Cover Image: Death Overdue

Death Overdue

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Member Reviews

Carrie Singleton had returned to Clover Ridge, Connecticut to live with her aunt and uncle for a while but she is just about to move on when she’s given the opportunity to become the head of programs and events at the local library. When offered the job Carrie is almost ready to turn it down when she hears a strange voice telling her to think on it. Carrie finds though the voice convincing her to stay is not her conscience but a friendly ghost of a former employee that helps Carrie in her new position. During Carries first event the main speaker, a retired detective, dies during a discussion of a past murder. Carries first event ends in homicide.

This is a wonderful first book of this series and I look forward to reading more about Carrie in the future!!

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It took me awhile to start it. Got a little into it and wasn't loving it. SO glad I kept reading it. I really liked it. Once the main character dyed her hair and got with the grown up clothes, I really started to enjoy it. It was hard to put down and kept me guessing. I read many cozy mystery series throughout the year. This is clearly one I'm very much looking forward to the next one. I liked the author kept the ghost aspect to a minimum and didn't go overboard trying to explain it and neither did the character. She didn't give it all that much thought. That was a nice change from other ghost cozy mysteries.

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I found Death Overdue to be fun and entertaining. It was nice to see the paranormal aspect added to the cozy mystery. Carrie Singleton was a good main character and the storyline kept me interested all the way through. I'll be looking forward to more of this series.

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This falls squarely into the paranormal cozy category, so if suspending disbelief is not for you, I'd look elsewhere. Carrie Singleton is ably assisted by a former (dead) librarian at her new job in Clover Ridge, picking apart clues from an intertwined cold case murder and present day murder.

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Death Overdue by Allison Brook (AKA Marilyn Levinson)
Book #1: A Haunted Library Mystery
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 2½/5 stars

I’ve been mulling over this review for more than 24 hours and I still can’t quite come to decision on it’s overall likeability. Y’all know that means a list of likes and dislikes is coming up 😊

Likes: The minor characters made the largest impact in this read. Evelyn, the ghost librarian is something of a firecracker and full of town gossip. It’s Evelyn who helps Carrie settle into her new job, and Evelyn who helps Carrie understand the interpersonal dynamics of the library and Clover Ridge. Carrie’s aunt and uncle, Harriet and Bosco are two other favorites among the minor characters. Both Harriet and Bosco are two of the kindest, most caring people in all of Clover Ridge. They have spent their lives looking after Carrie, and now that she is a permanent resident, their objectives haven’t much changed. The final of the minor characters to make a splash is Carrie’s mysterious and totally sexy landlord, Dylan. Dylan is a tremendously wealthy an insurance investigator whose job often takes him away from home. From the moment he enters Carrie’s life, he is a person of interest and one who will be exciting to watch evolve.

The plot is also a solid part of this read and a like for me. There’s a lot going on from a cold case murder, to a new murder, to affairs and long hidden secrets and each thing is dealt with clearly and effectively throughout. With so much going on, things could have easily become muddled and confusing, but the author does a fine job of keeping everything clear and engaging. Every time Carrie hits a wall in her investigation, Evelyn the ghost comes to the rescue with some backstory or a new line of investigation that keeps things moving along.

Dislike: I only have one dislike for this read, but it is significant enough to drop my overall star rating to a mere 2½!! The major characters in this read really do suck!! The entire series is meant to revolve around Carrie Singleton and her new, adult life in Clover Ridge. The trouble with Carrie is how weak she is as a main character. In fact, I was probably a quarter of the way through the book before I could even remember Carrie’s name and why she is important to the read. In addition, some of the minor characters (see above) are so much stronger, they tended to overshadow Carrie and carry the story.

The other major characters specific to this read are the surviving family members of the original murder victim. The older son, Ryan is a complete a**hole with some serious and scary anger management issues, the younger son, Jared, is an insecure child in a man’s body, and the boys’ father, Bryce is just a sad and somewhat laughable character. The only person I felt any sort of sympathy for in this whole family is the dead woman and as the story unfolds, you discover she wasn’t precisely likeable either.

