Kat is the dark-haired Amazon in black biker leathers with a pair of .45-caliber hand cannons named Bonnie and Clyde. Her partner, Mouse, is the dame in the trenchcoat wielding the Japanese short swords. This book features 14 episodes of their pulp action adventures from the Kat and Mouse webserial.
The writing style is fast, fun, and minimalist with a hardboiled aesthetic. It’s a thrill ride as the sassy duo shoot and slice their way through mooks in Bay City. The fight scenes are fantastic; Senires doesn’t get bogged down with explaining the cyberpunk weaponry as he leaves the best stuff to the imagination:
[Twenty meters before the onramp, the aerodyne dropped out of the sky right in front of us, a three-meter long, gray metal brick suspended in mid-air by four ducted vectorthrust engine pods. Its chin-mounted 30mm chaingun swiveled toward the Shelby’s windshield.
[The muscle went for their guns.
A subvocalized command flooded my body with adrenaline stimulators and the world slid into slo-mo.]
The characters are lively and interesting. They’re based off familiar types (slice-happy sidekick, support guy with Cockney accent, broken-English Russian barkeep), but they’re instantly likeable and their interactions give off Joss Whedon vibes. The cast has a dynamic that works well, and I can see myself continuing to read the series for them.
While the writing and the characters are excellent, the world of Bay City and the episodic stories themselves need either more meat or flavour. Bay City is a standard big city with turf wars. It has a cyberpunk aesthetic as far as weapons and tech goes, but it isn’t different from a gang-ridden city of today. The gangs and joyboys are cute, but they’re run-of-the-mill Italians mafiosos and punks in biker leathers. There are punks in red leathers, but that’s as colorful as it gets. I would love for Senires to make Bay City and its groups more unique and theatrical.
Some repeated information could be removed from the ebook edition. The episodes are standalones, but I found it distracting to be reintroduced to the cast half a dozen times. I wish there’s more meat to the episodic stories themselves. I love reading frivolous pulp stories, but the ones here didn’t grab me. I’m happy to read such stories if they’re compensated with extra sensationalism, but Kat and Mouse doesn’t push the envelope far enough.
Kat and Mouse is an entertaining read and I can see myself following their future adventures. I could easily give it more stars if it has a bit more sensationalism or substance in the story and world-setting department. There’s a lot of great stuff here so I’m following Senires to see where he takes the series. While this review is critical in some respects, it’s also a review from a potential fan in waiting.
I recommend this book if you’re looking for some light pulp action fun with a cyberpunk/hardboiled aesthetic. It’s an enjoyable read as long as you don’t expect much else.
Note: a free review copy was provided by the author.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)