Cover Image: How Can I Help You

How Can I Help You

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Member Reviews

A book lover’s dream, How Can I Help You (July 18, Putnam), is a taut, high-stakes thriller set in a library. None of Margo’s colleagues or patrons at the library know her real name or that she spent years as a murderous nurse who killed her patients. But Patricia, her new co-worker, senses Margo is hiding something. After a patron is found dead in the library’s bathroom, Patricia becomes obsessed with finding—and exposing—her colleague’s secret, a fixation that culminates in a shocking climax.
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This book didn't grab me, which I think says more about me than the book.  I just wasn't in the mood for this one!  I am glad that I read enough / skimmed the entire book to able to reccommend it to library patrons, use it in RA posts, or include in booklists.

I'm not sharing my review on GoodReads because I think this was me, not the author.  Wrong book at the wrong time!  The premise ticks ALL my boxes, so I will definitely pick this up again when I'm in the right frame of mind.
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One of my favorite books of the year to date - I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. Laura Sims is someone I will continue to keep an eye out for.
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Terrific novel of suspense of two library employees who become entangled in the deadly secret of one.  Wonderful character studies.
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Quietly disturbing and eerie, with appeal for those who love books and those who enjoy psychological thrillers. Not all library staff members are as quiet and trustworthy as one might think..
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This is a super twisty thriller with the bonus of being set in the library world!  How well do you really know your co-workers?!?
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This one wasn’t a winner for me. The concept hooked me right away but it was soooo slow. I feel like the action didn’t really start until past the 50% mark. If the rest of the book had been like the last 25%, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. There were opportunities for certain plot points to be explored way more but it did have a great twist ending!
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“I feel unstoppered…” 
Two librarians: One with a killer secret and the other with a notebook, a pen and a dream. 

There's so many layers to this one! It's a slow burn. The cover reflects the insides. It's a dual character study; how one person can become fascinated with something or someone bad, and how the other is fascinated with actually doing bad things and hurting others in the vein of calling it caregiving. When do those lines blur? To me, the story is a fixation on structure and how we sometimes find ourselves through other people's lives... or other people's deaths. How Can I Help You is like reading two sides of the same person. It's a weird one! I loved it.
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How Can I Help You is an unsettling, unique, and dark story. I had a great time reading and wondering where the tale was headed. I always love a villain POV. I'd categorize this as literary horror rather than a thriller.
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Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book as an ARC. This thriller is the kind of novel that keeps you up at night and makes you want to get out of work early to go home and read it. At least it was for me! The novel centers on two women: Margo/Jane and Patricia. Margo is our antagonist, a twisted woman who was a nurse killing her patients. When she is forced to flee the hospital, she winds up in Carlyle working at the library. When we meet her, she has been there two years, living a new life as "Margo. But soon her old desires and habits start coming back. Enter Patricia, an aspiring author struggling with rejection and in a failing relationship. She moves from Chicago to Carlyle to start a job as a research librarian in the same library as Margo. 
I really liked this novel. I enjoy thrilling twisted stories, and this one delivered.
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This is a slow burn of a character study, about two librarians who are much more than they first seem. I kind of had the twisty ending figured out, but it was still pretty good!
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Who knew a library could be so thrilling? This was a quick, fun read that I couldn't put down. I like how the story was told through different points of view. Definitely recommend!
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As a librarian, my interest was dialed up by the behind the scenes perspective of How Can I Help You by author/librarian Laura Sims.  There was an abundance of cynicism by nearly all of the characters, which seemed heavy handed and uneven, a difficult equation to create enough believability and balance for a psychological thriller to fully function.  Former nurse, serial killer, and library worker Margo Finch is content being the overly helpful sergeant at arms at her small town library, a domain she serves both whole-heartedly and inflexibly. 

This all changes when the new reference librarian and unsuccessful author, Patricia Delmarco, is hired.  They connect, kind of.  Both Margo and Patricia are alternately suspicious of and drawn to each other, manifesting in Margo becoming both more erratic and focused, and Patricia experiencing an energetic rebirth of her writing life with an alluring new subject, Margo.  The body count, past and present and alternating POVs of Margo and Patricia are structured to propel the plot forward, though their interiority can be both predictable and limiting. Other characters show promise and are initially interesting but are never filled in.  Still, readers who like an easy read featuring a slow steady build up of suspense may find this appealing.
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A strong four and a half stars.

What happens when a small town library's staff contains a reforming murderer and a defeated writer? If you throw in a little Shirley Jackson, things are going to get uncomfortably weird quickly.

Speaking as a librarian, fellow librarian Laura Sims is deft at portraying the quirky and sometimes frustrating patrons that keep us on our toes. She is also incredibly adept at creating obsessed characters that go beyond accepted ethical restraints and developing their justifications for their choices. 

I'm afraid to say much for fear of giving things away. Suffice it to say that book began by making me pleasantly uncomfortable and left me deliciously on edge. Shirley Jackson would be proud.

Thanks to NetGalley and Putnam for making an advance copy of this title available for an honest review.
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This book took me on a wild ride and man was it wild! We follow Margo who has assumed a new identity as a librarian. She is helpful, charming, and hiding a sinister secret. One day the library hires Patricia and she soon notices Margo is so much more than she claims.

The writing was perfection. I was hangin on every word. The suspense was phenomenal. At no time did I know where this story was going to do. It’s creepy in the very best way. There were so many times I audibly based and laughed out loud.

This is a fast paced, psychological thriller that will keep you page turning well into the night. Seriously, this was so much fun, so intriguing, and so well written. Easy 5 stars for me
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Holy cow! I started this book in the morning and it was so hard to put down that I was done the same night. The relationship between the two librarians was intriguing and filled with suspense. The ending was perfect. This is a must read!
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This was just portrayed as a different book than it was. I was interested in this because I thought it would be a dicy thriller, but what it really was was a kinky book about threesomes. The very last chunk of the book made a turn towards a more thrillery direction, but overall this book just gives off like almost erotica vibes, which is not the way it’s being advertised.

I think a lot of people will dislike it bc a lot of people are uncomfortable with topics that indulge cheating, but for me personally that wasn’t what put me off as much as the fact that I just wasn’t expecting it & was in the mood for something else. The writing was decent but not the best, and while I wasn’t exactly bored, I was happy when it was over so 3 stars is a generous rating.
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I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.

There are some things I really liked about this one! As a public librarian, I think Sims nailed a lot about working in a public library. I also think she has a clear style that works well with psychological thriller.  For me, there was a little too much internal monologue in both POVs. Often the two narrators relate the same interaction/incident. In these retellings, I would have liked a clearer sense of the vastly different filters human perceptions move through, resulting in a more nuanced study of each distinct personality.
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I expected this book to be more entertaining. Nothing sounds more fun to a librarian than a book about a librarian with a deep, dark secret. However, this missed the mark. The plot was boring, the characters were bland, and the climax wasn't climatic at all. This was a let down, which was sad.
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Margo is a librarian, but in her previous life, she was Jane, an ICU nurse, where several questionable untimely deaths occurred. Things were going well in the library for Margo until Patrica was hired as the reference librarian. The story is told by alternating between Margo's and Patricia's viewpoints. I found this book hard to get into at first, but it is an excellent thriller. Thanks to author Laura Sims, publisher PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, and NetGalley.  I received a complimentary copy of this ebook. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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