Monday, May 27, 2024

Book Review: That Night in the Library

On the night before graduation, seven students gather in the basement of their university's rare books library. They're not allowed in the library after closing time, but it's the perfect place for the ritual they want to perform—one borrowed from the Greeks, said to free those who take part in it from the fear of death. And what better time to seek the wisdom of ancient gods than in the hours before they'll scatter in different directions to start their real lives?

But just a few minutes into their celebration, the lights go out—and one of them drops dead. As the body count rises, with nothing but the books to protect them, the group must figure out how to survive the night while trapped with a murderer. That Night in the Library is a chilling literary mystery that transports readers to a world where secrets live in the dark, books breathe fears to life, and the only way out is to wait until morning.

That Night in the Library by Eva Jurczyk will be published June 11, 2024. Poisoned Pen Press provided an early galley for review.

This was another author whom I heard speak about their upcoming novel back in April 2024 at the PLA annual convention. As a librarian, I found the title and the premise to be very intriguing. I definitely was eager to check it out.

I had a hard time getting through this one, but I made myself finish it nonetheless. My problem was with the characters; I found them all absolutely self-absorbed thus unlikeable. I am not sure if they came across this way because of their ages or as commentary on the generation from which they come, but I just could not connect to them. Even though we get several chapters up front to get introduced to them as well as the point-of-view shifting between each of them throughout the story, it simply did not help me sympathize with any of them.

What added to it was how those personalities actually worsened after they took drugs. Their paranoia rose and their ability to reason dropped extremely, no doubt a response to the tension of this situation. Still, because I cared for none of them, I was not at all invested on who lived and who died.

The ending does tie to elements laid out before (as a mystery should), but that was only a small compensation.

I am confident this book will find an audience for whom it resonates. Maybe a younger audience than this particular Gen-X reviewer.

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