Sunday, 1 July 2012

Tangled Ties to Manatee, by Kalen Cap - Book Tour and Review.

 Belle's review of Tangled Ties to Manatee.

This an unusual novel because it is written from the perspective of several characters. The story in essence involves a manatee, a type of dolphin endangered in the real world, zoo patrons, its staff, and  two con men.

The starting point for anyone reading this novel is to really understand that the writer Kalen, is an enviromentalist campaigner and therefore his novel is trying to make an entertaining point.

Incidentally, for female readers, I love the name Kalen and frankly from his photo Kalen cuts quite a dash.

I think the readers starting point should be that Kalen is intending and in keeping with the environmental themes here, that for every five paperbacks sold of his novel, a tree willl be planted via donations to the nonprofit, American Forests.

I think the novel has the potential to attract an interesting demographic and if it does could do very well.
My main critique is that I found the novel unusual and somewhat disjointed, because it swaps from one character to another by name. I got slightly lost at times. However, I appreciated the sentiment and I found it a happy novel, easy to read and I loved the final resolve.

Perhaps again, I would be too old an audience. The story circles around young characters and the story I suspect is directed toward the younger audience. Audiences who love animals would also find this an attractive read.

It was interesting to revolve a story around the manatee and I felt myself feeling sympathetic to the characters and I came to care for the manatee and the unfolding link between it's fate and the characters. Essentially the elements of the story are that the manatee, Ankh, has no idea how many human relationships, problems, and dreams tangle around her. 

As a sucker for animals I think it is a good debut effort. I am currently forming a relationship with a feral stray who lives at the top of my garden and it has recently let me stroke it. So hey, let's not be too critical.

In the story Jerry is a young developmentally disabled man who happily follows Ankh's pregnancy on the zoo's webcam. He has a shy crush on Janelle, a pretty college student who volunteers for his group A pregnant manatee is rare at any zoo, and a first for the Grove City Zoo in Ohio. Ankh is a delight home’s outings to the zoo.
When the con men surprisingly succeed in bringing the grid down, it spells danger for Ankh, her unborn pup, and the many people tied to them both. With investigations of their own, Cecily and Janelle try to untangle it all to find Jerry, save a manatee’s life, and rescue Vera from herself.

Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes revealed through multiple points of view. The novel emphasizes college-aged characters, though not all, such as the developmentally disabled ones, are in college.

Whilst this may not be my usual read I think that it is a laudable effort to do something different, namely make a point in an entertaining way and do something good with some of the proceeds.

Personally, I would give it 3.5 stars. The author should continue on the journey to hone his craft. But I am willing to bump it to 4 for the determination to bring the plight of animals in captivity to our attention. That deserves some praise.

I would be excited for those taking part in this review tour to connect with the author in some of the posts here and to dig deeper into the purpose of this novel,  as I suspect that it will be his relationship with the reader that will win them over.

The tour is running for a while and I expect it to gain momentum.
About the author

Kalen Cap is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio.

Tangled Ties to a Manatee

is his debut novel.

Connect with Kalen Cap online through:

personal website -

twitter -

google+ -

Author’s Note
In keeping with the environmental themes here, for every five

paperbacks sold of this novel, a tree is planted via donations to the

nonprofit, American Forests.



  1. Thanks for the nice review of my novel. I love how you bring in your relationship with a feral into it.

    I'm without power at home and am working the hourly job today, but I'll check for comments periodically,

    Thanks again.

  2. I like that there's a manatee. :P Seriously, I like the whole environmental angle.

  3. Leah, thank you. I'm glad that more authors are taking on the environmental angle in their work as well. That focus is growing.

  4. It's nice to know about the American Forests donation. The book sounds interesting!


    1. Thank you anonymous. There are a number of ways authors can arrange to do that.

  5. I think it is very interesting and I have told Kalen so I am very excited to have a writer who is using an entertainment medium to make a serious point. Fun afterall

    1. Thank you. I hoped that the combination of humor & serious themes would be fun for readers. I appreciate it.

  6. I think the story sounds great. I am glad you included a young man with a handicap. I have known many and they are usually sweet and endearing.

    1. Thank you MomJane. The character Jerry became a fast favorite among members of my writing group in early drafts.

  7. Kalen...Congrats on the debut! The premise sounds intriguing. It's unusual to have a developmentally delayed main character. What prompted that?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks Catherine Lee. I have been around some differently abled individuals in a variety of circumstances. While reviewing story ideas it occurred to me that developmentally delayed individuals were underrepresented in fiction, with the possible exception of family dramas. The storyline involved developed from there. Thanks for asking.