Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Series #1)

Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Series #1)

by John Dunning

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Booked to Die, the first book in John Dunning’s bestselling, award-winning Cliff Janeway series, is “a joy to read for its wealth of inside knowledge about the antiquarian book business and its eccentric traders” (The New York Times Book Review).

Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he’s an avid collector of rare and first editions. Bobby Westfall is a local bookscout, a gentle and quiet man who has sold enough valuable books to keep himself and his cats fed and housed. When Bobby is murdered, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect’s spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway’s wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.

Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop—all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. When prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now Janeway’s life is about to change in profound and shocking ways as he attempts to find out who’s dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.

“One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read” (The Denver Post), Booked to Die is the first in the Cliff Janeway series. It is “a standout piece of crime fiction…Compelling page-turning stuff” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439117293
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 08/14/2012
Series: Cliff Janeway Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 122,695
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

John Dunning has revealed some of book collecting’s most shocking secrets in his bestselling series of crime novels featuring Cliff Janeway: Booked to Die, which won the prestigious Nero Wolfe award; The Bookman’s Wake, a New York Times Notable Book; and the New York Times bestsellers The Bookman’s Promise, The Sign of the Book, and The Bookwoman’s Last Fling. He is also the author of the Edgar Award-nominated Deadline, The Holland Suggestions, and Two O’Clock, Eastern Wartime. An expert on rare and collectible books, he owned the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver for many years. He lives in Denver, Colorado. Visit

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The phone rang. It was 2:30 A.M.

Normally I am a light sleeper, but that night I was down among the dead. I had just finished a thirteen-hour shift, my fourth day running of heavy overtime, and I hadn't been sleeping well until tonight. A guy named Jackie Newton was haunting my dreams. He was my enemy and I thought that someday I would probably have to kill him. When the bell went off, I was dreaming about Jackie Newton and our final showdown. For some reason -- logic is never the strong point of a dream like that -- Jackie and I were in the hallway at East High School. The bell brought the kids out for the change of classes; Jackie started shooting and the kids began to drop, and that bell kept ringing as if it couldn't stop.

In the bed beside me, Carol stirred.

"Oh, Cliff," she groaned. "Would somebody please get that goddamn telephone?"

I groped for the night table, felt the phone, and knocked the damn thing to the floor. From some distant galaxy I could hear the midget voice of Neal Hennessey, saying, "Cliff?...Cliff?...Hey, Clifford!" I reached along the black floor and found the phone, but it was still many seconds later before Hennessey took on his bearlike image in my mind.

"Looks like we got another one," Hennessey said without preamble.

I struggled to sit up, trying to get used to the idea that Jackie Newton hadn't shot me after all.

"Hey, alive yet?"

"Yeah, Neal, sure. First time I been sound asleep in a week."

He didn't apologize; he just waited.

"Where you at?" I said.

"Alley off Fifteenth, just up from the Denver Post. This one looks an awful lot like the others."

"Give me about half an hour."

"We'll be here."

I sat for another minute, then I got up and went into the bathroom. I turned on the light and looked in the mirror and got the first terrifying look at myself in the cold hard light of the new day. You're getting old, Janeway, I thought. Old Andrew Wyeth could make a masterpiece out of a face like that. Call it Clifford Liberty Janeway at thirty-six, with no blemish eliminated and no character line unexplored.

I splashed cold water on my face: it had a great deal less character after that. To finally answer Hennessey, yes, I was almost alive again. The vision of Jackie Newton rose up before me and my hand went automatically to the white splash of scar tissue just under my right shoulder. A bank robber had shot me there five years ago. I knew Jackie Newton would give a lot to put in another one, about three inches to the left and an inch or so down.

Man with an old bullet wound, by Wyeth: an atypical work, definitely not your garden-variety Helga picture.

When I came out of the bathroom Carol was up. She had boiled water and had a cup of instant coffee steaming on my nightstand.

"What now?" she said.

As I struggled into my clothes, I told her it looked like another derelict murder. She sighed loudly and sat on the bed.

