Kuhlken, I can’t help wondering how many quirky traits described in the book are fact – and which are fiction?