Saturday, May 27, 2017

A LIKELY STORY by Jenn McKinlay

Publisher:   Berkley
Published:   November 3, 2015
ISBN:            978-1101986837
Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina



Briar Creek librarian Lindsey Norris believes everyone should have access to their favorite reads, even reclusive shut ins like the elderly Rosen brothers. Or, perhaps even more so because the brothers live on one of the Thumb Islands.  Of course the only way to get there is via water taxi and who better to take her than her ex-boyfriend, who hopes to once again be the man in her life, Sully.  When they arrive, however, it doesn’t take long for them to realize something is wrong, very wrong.

Normally Stewart Rosen will meet them at the dock.  It’s not a matter of courtesy—it’s because the brothers have a reputation as hoarders and just do not want anyone in their house.  After waiting a few minutes they head to the house, keeping a watchful eye out because it’s fairly well-know the brothers have booby-trapped the house to preserve their privacy. What they find once inside is extremely disturbing—Peter, who uses a wheelchair, has been shot and killed and Stewart is nowhere to be found. Despite the evidence pointing to it, Lindsey and Sully cannot believe Stewart killed his brother. And, if it wasn’t Stewart, what are the chances the killer will come next for him?  Can Lindsey and Sully find the killer before he strikes again?

I was delighted to see Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lovers series get back on track with the addition of A LIKELY STORY.  Book 4, READ IT AN WEEP, introduced the formulaic “love triangle”.  Book 5, ON BORROWED TIME, was more of a romance than a mystery—the mystery came across as more of an afterthought and it was almost enough for me to give up on the series.  If I want to read a romance, I’ll pick one up. Unfortunately all of McKinlay’s series have added this annoying element and hopefully those that continue will focus more on detecting and less on romance. That said, she does have a romance series beginning and I am anxious to see what she does with it.  When I pick up a cozy, I want a female detective solving a murder with her smarts, cunning and wits.  Lindsey started out that way but then the detour into that love triangle made her a less appealing character. With A LIKELY STORY, the third party to the triangle is there briefly but finally leaves town…at least or awhile.  The story is shorter than usual so it seemed like the few scenes where he appeared were more to raise the word count than to add to the story.

That said, I do applaud McKinlay on raising the issue of hoarding and how hoarders, and in particular elderly ones, can struggle with the disorder. One of my dearest friends was a self-described hoarder and during a heart-to-heart conversation one day she admitted that part of the reason she lived not all that different from the Rosen brothers, was it helped her to feel safe—that anyone breaking into her house would either alert her to their presence by falling over things or get hurt themselves buying her time to call for help. Lindsey’s compassion and by extension McKinlay’s came through in a wonderful manner through Stewart’s story.

McKinlay gives readers just the right amount of clues as to who the killer is along with a nicely done twist in how the murder happened.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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