Member Reviews

A haunted library and Halloween? DEATH OVERDUE pulled me in with some of my favorite elements. Main character Carrie Singleton is the new head of programs and events at Clover Ridge’s local library. Unfortunately it’s not exactly smooth sailing at first. Carrie discovers the ghost of a former librarian haunting the stacks, learns that not everyone at the library is thrilled with her getting the job, and hosts her first event where the keynote speaker is murdered. Carrie is convinced his death is tied to the unsolved murder of another library employee 15 years earlier, so she does some investigating on her own.

This new series has potential, especially for fans of paranormal cozies and library settings. The two interwoven murder mysteries were intriguing, though it took a while for me to get into the story. I felt like there were too many details of daily happenings that slowed down the flow at times. I also wanted the library ghost to be more integral to the plot, and for Carrie’s reaction to the ghost be more – realistic? She wasn’t freaked out in the least bit. I think Carrie’s character overall needs to be spiced up a bit as the series continues.

The Halloween elements in DEATH OVERDUE were a lot of fun. Will see where the author goes with the next book.

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Carrie Singleton is getting ready to leave her childhood town again and go back to her rootless existence when she’s offered a better role at the library where she’s been temping. One of her first tasks is organising a talk by a former police detective, one who’s now promising to solve the cold case he failed with fifteen years before: the murder of a local mother and library employee. However, it seems that the secret killer might be less than keen to let him have his say…

There’s plenty to enjoy reading this book, but in all honesty I can’t give it a very high rating. It’s a lot more ‘chick-lit’ and romance-based than I would have hoped, which could be fine, but alas that pushes the mystery and paranormal bits not only to lesser importance but to rather rushed and not-great written parts. The opening murder, for instance, seems very clunkily handled: a ‘I know I need this bit, but not quite how to write it’ feeling, which is a real shame.

There’s also the usual fluffy genre failing of the heroine’s too-perfect life falling into her lap. First it’s the near-perfect job – okay, that one comes with half an explanation. But then there’s the massively reduced rent on an amazing house, interested dishy men to chose from, family who spoil her endlessly, enemies made good, and heck – we can even squeeze a kitten in here because why not?! I didn’t even wholly like the main character, with her goth look so easily cast aside, murky reasonings for turning sleuth and quite frankly daft ways of stumbling onwards, and not-great treatment of other characters.

Still, it was easy enough to read and keep going with, despite the flaws. Perhaps the next in the series will be able to build on the strengths – an intriguing and helpful library ghost, for instance, or perhaps an explanation as to how this particularly library is so well-funded – and lose some of the fluffier failings.

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You must buy this book! It is the best new cozy set around Halloween that I've read so far this year. The mystery had twists and turns that keep you guessing and you won't be able to put it down.

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Carrie has come home to Clover Ridge for a temporary respite, but changes her mind when offered a job as head of Programs and Events at the local public library. At her first event, a retired homicide detective, who claims to know the identity of a decades-old cold case, collapses and dies. Feeling responsible for his presence at the library, and convinced that the two cases are related, Carrie is determined to find out who is guilty of not one but two murders.

I usually go into new-to-me series with a healthy dose of trepidation, as many first-in-series books just aren't quite my cup of tea. This book, however, was an exception to the "rule." Having worked in our local public library for nearly a decade, the setting rings true (although this particular library apparently has a lot more money in its budget than our library does!). The characters are well-developed, and relationships between those characters are established without a lot of unnecessary background. While I thought I knew who the killer was well before it was revealed in the book, I wasn't sure until the reveal. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

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Alas, I just couldn't get into this one. I didn't like Carrie AT ALL. She calls her coworkers "dimwitted" and "juvenile," yet she is a 30-year-old woman who dressed like a goth and mooched off her aunt and uncle. The writing also felt clunky and a bit juvenile to me. The plot was all over the place. The characters felt very one dimensional as well. Ya, this just wasn't that great IMO. Onwards...