The Bottom Line: I have long told you, dear reader, of my love of strong, well-developed characters. I truly believe strong characters can carry a weak plot and really make a book far more enjoyable. The flip side of this situation is weak or disagreeable characters, such as those found in Death Overdue, ruining an otherwise good story. More than once, I considered DNFing this book, but then a minor character or a fun new plot twist would step in and keep me turning the pages. I finished this book, but can’t say it will ever be a recommended read from me. In fact, I am not even sure the strong cast of minor characters will even be enough to entice me into reading book two.

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This book, Death Overdue, is the first in a new series of books by "Allison Brooks". When Carrie Singleton is hired at the local libraries as the person who ran programs and events. Along with this comes the ghost of the library! Soon 2 murders occur at the library that keeps Carrie busy for the storyline. The book is very well-written, with great characters that are very great! Ii loved this book and can't wait for the next one. Great beginning!

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Carrie returns to her childhood hometown to work in the library. Once she is promoted to the librarian in charge of Programs and Events, she starts seeing the ghost of Evelyn, a librarian who passed away. When the police officer who investigated the murder of a librarian is killed during a presentation at the library, Carrie takes it upon herself to try and solve the crime.

I enjoyed the story and the characters. There were many suspects so it was kind of a surprise to see who the murderer was.

I look forward to more books in this series.

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Carrie Singleton is thinking of leaving Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she is offered a job as the head of programs and events at the local library. Carrie's first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he can solve the unsolved killing of Laura Foster, who was bludgeoned to death 15 years ago. But Buckley suddenly keels over and dies during the presentation. The coroner concludes Buckley was deliberately poisoned. Driven by guilt, Carrie is determined to find his killer. She is convinced the killer is the same person responsible for Laura's murder. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable library ghost (Evelyn Havers) to help her with clues and suspects, as well as one of Laura's sons (Jared) who is eager to get to the truth.

This book has a spunky heroine, a charming cozy town setting and is a well-written mystery.

I received an eARC via Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.

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I really enjoyed the first installment of this me series. I love that the main character is a librarian, as I am a librarian as well. That personal connection drew me into the story even more. Aunt Harriet and Uncle Bosco are lovely additions to this story and I can't wait to see what happens between Carrie and Dylan.

One thing that was slightly confusing to me was the presence of Evelyn, the ghost in the library. I would have liked a little more of a backstory with her and why Carrie and her little cousin, Tacey are the only ones that can see her. Also, why can't she leave the library and how is she always in different clothes? I'm hoping this will be fleshed out in the books to come.

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This was a fun cozy mystery with some paranormal elements. After constantly moving and changing jobs, Carrie is offered a programming job in her hometown library. She decides to take the job and meets the library ghost. A murder occurs at one of her first programs, and she decides that she must find out who killed her presenter. The characters were fun to read about. I have high hopes this author will get better the more she writes.

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I would like to thank Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, this is a new series and - for me - a new author. These can be rather hit and miss for me but guess what? It was a hit! Now don’t get too eye rolling about how I seem to say that about everything, there are a few quibbles I am going to make about ‘Death Overdue’. Plus, you guys only see the reviews on the books I actually FINISH! Unless I feel it is so terribly bad that the world needs to be warned, I don’t air my “Did Not Finish” dirty laundry. That is between me and the author.

But back to ‘Death Overdue’. It starts a little shaky because of how flighty the main character is. Add to that the amount of info being crammed into the first few chapters to make the book enticing enough to read and… well, the start was a little rushed and shaky. But I put that down to “first of the series jitters” and didn’t let it stop me from reading on and enjoying the story.

The characters were well written, easy to tell apart, not simply cardboard cut outs of “small town America” and the story became very well-paced after that shaky start.

