Sunday, December 18, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: Death Checked Out (Larkspur Library Mystery, #1) by Leah Dobrinska


Death Checked Out

A Larkspur Library Mystery
Leah Dobrinska

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - Wisconsin
Publisher: Level Best Books
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Page Count: ~300


About Death Checked Out

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much.

Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

My Review
5 stars!

With its likable librarian heroine and smart amateur investigation, I was hooked.

Death Checked Out is the entertaining debut of Leah Dobrinska’s new series, the Larkspur Library Mysteries. Greta is a highly likable heroine, and her fellow librarians are engaging sidekicks. Detective Mark McHenry, a formidable investigator with zero bedside manner, has a secret sweet spot for the new library director.
The small town of Larkspur is picture-perfect with its lakeside location and fall in full swing. Several local businesses make their way into the story, which rounds out the cozy visual image. I came away wanting to attend the town’s upcoming Fall Festival the mayor and Greta were planning. Larkspur is a town of contrasts, though. While it is the typical small town where everyone knows everyone else and all their business and rumors streak through the grapevine, the story demonstrates that there can still be some surprising and shocking, and very well-kept secrets.
Greta, Josie, and Iris do an excellent job of ferreting out critical information, as librarians are wont to do, that identifies several potential suspects and other individuals vital to solving the crime. I liked that Greta and Josie consciously considered the ramifications and possible dangers of talking to some of these suspects and planned accordingly before deciding to pursue a meeting. We aren’t privy to much of McHenry’s initial investigation, but he (the professional) seems to be two steps behind the women throughout.
With its likable librarian heroine and nicely paced and plausible amateur investigation, I was hooked by the story from start to finish. I recommend DEATH CHECKED OUT to cozy mystery readers who enjoy library settings, librarian sleuths, and small towns in Wisconsin with a crisp autumn feel.

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she's not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website,


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