Audiobook review: Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska
In an attempt to leave a bad breakup behind, Greta moves to Larkspur, WI, a quaint, small town about an hour away from where she grew up. She’s not been there long, but she’s got a job she loves as the library director, and she’s made fabulous friends. However, when she discovers the deceased body of one of new friends, Greta becomes the primary suspect in a murder investigation. Determined to find evidence to clear her name, Greta enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth.
Death Checked Out is entertaining whodunit with lots of potential for subsequent stories. Greta is an extremely likable main character. She’s intelligent and kind, looking to help others when she can. But she’s also got a spine, which we see first hand when she stands up to big city Detective McHenry and calls him out on his less than stellar attitude. I was sad that Greta has to lose a friend for the sake of the storyline, but I love that even in death, she gets to know him better and does her best to honor her departed friend.
The mystery of who killed Franklin is solid. Greta is someone who always sees the good in others, so it’s hard for her to try and build a case against anyone in town. She and her friends gather information and at times, she acts a bit recklessly, which I didn’t love. With that said, I appreciate that she does confide in the detective or her friends and family.
Detective McHenry is also new to town, but he hasn’t grasped the way of life in small towns. He is bullish and at times, an ass, especially to Greta who is trying to help him out. What I didn’t love is that her girlfriends constantly imply McHenry likes her or that he would make a good match, especially in the middle of this investigation and coupled with the fact that he’s rude to Greta. That said, the author does a great job of allowing McHenry to grow, and I can see a friendship developing between the pair, with an option for a future romance.
Narration: The story is shared via the third person POV of Greta, with Ms. Summers using an upbeat feminine voice for the narrator/Greta. She infuses her performance with a lot of emotion by changing pitch, elongating words, and using pauses. The narrator adjusts her performance for each character’s dialogue, deepening her voice somewhat for males and adding some accents. However, the modifications are slight, and without dialogue tags, it would be hard to identify a character based on voice alone. Her most effective adaptations are for age, with older characters sounding different than younger ones.
In the end, Death Checked Out is a delightful start to this new cozy series. I enjoyed the characters, and the mystery was pretty good. I look forward to more stories in the Larkspur Library Mysteries.
About the Book:
When in doubt, go to the library . . . and solve the murder mystery!
Greta Plank, library director in the small lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. It’s how she copes with the hard stuff in life . . . like her sister’s death and her ex-boyfriend’s deception. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she stumbles upon a dead body on her way home from work. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, a new-to-town detective cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.
Greta decides to do some off-the-books clue cataloging of her own. With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta flips through the pages of the murder, uncovering details about Larkspur’s real estate market and the deceased’s rare book collection as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.
With friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross reference.
Author: Leah Dobrinska
Narrator: Eliza Summers
Series: Larkspur Library Mysteries #1
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery
Audiobook Release Date: May 9, 2023
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Length: 9hr 40min
Source: Book Source
Audio Speed: 1.3x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)