My biggest quibble is the ghost… I mean, the whole idea of a helpful sidekick ghost isn’t new and can be done quite well - see Angie Fox’s ‘Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries’ - but I found the ghost librarian in ‘Death Overdue’ rather redundant and pointless as a ghost. The character could have easily been alive and a snoopy old lady and the plot would not have been affected in anyway.

Perhaps in the next book there will be more supernatural happenings with this character to help justify it being a ghost… but for me, it was rather a letdown to an otherwise highly enjoyable story. Sort of like “hey, let’s cover the supernatural mystery genre while writing and say she’s a ghost!” and then not go anywhere truly that ghostly with her.

But please, please, PLEASE don’t think me providing this constructive criticism is me bagging the book. As I said, I really enjoyed it for the rest and found it an excellent first book of a cosy/ mystery series. Just, right now, I don’t see the need for a ghost. Maybe it’s just me?

But, other than that, I was captured quickly by the tale, wanted to learn more and, despite figuring it out (as usual), enjoyed the ride it took to have my suspicions confirmed. A really fun and entertaining read with the right balance of padding, red herrings, intrigue, mystery and romance.

Formatting and usual boring appearance side of things - it was an ARC, there were hiccups but the general layout and the like was fine… Can you tell I wasn’t really that upset with the layout to see a need to actually mention it out of more than just habit? ;-)

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Look, there were some person - MINOR - issues with the book but I really enjoyed it overall. It is also the first in a series that looks like a promising and highly entertaining cosy crime/ mystery series… so yes, yes I would recommend it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Actually I think I would. I really did like it that much. It skips past the “library book” level of knowing it, straight into being something I would own. I’ve also started following Ms Brook on Amazon just so I can find out when the next book in the series comes out. I liked it that much, despite my issues with the ghost. :-D

In summary: A well written, well-paced first book in a potentially good new series. A little shaky at the start, but overall a great read.

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As a previous librarian, I was drawn to the title. As a reader I stayed for the quality of the story. It was wonderful, well written and full of cozy charm. I am eager to read the next in the series already .

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What a charming supernatural mystery with a cast of characters that you will instantly love! This is the first book in a brand new mystery series and I’m already hooked on this series. Carrie is a great heroine and I enjoyed watching her navigate her way through her new position at the library while dealing with the ghost of a woman who used to work at the library. The mystery was well-written and fun and I couldn’t get enough of this mystery. Looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Read and Gone to see what happens next for Carrie and the gang.

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Carrie Singleton is like a rolling stone. She’s never in one place very long, and as a result doesn’t have any close friends. She returns to Clover Ridge, Connecticut, a place she use to spend her summers as a child at the request of her aunt and uncle. But after being in town and working at the local library for five months, she’s ready to move on. To her surprise, she’s offered the job of Head of Programs and Events. When she accepts the job, she gets more than she bargained for.

Carrie’s first big event is a presentation put on by former police detective Al Buckley. Fifteen years ago, Al was the detective in charge of the investigation into the murder of Laura Foster. Laura was a well-known and beloved library aide who was killed in her home. After spending so much time at the bottom of the bottle and possibly missing clues, Al is sure he now knows who killed Laura. With Laura’s family and friends in attendance for the presentation, Al kills over and dies less than ten minutes in. Carrie feels responsible for Al’s death. If only she would have cancelled the program when Laura’s oldest son showed up upset. Now, she’s teaming up with Laura’s youngest son, Jared, to find out who killed Al and possibly Laura.

Allison has created likeable characters from Carrie herself to her aunt and uncle, to Carrie’s new landlord Dylan. She’s even added a ghost to help Carrie navigate her new job. Death Overdue was a story that I found very easy to lose myself in. Once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. The mystery was great. I loved the little curve thrown in that kept me guessing. I had no idea until the end who the killer was. I also loved the possibly of a romance for Carrie. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

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I was looking for seasonal reads and came across this first in series cozy mystery that includes a ghost and a librarian detective set during the Autumn in small town New England. It seemed a good fit and I willingly picked it up.

