MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau


Coming November 16, 2017: a librarian who steals and kills for her library.

image image image



In the dedication this book is noted as being a fantasy, set mainly in a library, and is dedicated to those wonderful people LIBRARIANS.

The Cayacosta2 Review site said:

This book is truly every librarian’s dream come true. After fighting budget battles over and over again, librarian Serenity has lost her library funding. What’s a librarian gonna do? How about ripping off the city that’s ripping off its citizens? Serenity begins helping herself to the funds that local politicians have been setting aside for their own personal “rainy day “. With the money she amasses she can build a library to thrill readers everywhere. Problem is, those politicians aren’t too thrilled to see their money disappearing and they plan to do anything to get it back. Why in the world are libraries always under threat? A funny, moving story of our most precious institutions under threat.


This is a book which I enjoyed even though it takes some time to get to the actual murder. It’s not your traditional murder mystery, rather it’s a quirky story whose main protagonist Serenity Sweetblossom Hammer is head librarian at Maddington Library. Always looking to raise money to keep the library open, whilst its budget is being cut, Serenity comes across something strange within the town councils accounts – lots of money – and decides to put it into building a new library which will be the hub of Maddington.

Free money, because there is no such thing, comes at a cost and you are taken down a crazy, MAD road of murder, corruption and passion. The passion of books and what they can do for an individual, a town, a community. The passion of librarians to provide for their community. The question here is not so much ‘whodunnit?’ but what will taking dodgy money cost Serenity in the end?

The characters Serenity, Joy, Doom etc aren’t quite sufficiently formed but are enjoyable. The storyline is interesting but it doesn’t take itself seriously. So, instead of a tense murder mystery full of corruption and manipulation we get a lighter version although the ending is perhaps sadder because of that. This is a tale of morality as much as it is murder – satirical? Mmmmm?

There are still so many children, YA and adults who cannot afford to buy books, get internet, get answers, information and educational support within easy reach if at all. The cutting of budget to libraries that provide such vital resource and services to everyone is being felt across both the UK and USA and is a travesty.

Thank you to Madison Press and NetGalley for providing an e-ARC in return for an honest review.

Rating: 2.5/3*


Published by Madison Press Madison, Alabama

Book Layout © 2017 Cover Design by Artrocity. CS01082017

MAD Librarian/ Michael Guillebeau. –1st ed. ISBN: 978-0-9972055-3-4

Author, Michael Guillebeau:-
MAD Librarian is now allied with the Awesome Foundation for Library Innovation ( Awesome is a group of librarians who contribute their own money to provide grants to innovative library projects like sharEd which provides low-income Pre-K classrooms in developing countries with materials in a library model, and Breaking Silos for Social Justice, which supports librarians and other Austin, Texas-area professionals who are working to support communities of marginalized groups. MAD Librarian is happy to have half our sales going to support this great work. MAD + Awesome—insert your own joke to celebrate this partnership that will help change lives.

Half of all income goes to the Awesome Foundation for Innovation in Libraries. Available for pre-sale at

The Bone Keeper by Luce Veste

Out: 8 March 2018




What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.


I had heard good things about this author and so was delighted to get the opportunity to read this e-ARC from Simon and Schuster UK. This is the second piece I have read by Luca Veste, the first being a short story. The plot seemed to be right up my alley and an interesting take from Luca Veste – a killer on the loose bringing to life an urban myth of the locality.  Set in Liverpool a city I know which certainly added interest for me.

It opens with the disappearance of Matty who, along with three other children, had gone into woodland to find where The Bone Keeper lives. Then there’s Caroline who, years later, is found wandering the streets of Liverpool having been viscously attacked repeating The Bone Keepers rhyme.  Finally, we have Louise Henderson a Detective Constable assigned to Caroline’s case.  All good so far.

The story jumps back and forth between ‘Now’ and ‘Past’ clearly indicated but somehow it feels a bit jumbled and instead of bringing out the tension, story and characters – instead of gripping you so you didn’t want to put the book down – it made me halt, take a break before coming back. The book is pretty much told from the point of view of DC Henderson but I didn’t really find myself engaging with the character, indeed her relationship with her DS grated. This book would have been better for keeping to the detection, I understood that the author wanted to convey to us that Louise had a secret past and issues from that, indeed had done so, without the halfhearted attempt at romance which, whilst not taking over the story thank goodness, for me shouldn’t have had a place in it.

