A small-town librarian and reporter adds sleuthing to her résumé after finding a corpse amid the stacks.
Thirty-ish and unlucky in love, Mira James has moved from the Twin Cities to the small Minnesota town of Battle Lake. She snags two decent part-time jobs at the public library and the weekly newspaper, and a new lover to boot. The sex with archaeologist Jeff Wilson is terrific, and the relationship is blossoming when his murder brings it to a screeching halt. Worse, it’s Mira who finds the body on the floor of the library. She can’t resist probing, especially since her editor at the Recall wants a story about the crime. At first, Mira thinks Jeff’s death was related to his archaeological work. The designation of a historical site could derail a local land-development plan. That theory hits a dead end, but Mira finds a clutch of likely suspects in Jeff’s past. A pivotal figure in a murky romantic pentagon, he was the high school’s star quarterback, involved with homecoming queen Kennie (now Battle Lake’s mayor), teammate Gary (chief of police), classmate Karl (prominent banker) and coach Lartel (Mira’s boss at the library). Mira digs up a closetful of dirty secrets, including sex parties, cross-dressing and blackmail, on her way to exposing the killer.
Lourey’s debut has a likable heroine and a surfeit of sass, but the projected series needs to find its mystery footing.