Title: Mad Librarian
Genre: Currently #9422 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Satire, General Humor
Publisher: Madison Press
Publication Date: To be released November 16, 2017
Source: Madison Press and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Mad Librarian – It’s the cover, huh, that gets you
I can’t deny it–both the cover and the title made me pick it up. The cover is compelling and I truly loved it. Reading it was another matter.
The Amazon blurb suggests it might be a women’s crime humorous version of Breaking Bad: The Library Edition. Not.
Apparently the librarian Serenity, the protagonist, is just screaming tired of fighting for funding for her library and she’s mad as hell; ain’t gonna take it any longer. So this forty-something librarian decides the city has been ripping them off long enough and she’ll simply help herself to a little of their “special projects” funds–and why not–keeping a library open is a special project. Right?
The opening chapter introduces you to Serenity Sweetwater Hammer and her two co-librarians, Doom and Joy, who staff the Maddington, Alabama town library. The novel lugs off to a slow, almost agonizing, start but proceeds with dialogue and the less than professional interchanges that I’m having a tough time visualizing between middle-aged women. The language between these supposedly educated, intelligent southern belles is a bit off-putting.
Yes, I know…I know! This is supposed to be satire, but as some humor or jokes tend to be disguised as cruel truths, this satire bites and becomes philosophical lecture. The message here tends to be repeated as the characters degenerate into roughly caricatures of bad ass con-women. (And I’m not buying that Joy, the oldest, would participate.)
As Serenity pursues her agenda, she tends to get further into left-center field from her cop husband, Joe, and disengages from discussion with him. Her two cohorts seem more than willing to follow her progressive ideas with Doom (the youngest of the three) pushing it ever further afield. It doesn’t take too long before you are beyond disbelief. It becomes farcical.
While you are still wondering where the author is going with this, the plot takes several twists and turns. Forget trying to second-guess what’s coming next. About the time you are lulled into momentary boredom by the next library lecture, something happens totally out of the realm of reality. It might turn into a fantasy were it not so deadly serious. These people are playing for keeps.
I’m not thrilled that two seemingly normal people could so easily follow another into a gray area that turns so dark. Sexism runs rampant. The bedroom innuendos or scenes were unnecessary. And the ending? I’m still shaking my cell phone, waiting for the next chapter to fall out. That can’t be the way it ends.
Plot-driven, we don’t actually have the protagonist or her accomplices fully fleshed, although Joe becomes sympathetic. You have to give the book some points for being unique. Apparently, there is a MAD Librarian Fun (madlibrarian.org) and half of all profit from sales will go to the fund.
I was given this download from Madison Press through NetGalley and appreciated having the opportunity to read and review. Perhaps this is better aimed at a younger women’s fiction fantasy set. Not sure I could recommend, but opinions vary widely. You might find the message, and the satire, inspiring.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three of Five Stars
The Author: Michael Guillebeau’s first book, Josh Whoever, was a finalist for the 2014 Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel. It was also named a Debut Mystery of the Month. His sophomore novel, A Study in Detail, was published by Five Star in 2015. Gillebeau has published twenty short stories, three of which were included in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He lives in Huntsville, Alabama and Panama City Beach, Florida. ©2017 Virginia Williams