Feb 13, 2019

Trouble on the Books (A Castle Bookshop Mystery) by Essie Lang

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing the book Trouble on the Books (A Castle Bookshop Mystery) by Essie Lang.

Print Length: 332 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (March 13 2019)
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Rookie bookstore owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s bookstore, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again—in Trouble on the Books, Essie Lang’s clever and captivating series debut.

Trouble on the Books is a good start to a new cozy mystery series. The premise of the story has promise, and I loved the setting of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region. With that said I am hoping as the series goes on the author decides to expand on the castle/bookstore element and the quaint seaside town.

I had a difficult time getting into the book at first but by chapter 10, I finally started to want to know a little bit more and was connecting more with the main characters.  I think the pacing of the novel is slow, which made me become distracted and put the book down.  With that said I fell asleep early this last week, rather than staying up till I finished the book.

The characters are a bit flat but I am hoping that in further instalments the characters will be a bit more fleshed out and the murder not so obvious.  I do intend to read the next instalment to see where it goes.
My Rating

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book through Netgalley/Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest opinion.
For 14 years, Linda Wiken owned the mystery specialty store, Prime Crime Books in Ottawa, ON. It was with sadness and a sense of anticipation that she closed the store in 2010.

Now, she's embarked on a life of crime between the pages. Her first novel in the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries, A Killer Read, was published April, 2012 as her alter ego, Erika Chase, and was shortlisted for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel at the Malice Domestic conference. There are now five books in the series.

She embarked on a new writing adventure in 2016 as the real Linda Wiken with another series, the Dinner Club Mysteries, also from Berkley Prime Crime. The third in the Dinner Club Mysteries, Marinating in Murder is available now.

Now in 2019 she is writing as Essie Lang for the A Castle Bookshop Mysteries..

Her short stories have appeared in the seven Ladies’ Killing Circle anthologies (three of which she co-edited), and in the magazines Mysterious Intent and Over My Dead Body. She has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada.

Before life in the world of mystery, she worked as an advertising copywriter, radio producer, journalist and community education worker.   ).

As a volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service for over 15 years, she developed a strong, sometimes scary interest in police procedures. She wrote weekly crime stats articles for the local community newspapers for them, along with stories for the OPS internal newsletter.

Keeshas and Mojo, her two Siamese cats, share their house with her in Ottawa, ON where she's lived for over 30 years (she was soooo young when she first arrived in town!).

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