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Death Overdue is the first book in The Haunted Library Mystery series by Allison Brook ( aka Marilyn Levinson)
A Halloween cozy set in a small town library, Death Over due is the perfect fall cozy. I loved everything thing about it . The characters are wonderful, and include a charming grandmotherly type ghost, even the rotten character is endearing. I read it in one sitting.

With no shortage of possible suspects, this is no easy mystery ! A definite must read for Halloween and cozy fans alike.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley but the opinions are my own

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A nice start to a new series! I'm not usually much on paranormal cozys (they can be a bit twee) but Allison Brook has created a good ghost in Laura, who helps Carrie, the new librarian, solve the murder of a retired police officer who dies of poisoning in the library. First episodes are always hard to review because it often feels like pieces are missing but if you're an veteran reader of the genre, you know that more details will be revealed and relationships expanded on in future books. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is smoothly plotted, nicely written, and just complex enough to keep you guessing. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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I'm an absolute sucker for a cozy mystery with a library setting, so I had to check out Death Overdue, the first book in the Haunted Library series. Overall I thought this was a solid series debut, with an interesting mystery (though it seemed to take quite a long time for any progress to be made, and then all of a sudden the mystery was solved in the last 4% or so of the book). The book seemed relatively true to the library setting (though it seemed like they had an unending programming budget, so I'm a little jealous). The "haunted" element was the weakest, as it just seemed like it functioned as a convenient way for the author to direct the protagonist in the right direction of her investigation without the character having to do any real detective work or thinking. It's a series I would definitely consider continuing, however!

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Death Overdue is the first book in the A Haunted Library Mystery series.

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to more books in the series.

Carrie Singleton has been enjoying living with her aunt and uncle and working at the local library, but her wanderlust is getting her to look at moving on to a warmer climate. Then one morning Sally, the library’s director asks her to come to her office. Sally offers Carrie the position of Director of Programs and Events

Carrie is approached by Al Buckley, a retired police officer who last case still remains unsolved and caused his retirement. Buckley has been bothered by not being able to solve the case and believes he now knows who the killer was and wants to present his case. Sally isn’t really for this program, but finally, agrees. Shortly after the program begins, Buckley pauses to take a bite of a cookie and as he is about to resume his talk he collapses and dies.

After the police have gathered their information at the scene, Carrie is approached by Jared Foster, the youngest son of the murdered victim and asks what new information Buckley might have had on the case. She replies that she has no idea what Buckley was going to divulge. Then Jared asks for her help in finding who had killed his mother. Additional help comes from a completely unknown specter, that being Evelyn Havers, the library’s ghost. She doesn’t know who the killer is, but is able to provide Carrie with some ideas as to where to look. I would love to see more of Evelyn is future books.

The book has an interesting cast of well-developed and believable characters. I’m looking forward to more about them and the community. Hopefully, Carrie will decide to settle down and stay in Clover Ridge. She might even find a little romance, too.

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I love cozy mysteries and have read a lot of different ones. I had high hopes for this one, but it fell short. There were many times the narrator said one thing and then completely contradicted herself a couple of chapters later (saying she wasn't being a detective when that is exactly what she was trying to do). The ideas in the book needed to be developed better. The whole ghost part had potential and seems like she will continue throughout the series. However, at the end when the ghost said it was her "duty" to help Carrie with other crimes, the ghost didn't really help her much at all. In fact, she hid things from her. The cat part seemed out of place and just something to throw in (because all cozy mysteries seem to have a resident dog or cat). The biggest problem I had with this book was when Carrie was considering not giving evidence over to the police, because the police weren't willing to share information with her (outsider who just moved back to the area and had no connection to the dead people...). This series has potential, but needs to really work on being consistent and pay more attention to detail.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an ARC of the book.

