Tag Archives: Detective and mystery stories

Jenn McKinlay, On Borrowed Time

(2015-01-17 005)Title: On Borrowed Time

Author: Jenn McKinlay

Series: A Library Lover’s Mystery, book 5

Publication Information: New York: Berkeley Prime Crime, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-425-26073-9

Library of Congress Classification: PS3556.R45

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Norris, Lindsay (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Briar Creek (Conn. :  Fictitious place)—Fiction
Christmas—Fiction
Library directors—Fiction
Public libraries—Fiction
Murder—Investigation—Fiction
Kidnapping–Fiction
Man-woman relationships–Fiction

This is the fifth book in A Library Lover’s Mystery series.

Lindsay Norris is the public library director of Briar Creek, Connecticut, a small New England town. She lives in an apartment with her dog, Heathcliff, and is part of a love triangle with local taxi boat captain, Mike Sullivan, and recently arrived (and married) British actor, Robbie Vine.

The town is preparing for Christmas. The library is decorated, and we get to meet the locals as the book progresses. Beth, the children’s librarian, is one of Lindsay’s best friends. Unfortunately, Beth also has a thing for Lindsay’s brother, Jack. Jack is an economist; he travels the world having one adventure (or misadventure, depending on your point of view) after another as he helps companies across the globe.

Jack sneaks into the library through and open window and Lindsay discovers him. Of course Jack doesn’t come right out and tell her that he’s in trouble. That would be too easy. He promises to tell her everything after he takes a nap. Lindsay was going to use the room for her library book club, but Jack’s presence causes her to move the meeting to another room.

Lindsay later finds the body of someone she doesn’t know in the room, and Jack is now missing. She does not tell the police the entire story of what happened, and she ends up getting Mike and–to a lesser extent–Robbie involved in the case. Mike and Lindsay witness Jack’s abduction by speedboat. Then Lindsay is threatened not to tell the police or her brother would be killed.

Beth is an interesting character. As a librarian responsible for teenage programming, she gets dressed up in a steampunk outfit to lead a teenage group in a get-together at the local restaurant. She’ a bit eclectic, and these are the types of characters that I like. To an extent she marches to her own drum and doesn’t care what others think. The book includes book club members’ recipes, one of which is Beth’s.

The love triangle isn’t something that I can relate to, since I’ve never been in one. Mike and Robbie do compete for Lindsay’s attention, and try to one-up each other. Robbie is only married for convenience and promises to divorce his wife.

It’s Christmas time and the library is decorated, but there really isn’t a feel for the holiday. The only time that Christmas comes into the picture is when Lindsay debates on whether or not to tell her parents what happened to Jack; the family is supposed to get together for the holiday.

As for Jack, eh. He’s just another pretty boy. It’s stretching reality to believe that archaeologists could live the life of Indiana Jones let alone economists. I sympathize with poor Beth, who’s bound to get burned in one of the upcoming novels.

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A. Van Kraft, Sleepy Hollow: the Secret Life and Legend of Ichabod Crane

(2014-06-21 003)Title: Sleepy Hollow: the Secret Life and Legend of Ichabod Crane

Author: A. Van Kraft

Publication Information: A Studio Book, c2013. 1st ed.

ISBN: 978-0-615-81934-1

Library of Congress Classification: PS3611.R238

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Stevens, Andrew (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Crane, Ichabod (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Male teachers—New York (State)—Sleepy Hollow—Fiction
Intelligence officers—New York (State)—Sleepy Hollow—Fiction
Sleepy Hollow (N.Y.)—Fiction
New York (State)—History—Fiction

This book is a clever twist on Irving’s Legend.

Ichabod Crane is not what he seems. This is an alias for Andrew Stevens, a New York State agent sent to Sleepy Hollow by the Inspector General to take an informal census and to study the population. He is undercover and assumes the position of schoolmaster while he carries out his mission. What Stevens discovers shocks and horrifies him.

The year is 1788. George Washington has yet to take the oath of office as the first president of the United States–which takes place in 1789. The country is still governed by the Articles of Confederation. The United States is in a shambles, as Stevens says, and is just beginning to pull itself together after the Revolutionary War and the weak organization under the Articles.

Brom Bones, Katerina Van Tassel, Baltus Van Tassel, they are all here. Even the Headless Horseman makes an appearance, but the supernatural does not play any real role in the book. There are supernatural occurrences that happen, but they are explained away by Brom. The crimes taking place in Sleepy Hollow are all too real, too common and horrifying, and when Stevens discovers what is going on, he must flee or lose his life. Without the help of Katerina and Brom, he would die.

I liked this book. The reveal of what’s going on is surprising, and the punishment inflicted by the Sleepy Hollow people on one of their own is gruesome, but the person got his just desserts. There’s also references to Irving’s story throughout that contrasts with what Stevens is experiencing.