Published: February 21, 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
It’s time for the Southern Academic Librarian’s annual meeting and this year it’s being held in Charlie Harris’s home town of Athena. As a librarian himself, and currently the acting director of the Athena College library Charlie is called upon not only to assist with the program but to speak himself. Generally the most genial of guys, Charlie is less than thrilled to learn someone from his past, Gavin Fong, is not only attending, but a keynote speaker. He is even more troubled by the nemesis from his past when Gavin writes to Charlie that he has applied for the Director position at Athena College and worse, that he expects Charlie to say good things about him to get the job. From their shared history Charlie knows that Gavin is the last person the college wants to hire, however Charlie has an additional conflict—he has been considering applying for the job himself. When Gavin arrives he turns out to be even nastier and more disruptive than Charlie anticipated. So much so that after Gavin provokes him, Charlie hauls off and decks the other man.
But it seems Charlie isn’t the only one who has a less than happy history with Gavin. In fact, almost every attendee at the conference has had a run in with the pompous man. When he ends up dead at the start of his keynote speech it seems almost every person there had a reason to kill him and, a viable suspect. Can Charlie find the killer before another murder is committed?
I’ve said this before, but it bears saying again, I love this series. There is so much to recommend it that it’s hard to pick one or two elements to share. First and foremost are the characters themselves and most especially Diesel the “cat in the stacks”. James totally and completely captures the “catitude” that just about all felines possess. Readers who live with cats can tell you that Charlie’s interactions with Diesel are spot on. In each book the characters grow and develop on a realistic time line. As well, Charlie’s approach to finding the killer in each book is well paced and realistic. Quirky characters are one of the trademarks of a good cozy and James nicely balances the “quirk” with realistic aspects of human nature.
While James does follow the “cozy formula” he does one thing that this reader (as well as other fans) appreciates and that is that he hasn’t introduced the “love triangle.” Over and over it seems cozy authors are including love triangles that leave readers, myself included, feeling that if we wanted to read a romance we’d pick one up. James sticks with a solid core group of characters who each grown and develop in their own way without the unneeded detour into a chik-litish romance. There is romance, but the couples remain steady within their relationships, adding new dimensions with each read.
In his latest, TWELVE ANGRY LIBRARIANS James takes his readers into the world of the academic librarian and what someone in that position deals with on a daily, monthly and annual basis. The mystery is well thought out with just the right amount of well-placed red-herrings. I was right about who the killer was, but I did have the wrong reason. That is one of the elements that make these stories so great to read.
Each book in the series is a standalone and James gives just enough back story so you do not feel lost if you miss one. Thing is, each story is so good you don’t want to miss a one.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.