Read and Gone – Allison Brook

“I glanced around my cottage at the thirty or so guests laughing and chatting, and grinned.”

It’s only been a few months, book-time, since the events of Death Overdue. Carrie is settling into all aspects of her life: moving back to her childhood town, finding a perfect new home, library job, cat ownership, new boyfriend, talking to the odd ghost, and solving a few murders.

What her new domestic bliss does not need is a reappearance from her absentee, jewel-thief father. Jim Singleton arrives on Carrie’s birthday, but his visit has more to do with some missing loot… trouble is, he’s not the only one keen to get his hands on it, and soon the bodies are piling up…

The Haunted Library wasn’t my favourite cosy mystery series of last year, but picking up this second volume felt like it was written for me: it starts with a big birthday (I’ve just celebrated one) and house warming (which I’m looking forward to hosting!), and the main character has recently found a job that fits her, after many years of being an outsider. I’m even considering going the other way with her fashion choices, and dying my hair purple…!

However, similarities end there, and my camaraderie with Carrie slipped massively when she started throwing histrionics at the slightest provocation. She storms out on her boyfriend more times than I counted, after jumping to conclusions and very little chat. It got a bit annoying. I could forgive the plot-driving daft choices (oh yes, of course go chasing a known murderer on your own, you librarian!) but the chick-lit relationship woes (with boyfriend or with father) wasn’t really for me.

The mystery element is okay, not the strongest but at least logical enough. And yes, I guessed the baddy ahead of time! Alas, characters are somewhat two-dimensional, serving plot or stereotype rather than feeling rounded. Ymmv.

I’m not really sure about this one, overall. It requires a lot of foreknowledge from the previous book, but uses it as brief background. The library ghost, for instance, feels crammed in with no real purpose, just out of necessary for the series title. And the amount of time spent writing about the cat feels a bit out of proportion.

That said, I was in the mood for an untaxing read, and this suited that perfectly.

NetGalley eARC: 320 pages / 38 chapters
First published: 2018
Series: Haunted Library book 2
Read from 16th-18th September 2018

My rating: 5/10

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