Overall, I found Death Overdue a moderately engaging book. I enjoyed the mystery, the settings and activities, and found the surrounding cast of characters pleasant.

After the introduction to the story and then the murder, I was conscious of the pace until nearly the end as the book meandered through Carrie’s work at the library, interactions with friendly as well as ‘mean girl’ library workers, family times with her cute uncle and aunt as well as the set up for not one, but two handsome guys interested in her.

It was interesting that there was a deep backstory for the main character, Carrie. I enjoyed the author taking her time to do this. Carrie had a tough childhood which has made her a drifter type and distant from her own family and everyone else. This lifestyle of hopping from job to job and place to place allows her to stay disengaged so she can avoid anyone learning her past or getting close. Death Overdue opens with her as the tenuous Prodigal come home to stay with her great aunt and uncle who talk her into sticking around for a while and taking a permanent job at the library.

The mystery was two-part. There is a recent murder that is tied to a past murder. I figured out the who and the why as soon as I had enough pieces though I must say that it was still a decently developed murder mystery plot with a colorful group of characters to suspect. There was a big climax scene that had me flipping pages quickly.

A few of her conclusions and actions made the heroine the iffy part for me. I was none too impressed over several things.

Carrie starts out on the outs with her boss and some others and tends to see it as their problem, but, she was bringing it on herself to a certain extent. For example, she can’t figure out that she’s in a professional job and resents being told to dress professionally by her boss. She doesn’t see her own standoffish ‘rebel’ goth girl attitude has led to her boss reluctant to trust her with the job.
Then later as the story progresses, she chooses to suppress evidence she finds just because, shocker, the police choose not to take a total stranger with little to do with the case and no experience with investigation into their confidence and this makes her mad.
She also chooses to get resentful when her friend shares what she finds with his family (and this is their mother who is the object of her investigation that she wants him to keep quiet about). Later, I was uncomfortable that, without permission, she has no problem reading through the dead woman’s journal. I felt she should have done one of two things- give it to the family or to the police, but not sit down and read what was really none of her business to keep or read without permission. I’ll give some allowance that she found the thing in a place that she legitimately had access to.
She manages to figure out early on that she is putting one of the men in the friend zone, but waits until much later and never tells him while going out over and over again with him. She gives him an abrupt brush off before dashing off to be with the other guy. Not cool.
Let’s not forget a few dumb decisions that get another person hurt and, on another occasion, nearly gets her and Jared killed.

So… yes, I struggled with the heroine, but also saw her grow a great deal so that she changed how she was at work and with being more sociable while acknowledging where she messes up. Seeing her acknowledge and change behaviors went a long way toward winning me back. I hope she does better as an amateur sleuth who can work with law enforcement and I’m glad that the potential love triangle bit was dealt with.

The seasonal element was light, but still a nice flavor in the background. Autumn activities, fall holidays, and a delightful library ghost who helps Carrie around the library and with the case.

I liked rather than loved this one. I definitely enjoyed the setting and several elements so I will continue on with the series. Cozy mystery fans who don’t mind a bit of the paranormal and enjoy a New England small town and library setting should pick this one up.

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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carrie Singleton never stays in one place too long but when she is offered a job coordinating the library’s programs and events she just can’t turn it down. Her first program features Al Buckley, a retired cop who is trying to solve the 15 year old murder of Laura Foster, a library aide. Before he can get to far into his presentation he falls to the floor, dead. The medical examiner rules his death a homicide by poison and the police have very few leads.

Carrie feels his death is partly her fault. Her boss had reservations about the program but Carrie pushed for it to go on as planned. Carrie is sure his death is connected to the library aide’s death all those years ago. Determined to find the killer and with a little help from her new library friend, who happens to be a ghost, she strives ahead with her own investigation. The closer she gets to the truth the closer she gets is to finding herself “checked out” permanently.