Cosies are my favourite kind of mystery, and paranormal-themed ones are at the top of that list. I'm always on the lookout for a new series to try and this looked ideal: a library, a ghostly librarian, a library cat. It had all the makings of a series I could really sink my teeth into.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I appreciate that it's the first in a new series and there are always teething issues with a first novel while both the author and reader get to know the premise, the characters, the town, the theme, etc. I didn't overtly dislike it, but it was difficult to connect with any of the characters because they all appeared a bit flat and slightly stereotypical: the jolly, childless relatives who were kind and loving and opened their home to the wayward MC; the librarian MC who wants to keep running away from her life, but is suddenly offered the job of her dreams in this tiny town; the romantic interest who is mysterious and handsome (of course); a secondary love interest that actually isn't; and a cast of characters that are all more or less just there, rather than participating fully and actively in the MCs life.

It just wasn't very interesting. The 'romance' began entirely in her head and mostly stayed there until an out of the blue encounter near the end. The reaction of both the library head and the patrons to a cat in the library, while one that I would genuinely love and appreciate, simply isn't realistic (allergies, anyone?), much like the MCs reaction to her first experience of the library ghost.

There was some clumsy and unrealistic dialogue, and she spent a great amount of time in her head, asking herself questions about anything and everyone. The police didn't seem to be doing anything at all, with or without her help, to find anyone's killer, and there were unresolved questions about the murder (what about the jewellery the MC found?). The number of qualified staff and amount of funds available for the programmes (and everything else) at the library was every librarian's dream. I don't know how it's funded, but it's completely unrealistic for (what I imagine is) a small town in the middle of more-or-less nowhere. Still, fun to dream about!

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the book, I would like to read the second in the series to see if the characters and premise get better and stronger.

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An engaging start to a new series. Really well-developed characters and an inviting setting. I like the paranormal element. My issue with the book is that it seems to get bogged down in unnecessary detail at times, and I'd like to see more of the ghost :)

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I'm rarely read books with paranormal characters but I'm pleased I gave Death Overdue a try. It was a real treat to read.

Carrie has been working at the local library and living with her aunt and uncle. As she contemplates moving on to the next exciting town, she is offered a full-time permanent position as the P and E librarian. While getting in the swing of her new job she meets Evelyn, the resident ghost librarian. Carrie's first program is a retired police officer who discusses the case of the murdered librarian. During his presentation he keels over dead from an apparent poisoning. Will Carrie get spooked before she even has a chance at this job?

I was impressed that there was only a small love triangle and that it did not take center stage. I'm interested to see how the author builds Carrie's romantic life. My fingers are crossed for a certain landlord.

This is a straight cozy mystery with little to no foul language, no sex scenes and no grisly, murder scenes. I'm definitely looking forward to the second book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy for a review based on my own honest opinion.

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A great addition to the cozy mysteries genre! A unsolved case of a murdered librarian? I'm looking forward to finding out where this series is headed!

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Carrie has been wandering and never really settled down any one place for long. She is just thinking of moving on when she is offered the job of head of programs and events at the library. She decides to take it. During her very first event the speaker is poisoned and it seems the murder he was going to speak about is connected. But who in town is responsible? She also meets the library's resident ghost and starts her own investigation into the murders.

This was a nice start to a new series. I was thrown off as to who the culprit was until it was revealed. Lots of red herrings in this one.

I was given an eARC by the publisher through NetGalley.

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When Carrie Singleton first moved back to her hometown of Clover Ridge to stay with her aunt and uncle, she never imagined herself putting down permanent roots. When she is offered the job of coordinating programs and events for the public library, however, she finds it hard to say no to the opportunity. After accepting the job, Carrie sheds her previously "goth" sense of style, moves into a brand-new rental cottage, makes several new friends (including the ghost of a former library employee) and attracts the attention of two eligible men, all while trying to solve two connected murders, one of which occurred during her very first library event.

I wanted to read this book mostly for the library setting, and I did enjoy that aspect of it. I do have to admit that this is not the most realistic 21st century library, as I think many librarians do dress in Carrie's "goth" style without a word from their supervisors, and Halloween and Thanksgiving programs such as the ones Carrie puts on are often frowned upon these days, at least according to certain members of the profession. For me, though, the Clover Ridge library is a believable place because it reminds me of the small-town library where I started my own library career. I found it charming, and though I am usually not a big fantasy reader, I even enjoyed that the library has its own friendly ghost. I also though the rivalry between Carrie and Dorothy, the director's best friend who had her sights on the programming job, was very realistic and relatable for anyone who has ever been in a similar situation.

