Friday, September 06, 2019

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay

I have the feeling that Word to the Wise is personal for author Jenn McKinlay. I haven't asked her, but I read the acknowledgements. If you read the mystery, which is more disturbing than some of McKinlay's books, read the acknowledgements, and let me know what you think. And, the next time I see Jenn, I have a question for her.

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

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.


Kay said...

I haven't read this series as yet (have the cupcake series), but I'm very tempted to try this book. What a timely topic and I hope this isn't personal to Jenn, but I also know how easy it would be for this to happen when one works in the public sector (which a lot of library work is). Creepy.

Lesa said...

Kay, I really like this series since Jenn knows what she's talking about. And, yes. It could easily happen, and it is creepy.

Christie said...

I am 1/3 of the way through the book and I agree with you that this sounds personal. Yours is the second review of this book that I read and they are similar. She is a good author and storyteller and I want to yell at the mayor for not taking this seriously. And I should add that the relationship between Sully and Robbie (they are not friends, they are “mates”��) is so much better than in other series, as we recently discussed. We can continue this discussion when I see you-soon!

Lesa said...

I do like the change in their relationship, Christie. You're right. And, it does sound personal.Looking forward to seeing you!

Marla Bradeen/Paige Sleuth, Mystery Author said...

Yes, it is personal. Jenn wrote a blog post about it a few months ago on Jungle Red Writers:

Lesa said...

Thank you, Marla. Hmmm. Much as I thought. Thanks for sharing the link.

Gram said...

I really enjoy this series and this book is on my sooner library list..thanks for the review.

Lesa said...

I like this series, too, Gram.