I really enjoyed this story. I liked Carrie and her aunt and uncle immediately. They are good people that try to see the best in everyone. Evelyn, the library ghost stole my heart. She appeared whenever Carrie needed her. I could picture her so clearly she felt as real to me as the living characters. We meet several of the library employees, they are quite a group. We also meet the family of Laura Foster and Carrie’s new landlord. The author twists things up a bit in the romance department for our protagonist and I loved it.

The library where most of this story takes place sounds amazing. It is a happening place with all kinds of programs and events, more than any library I have been to. I wish we had a library like it nearby. A secondary scene is the guest house Carrie is renting. It also sounds amazing with its rooms, amenities and views. One view being the hunky landlord.

The entire story is very well written. It flows nicely and at times is very hard to put down. I liked the interesting and unexpected twists and the edge of your seat moments.

Ms. Brook is off to a great start with this series and I am very excited for the next installment.

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Death Overdue by Allison Brook is the first book in A Haunted Library Mystery series. Carrie Singleton has been staying (and working) in Clover Ridge, Connecticut with her Aunt Harriet and Uncle Bosco, but she feels it is about time to move on. Then Carrie is offered the position as head of programs and events at Clover Ridge Library (thanks to Uncle Bosco). Carrie accepts the position and settles into her new life. The first program is retired homicide detective, Al Buckley talking about the fifteen-year-old murder of Laura Foster. Al claims to have new evidence that will solve the case and bring the family closure. Before Al can reveal his new evidence, he dies and his iPad is stolen. Someone poisoned Al and Carrie feels responsible for his death (she pushed her boss to go ahead with the program). She teams up with Jared Foster, Laura’s younger son, to not only find Al’s killer, but Laura’s as well. Carrie is busy with learning her new job, looking for new evidence in the murders, dealing with a troublesome co-worker, and locating a place to live. She does, though, get help from the library’s resident ghost, Evelyn Havers. The killer is unhappy with Carrie’s investigation and sets out to make sure that Carrie is permanently checked out!

I was drawn into Death Overdue from the very beginning. The author has a nice writing style that is engaging and makes for nice flowing story. I liked the characters, the town, the library, Smokey Joe (the cat), and (my favorite) the ghost. I am amazed at the events the library hosts (I wish my library had something besides boring lectures and movies). The mystery (technically, there are two mysteries) was easily solved (all readers will figure this one out before the reveal). I identified the guilty party before retired detective Al Buckley was pronounced dead. The other elements, though, elevate the story. I give Death Overdue 4 out of 5 pumpkins (I thought I would change things up for October). The investigation consists of light questioning and some searching. The book was also a tad too long (it needed to be shortened) and I could have done with less romance/flirting. I hope we get to know more about Evelyn, the ghost, in the next book. Evelyn is a great character and I want to know more about her past. I also suspect her death was not just a simple slip and fall in an icy parking lot (at least I hope there is more to it). I will definitely be reading the next book in A Haunted Library Mystery series (I want more)!

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What could be better than a library-related cozy mystery? One with a ghost in it… specifically the ghost of a former librarian. What could be better than that? A dash or two of romance, some warm familial affection, a bit of humor, and books galore. Oh – and TWO cases to solve. And a main character who shares my name. Sign me up please!

Carrie is a bit of a mystery all on her own. Dresses goth one day and then -after getting the library job she wanted – we see her more professional side. She’s interested in two different guys, and I was definitely pulling for one over the other. I loved her relationship with her aunt and uncle, but I wasn’t a fan of her approach in other relationships. Overall, though, she’s a great protagonist who sets a fabulous foundation for more in this series.

Bottom Line: Death Overdue by Allison Brook is well-plotted, engaging, and leaves us with hints about the direction the rest of the series might take. (For instance, was the old librarian/current ghost’s death really an accident… and why are Carrie & her young cousin the only ones who can see her? I’m so curious to see how these threads play out.) Great characters, intriguing subplots & back stories, and just enough romance & humor to satisfy every type of reader.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)

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