Nevertheless, there is a good story in here. There is some tension, it is a little scary and the parts of the book dealing with the actual initial attack and subsequent murders with the overtones of The Bone Keepers myth turning reality with it’s twists had potential to make this a really good book. Somehow, for me, it just didn’t quite get there. Each reader will have their own take and so I hope you enjoy it even more than I did.

Rating: 3*

With thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for providing me with an e-ARC via NetGalley for an honest opinion.


The Bone Keeper will be published 8 March 2018

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8 Mar. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1471141411
ISBN-13: 978-1471141416

Paperback: ISBN9781471141416     e-book: ISBN9781471141423

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Fiction

Author: Luce Veste

Dark Signal: A Kate Fox Novel (Kate Fox Mystery #2) by Shannon Baker

OUT – 17 October 2017

2017-09-15 21.29.11


Reeling from her recent divorce, Kate Fox has just been sworn in as Grand County, Nebraska Sheriff when tragedy strikes. A railroad accident has left engineer Chad Mills dead, his conductor Bobby Jenkins in shock. Kate soon realizes that the accident was likely murder.

Who would want to kill Chad Mills? Kate finds that he made a few enemies as president of the railroad workers union. Meanwhile his widow is behaving oddly. And why was his neighbor Josh Stevens at the Mills house on the night of the accident?

While her loud and meddling family conspires to help Kate past her divorce, State Patrol Officer Trey closes in on Josh Stevens as the suspect. Kate doesn’t believe it. She may not have the experience, but she’s lived in the Sandhills her whole life, and knows the land and the people. Something doesn’t add up–and Kate must find the real killer before he can strike again.


I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest opinion, for which my thanks.

This is the second book in the Kate Fox series and the first that I have read.

I really enjoyed this book it is well written, has a terrific story-line which is well plotted and carries you along at a good pace while Kate works out what has happened with, or should I say despite, the help of the state police and has a gripping conclusion.

We also learn something of Kate which is helpful having not read the first in this series. I like to know something of the characters. The characters are well drawn and  Kate is engaging as she forges her own way through the investigation.

Rating: 4*


Hardcover – published on 17 Oct 2017

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Forge (17 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765385473
ISBN-13: 978-0765385475


Cold Kill (UK) / The Sixth Idea (US)(Monkeewrench #7) by P J Tracy




This slideshow requires JavaScript.



The peaceful Christmas season in Minneapolis is shattered when two friends, scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, two hours and several miles apart, dramatically concluding winter vacation for homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.

An hour north of Minneapolis, Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When Leo and Gino discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect that she is a target, too. The same day, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges.

This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives sixty years into the past to search for answers – and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. What they find is an unimaginable horror – a dormant Armageddon that might be activated at any moment unless Grace and her partners Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, along with Leo and Gino, can find a way to stop it.


This is #7 of the Monkeewrench series and continues the excellent writing of plot, characters and story from P J Tracy.  I have read all the books and have come to love Grace and the Monkeewrench crew as well as Leo and Gino.  P J Tracy writes great characters in this series allowing humour to come through even in the bleakest of moments. The story lines are very well plotted bringing together each element to a thrilling conclusion.

This book is no exception it draws you in with each new layer of plot and takes off on a magnificently woven story which delivers on all the aspects of the books I have come to expect and enjoy – tension, pace, humour, terrific characters and intricate plotting.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book and, indeed, the whole series.

Rating: 4.5*

Note: This was the twelfth and final book that I read from my 10 books of summer 2017 list.


Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Penguin (17 Nov. 2016)

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1405917466
ISBN-13: 978-1405917469


PJ Tracy is a mother/daughter writing duo. Sadly PJ Lambrecht died Dec 2016. Their last Monkeewrench book together Nothing Stays Buried is out now 2017. Traci will continue the series with the #9 book of the series due in 2018.



Cop Town by Karin Slaughter


Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Karin Slaughter, author of the bestselling Will Trent novels, is widely acclaimed as “one of the best crime novelists in America” (The Washington Post). Now she delivers her first stand-alone novel: an epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice.

Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, an instant New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award nominee, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.


A terrific, well written book just as you would expect from Karin Slaughter. This is a cracking story well plotted, with great characters that draws you in with its pace, wonderful, keenly observed story-telling – of the investigation, of the role of women in the ’70’s at home and at work and of what life in the police force was like then especially, but not solely, for women and how change was just very, very slowly beginning. Karin Slaughter brings to life the characters, time and place weaving an absorbing and gripping story of 1974 Atlanta in the midst of hunting down a cop killer. It has humour but it is quite brutally honest in it’s description of the workings of 1970s Atlanta PD both for those that served and for those, supposedly, being served. Insightful and fascinating it is also a sad reflection that no matter how far we have come we still have a mighty long way to go with regards to treating everyone equally – no matter their gender, orientation, race, creed or colour.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

Rating: 4.5 *

Note: I read all ten of my 10 Books of Summer 2017 and was able to read a couple more from the extended list of which Cop Town was one.


Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Arrow (18 Jun. 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0099571374
ISBN-13: 978-0099571377

After the Fire by Henning Mankell



Fredrik Welin is a seventy-year-old retired doctor. Years ago he retreated to the Swedish archipelago, where he lives alone on an island. He swims in the sea every day, cutting a hole in the ice if necessary. He lives a quiet life.


Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an ARC in order to provide an unbiased review.

This is the first Henning Mankell book I have read. A stand alone it is published after his death. It is the story of a 70 year old man, Fredrik, who awakes in the middle of the night with his house on fire. He escapes, just in time. The police cannot find a suspect so focus their investigation on Fredrik. This is not a crime novel beyond an interview with Frederick we hear very little of their investigation. It is rather the slow, almost tedious, telling of the way in which Fredrik who has had his home, his belongings all lost in the fire copes, behaves and responds to his loss. Fredrik is not a likeable character. He re-unites with his daughter because of the fire but it is a strained relationship. We learn something of his younger life. We meet a number of other characters in his life, hardly friends as Fredrik is a solitary sole. The book moves to Paris, where his daughter lives and has been arrested, before returning to his island. There were moments I appreciated, found interesting but not enough to find this a particularly enjoyable read. After the Fire is well written and the descriptive writing is at times wonderful.

Rating: 3*


Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harvill Secker (5 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1910701769
ISBN-13: 978-1910701768

10 Books of Summer 2017: A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny


Winner of the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Crime Novel 2016



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.

Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.


Retired DCI Gamache takes a new job as head of the police training school. The book starts with him sifting through candidate files, who should become the next set of new recruits. One in particular stands out – Amelia Choquet. Gamache, along with Jean-Guy, as his second in command, starts cleaning up the school which had been over the past few years bent to the desires of evil elements. Gamache is taking risks.  Then he sets four recruits, including Amelia, a task involving a strange map found when the bistro in Three Pines was refurbished. And then there’s a murder. DCI Isobelle Lacoste is brought in along with an independent observer from the RMCP. Is the murderer a student, a professor or from elsewhere? Misdirection is everywhere and the investigation comes to a head as the RCMP officer pushes Gamache as chief suspect. Will he be proved right, will the truth emerge?

Well plotted and beautifully written by Louise Penny A Great Reckoning engages you  straight away. There are several threads to the book – a murder, a mysterious map, a quest, an investigation set both in the college and in Three Pines. What is it about Amelia? What is Gamache doing and why? And you are hooked.

Yes, we meet once again with Ruth, Clara, Myrna, Olivier and Gabby as well as Jean-Guy, Isobelle and Reine-Marie along with newer characters. All are wonderfully drawn and it is this characterisation that brings the wisdom, the humour that is such a big part of what this series, this book is all about.  Human frailty, endeavour and desire; of friendship, honesty, trust and the pursuit of truth.  It is this at the core of the books which keeps so many, myself included, coming back.

Louise Penny weaves another wonderful story which is so much more than a murder mystery. Yes, it is a murder mystery very well written, but it is also about second chances, those who take them, grasp for them and those who don’t, won’t, can’t.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 5*


A Great Reckoning is #12 in the Gamache Series (#13 Glass Houses is out now in hardback)

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780751552690
Number of pages: 512