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Booked for Murder
R.J. Blain. Pen & Page, $13.99 trade paper (522p) ISBN 978-1-64964-003-1
Blain (The Flame Game) launches the Vigilante Magical Librarians series with this fun but overloaded urban fantasy. Former bodyguard and exsanguinator Janette has been living in hiding as a librarian, faking a lower magical aptitude rating than she really has. It’s a quiet, humble life—until a senator is killed on the steps of the library where she works. The murder brings her old boss, Bradley Hampton, back into her life, reopening old wounds and spurring family and friends who thought Janette dead or missing to her doorstep. Now Janette must partner with Bradley to solve the murder before she becomes the prime suspect. It’s a promising premise and the caste-like, rating-based magic system is a fascinating concept, but the story is bogged down in dialogue-heavy scenes explaining the world and the characters’ backstories rather than showing them at play. Readers hoping for a fast-paced, action-packed adventure will be disappointed in the slow, exposition-laden buildup, but the endearing, wisecracking characters and witty dialogue will appeal to fans of Shelly Laurenston. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 06/25/2021

Release date 08/01/2020

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