The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom (Review #2)

affairReviewed by Teri Davis

Being a vegetarian who is Jewish, English, and a mobile librarian, makes Israel Armstrong seem to be displaced while living in Northern Ireland on the coast of the most northern part in the small community of Tundrum. In actuality, his natural attraction and awkwardness in social situations makes THE BAD BOOK AFFAIR a comical and relaxing reading experience.

Since Israel allowed a 14-year-old, Lyndsay Morris, to check out a book from the unshelved section of the library, he finds himself as a suspect when the girl is missing. Why would he allow her to check out from this censorable book section? How would you know that a girl is only fourteen when she appears older from both her appearance and actions?

What do you do if you are suspected of being involved with the disappearance of a politician’s 14-year-old daughter? Being that Israel doesn’t always avoid conflict, he decides to investigate himself into the girl’s past, earning him problems from his superior and the respect of a local reporter.

Israel Armstrong is humanly plagued of being a realistic character. The depressed mobile librarian recently split from his longtime girlfriend and has the unfortunate ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. However what makes this quirky character so delightful is his non-magnetic character who in real-life would not ever be considered as a protagonist. Being this is a novel, knowing Israel, no one feels envious of him, but in each of us, Israel is the perfect example for everyone’s insecurities. He is the typical Charlie Brown without being in a “Peanuts” cartoon.

Being the fourth book in a series, it has to be difficult to meet the needs of a continuation of a series and to be able for the story to be successful as a single novel. THE BAD BOOK AFFAIR accomplishes that and more. This particular novel exceeds the previous ones in that Israel is more human, depressed, and definitely troubled.

For an antagonist, the ever optimistic sidekick, Ted, the driver and heart of the mobile library who knows everyone’s past and secrets, has difficulty constantly llifting the spirits while motivating his comrade. All the characters are realistic in that none of them are perfect and the story revolves around all their flaws.

Ian Sansom resides in Northern Ireland. He contributes regularly to THE GUARDIAN and the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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