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Quick near-future shoot-em-up

By Linda Schoales, editor

Feb 18, 2009: “Kat and Mouse” is a fast-paced, near-future web serial about two ronins, or street mercenaries, and their attempts to make a living. The partners take jobs as hired muscle or delivery girls, but always seem to run afoul of the street gangs, Mafia, Yakuza and other rival groups in the violent underbelly of Bay City.

The stories are narrated by Kat in a laconic, sarcastic tone somewhat reminiscent of Han Solo. Kat seems to be the brains of the pair and is equipped with cyberpunk-style body modifications, a black leather biker jacket, and a pair of guns she refers to as the Twins. Mouse prefers knives, a Japanese sword, and a long, black leather duster. They’re both good at intimidation, beating people up and killing. The other characters make brief appearances and follow the cyberpunk stereotypes. Specs is described as “everyone’s favorite infobroker”. Revell is the “bearded, bear-like owner of the Red Dog Bar”. They help move the action along by giving Kat and Mouse assignments or finding them information.

Currently, there are two stories posted, one with 3 parts and the other with 7. They’re both quick reads. There are lots of fights and lots of one-line dialog. The stories jump right into the action, filling in the backstory and explanations as we go. The parts are short, the sentences are short, and even the paragraphs are short, sometimes only one word long. This moves the story along quickly and emphasizes the action. There is some strong language and a fair amount of blood and violence. There’s also a fair amount of slang, such as “mooks”, “joyboys”, and “crotch rockets”. The author did explain “joyboys”, fortunately, and I think I figured out “crotch rockets”.

The writing is a bit repetitive, often repeating the same phrases, or variations on them. Several times Kat pumped up her cyber modifications and “a subvocalized command flooded my body with adrenaline stimulators and the world around me slid in slo-mo”. The first several times she pulled out her guns they were described as “the Twins, Bonnie and Clyde—my pair of Colt-Springfield M2001 .45-caliber high-capacity pistols”. The car was always described as “my re-fitted dark gray 2008 Shelby GT500”.

“Kat and Mouse” is a quick and dirty web serial set in a violent near-future. It has cyberpunk elements, anime elements, and some film noir elements. It’s light enough to be entertaining while making few demands on the reader. If you’re looking for a fast read, you might want to check it out.

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