Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Murrin Road, by L. B. Kitty
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2016, trade paperback $9.00 (171 pages), Kindle $3.00.
This is an Irish novel with funny animals. It begins:
“Lexy stood hunched and huddled by a billboard as the rain came streaking down, sometimes blowing along Murrin Road in waves. His fur matting where the moisture had penetrated, droplets resting on his whiskers and breathing heavily, he looked at the gleam of shining rails before him, and as he took a step out from the end of the road he could hear the hum of the vibrating steel.” (p. 1)
Lexy is a black cat in the gritty industrial part of London. While he is standing out and getting soaked in the rain, a truck roars up, throws something out, and speeds away.
“He walked slowly towards whatever it was the moved in curled flicking motions like a leech sucking goodness from the gutter. The rain was now really running through his clothes, it felt like it was pouring through his soul, could it cleanse him? He stood two foot away and looked down; in the faint orange glow of a distant street-lamp he saw a familiar shape. Except for its lumpy looking end, he recognized a Feline figure, he leaned down and saw that whoever it was looked like they had been beaten, bloodied, tied up and even had a sack placed over their head. He reached his paw slowly down ‘Just a little further…’” (p. 2)
Excuse me for not putting [sic.] throughout that quotation. The something is a sack with a white cat in it, who says to just call him Kitty. Brian O’Connor, “The Celtic Tiger” (he’s a Tiger – Kitty the author capitalizes all animal nouns), a mob boss, has ordered that Kitty be disposed of. Lexy objects to having trash dumped on his doorstep, so he takes Kitty and marches into Brian’s working-class pub headquarters to complain. Brian tells all his lieutenants to shoot Lexy. Kitty saves him, and the black and white cats become an Odd Couple-type best friends and eventually very chaste gay lovers.
Murrin Road is a good example of how not to write a furry novel – or a novel at all. The characters are unusually superficially funny animals. A couple of major supporting characters are Terri, a barmaid, and Lee, a biker. Terri and Lee are identified as a Fox and a Tiger when they are introduced, and then their species is hardly mentioned for the rest of the novel. They might as well be humans. “By this time Lee was awake and making coffee, Junior was sitting up eating plain toast.” (p. 92) That’s a tiger drinking coffee and a wolf eating toast. Inconsistently, some characters are named by species almost every time they are mentioned, like Marriot, an Otter:
“Sat the other side of the table was a young Otter who was smartly dressed in a pale yellow suit jacket, a tight t-shirt which showed his abs well and his muscled legs were pressed against tight grey trousers. He held in his paws a black cane that was topped with a well polished silver ball, Lexy thought he looked rather strange. Behind him were casually dressed dock workers, a few Otters and some various Canines but it was difficult to make them out in the shadows the other side of the room.” (p. 12)
(Scatter more [sic’s] through there.) There is fantasy in Murrin Road. Lexy can burst into flame:
“‘Don’t!’ cried a young blue haired Arctic Fox.
The Vixen came through the door just in time to see the Husky’s paw make contact with Lexy, and then she heard him yelp in pain as his the material of his glove melted and his clothes caught fire.
‘Too late’ she said, turning to the rest of the unit, ‘Call for back up’.
Lexy felt like he was a raging fire, he felt like he was going to burn away, until suddenly the feeling that had been building exploded. A fireball spun from him in the middle of the room, his clothes turned to ash in an instant, his fur emblazoned with red circular patterns all over. Kitty watched in amazement as the fireball expanded in the centre of his lounge, this was his cue to leave and he started running down the levels of the fire escape. As he did so he found he was being shot at through the windows in the stairwell but cowering as he ran he made it to the bottom and finally he jumped and landed swiftly amongst the bushes.” (p. 25)
Who is Lexy? For that matter, who is Kitty? Why does the Mob want to get rid of him? Why does Kitty befriend Lexy before anyone notices anything unusual about him? Who are the mysterious government agents who want Lexy back?
It’s not really worth plowing through Murrin Road to find out. Some other errors throughout the novel are site for sight, thrown for throne, draws for drawers, “An few hours later”, “Meanwhile, stood in the Italian Gardens in Hyde Park, Brian O’Connor paced up and down” (should be “standing”, not “stood”), the cats have prehensile tails – how many bad examples do you want?
According to his Twitter account, L. B. Kitty stands for LexyBadKitty. His photo is on DeviantArt; he’s 24 and lives in Ireland. The cover artist, Larry Walker-Tonks, also has a website. Kitty needs a proofreader, or a Beta reader, or something.