On Borrowed Time, A Library Lover’s Mystery by Jenn McKinlay
Author Jenn McKinlay ties up the Library Lover’s Mystery series with a top-notch tale that includes murder, kidnapping, white collar crimes, lies and deception. What’s ironic is that all of this happens within the borders of a charming, low-profile waterfront community in Connecticut.
The story centers around the town’s librarian, her staff and her small group of crafternooners who gather weekly for a potluck, book discussion and craft project. Town librarian Lindsey Norris heads up the group. She loves her quiet life in a sleepy town where her greatest dramas are curmudgeonly patrons making a fuss about overdue book fees and two men vying for her affection.
McKinlay captures the essence of this small town’s life by using the crafternoon meeting to introduce her quirky characters and library staff. As they get together to make candles, eat snacks and discuss their reading for the week, three members begin to meddle in Lindsey’s love life. One is the sister of the man who broke Lindsey’s heart but longs to mend it. The other two are friends of an actor who has taken an interest in Lindsey. As the ladies put in their own two cents about which bloke she should fall for, the competition between the smitten men is comical. On a more serious note, when they see Lindsey is serious about finding her brother, Jack, no matter the cost, either of them will do anything they can to help her recover him safely.
Just pages into the book, the heart of the story comes to life. Her brother makes a surprise visit to the library and hides out in one of the library’s meeting rooms. When Lindsey spies him, she thinks she’s in for a surprise visit from her scarce sibling. What surprises her more, however, is his disappearance and the web of corruption that is uncovered as the story unfolds. No matter the cost, there is no danger too great to face if it means getting her brother back.
Lindsey is about to start her crafternoon gathering, so he waits for her in his hideout. When Lindsey returns, instead of finding her brother, she finds a dead man lying on the floor seemingly strangled to death. Lindsey will do anything to protect her brother, so she conveniently leaves him out of her story when reporting it to the police. Rather than enlisting professional help, she looks to her love interests, Robbie Vine and Mike Sullivan (Sully), and her crafternoon group to solve the mystery of what happened to Jack and the dead man on the floor of her meeting room.
Amid the seriousness of this crime story, McKinlay ingeniously weaves humor throughout every chapter. Lindsey’s quick sense of humor and sarcastic quips from Robbie and Sully keep the reader engaged and entertained. She also expertly and intelligently educates the reader about the crazy crime that Jack has landed in the middle of. Lindsey is extremely confused by this, since her brother is an expert number cruncher who is hired by companies to fix their budgets and advise them on investments and good business practices. His latest hire was a coffee company. What’s so dangerous about the coffee business, after all?
Throughout the story readers wonder: Where is Jack? Is he alive or dead? Who took him and why? Will Lindsey get him back or find herself at the edge of death? And then there is the underlying question of who will win her heart. McKinlay continues the sense of community within On Borrowed Time to the very end. To further connect readers to this community and to her story, she includes recipes from the crafternoon group’s potluck: spinach dip, fruit cake cookies and crock pot meatballs. She also invites readers to create their own crafternoon group and gives advice on how to start one. Lastly, she includes a list of supplies and instructions for making candles out of recycled wax.
Like the New York Times best-selling author that she is, McKinlay is not taking a rest. On the heels of On Borrowed Time, released in fall of 2014, came three new stories: At the Drop of a Hat, the third title in her London Hat Shop Mysteries series, released in February; Dark Chocolate Demise, the seventh book in her Cupcake Bakery series, released in April; and All Sales Final, the third in her London Hat Shop Mysteries series. The latter is written under McKinlay’s pen name, Josie Belle, and is expected to be released in September. McKinlay is a librarian who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, in a house that is overrun with books, pets, kids and her husband’s guitars. For more information on this talented writer, look her up at jennmckinlay.com. HLM