Information decoding, harry potter references, arms dealers, missing friend, trip to London (from L.A.), C.I.A, nukes, dead Russian black market dealer, steamy kisses, sweet date, Oxford Prof., James Bond references and a story that comes full circle from family to family. The librarian and the spy was interestingly written from a badass librarian’s perspective, who was a just a little self-deprecating but otherwise quirky. The spy to go along was a handsome man with an apptitude in multiple languages, smooth talking and lying. Prime qualification, you know!
About the Story
A spy romance is one of the very few clique topics I personally adore but abstained from, for along time. Now that time has moved forward with action packed ladies as popular protagonist, I craved to pick my favorite clique. I made a good start with this one.
Fair warning from personal experience – If you let yourself get engulfed by the fact that the romance starts agonizingly slow, you will end up missing spy clues. In that, the book seemed quite well balanced. There are also a few clique killings in this story which I admire.
For example, in most restaurant dates and romance novels, there is always a flirty waitress (remember Twilight). While reading I was so glad that their first date escaped this clique even though the story tripped me into believing that it was one until the climax. Susan Mann (the writer) used one incident in three ways: relief, surprise and laughter! Excellent work.
We will only be talking about Quinn and James (not bond) in the charcters but there are a few noteworthy mentions. For one, Virginia, the head librarian who was often referenced with Umbridge plays no role but that of a prying cougar. Then there is Ben, James’ partner who takes a big hit when he is captured and agonized over the manuscript (don’t worry, there is no historical lesson here).
The Librarian – Quinn Ellington
The Blond with brains is a complete Information machine in herself. She loves spy novels, a trait that runs in the family. And, she is a librarian handy with a Glock (FYI, it is a type of a gun). She has her moments of weak knees and hyperventilation like every woman does but she holds her own ground in moments of dire need. Dodging bullets or going undercover counts as dire.
While we are on Quinn (real name Quincy), let’s discusses her friends and family who are a big part of her life. Her best friend, Nicole is like a over enthusiastic sister while her cat is just amazing with its emotion issues. Then there is her family of spy novel loving grandfather, Marine father, 5 brothers, loving mother and sister-in-laws who are all too protective of the baby of the house. It isn’t until the very end, until the most important words are uttered that we understand their significance.
The Spy – James Anderson
Suave but not your typical 007, James Anderson is a C.I.A operative. He clearly has no crap going on about ‘not falling in love on a mission’ unlike what some portray (Clique murder for the win). He has simple and realistic issues about putting his love in danger.
In the end, I loved James character portrayed through Quinn’s perspective because we see some serious relationship and character development happening as he goes from trying to order Quinn around and worrying about her safety to being ok with her working at… Tsk. Tsk. Let’s just say working under danger.
The overall story, for me, was predictable with it’s own moments of surprise and twists. That is another part I quite enjoy about reading an age old genre from a fresh perspective: the comfort of predictability with a healthy dose of surprise. There is everything you’d want in a spy romance: steamy kisses and dates to flying bullets and high speed chase. There is even a captive rescue thrown in their.
Another part I absolutely like in this one is the ‘no love profess happens’ right before entering dangerous territory. It only happens after they are both in the clear.
The main villain or the arms dealer was but nothing but a supporting cast in the whole story. But this works for cover-not-blown part of the story thus ends up working for the story. From a reader’s perscective, Quinn’s brother served no purpose to the story except perhaps the whole naming-my-child-after-an-american-president theme or paintball practice. Also, seeing an over-involved Nicole back down from Quinn’s throat when she declared her news of job change didn’t fit well with Nicole’s characterstics.
My favorite twist: Spoiler Alert
When the arms dealer claimed the agents to be of the blackmarket dealer and himself as an agent of MI6. Needless to say, Quinn was stumped but the lack of talent (no Russian knowledge among other things) gave his identity away. In James’ words, the whole thing is pear shaped. As their past cover serves as their real cover for this one. No identity blowing for god’s sake!
Let me end by saying that the end will surprise you and it has nothing to do with Quinn’s new job offer.
P.S – I can’t wait for more of Susan Mann’s work!