I also really liked that this book is not just a murder mystery, but a story about how Carrie begins to settle into her new life. I liked meeting all the different people who make up the cast of her day-to-day life, and getting to know Clover Ridge as a community. Even with mysteries, I'm not someone who reads just for plot, so having lots of characters and a great sense of place helped me become invested in this book. Some of the evidence that eventually leads Carrie to the murderer felt a little thin to me, and I wasn't crazy about the way the story ended, but the other elements were so strong that it almost didn't matter. I am now invested in Carrie herself, as well as in her friendship with Evelyn, the ghost, and her budding relationship with a certain male character, and I will be looking forward to future volumes in this new series to see how things progress.

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Just in time for the fall holidays, Crooked Lane Books Publishing Company is introducing an interesting new cozy series. There is a more than a mystery going on in Clover Ridge Library. The main character, Carrie, who has spent much of her adult life running off to new locations and new jobs, has tentatively accepted the position of head of programs and events. Dealing with an antagonistic co-worker, who expected to get the job, and the Library Director who runs hot and cold toward her, leaves Carrie feeling a bit uncomfortable. On top of that, during her first scheduled event, the retired homicide detective, who was about to spill the name of the person who murdered a library employee years ago, eats a poisoned cookie and dies in front of everyone. The author also tosses another former library employee, who is now a ghost in the mix, and the results make for an interesting and original story.

Since the book spans the holiday season from Halloween through Thanksgiving, it is the perfect book to enjoy during the fall season. If you like cozy mysteries, I’m sure you will enjoy this one!

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Death by Overdue is an amazing book! Totally awesome! I absolutely loved the main character Carrie. We had so much in common! I loved her eccentric flair, and that she wasn’t some cookie cutter girl next door, but she was clever with a spunky attitude, and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. I also loved that every decision she made in regards to the mystery was smart. I can’t stand it when these amateur sleuths just run around, making stupid decisions that really make no sense in the long run. But not Carrie :)

Besides Carrie, all the other characters were very entertaining and charming. Everyone had their own unique style, issues and quirks. The town of Clover Ridge definitely had a wide range of people, and I enjoyed everyone.

The mystery itself was very thought-provoking and engrossing. It really drew me in and kept my interest. It was very well-plotted and the author was very clever when it came to suspects, basically casting doubt on everyone so that the ending couldn’t be easily guessed. That’s the one thing that hooks me as a reader, that unpredictability. I hate when I can guess the bad guy right off the bat, but I couldn’t with this story and I loved that!

Overall, an excellent start to a new series! I devoured this book, and I was so sad when I got to the end. I’m going to miss Carrie and her friends, but I can’t wait until the next installment.

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Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook.

Carrie Singleton just moved back to Clover Ridge, Connecticut to live with her aunt and uncle. She didn't plan to stay long, but she lands a job at the local library as the Director of Programs and Events. As one of the first events she is in charge of is a discussion presented by retired homicide detective, Al Buckley. After many years he believes he has solved the murder of Laura Foster, a part time employee of the library. He is there to promote his new book and to expose who murdered Laura..

Many events happen in the book and Carrie finds herself involved in solving not one but two murders, befriending the resident library ghost and finding her true home in Clover Ridge.

I loved the cover of this book. One of the first things that drew me in. Then I read it was based on a small town library. Even though I have never read any other books by this author, I was intrigued. I found myself not wanting to put this book down. I'm looking forward to another book by this author!

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I love the idea of a fun haunted library mystery. This book delivers on that.

It was a good twisty mystery with likeable characters along the way. I love the setting of a library. Really enjoyed the twist of a ghost in the library helping out.

I really kind of wished more ghosts would turn up as the story unfolded. I also felt like the story could have used another edit before being released. There just seemed to be a lot of information that didn't relate to the story at all.
All in all for me it was a fun quick read. Because I found the idea so promising I will be looking for the second book whenever it comes out.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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