Sunday, May 6, 2018

REVIEW: Due or Die (book) by Jenn McKinlay

Due or Die is the second book in McKinlay's Library Lovers Mysteries series.


This book takes place only three months after the last one - Briar Creek Library seems to attract murders. At any rate, this time around Lindsey's concern is the Friends of the Library. When they voted for their next president, they overwhelmingly opted to go with Carrie Rushton over their current president, Bill Sint. Lindsey silently approves of the change, but there's no denying that Bill's upset.

Unfortunately, not long after the vote Carrie's husband Markus is murdered in their home. Carrie doesn't have the best alibi, and Markus was known to be difficult to put up with. Did Carrie kill him so that she could finally be free of him? Lindsey's gut says no, and there's certainly no shortage of people who disliked Markus. A possibility that worries her: that Marjorie Bilson, a woman obsessed with Bill Sint, killed Markus as a way of getting back at Carrie and forcing the Friends to make Bill their president again. Unfortunately, Marjorie seems to blame Lindsey for Bill being voted out at least as much as she blames Carrie.

As in the first book, the library aspects were fairly decent, although I had more questions about some of the background info. The timeline seemed to be a little tight, considering that Beth, Lindsey's friend since library school, was specifically stated to be 32 in this book (Lindsey is 35). Beth and Lindsey met while getting their library science degrees, approximately 10 years ago, which I think just barely works out. Then I wondered about Lindsey, who lost her archivist job due to budget cuts and a "last hired, first fired" policy, although I'm pretty sure she'd been working for Yale for at least 8 years. Surely there were lots of other people who'd be considered newer hires than her?

All of which is nitpicky, I know, but I can't help thinking about these things. This book also revealed that Lindsey was hired as Briar Creek Library's director even though she had zero supervisory experience, but this bugged me less than the other stuff I wondered about. Small libraries in small towns get fewer applicants, and Lindsey could believably have been the best applicant the library got.

The mystery aspect wasn't quite as good in this book as it was in the first. Lindsey's few run-ins with Marjorie made my skin crawl, but she seemed to be too obvious a suspect. The killer's motives ended up being more of a surprise than their identity, although I did guess parts of the motive early enough to worry about something Lindsey decided to do near the end of the book.

Although the mystery didn't work as well for me this time around, I really liked the developments in Lindsey's personal life. First, she acquired Heathcliff, a 5-month-old Pitbull/Schnauzer mix. Someone left him in the library's book drop, and she decided to foster him while trying to find him a home, which inevitably turned into a desire to keep him.

Second, there were several nice moments in the developing romance between Sully and Lindsey, despite the slight love triangle involving Lindsey, Sully, and Edmund Sint. I'm a fan of quietly dependable love interests, and Sully definitely fits the bill.

  •  "The Briar Creek Guide to Crafternoons"
  • Reader's guide for Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 
  • Lindsey's crochet scarf pattern
  • Recipe for Nancy's peanut butter cookies - I was tempted to try making these, but I tend to suck at baking cookies and didn't relish the idea of dealing with a recipe involving peanut butter.
  • Recipe for Nancy's peanut butter dog biscuits

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