How Can I Help You
by Laura Sims
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Pub Date 18 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 18 Jul 2023
PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons
From the author of Looker comes this “compulsive and unforgettable novel” (Mona Awad) of razor-sharp suspense about two local librarians whose lives become dangerously intertwined.
No one knows Margo’s real name. Her colleagues and patrons at a small town public library only know her middle-aged normalcy, congeniality, and charm. They have no reason to suspect that she is, in fact, a former nurse with a trail of countless premature deaths in her wake. She has turned a new page, so to speak, and the library is her sanctuary, a place to quell old urges.
That is, at least, until Patricia, a recent graduate and failed novelist, joins the library staff. Patricia quickly notices Margo’s subtly sinister edge, and watches her carefully. When a patron’s death in the library bathroom gives her a hint of Margo’s mysterious past, Patricia can’t resist digging deeper—even as this new fixation becomes all-consuming.
Taut and compelling, How Can I Help You explores the dark side of human nature and the dangerous pull of artistic obsession as these “transfixing dual female narrators” (Kimberly McCreight) hurtle toward a stunning climax.
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Average rating from 198 members
I loved this book! The unreliable dual narrators held me in their thrall. I thought about this book long after I finished it.
A murderous librarian is a good reminder that libraries are simply not the safe places many folks take for granted. Margo, who has a long past as a sketchy person is hired as a circulation clerk in a small town library without any investigation into her past--fortunately not often the case. Within weeks after taking the job, she is the most popular member of the library staff, always cheerful, always helpful. But about the time Patricia is hired, a younger professionally trained reference librarian, Margo has been on the job for two years and cracks are beginning to show. A librarian myself, I can promise that many of us on the front line of customer service have longed to let go and manage bothersome folks the way Margo sometimes does. Well, up to a point, as I don't think any of us have taken final steps to rid the library of nuisances. Patricia, who has been watching Margo closely, seems more interested in using her in a novel than putting a stop to events. With strong character development, accurate setting, and well paced plot, I absolutely loved this short thriller.
How Can I Help You by Laura Sims was absolutely jaw-dropping! A thriller involving two librarians was right up my ally to begin with. The author kept me guessing but always seemed to be one step ahead. A must read for sure!
I love this twisty Patricia Highsmith inspired novel and you will too! Margo has a peaceful life in her librarian job - assisting the needy and somewhat annoying citizens of the small town. As long as she holds it together, no one will guess where she is from or what her last job entailed. All is well until a new librarian is hired and Margo isn't sure if she is a friend or foe. Get deep inside the minds of your local librarians or just your every day sociopaths (!) If you love a cat and mouse story, a sizzling thriller, or just want to sample the life of a zany librarian, How Can I Help You is for you!#Penguin
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Corinne Delporte, illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated by Carine Laforest