Monday, September 25, 2023

Overdue Reviews - Meet Me in + Murder in the Manuscript Room


Goodreads:  Meet Me in Barcelona by Mary Carter

Blurb:  A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer's current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn't just Grace's foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend--until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she's kept from Jake--and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it. . .

My Thoughts:  I loved the setting for this book and the basic premise was interesting.  However, that's the end of what really worked with me.  Carrie Ann is awful and Grace isn't much better.  Even though there are some really serious issues in the backstory both women come off as immature and frequently a bit petty.  Jake is okay and Grace's dad seems like a nice man but I was frustrated with the rest of the characters and was never quite able to connect with the story or the characters.  In general, I don't think this author's writing style worked for me.  It felt a bit over the top with tone and angst but never fully delivered on its promise.  I did finish it and didn't feel like I suffered through the read but I'm not sure I would have finished it if it hadn't been a book for review simply because I just didn't care.  My Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)

Goodreads:  Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane

Blurb:  When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City's iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library's curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend--or perhaps more-than-friend--Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele's relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler's investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele's growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.
Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler's friend and sometimes partner-in-crime solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who'd been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD's intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long ago murder of a trade union reformer.

No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there--not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city's law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.

My Thoughts:  I love books that involve libraries and a librarian that focuses on crime fiction is just about the perfect main character.  Unfortunately, this didn't quite work for me.  I liked the New York setting and the grittier characters but the writing style is heavy on the Noir fiction style - lots of atmosphere and surly characters - which just doesn't work for me.  The focus on the Islamic scholar seemed like an extreme jump and the intelligence division kind of comes off as a comic book villain.  If you are a fan of Noir style mysteries you'll probably like this much more than me.  If you're not than you may want to pass.  This is the first and only book in this series that I'll be picking up.  My Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)


  1. Had a lot of anticipation for the Barcelona read till I finished your post

  2. I liked Murder in the Manuscript Room, but when I tried to read the second book I ended up not finishing it. It didn't pull me in like I hoped it would.

  3. Well at least you got these off your shelf. I'm sorry they weren't more enjoayble.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  4. It sounds like these both left something to be desired. That's really too bad. Murder in the Manuscript Room sounds sounded so promising.

  5. Well sounds like two authors to cross of your list and two never to put on mine!