Sunday, October 10, 2021

Review: Little Black Book by Kate Carlisle

by Kate Carlisle
Release Date: July 13, 2021
2021 Berkley Books
Kindle Edition; 374 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593201435
Audiobook: B08WR72JD7
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Brooklyn has been happily settling into married life with her hunky husband, security expert Derek Stone, when a little black book arrives in the mail on a quiet Saturday afternoon. The book is a rare British first edition of Rebecca, and inside, Brooklyn finds a note from her old friend Claire Quinn, asking her to restore it to its former luster. 

The day after the book arrives, Claire shows up at Brooklyn and Derek's home--in disguise. She believes her life is in danger, and as soon as Derek sits her down and questions her, Claire reveals that in the last few weeks she has experienced two near-fatal attacks, along with weird notes left in her mailbox, hang-up phone calls, and one very scary car chase. She's afraid that her past is catching up to her. 
My Thoughts
Little Black Book is the next book in the popular Bibliophile Mystery series, and while I really think that cover is beautiful and was excited to have Brooklyn and Derek visit Scotland, I was a bit disappointed in this book overall.  Brooklyn is starting to really get on my nerves and I am getting a bit bored with the fact that everyone seems to be an 'expert' in everything.  Derek can just about call up anyone and voilĂ , problem solved.  You need a private plane? No problem.  You need a decoder? No problem.  You need this? No problem. For me, this aspect is getting a bit out of hand and I am having difficulty just focusing on the story.  
Let's start with Brooklyn.  I normally love her character and in the earlier books, loved how eccentric she was.  She was also smart and while she did jump into situations, it wasn't because she was silly.  I get that she is married and is worried about Derek, but being married doesn't mean you lose your brain or your common sense. She constantly ignores good advice from Derek and follows him into dangerous situations when she knows that he is quite capable of dealing with them and is only putting herself, and him, into danger by doing so. I rolled my eyes a few times in this book over Brooklyn.  Derek however, I still love as a character.  He was a lot more fun though, when he was mysterious and we didn't know a lot about him.    

The writing style is usually crisp, with a lot of twists and turns, and while I enjoyed the mystery, I did find it a bit muddled at times, as if the author wasn't sure where she wanted to go with an idea.  I loved the fact that part of the story took place in Scotland, but am also concerned that people are going to expect Brooklyn and Derek to have to go to all these places to make things more exciting.  I don't mind a trip here and there, but this is a cozy mystery novel, not a spy novel, you know?  And I feel like some of the elements I really enjoyed in the earlier books are missing from the past couple of novels.  And there were some things that both Brooklyn, and Derek, missed that were so obvious which didn't really ring true to their personalities.
Little Black Book is one of those books that I liked, but didn't love.  Something has been off  these past couple of books where both character and story development has been lacking.  I used to really enjoy Brooklyn's personality and her bookbinding experiences, but now feel they are overshadowed by other things happening around her, but those things are starting to slowly turn me off from these books.  Everyone is so perfect, everyone has money, everyone is paring off together, and it is starting to get cloying.  When done well, the writing is really, really good though, so I will probably read one more in this series to see what happens next. I really miss the feel of the earlier books in this series.