Diane Wilkes's Reviews > If Books Could Kill

If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle
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's review
Jul 14, 2011

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Read from July 09 to 14, 2011

I really liked the first book in this series, so I was excited to start reading If Books Could Kill.

Let me list my disappointments in order:

I liked the protagonist/amateur sleuth Brooklyn's backstory so much in the first book--raised by upscale counterculture hippies in the commune Dharma, Brooklyn attended Harvard and became a high-level old book restorer (another member of Dharma was her mentor). But this book is set in Scotland and Brooklyn and the family live in California. No problem--they've all been unrealistically transported to Scotland (Brooklyn is there for a book fair). And her slightly woo-woo Mom has become the emcee for colonics to the point where she's a caricature as opposed to a character.

In the first book, a dashing British inspector initially suspects Brooklyn of murder--and of course this minor conflict turns to attraction. Guess what--British inspector sits next to Brooklyn on the flight to Scotland, where he, too, just happens to be traveling. And their relationship is so poorly rendered. It's just weird--a combination of old-style conversation that lacks wit or charm coupled with an occasional attempt at Sex and the City commentary from Brooklyn. Ewwww. Talk about spoiling the moment.

Not only do the folks, the best friend (Robin), and Derek (yeah, Derek, I know!) get transplanted from SF to Scotland, but mysterious guardian angel Gabriel (again, I kid you not with the name) rescues Brooklyn again--and he lays a kiss on her, too. He even calls her babe and tries to escape with her rare book. Has Ms. Carlisle been reading Janet Evanovich.

If so, she needs to go back and read more carefully. Gabriel ain't Ranger (by a long shot) and Evanovich writes sizzling flirtation/sex scenes.

I may not read any more books in this series--which disappoints me most of all. I like so much of what Carlisle does--the bookbinding info, the character development (esp. in the first book), the mixing of many interesting cultures and cultural touchstones...but this book showed up more weaknesses than I could bear.

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