Cat’s Paw
By Rustin Petrae
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Albert


A dark/paranormal fantasy, Cat’s Paw centers around a 15 year old boy named Tad.

In his neighborhood, something has happened.

Something tragic.

He sees the effects that this horrible event has created in his neighborhood but is powerless to stop it. Until a strange cat shows up. The cat follows him around and won’t leave him alone. With its appearance, weird things start happening and its up to Tad to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it. Because, a secret has been buried and uncovering its truth is the only way to stop what’s happening.


As a rule, I don’t like to give 1 star reviews. Even if I don’t like a story, I can normally find something good to say about it. Not this time.

Based on the premise, I should have enjoyed Cat’s Paw by Rustin Petrae. It’s a fantasy. A dark fantasy with paranormal elements. Exactly the type of story that I normally enjoy. In this case though, I just didn’t.

It didn’t help that it was written in first person. Writing a short story in first person is tricky. If you don’t have the voice down just right, it sounds off. In Cat’s Paw, the story is told from the voice of Tad, a 15 year old with a hidden past. The author tries way too hard and doesn’t pull it off. It doesn’t sound like a 15 year old is talking. One moment, Tad is cursing, or at least trying to curse, when he’s out with his friends. The next, he’s using very obscure vocabulary way out of character for a teenager. It’s difficult to follow.

The entire story could have been cut down by at least a third if the purple prose had been removed. Too much description. The author uses phrases like “A sheen of sweat stood out starkly against his dark skin”. And, this is supposedly said by a teenager?

I suppose the flowery language was an attempt to follow the writer’s rule of “show, don’t tell,” but it had the opposite effect. Foreshadowing did not exist. Nor did deductive reasoning or detective work. When Tad needed to know something, it would appear to him in a vision. So boring.

The authors use of clichés did nothing to help move the story along either. Too many “bullets from a gun” and “razor sharp claws” kept dragging down the pace of the story. Clichés are such common phrases that it’s too easy to just skip over them.

All in all, the story was sadly lacking an editor.