What I Read in July 2016 Part IV . . .
Library Lovers Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay
On Borrowed Time #5Now that Lindsay has put down roots in Briar Creek, she's eager for Christmas when her whole family will be joining her for the first time in years. When her beloved brother Jack shows up unexpectedly early, Lindsay is eager to show him off to her friends. However, Jack doesn't want anyone to know he's there and just wants to lie low. Lindsay is willing to cover up his arrival but when she returns to check on Jack, he has disappeared and there's a dead body on the floor! Lindsay knows Jack would never kill anyone but was it a matter of being in the wrong place at the right time or was Jack right in his suspicions that someone was following him? Lindsay is determined to protect her brother at all costs and when he's kidnapped by an exotic beauty, Lindsay sets out on a daring adventure that will require all her brain power and lots of luck.
This plot is completely ridiculous! Jack is an economist, not an international spy, yet this adventure reads like something about of an adventure story like James Bond. The plot didn't make much sense, practically speaking. It was just so over-the-top that I didn't enjoy it. The bad-guy catching moment was even more ridiculous than the scenario and Lindsay could have gotten them all killed. It doesn't take a librarian or cyber crimes expert to search for an IP address... anyone can do it. Also, anyone can mask their IP- not just criminals and I would think Jack would have done that in the first place if he was worried about trouble following him.
I could have done without the love triangle but I was so happy Sully opened up to Lindsay about his past. He's so sensitive though he tries to be a tough guy. I am team Sully all the way and think Lindsay should just accept him as he is and get back together. I find Robbie a little too false to be enjoyable. He's charming but insincere. I don't see him in a serious relationship with anyone, let alone Lindsay. However, he could get her to lighten up a bit. She's a little intense. The Crafternoon ladies are largely absent from the plot and I missed them. I love Nancy and her cookies and Beth's creativity. Heathcliff is quickly becoming one of my favorite literary hounds even if he isn't a Scottish Terrier like the book cover showed.
The new characters in this book either villains or good guys and Lindsay isn't sure which is which. The bad guys were soooo stereotypical. I can't even describe any of them because it would spoil the plot and they're so two-dimensional anyway. I was appalled at what they were doing but perplexed as to why they were going after Jack. I guess I need to read the ending again.
I look forward to Lindsay's next great adventure.
The Woman in White and The Secret Garden
When Lindsay goes to deliver a crate of books to local hermit Stewart Rosen, who lives on one of the islands with his brother Peter, she is shocked to discover Peter dead, sitting in his wheelchair with a bullet in his chest. The house is booby trapped and dangerous. Who could have killed Peter? Stewart is missing and Lindsay feels compelled to find him. With Robbie gone off to New York, Lindsay must rely on Sully for help which complicates their already complicated relationship! Meanwhile, Ben is in agony because her storytime numbers have dipped to an all time low. Her search for answers leads to an unexpected discovery.
This story is back on target with the usual sort of plot. I always enjoy the library and all the crazy things Lindsay has to deal with. The opening scene is laugh out loud funny- unless you've been there with your own toddler. Ben's drama seems kind of inconsequential at first and her discovery and what follows is a little too nice and convenient. She deserved a bit more of a plot but I'm happy with the way things are going for her. As always, the Crafternoon ladies are excellent, in their loving and overprotective ways. It's nice for Lindsay to have that community.
The mystery kept me guessing and reading late into the night. I wasn't surprised at the person that instigated the conflict but the reveal was shocking. The booby trapped house was ingenious and I don't know how the author came up with it. I don't watch Hoarders so I don't know if that served as inspiration. My heart was beating wildly as Lindsay navigated through the house more than once, but especially towards the end. I like that the story doesn't follow the usual cozy mystery pattern with the heroine going off on her own and nearly getting killed before she's rescued. Sully has Lindsay's back and her other friends are there for her as well.
I can't tell you about the new characters because they are central to the plot. There are the two Rosen brothers - recluses and junk collectors whose family has been on their island forever. They seem a little crazy and paranoid to me but anyone who loves to read is OK in my book. There is one woman, Evelyn Dewhurst, who is trying to buy all the islands to preserve them. Her true intentions are unknown and she is not a likeable character. There are also two antique collectors from Illinois claiming that Peter contacted them about selling some things. I was highly suspicious of them from the start, as Lindsay was. Lindsay again uses library resources to check them out and research the Rosens. She's highly intelligent and has good instincts but there hasn't been much character growth. Sully is growing and learning to communicate. His development has been excellent so far. I loved how Lindsay and Sully's relationship progressed and she finally told him how she feels. It ended kind of abruptly though so I need to know what happens! Ms. Cole's character development really takes a leap forward here and I actually liked seeing another side of her. It makes her more than the stereotypical "old school" librarian.
