Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Check Out" this Novel Mystery!

Sorry for the pun. It just couldn't be helped!! That's what you get when you have a mystery that deals with books!! Booked to Die by John Dunning (432 pgs, Simon & Schuster) is a book I decided to read for the Something About Me Challenge. Bonnie choose it as one of her selections.
And it's the first book in the Cliff Janeway Mystery series.

Denver police officer, Cliff Janeway, is a bit of an enigma. He's a good, hard-working cop that used to be a boxer. AND he's a collector of rare books. Strange combination, that's for sure. He's known all along Denver's "Book Row", and is always willing to stop and look for a great find. When he gets a call late one evening to investigate a homicide, his book expertise actually helps him out. The victim, Bobby Westfall, is one of Denver's Bookscouts. Bobby spent all his days searching for 1st editions and trying to find the "Big Score".

At first, the murder looks like a random killing, although in the back of Janeway's mind, he suspects it's related to books. His first suspect is Jackie Newton, his arch enemy. Jackie is a thug with lots of money and power. Janeway has been trying to put him away for the murder of several homeless people ever since he moved to Denver, but has never been able to get a conviction.

When Jackie steps over the line by tormenting a woman that might testify against him, Janeway takes the law into his own hands. He literally beats the pulp out of Jackie. With an investigation and a lawsuit pending, Janeway turns in his badge and decides to become what he's always known his future would hold: A Bookman. Bobby's murder gets written off as a random killing.....until murder strikes Book Row once again.

What's not to love about this book? It involves two of my favorite things: mystery and books! Cliff Janeway is a great character. He's smart, tough, and knows his 1st Editions! There are enough twists to keep the pages turning. All the way to the final sentence in the book. And there's tons of information about rare books, enough to keep my interest piqued. You can tell that Dunning is a collector himself, and it radiates through the entire book. Booked to Die is a great mystery, and one I would highly recommend to anyone! I can definitely see that I will be continuing this series!!

Thanks Bonnie!!


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Glad you liked my choice, Stephanie. I chose it because I went to work part-time in a bookstore selling rare, used, and out-of-print books. The owner recommended that I read Booked to Die and, when I asked later, told me that's the way SHE works ... going out to estates and examining their books, buying from book scouts, and all. And THAT was how I learned the business. After that store, I spent over a year as manager of a small bookstore which sold new books as well as used ... a store that was more into serial romance novels and volume than in rare books. And it was only after those two educational experiences that my friend Donna and I opened our own bookstore. I am happy to say there was never a murder in any of the bookstores where I worked ... lol.

alisonwonderland said...

i keep hearing good things about this series, so i guess i'm going to have to read it!

thanks for the review, stephanie, and for the recommendation, bonnie!