Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cat Out of Hell” as Want to Read:
Cat Out of Hell
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cat Out of Hell

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  2,519 ratings  ·  591 reviews
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) is back with a mesmerizing and hilarious tale of cats and murder

For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died. Overcome by grief, he searches for clues about her
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Melville House (first published 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cat Out of Hell, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Natalie Williams Supernatural, by dint of some sort of sorcery I guess . . .…moreSupernatural, by dint of some sort of sorcery I guess . . . (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,519 ratings  ·  591 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Cat Out of Hell
Sam Quixote
Mar 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alec, a retired librarian and recent widower, is taking a break in a coastal village to get over his recent bereavement and decides to look into a laptop filled with information given to him by a fellow librarian. Inside the laptop are files that tell the story of an actor called Wiggy and his acquaintance with Roger - a talking cat. Roger’s story spans decades, years in which his supernatural longevity, intelligence and speech were down to a mysterious cat called the Captain and a Satanic cat ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers seeking something VERY different
Lynne Truss — best known for the clever punctuation guide Eats, Shoots & Leaves — branches out into fiction with Cat Out of Hell.

In Cat Out of Hell, a perspicacious talking cat named Roger meets a singularly dim-witted human, Will Caton-Pines, nicknamed Wiggy. Wiggy’s sister Jo, who had recently acquired Roger, has vanished. To say any more would be to spoil the fun; this slender book is best approached with very little prior information. However, let me say that Cat Out of Hell isn’t the
Ron Charles
Lynne Truss doesn’t hate cats. She just thinks they’re minions of Satan.

If you’ve ever used the Internet, you know this is not a popular opinion. In fact, the Internet was invented back in the 1980s by Al Gore (or possibly by his cat) expressly to share pictures of adorable kittens hanging from branches: “Hang in there, baby!”

But Truss is used to speaking her mind, even if it means getting clawed to death. In 2003, this British writer turned a hectoring punctuation guide into a hilarious

Lynne Truss is a best selling author (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) so I expected to really enjoy this book described as a "suspenseful and often hysterically funny adventure" about a demonic cat but unfortunately I didn't find it either suspenseful or at all funny. I just found it silly and really struggled to finish it in the hope it would get better. It didn't.

Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for reading this. The whole book is written in a flippant almost smug tone in by the central
In Cat Out of Hell, Lynne Truss - better known for her best-selling grammar guide Eats Shoots and Leaves - has fashioned a surprisingly brilliant and original tale involving cats with supernatural powers and some seriously hapless humans. Alec, an academic who is recovering from the death of his wife, is staying in a quiet cottage by the sea when he starts to make his way through a package of papers and recordings given to him by a colleague. These concern the experiences of an individaul known ...more
Fiona MacDonald
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I really can't explain how I feel about this book. It's too peculiar to be scary and too poignant to be funny. Lynne Truss is well known for her humour, so it was probably quite overwhelming to attempt a Hammer horror novel. Although initially finding the whole thing very silly and a bit pathetic, now thinking back over it I realise I enjoyed it immensely. Added to which it has one of the best back cover blurbs I have ever read. I love the idea of a talking cat, and although you might think it ...more
I read this book to fill the Thirteen (13) square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I am always a fan of books that involve libraries and librarians, so this book has been on my radar for a while now. So it was very handy when the black cat on the cover qualified it for the ‘unlucky 13’ choice for bingo!

If you’re a cat lover, I think this book will also make you snicker, as you discover who cats *really* report to and how much their traditional powers have lapsed! Roger and the Captain will have
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

‘All of this story, remember, is based on the completely unacceptable and ludicrous premise of an evil talking cat called Roger that traveled romantically in the footsteps of Lord Byron in the 1930s and now solves cryptic crosswords torn out daily from the Telegraph.’

