“Better Late Than Never” by Jenn McKinlay


By Jenn McKinlay

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Lindsey Norris, director of the public library in the cozy Connecticut shoreline town of Briar Creek, has decided that the library should hold its first ever overdue book amnesty day. Not everyone on the staff is on board with this idea, however. Topping the list of naysayers is the always curmudgeonly Ms. Cole, an old school librarian who has been on the staff for decades. Her co-workers have secretly nicknamed her “the lemon” because of the sour look she always has on her face. On Amnesty Day, Ms. Cole arrives for work dressed head-to-toe in black, as if she’s going to a funeral. Her choice of attire turns out to be more appropriate than she expected.

The small library staff is soon overwhelmed with the amount of overdue books that come pouring in. But they soldier on, checking in book after overdue book, everyone vying to win a free pizza from Marco’s Pizzeria, the prize Lindsey is offering to the librarian who finds the book that has been out of circulation the longest. But no one expects to find a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” that was borrowed twenty years ago. Determined to discover who checked out the book, which is in surprisingly good condition after all these years, Lindsey turns to Ms. Cole and her impressive collection of old records and overdue notices. Ms. Cole is shocked and visibly upset when she discovers the book was checked out by Candice Whitely, a popular local high school English teacher, who was found murdered later that same afternoon. Her murder was never solved. Who has had the book for the last twenty years? And why return it now? Could the book be a link to solving the mystery of the teacher’s tragic death?

“Better Late Than Never” is a real page-turner with true-to-life characters and a variety of plot twists that I never saw coming.

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