It is always a fun day when Jenn drops by for a visit!
Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay
(Post provided by Publicist)
Twenty years ago, The Catcher in the Rye was checked out to Candice Whitley, a teacher, on the day she was murdered. When the book is returned to the Briar Creek Public Library during its fine amnesty day, librarian and amateur sleuth Lindsey Norris can’t help but think it might be a clue to the cold case that has haunted the small coastal town for decades. And so starts BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, the seventh title in my library lover’s mystery series.
Why The Catcher in the Rye? This has probably been the question I’ve been asked the most since I wrote the book. It’s a really good question. I wish I had a really good answer. But I don’t. Frankly, my relationship with the novel has been a love hate relationship over the years. I first read Salinger’s story about Holden Caulfield when I was in high school. Full disclosure, I hated it. I thought Holden was a whiner and his ceaseless complaining about everyone being a phony grated on my nerves. Of course, in high school, I was heavily into genre fiction (that has never changed) so I wasn’t really enjoying any of the literature I was reading. Faulkner gave me fits!
Like a bad penny, Catcher showed up again in my college years. I hated it less as I was feeling rather anti-establishment myself and Holden’s angst and confusion, as I dipped my toe into adulthood, made more sense to me. He seemed to be able to read people with a clear-eyed gaze and was frequently disappointed in them and their lack. By that time, I had met a few disappointments myself. We were not friends but I felt less animosity towards the book.
Then I began my library career. Reader’s advisory was my jam so I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I was lucky enough to be the fiction selector for three years in my first library job in Cromwell, CT, so I read every issue of the New York Times Book Review, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, etc., all in my quest for the best the fiction world had to offer. (Side note: some of these publications could be very harsh to authors and the fact that Publisher’s Weekly gave me a starred review for one of my first mysteries still makes me Snoopy dance). In addition to keeping up with the latest and greatest, I also encouraged my patrons to read the classics and as a librarian I became a big promoter of encouraging people to read banned books. Well, guess which book in the twentieth century is one of the most frequently challenged and banned? Yes, you got it – The Catcher in the Rye.
Why was it banned? Vulgar language, drinking, promiscuity, not fit for children, yada yada, the same old noise that is always made when something challenges preconceived notions of appropriateness. As I look at my own journey with the book, I realize it was not a novel I could appreciate as a teen but when I read it again before writing BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, I actually fell a little in love with the damaged Holden Caulfield. I had finally lived enough life, known pure joy and tremendous sorrow, to understand him and his desire to be “the catcher in the rye” the keeper of children’s innocence. So, that’s why I chose to use The Catcher in the Rye as the book that was checked out to the victim in BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
Now the only question is, does the book help Lindsey solve the case of who murdered high school English teacher Candice Whitley?
Thanks for letting me visit!
Better Late Than Never (A Library Lover’s Mystery)
7th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 1, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Hardcover: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01BK0SQ90
In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Likely Story, a decades overdue book puts library director Lindsey Norris hot on the trail of a cold case…
When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.
But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.
Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue…
INCLUDES READING GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS
It’s a cold case this time for Lindsey as a book is returned to the library 20 years after it was checked out. Imagine the fine if it wasn’t Overdue Book Amnesty Day! I know they wouldn’t charge more than it cost to restock the book but think of all those days adding up, right around 7300. The creepy part comes when we learn that the book was checked out by a teacher that was murdered on the same day as she checked out the book. Who had the book? Why did they return it to the library? Lindsey just can’t let it go. She turns over the book to the police but like an awesome research librarian she starts investigating on her own. She wants justice for the victim but she may find herself checked out permanently.
This was a super mystery. Lindsey wasn’t in Briar Creek 20 years ago so she needed to reach out to people that were. The former police chief, the victim’s friends, students and even her boss, who is still principal at the school today. It meant digging into the archives for newspaper articles and year books. I really enjoyed this because I used to spend a lot of time in the old stacks and basement of our community library during high school and college. I loved the hunt and finding out about things long forgotten. I never had to search out a killer but some of the old history did include a few mysteries, some still unsolved 🙂
Due to the little cliffhanger at the end of A Likely Story this installment had a little more romance than previous books in the series. Jenn and Sully are finally realizing what we readers and the people of Briar Creek have know for awhile. Robbie is not handling it well but with him working as Watson to Lindsey’s Sherlock he is starting to see it too. This reader was thrilled with this development.
The author blends the romance with the mystery with a very even hand. One does not overshadow the other. The characters have evolved naturally and the mystery was perfectly suited to what needed to happen in the character’s lives.
I laughed when I saw The Catcher in the Rye was the book the teacher had checked out. I hated that book when we forced to read it in high school. I have been told by many I need to reread it now as an adult but I have made it this far in my life without it so it is not one of those books screaming from my TO-BE-READ shelf.
Have you heard of OMC Syndrome? Jenn McKinley mentions it in this book. It stands for One More Chapter. I had it with this book, one more, then one more, that continued until I reached the end of the book at just before 2 a.m. Yes, I had a book hangover the next day but it was well worth it for this fabulous story. That makes it a Paradise Escape!
Find out all about Jenn McKinlay and her books on her webpage here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”