The Broken Spine By Dorothy St. James: Review/Giveaway

Feb 13, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

For librarian Trudell Becket, the unthinkable is about to happen. Her beloved library in Cypress, South Carolina, is about to go “bookless,” meaning that their entire physical book collection will be chucked out as they go digital and high tech. Leading the push to embrace e-books and databases is the new town manager Duggar Hargrove, who has little regard or patience for Tru’s appreciation of what he sees as obsolete. So while Tru doesn’t exactly shed a tear when Duggar is crushed to death by DVD shelves, she knows that an intensive investigation could threaten to reveal everything she has planned for the future. Unknown to the mayor and officials who have ordered all of the library books to be discarded and destroyed, Tru has been smuggling a curated collection to the basement, where she and her besties intend to run a literal underground library book room. Using low-tech card catalogs and manual checkouts, Tru and her friends hope to preserve the honor of her profession and cater to those who feel ignored by the mobile, Wi-Fi generation.

Nearly as threatening as the investigation that could expose her unauthorized library is the investigator leading the case. Detective Jace Bailey shattered Tru’s heart and nearly got her flunked out back in high school, and he seems to have no remorse or intention of apologizing. While she is led to a clue linked to The Maltese Falcon, Tru feels much more comfortable following the lessons she learned from her beloved Nancy Drew mysteries. In order to prevent her book room from being discovered and to protect her heart, Tru will have to use all of the skills as a librarian and mystery reader to catch the killer in the library. And if the culprit happens to be the IT tech responsible for digitalizing and making the entire collection electronic, all the better.

This first in the series will undoubtedly appeal to book readers and library lovers, as it highlights the charm and value found in holding a physical book. It’s not just for nostalgic reasons that Tru creates her secret book room, as she rightly sees it as a community space and sanctuary for those not comfortable with computers and mobile devices. Tru’s place in the community as their librarian and neighbor is naturally and smoothly developed, with her ready to lead her own book room under the shushing, judgmental head librarian aboveground. Librarians will of course see Tru as a leader for the times, secret superheroes doing all they can to educate, entertain, and comfort patrons. A cat named Dewey only further pushes this book to the top of every cozy reader’s booklist for the year.

To enter to win a copy of The Broken Spine, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “spine,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 20, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I love discovering book series and authors who are new to me. This sounds like a wonderful book!

  2. I like the idea of an underground library. Count me in the drawing!

  3. This sounds so good! Love the book cover too!
    Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win!!

  4. i love cozy mysteries and finding new to me authors

  5. This sounds like my kind of book. Thank you for the chance!

    • This book is an amazing one that has you turning the pages and forgetting the time that has slipped by you.

  6. The underground library is a fabulous idea. I’d be right there helping out. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The Broken Spine. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  7. Sounds like another fun series! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  8. I’ve been wanting to read this. It sounds wonderful, I like the idea of a secret library.

  9. I would love to read this. Thank you for a chance to win.

  10. Cheers for Trudell and her friends.
    I would hate to think I had to read
    everything digitally. Just something
    about having that book in your hands.
    Can’t wait to read this one. thanks

  11. Sounds wonderful

  12. This sounds like such a good book. I would love to win a copy.
    Thank you for the chance

  13. We have a winner!


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