I just could not get interested in this book. By the time I waded through all the exposition in the beginning chapters to get to the actual mystery, I no longer cared much. I like the idea of a cat-lady librarian for a main character, but other than judging people by the books they check out, there's not much library to this story aside from the setting. The cats weren't particularly engaging for me, either.
Anyway, I hate to abandon a book after getting so far into it, but I just couldn't face another seven hours of audio when I was barely paying attention anyway. DNF at 32%
Audio version, borrowed from my public library. Cassandra Campbell's performance was ok. I was attempting to read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Cozy Mystery: a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Instead, I have picked up book #6 in the Haunted Home Renovation series, Give Up the Ghost - Juliet Blackwell .
This reads just as I expected it to – very early Stephen King. It’s weird, it’s graphically violent, it f***s with your head, but it has a lame wtf ending and is not quite absorbing enough to prevent the reader from thinking how unlikely it is that real people would behave this way. Not the murderous main character, of course, but the other students who become complicit as he holds them hostage. The MC is unfortunately all too plausible. King has said that he started writing this book as a teenager, and that he drew from his own angst, loneliness, confusion, and, yes, rage in writing it. And several real-life teenagers identified so strongly with it that they drew inspiration from the novel in committing their own school shootings. Which is why this novel has been allowed to go out of print.
My own copy is part of a tatty second-hand paperback of The Bachman Books, a monstrously sized four novel collection. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Genre: Horror: anything that fits into the horror genre. If a boy going on a school shooting rampage and setting up his fellow students to turn on one another in their own fear and rage isn’t horror, I don’t know what is.
First an explanation: This would have been another comfortable 3 star entry into the Haunted Renovation series, but I had to knock off a star because it made me mad. The one fictional trope that really chaps me is the mean-spirited nurse who inserts herself as a pointless barrier between patients and families, ruthlessly enforcing visiting hours and providing little to no actual care to the patient. And in this one, the author has “Nurse Ratched” not only kicking visitors out for no reason, she spends time reading fiction when she’s supposed to be caring for her critically ill ICU patients. And this is actually what supposedly makes her a more sympathetic, approachable human?!? Nope, nope nope.
I really enjoy this series, and I was really happy that this one was available to me on audio, because Xe Sands is a perfect fit for the MC, reading with a wry humor and seemingly genuine affection for the characters and story. The mystery itself was promising, with the setting moving outside of San Francisco for the first time. Since the ghosts were tied to the stones of a medieval monastery, the historical timeframe was new, as well. I appreciate that the author is keeping the series from settling into a rut of sameness. But the Nurse Ratched caricature cost it this time.
Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Murder Most Foul: Any murder mystery. In this story, a city building inspector is murdered by someone dropping a 60lb bag of mortar on his head. Ouch.