This book includes a bonus short story titled An Unlikely Meeting. Lindsay is out of patience waiting for an interview with a potential new circulation clerk, Paula Tanner, when Charlie rushes in to inform Lindsay Heathcliff has run away! I can relate to Lindsay's panic over her missing furchild. I was really worried right along with her and surprised at what happened. It wasn't what Lindsay - or I- expected. The story sets up an introduction to a new character who will likely appear in future books. I really liked the story because I'm an animal lover as well as a librarian.
Better Late Than Never #7
When Briar Creek Public Library holds it's first ever Amnesty day, forgiving fines, Lindsey and her staff are surprised to see a book returned after 20 years. When Ms. Cole checks to see who checked the book out, she reacts strangely. The book was checked out to Candice Whitley, a high school English teacher who was murdered the very day she checked out the book. Lindsey, being a "buttinski" is determined to figure out the connection between the book and the killer. If the book was returned now, does that mean the killer is still among them? Meanwhile, Lindsey's relationship with Sully is heating up, but she's afraid to tell him how she really feels in case he cuts and runs. Robbie would be happy with that but Lindsey knows her feelings for Sully are true.
This is a great entry in the series. I loved the library geekery because I went to library school (though I still had no idea what they were talking about) but I don't think that would appeal to the average reader. The story has a couple of twists-one I figured out and one I didn't. The one I didn't was so shocking and horrible. The romance is sizzling in this one, while still being clean. (Characters are in bed together sleeping). There are a couple of secondary romances developing, one a potential same sex relationship. It's so cute and nerdy and sweet! The other I saw coming and I'm interested to see if/how it plays out.
Lindsey is still an annoying nosey parker. She loves her library but she doesn't spend much time there! She's too busy investigating and of course she just happens to stumble upon the clues. It bothered me that she waltzed into a high school without signing in at the office and then wandered around to snoop. It also bothered me that she was eager to look at boxes of school archives, apparently not giving a care about student privacy. If it was in the newspaper or yearbook, she can find that elsewhere. It took her forever to figure out the surprise I figured out as soon as the revealing clue was dropped. I was also really bothered by her attitude towards Sully's macho behavior. She's not my favorite of McKinlay's sleuths but I find it funny Lindsey is a fan of a series of books about cupcake bakers in Scottsdale, Az. who solve murders! (Mel is my favorite McKinlay sleuth so Lindsey has good taste in books).
I was not a fan of Sully in this book. I was rooting for him but he decided to go all macho caveman on Lindsey and I hate that. Of course he's just sooo sexy Lindsey doesn't mind and she turns Austen heroine swoony. Austen's heroines would never let a man speak to them as Sully speaks to Lindsey (except maybe Fanny Price, who would love it). Sorry Sully but possessive, macho, manly behavior is a deal breaker with me. Neither do I like the charming Robbie. He's insincere and always joking. Lindsey thinks his emotions are transparent but I don't see him that way.
We have some new characters here. Beth takes a back seat to newcomer Paula. She was introduced in An Unlikely Meeting (Book 6.5 at the end of book 6). She's unconventional for a librarian but librarians come in all types these days. Paula is an animal lover, which is awesome! A librarian and animal lover, she gets my vote for best new character. She seems like a good fit for the library and a potentially good friend for Lindsey. There's also Hannah, a high school librarian. She, too, is unconventional but I bet high school kids would love her. She seems dedicated to helping high school kids and literacy. I liked her a lot. Newcomer to town, Brian Kelly, a hipster and sci-fi/dystopian book lover. He's a little awkward and hard to get to know for the little bit he's in the story. I wondered if he had feelings for Lindsey- I'll let you read the book to find out. Then there is Judy, the best friend of the murder victim. She left town years ago and has returned to care for an ill relative. She seems distraught at the idea of reopening the investigation but is she sincere? I thought she was but maybe she wasn't. She's a little cold, obviously, not knowing Lindsey well.
I've never read The Catcher in the Rye but I might have to after this book. I look forward to seeing what Lindsey and the Crafternoons cook and read next. I want to make Hannah's chai tea!