Book Review: Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook, Marilyn Levinson

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery is the first book in a series by Allison Brook and Marilyn Levinson. Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies. The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite push back from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie's determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it's the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery is a mystery that caught and held my attention, even though I was reading it only during lunch breaks and the like. I admit that I picked it up because it was about a librarian, and since I have been working in libraries for almost 20 years now, that caught my attention. I did not notice that it was set in a small Connecticut town until I had begun, but as a Connecticut native (currently living in a town that in no way resembles Clover Ridge) it endeared itself to me even more. I liked Carrie, who resembles many of the new adult generation that I know personally, and her conflicting emotions about being independent and staying connected are right on point. The politics, family connections, and drama that take place are totally possible- and I have seen similar issues in libraries, churches, and other organizations that require people to work together, and gives some more power than others- particularly in small towns or groups where everyone knows each other. I also like that while Carrie building connections; in friendship, work, and the romantic possibilities, are important to the story her personal growth and the mystery at hand remain the main focus of the story rather than overshadowing them. That is sometimes a hard balance to strike, but it was nicely done here. I also like that the mystery was wrapped up nicely, but the promise of further growth with Carrie, and further mysteries to solve leaves readers wanting more without leaving them hanging with unanswered questions.

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery is a book that took me much longer to read than it should have. The characters and pacing were pretty perfect, but since I was reading it on my phone on lunch breaks rather than on my Kindle in my normal reading time it seemed to take forever- but I loved every minute. I look forward to see what the future might hold in store for Carrie and her ghostly companion. 
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