Monday, December 12, 2022

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska


Death Checked Out:  A Larkspur Library Mystery by Leah Dobrinska

About Death Checked Out

Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (December 6, 2022)
Number of Pages ~300
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHJJ1QRT

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much. 

Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website,

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My Thoughts

Greta Plank is a librarian in Larkspur, Wisconsin.  Greta’s move to Larkspur was for her to get a fresh start.  She is happy to be away from the memories of her deceptive ex-boyfriend.  It took time, but Greta has made friends with her curmudgeonly neighbor, Franklin.  She stops by his house after work and finds Franklin dead at the bottom of a set of stairs.  Greta thought it was an accident until the town’s new detective begins questioning her.   Greta is surprised that Detective Mark McHenry believes she killed her friend.  Greta works with her fellow librarians to prove her innocence.

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska is the debut of A Larkspur Library Mysteries.  Greta Plank is a woman who has a cheery attitude.   She enjoys living in Larkspur.  She likes the small town where everyone knows you and gossip spreads faster than maple syrup on hot flapjacks.  I enjoyed getting to know the town and its residents.  Larkspur reminds me of Stars Hollow.  The mystery was straightforward.  Greta is at the top of Detective McHenry’s suspect list.  She feels the only way to clear her name is to find the guilty party.  Greta gets help from her fellow librarians, Josie and Iris.  Greta is told to keep details of the case to herself, but she is quick to share them with everyone she encounters.  There are a couple of suspects, a red herring, and pointed clues.  There is a tense reveal.  The crime has a good wrap up at the end.  I enjoyed the Nancy Drew references in the story.  I also liked how Greta, Josie, and Iris were there for each other (Josie more than Iris).   Death Checked Out is an upbeat cozy with Biff the tabby, a librarian in love, a deceased recluse, rampant rumors, a caring community, a determined detective, and a sleuthing librarian.


“Greta, thank you for coming. I’m sorry I was occupied when you arrived.”

“Don’t worry about it. I have the holds for you.” She reached into her canvas bag and pulled out the books Franklin requested from the library.

“Ah yes, excellent. I can’t wait to dive in.” He shuffled through the stack, pausing to read the back cover of Crime and Punishment before he met Greta’s gaze. “These’ll be great. Please, take a seat. Can you stay a minute? Can I get you anything to drink?”

“I can stay for a bit.” Greta set her bag down and smoothed her skirt under her as she sat on Franklin’s couch. “But I don’t need anything.”

“You’re about the only person I know who doesn’t need anything from me, Greta.”

Greta waited for him to explain what he meant, but Franklin just steepled his fingers under his chin. His hair was streaked with gray, and he looked a little more out of sorts than usual. His forehead was creased with deep worry lines, and he stared straight ahead, but didn’t seem to see what was in front of him. The man was temperamental, to say the least. But typically, Franklin was anxious for her to tell him all about her day at the library and any town happenings. He may not get out much, but he liked to keep tabs on Larkspur.

“Anything you want to talk about?”

Franklin looked up, startled, as if he’d forgotten there was someone else in the room with him. “Terribly sorry, Greta,” he sighed. “I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

Greta paused for a second and then decided to take advantage of the relationship she’d built with him to try to get some answers—even if she was being what some might consider nosy. If there was something wrong, she wanted to help him make it right. “The phone call?”

Death Checked Out is available from Amazon* and Barnes & Noble.  You can find Leah Dobrinska's other novels here.  The author is hosting a giveaway as part of the tour.  One person can win a paperback copy of Death Checked Out, a bookmark, and a canvas library tote (sorry, but US Only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment for an extra entry. Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on December 27 with Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous by Amanda Flower.  It is the fourth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery.  Lois and Millie have a new case to investigate.  Let's hope Lois does not get Millie into too much trouble.   I hope that you and your families have a very Happy Holiday!  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 
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Tour Participants

December 12 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

December 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

December 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Elza Reads – REVIEW

December 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

December 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT


December 17 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

December 18 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 19 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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