Lindsey Norris, Director of the Briar Creek Public Library, was just doing her job when she helped a new patron, Aaron Grady, find information about roses. But Grady doesn't see it that way. He brings her roses. He watches her. It's the library staff members who warn Lindsey that the man is fixated on her. Although he told her he was married, Grady watches Lindsey at the library, and wants to talk about her with staff members if she's not there. One night, he shows up at the house she shares with her fiance, Sully, and brings her more roses.
Lindsey reports Grady's actions to the police. He sends her creepy messages, and even follows her to a restaurant where Sully finally confronts him. Lindsey's friends try to help her. When the police ban Grady from the library, the mayor claims boys will be boys, and lets him back in. Then, when Grady's body is found propped outside the library, Sully tops the suspect list.
McKinlay follows Hitting the Books with a disturbing mystery that will hit close to home for many women. The author skillfully contrasts Lindsey's emotions when confronted with Grady's creepy, inappropriate behavior with that of the warm feelings when she's surrounded by friends. It's sobering to observe the female police chief acknowledge the behavior as stalking while the male mayor feels differently. McKinlay's cozy readers will still appreciate the characters. However, the book has a powerful message about stalking and women terrorized in the workplace.
Jenn McKinlay's website is www.jennmckinlay.com
Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime, 2019. ISBN 9780593100035 (hardcover), 304p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.