Sunday, November 09, 2014

On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay regularly juggles multiple mystery series, including the Library Lover's series. And, she also juggles romantic interests, a primary storyline in her latest book, On Borrowed Time.

Library Director Lindsey Norris has nothing more serious to worry about than her love life. Captain Mike Sullivan "Sully" and British actor Robbie Vine are actually making fools of themselves, stumbling over each other to get Lindsey's attention. Then, her brother, Jack, shows up at the Briar Creek Public Library, sneaking in through an unlocked window. But, before Lindsey can find out what her world-traveling brother is up to, he disappears, leaving behind a dead body in the meeting room. Not knowing her brother's secrets, Lindsey doesn't report his presence to the police. And, when she and Sully end up chasing a boat, and she hears from a kidnapped Jack, she has even more reasons to keep Jack's appearance, and disappearance, a secret.

McKinlay mixes a number of elements together in this latest mystery. It's fun, beginning with the steampunk party, and the boat chase that seems to be a continuation of the steampunk aspect. And, Lindsey's worry about her brother is a valid reason to keep his presence a secret. But, to be honest, the primary purpose of the book seems to be to deal with the issue of Lindsey's love life. The story behind Jack's disappearance doesn't even become a primary focus until three fourths of the book is over. Instead, the book is about Sully and Robbie, and their attempts to get Lindsey's attention. And, for those of us who are rooting for Sully, it's the opportunity to learn more about his background. But, the mystery elements really are just filler this time, and a little outrageous as filler.

Jenn McKinlay's strength is this book lies with her characters. She has created characters the reader cares about, beginning with Lindsey and Sully, and all their friends. Lindsey has a supportive group of friends who are there to help her when she needs them. They're there in times of crisis, and times of celebration.

Read On Borrowed Time if you care more about Lindsey Norris' relationships than a mystery. Cheers for Sully's ongoing attempts. How can Lindsey ignore the man she sees this way? "There was something inherently good and strong and safe about Sully. He radiated a certainly about life and his place in it that she had never known in another person. It made her feel secure." But, just a warning to Lindsey and Jenn McKinlay. Don't keep the relationships hanging out there too long. Some of us have quit reading an ongoing series about a certain cookie bakery owner because, in eighteen books, she couldn't make up her mind which man she loved. (Of course, if you're the author, and pleased with the eighteen books, that's one thing. For those of us who quit reading the series, it's another.)

Jenn McKinlay's website is

On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425260739 (paperback), 294p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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