I’m all about dark humor (and if we’re being completely honest, anything involving cats) so when I read numerous reviews describing this novel as such, I jumped at the chance to read it. Sad to say, the ‘
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Cat out of Hell is so far the most problematic book that I have had to review so far. I thought it would be a sweet story about a talking cat, instead it was a grim story about a talking cat, well it tried to be grim, but it was mostly confusing and silly with a lot of plot holes. The only part of the book that I really liked was the scenes with Watson the dog. I wish that I had a dog called Watson then I also could have called out to him: “Come at once if convenient, Watson! If inconvenient, ...more
A mock-horror novella about evil cats: a strange digression for Truss. I enjoyed the use of a Cambridge library setting and the faux-epistolary strategy of compiling disparate documents, but, overall, this is really rather silly. “I had been expecting…the authoritative tones and narrative control of a story by M. R. James,” the main narrator says in disappointment, a sentiment I might echo. For a much better comic romp, try Truss’s Tennyson’s Gift instead.
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book - very well written as you would expect from Lynne Truss, and quite surprising in its content! Apparently she was requested to write a horror story and although a bit tongue in cheek it is a mystery with a touch of horror and a a little weirdness on the side! A very quick and entertaining read - I enjoyed it very much.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cat Out Of Hell is a novel by British writer and journalist, Lynne Truss. When Alec Charlesworth’s beloved wife, Mary dies, he heads to a cottage on the coast of North Norfolk with their dog, Watson, to grieve privately. Isolation is what he craves, but, finding he needs some mental stimulation, turns on his laptop to read an email from a library colleague of Mary’s. It contains several files concerning a cat called Roger, and by the end of his perusal, Alec is confused, sceptical and rather ...more
Angela Oliver
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, animals
From the woman that brought us "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" comes this perfectly gramatically correct tale of a feline with a dark past, and an even darker present. It is a quick read - I devoured it in less than two hours, and uses a few novelty techniques in the telling: movie script, transcript, descriptions of illustrations, regular narrative and an exchange of emails. It starts innocently enough as a mystery - a mourning widower seeks out a quiet cottage to recover from his wife's death, and ...more
Woo boy. This was not good. I think at one point I was going to DNF, but decided to just get done with it so I can throw it back from whence it came. An interesting synopsis does not a good book make. I was so happy to finish with this one I leaped into my next book.

"Cat Out of Hell" follows a man who just lost his wife, Alec Charlesworth. Alec is a man after a reader's heart. He's a librarian who just lost his job. Stuck in his lonely home with just his dog, Watson. Alec starts searching for
I thought that this was brilliant. I love how it was written,I love the humor, it went quite well with the sinisterness of the story. I love the references in it. I was so taken by the book that I actually spent a better part of the morning wandering around the living/dining area reading it.

Looking at other ratings and reviews it appears that this is not everyone's cup of tea, and I would like more actually.

Most definitely checking out the authors other works.

Over all 4.75 stars
This book was not what I had expected, it’s neither here nor there. If it wanted to be horror is too bland, if it wanted to be noir it’s too gross, and if it wanted to be comedy the hilarity just isn’t there.
The writing style is rambling at best, a deliberate choice from the author, but the why is lost on me as it doesn’t enhance the reading experience, the contrary I would say. (And sometimes to absurd see e-miaow)
Some digressions are useless and boring. Sometimes the author gets lost
From BBC Radio 4: Book at Bedtime:
By Lynne Truss. Comic and chilling gothic tale about a widower and a supernatural cat
Anna Kļaviņa
Humorous horror story.

I enjoyed the narrative and found the story to be amusing mystery. What I didn't like, was that cats were demonized, and because of that I was going to give the book 3 stars however I was pleasantly surprised by the twist towards the end of the book. 4 stars.

Mike Nelson’s installation To the Memory of HP Lovecraft
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘I was in search of silence and tranquillity.’

Alec, a retired librarian has recently been widowed. He heads off to a coastal village in North Norfolk with his small dog Watson in search of peace. But one night, while searching for mental stimulation, he opens his laptop and starts looking through a folder entitled ‘Roger’ which a former colleague had sent him. Inside that folder are files in which a man called Wiggy tells the story of his acquaintance with Roger – a talking cat, who sounds like
Creepy horror-fun. (Yes, I realize that sounds oxymoron-ish. Lol.)

Quick, chilling entertainment if you're wanting a horror/mystery mash-up with along with some dark chuckles... and a cat who wants Daniel Craig to voice him if there's a movie version. It reminded me a bit of a slightly creepy version of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore & other books of that ilk with its various literary & cultural references. I found it entertaining & worth my time to read.

Maybe a slight spoiler
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd recommend this to anyone who suspects that deep down cats really are bastards (even cat lovers), likes dry British humor, and can handle extremely unlikely circumstances. And enjoys elements of horror. Lots of framing devices and cutesy communications, so if that's not your style, stay away. As a light read with expectations of being amused, rather than edified, however, it kept my attention and I liked both Alec and Wiggy enough to overlook some gaps in logic.