She was lovely even in a semistupor. She had long auburn hair and could probably double for Helga in a pinch. No one but Wyeth would know.

"Would you like me to come with you?"

I gave a little laugh, blowing the steam from my coffee.

"Call it moral support," she said. "Just for the ride down and back. Nobody needs to see me. I could stay in the car."

"Somebody would see you, all right, and then the tongues would start. It'd be all over the department by tomorrow."

"You know something? I don't even care."

"I care. What we do in our own time is nobody's business."

I went to the closet and opened it. Our clothes hung there side by side -- the blue uniform Carol had worn on yesterday's shift; my dark sport coat; our guns, which had become as much a part of the wardrobe as pants, shirts, ties, badges. I never went anywhere without mine, not even to the corner store. I had had a long career for a guy thirty-six: I'd made my share of enemies, and Jackie Newton was only the latest.

I put the gun on under my coat. I didn't wear a tie, wasn't about to at that time of night. I was off duty and I'd just been roused from a sound sleep; I wasn't running for city council, and I hated neckties.

"I know you've been saying that for a long time now, that stuff about privacy," Carol said dreamily. "But I think the real reason is, if people know about me, I make you vulnerable."

I didn't want to get into it. It was just too early for a philosophical discourse. There was something in what Carol said, but something in what I said too. I've never liked office gossip, and I didn't want people talking about her and me.

But Carol had been looking at it from another angle lately. We had been seeing each other, in the polite vernacular, for a year now, and she was starting to want something more permanent. Maybe bringing our arrangement into the public eye would show me how little there was to worry about. People did it all the time. For most of them the world didn't come to an end. Occasionally something good came out of it.

So she thought.

"I'm going back to bed," she said. "Wake me when you come in. Maybe I'll have a nice surprise for you."

She lay back and closed her eyes. Her hair made a spectacular sunburst on the pillow. I sat for a while longer, sipping my coffee. There wasn't any hurry: a crime lab can take three hours at the scene. I'd leave in five minutes and still be well within the half hour I'd promised Hennessey. The trouble is, when I have dead time -- even five minutes unfilled in the middle of the night -- I begin to think. I think about Carol and me and all the days to come. I think about the job and all the burned-out gone-forever days behind us. I think about quitting and I wonder what I'd do. I think about being tied to someone and anchoring those ties with children.

Carol would not be a bad one to do that with. She's pretty and bright, and maybe this is what love is. She's good company: her interests broaden almost every day. She reads three books to my one, and I read a lot. We talk far into the night. She still doesn't understand the first edition game: Hemingway, she says, reads just as well in a two-bit paperback as he does in a $500 first printing. I can still hear myself lecturing her the first time she said that. Only a fool would read a first edition. Simply having such a book makes life in general and Hemingway in particular go better when you do break out the reading copies. I listened to myself and thought, This woman must think I'm a government-inspected horse's ass. Then I showed her my Faulkners, one with a signature, and I saw her shiver with an almost sexual pleasure as she touched the paper where he'd signed it. Faulkner was her most recent god, and I had managed to put together a small but respectable collection of his first editions. You've got to read this stuff, she said to me when she was a month deep in his work. How can you collect the man without ever reading what he's written? In fact, I had read him, years ago: I never could get the viewpoints straight in The Sound and the Fury, but I had sense enough at sixteen to know that the problem wasn't with Faulkner but with me. I was trying to work up the courage to tackle him again: if I began to collect him, I reasoned, I'd have to read him sooner or later. Carol shook her head. Look at it this way, I said, the Faulkners have appreciated about twenty percent in the three years I've owned them. That she understood.

My apartment looked like an adjunct of the Denver Public Library. There were wall-to-wall books in every room. Carol had never asked the Big Dumb Question that people always ask when they come into a place like this: Jeez, d'ya read all these? She browsed, fascinated. The books have a loose logic to their shelving: mysteries in the bedroom; novels out here; art books, notably by the Wyeths, on the far wall. There's no discrimination -- they are all first editions -- and when people try to go highbrow on me, I love reminding them that my as-new copy of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake is worth a cool $1,000 today, more than a bale of books by most of the critically acclaimed and already forgotten so-called masters of the art-and-beauty school. There's nothing wrong with writing detective stories if you do it well enough.

