Cat’s Cafe Review in Illinois Times

Photo of landscape south of Idaho Falls taken in 2021 by Ralls Melotte somewhat similar to what it might have looked like in 1879 but without the barbed wire fence.

Yesterday, Illinois Times published a review of my new novel, Cat’s Cafe. This is the third review I have received in the last month and I am pleased with all of them. Cinda Ackerman Klickna prepared the article and Cinda is not new to literature and writing. She is an author, taught English in Springfield for 25 years and has been a freelance writer and book reviewer since the 1980s, writing for the Illinois Times, Springfield Scene Magazine, the State Journal Register and others. I thought she captured the intent of my book exceptionally well. I have taken the liberty to post several quotes from her review below.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking Cat’s Café is a typical western, even though some items sound familiar: a tough sheriff, a corrupt politician, a ruthless gang, a sexy bar waitress, a disreputable financier, an ignored Indian, an abandoned woman, all living in a rough-and-tumble outpost where the saloon draws unruly men. The novel is much more, as Melotte has used real people and real events to weave together a story that focuses on the strength of settlers, the development of towns in the 1870s, and the independence of women.”

“Melotte has done extensive research to weave into the plot the real-life story of the expansion of the railroad, the founding of Eagle Rock, the influence of the Mormons, and the work of actual people who settled in the area. Melotte has used real people for characters such as Robert Anderson and Matt Taylor who built the first bridge across Snake River.”

“Chapter explanations in the appendix are as interesting as the novel itself and provide the historical background of such events as the 1857 Mountain Massacre, the financing of railroads by tycoon Jay Gould, the influx of Mormons to the area, as well as information about the Snake River, whiskey, train schedules, the use of the telegraph, and the history of the Pony Express.”

“The development of the railroad, the support for women’s rights, the strength of people, and the changes needed to form a town are areas Melotte explores in his novel.”

With rich descriptions of the land, history of the region, realistic dialogue that Melotte researched, and well-developed characters, Cat’s Café is an interesting and fun read which includes a love story, a murder mystery, a twist, and a hanging ending.

Cinda Ackerman Klickna writes book reviews and enjoyed the history and real characters that are woven into the plot of the novel.

Click this link to read the entire review in the Illinois Times December 22, 2022.

Pre-Review, signed copies of Cat’s Cafe are available now by contacting through this website or at and will be available in bookstores and Amazon early in February 2023.

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