I will note that the BACK of
Eh, it was ok. I'm not a fan of the narration style and it feels like something is missing from the story. Plot holes. This was easy to read, but nothing really goes on, and this definately isn't a scary story. The introduction definately is missing something. Well, the whole book's missing something. It's like it was many pages longer, but then was forced to cut it to 230 pages, so it got chopped big time.

If it was free, maybe it would be worth your time, but this book definately wasn't worth
Anna Greathead
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 6 stars if I could! I just loved the concept - the idea that cats were totally fed up at the loss of their powers to instantly kill, maim or hypnotise people rings so true to anyone who has ever spent any time near any cat!

The style of writing was engaging and intriging. I put in on my Kindle at 11pm on Wednesday night and finished it by 5pm on Thursday.... I read it at traffic lights and in the playground waiting for the kids!
As a cat owner and someone who works in a library, I found this story delightfully disturbing.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Captain is a powerful cat that takes another cat, Roger, under his wing in Lynne Truss' horror novel, Cat Out of Hell. If the British critics are right, this is supposed to be a funny horror novel featuring cats who have died eight times and are in their ninth life, a life that goes on forever. It's a story told by a retired librarian. My opinion? Don't believe everything you read on the flap of the book. The summary has an error. There are a few humorous lines. And, the story, for a mystery ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, feature
I suddenly understand all the bewildered looks Wren gives me - Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss [This book was kindly provided to me for the price of No Monies by the kind people at Random House UK/Cornerstone, facilitated in this act of goodness by the almighty NetGalley]

I have one goal in life: the acquisition of 16 more cats who will happily eat my corpse in the 3 week gap between my acquiring that state and anybody noticing. This fact may or may not be related to my enjoyment of this book.

If you have ever kept a cat then it will come as no surprise that they are in fact a species of evil geniuses. Cat Out of Hell is an absolutely brilliant novel that tells the story of the rise and fall of cats as masters of the world. It is very difficult to write a review of this book without spoiling the story, it is framed as a mystery after all. If you don't want to risk spoilers then please don't read further, simply go grab a copy of this and find out for yourself. What will be clear from ...more
Lauren Kathryn
Ultimately, what it comes down to is you being either a cat lover or a cat hater: you cannot be both. I think this can be said for the whole population - everyone can be slot into one or the other should they really have to chose. Have you ever met someone who says, "I don't know, cats are alright"?


But, have you noticed that regardless of preference, everyone agrees on one thing? Cats can be abrasive (not always, but at least three to ninety times a day), stubborn to a fault and
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

On a dark and freezing January night, alone in a seaside cottage, a grieving widower opens an email and finds his life transformed by the strange tale of a cat named Roger.

A funny, mysterious and spooky read and a frothy confection for both cat lovers and cat haters written by the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life (True Crime Memoir, Cult Books)
  • A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea
  • Ghost Summer: Stories
  • The Millennial Whisperer
  • 52 Times Britain was a Bellend: The History You Didn’t Get Taught At School
  • Keys to the Repository (Blue Bloods, #4.5)
  • The Royal Society: And the Invention of Modern Science
  • Nightingale: London 1966 (Peter Grant, #0.5)
  • I, Cthulhu, or, What’s a Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing in a Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)?
  • The Locked Room Mystery mystery (Nursery Crime, #2.50)
  • Tobias Winter - Meckenheim 2012 (Rivers of London #1.6)
  • Reynolds – Florence, Az. 2014 (Peter Grant, #4.6)
  • Toxic Planet
  • The Dangerous Alphabet
  • Moomin on the Riviera
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Texts From Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan...and Isn't Afraid to Use It
  • The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2
See similar books…
Lynne Truss is a writer and journalist who started out as a literary editor with a blue pencil and then got sidetracked. The author of three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas, she spent six years as the television critic of The Times of London, followed by four (rather peculiar) years as a sports columnist for the same newspaper. She won Columnist of the Year for her work for Women's ...more
“In fact, it seemed to me that every single item on the news – concerning economic doom and political hypocrisy and social breakdown – was not “news” at all. What I could hear was just a series of utterly transparent ploys to frighten and alarm the listeners – and frighten them, moreover, about the wrong things. The” 1 likes
“Although I would appreciate it if you tried not to sound so bloody sarcastic. Beelzebub himself ticked me off the other day for not getting the proper respect from you blasted cats. He came all the way from Pandemonium because he found out that the Captain had started calling me "mate." I said to him: it's a different world nowadays, Beelzebub. It's not as respectful as it used to be. People on mobile phones; people cycling on the pavement; people cycling across pedestrian crossings even when the lights are against them.” 1 likes
More quotes…