I've been collecting books for a long time. Once I killed two men in the same day, and this room had an almost immediate healing effect.

I've missed my calling, I thought. But now was probably years too late to be thinking about it.

Time to go.


Her eyes were still closed, but she was not quite asleep.

"I'm leaving now," I said.

"You going out to see Jackie Newton?"

"If this is what it looks like, you better believe it."

"Have Neal watch your flank. And both of you be careful."

I went over and kissed her on the temple. Two minutes later I was in my car, gliding through the cool Denver night.

Copyright © 1992 by John Dunning

Table of Contents

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Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Janus More than 1 year ago
First of all, it is important to point out that the actual mystery part of this book is not terribly original or thrilling. You don't read it for that though. You read this book for its shameless indulgence of bibliomania and book collecting. I actually learned quite a bit from this book about book collecting. If you fancy yourself a bit of a bibliophile, then I can certainly suggest Booked to Die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read this series in trade paperback a year or so ago. I felt at that time that John Dunning was so jaded a/o cynical that he'd never allow them to become e-books. Wasn't I surprized. In Cliff Janeway, Dunning gets a voice that I believe is how he might feel about life in general. When I read them before, I kept feeling that he was kind of channeling Raymond Chandler or Dashell Hammit, and that in another life, Cliff Janeway would sound like Humphry Bogart as Sam Spade. A burnt-out cop takes the law into his own hands to save someone. Why not, he's ready to change careers. The fallout sends him into the workd of used books. The characters he meets are as crazy as the ones he's met as a cop, with more nooks and crannies than they had ever had. All for the love of books, or maybe the mysteries that surround them. Duning has a wonderful character in Cliff Janeway. In no way is this book claasified as a "cosy mystery" but books/series like this were the bellewether for that genre. I just wish they were so cynical
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spellbinding look into the oft insane world of book collecting with a great ending. Dunning packs a punch like O. Henry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to all who love books and a good mystery!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am pretty good at figuring out mystery novels. However, this one really caught me.Right up until the last page, I was stumped. What a good book! Constantly twisting and turning. I hope Dunning writes many, many more of Cliff Janeway novels.
ThePolyBlog More than 1 year ago
BOTTOM-LINE: Great first book in the series, worthy of an Edgar nomination. . PLOT OR PREMISE: Cliff Janeway is a book-loving police detective, and when a down-on-his-luck bookscout gets killed in an alley, Cliff thinks he knows who did it -- Jackie Newton, local sadist and suspected killer of homeless men. . WHAT I LIKED: The first half of the book has an almost "western" feel to it, with Jackie being the resident bad guy and Cliff the passing drifter who stands his ground against the bully. It has a nice feel to it, but nothing super special. Then Cliff moves into the bookworld looking for who killed Bobby the BookScout, and the book blossoms into a booklover who happens to also be a detective. It's a fantastic world, made real with the details. . WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Jackie never seems real to me, more a caricature, and it is the bookworld that really brings it alive. Equally, there's some romance elements that don't really work in the story, seems more like going through the motions than immersive. . DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you read a book and you become fast friends with a character. I rather felt that way about this book's hero and narrator, Cliff Janeway, by the time I got halfway through the novel. I suppose that's because it's hard for me not to fall for a fellow bibliophile. The mystery involves the world of rare and used books, and the author himself owned such a bookstore, and it was hard not to be won over before the story even started by the author's forward, "Then and Now" when he inveighs against what Thomas Harris did to Clarice Starling in Hannibal. Like Janeway, Dunning obviously knows and loves books, and that background and passionate opinions about books is a lot of the novel's charm for me. Janeway starts out in the book as a police detective trying to solve the murder of a "bookscout"--someone who looks for rare and valuable books to sell. The ending was winning--both in terms of a good twist of a truly fine mystery and in terms of having real impact.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A cleverly designed murder mystery set in the world of books, what caught my interest wasn't so much the plot (which ends up a bit far fetched with its twists and turns) but the description of a unique industry set in time. In this edition, the author describes a world of books and commerce that simply does not exist today, making the story all the more enjoyable and gripping. Dunning also uses a parallel storyline to talk about a harsh reality: domestic abuse. While this theme could have been explored fully in itself, it provided a good foil for Janeway's personality. I have mixed feelings about how the theme was treated (too lightly perhaps), but it made for powerful emotions which would otherwise have been lacking.A fun and fascinating read in the world of books.
bunabayashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Any book which begins, "I had been dreaming about Jackie Newton. He was my enemy and I thought that someday I would probably have to kill him" has to be fantastic.
FicusFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another RL book group read. It is a mystery and the start of a series about a Denver police officer who is also interested in collecting books. The mystery/murder is also involved with books, and there is interesting information about book collecting. Unfortunately, I have no interest in, or understanding of someone who will spend hundreds or thousands for a book and then put it on the shelf and not read it, rather than buy many, many cheap books with the same amount, and read them all,I didn't care much for the POV character. He is what I call a side-of-beef. He thinks everything can be solved with violence and is interested in being tough and manly, rather than being a person. I also didn't like the way the author ruined the POV's intimate relationship with 2 women. The author obviously thinks they are not real people and only window dressing. Finally he also kills off the only really interesting character in the story, yep another pesky female. There is a continuity error in how something is explained: The man with the expensive books switched houses with his neighbor who had book club editions. The appraiser went to the wrong house, didn't realize it, and appraised the collection as worthless. The man who died, gave the fake appraisal to his heirs. The author forgot that the dead man had a printed listing of every book club book owned, with dates read, and notes in the margin, in the file cabinet in the house. The heirs both identified the handwriting as their father's, the dead man. He also had been collecting books 20 years longer than the neighbor with the book club editions. So how did the 20 year longer listing of book club editions with the dead man's writing on it, exist, since the book club editions were his neighbors, and 20 years shorter ? I thought the book was written well, and it kept my interest. I won't be reading further in the series however. Just not my cup of tea.
Lman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another book especially appealing to book aficionados! I¿m not sure what I enjoyed most when reading my copy of Booked to Die: the author¿s introduction; the details incumbent in the world of antiquarian book dealers; the extraordinary evolution of a hard-nosed burnt-out policeman into an accomplished bibliophile; or the startling answers, the final revelations, to the `whodunnit¿ in the murder mystery mired throughout the book. In Booked to Die John Dunning introduces us to case-hardened, book-collecting Denver homicide detective, Cliff Janeway, operating in a time before eBay and the internet, and highly-conversant with the realm specialising in acquisitions and sales of rare and first edition books. Opening with the death of book scout, Bobby Westfall, Janeway and his partner, Hennessey, are forced to concede, reluctantly, that this is not another murder in a series already under their investigation; not another crime able to be placed at the feet of Janeway¿s nemesis, Jackie Newton. It does, however, lead to an unfortunate, but inevitable, incident between Cliff and Jackie; resulting in (immediately for Janeway and eventually for Newton) major life changes for both. When another two murders occur, linked to Bobby¿s death, it is Cliff Janeway, despite no longer being involved professionally, who must solve the case.It has to be said that the delight, to me, in this book, was the constant references to other books ¿ to the classics and the not-so ageless - and to their authors, along with the singular but comprehensive viewpoint of a bibliophile and his work. The authenticity of the plot is apparent from reading the author¿s introduction; the knowledge that the work is based on actual familiarity and experience even more so ¿ an author, who works as a book-man, writing and basing his premise around his own domain ¿ what fun! I felt I have learnt so much about a subject close to my heart, but of which I knew very little. And this validity allows a faithful rendition of the setting, and a patent genuineness in the conception of each character inhabiting the story-line, leading to a fascinating manifestation of, what otherwise, would be a rather standard, possibly mundane, approach to the genre.Cliff Janeway is most definitely an unusual character, an exceptional protagonist; and although this story is cognizant of many comparable police procedurals, there is a far-reaching engagement and a complete immersion into a little-known, atypical milieu, resulting in a truly remarkable and engrossing read ¿ for book lovers in particular. And with enough unfinished business for marked interest in the next chapter.
Jim53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this for my library mystery group. It's pretty well done, but not as well written as several others I've read lately. The motivations of several characters were pretty murky, and didn't seem to change a lot over the course of the book. I like the protagonist, and Dunning is clearly setting him up for further adventures, including further involvement with some of the characters here. I will definitely read at least one more of these. The milieu (book dealers) was of course of great interest to this LTer, and was handled quite credibly by the author. A fun read.
SandyLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cliff Janeway is a police detective in Denver with a hobby in book collecting. Besides trying to solve the murder of a bookman, he is also saddled with an old nemesis whose series of crimes Janeway just can¿t pin on him. Jackie Newton likes to beat up women and when Janeway has had enough, he puts away the weapons and challenges Newton to a fight. Newton is unaware that Janeway was once an aspiring boxer and after beating Newton to a pulp, Newton cries foul and runs to his lawyer. After resigning from the police force, Janeway tries to forget the murder of the bookman, but two more murders of friends in the book business take place drawing Janeway back into the case which is now cold as far as the police are concerned. The author is quite knowledgeable about the value of books and I found myself writing down titles to read. Although I am excited about the future of ebooks, BOOKED TO DIE proves to me that nothing beats the smell and feel of a real book. eBooks may be an option as far as a book format but I don¿t believe it will ever replace the real thing.
sringle1202 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. It was not easy to put down. I fell in like with this series, when I read The Sign of the Book, so I started the series backward. But i am glad I stumbled upon it. It will really get you interested in book collecting, and searching everywhere for first editions. I find myself researching all the books I come across. It doesnt hurt that there is a good murder mystery thrown in. I love John Dunning books!!!
PaulBerauer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Booked To Die" is not your usual detective novel, but then again, the main character, Cliff Janeway is not your usual detective. The book follows our plucky protagonist as he investigates the brutal murder of a local book scout. Cliff, who besides being a book collector is a police detective, quickly blames his local nemesis, a local thug, and begins to pursue the vendetta far beyond reason, resulting in the loss of his job and a new career as a rare book dealer.For those who are interested in both books and detective novels, this is a match made in heaven. Intermixed with the drama of the investigation are tips on how to spot first editions, how to start collecting rare books and other tips of the trade of a book dealer. If you are not a book nerd, don't worry, its still a thrilling book. Overall, a must read for book nerds and detective junkies alike.
SierraGrandma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting mystery with information about bookmen.
DSLynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A mystery which is a great fast paced read for all who love books. Greed, danger and murder all surround the Denver book trade. A pleasant twist is an honest cop who loves and deals books.
Jannes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Did not care for the main character much - he's this defensive-yet-self-righteous-macho/chauvenist type, but the mystery and book collecting bits are decent enough.
krbrancolini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read the first three books in Dunning's Cliff Janeway series, beginning with the third book, "The Bookman's Promise," which I loved. I decided to go back and start with the first book, "Booked to Die," and then move on to "The Bookman's Wake." The first two are definitely better than "The Bookman's Promise," but all three are wonderful. I should confess that like many other reviewers, I'm intrigued by the whole rare book milieu. For those of us who love used and rare bookstores, Dunning's books are pure heaven -- steeped in atmosphere and filled with surprising characters. The book lore is fascinating; I kept looking up from "Booked to Die" to peruse my bookshelves, hoping to find a lost treasure. I have kids to put through college! No such luck. Back to reading. So what makes "Booked to Die" better than the others? The tightness of the plot. I swear that at the end of the book, you could hear the pieces of the puzzle lock into place. The details are flawless -- and I don't often see that in mysteries. I cannot stand lose ends or weird, implausible explanations. I gave this book 4 starts because the entire Jackie Newton plotline seemed contrived. I just didn't find him believeable as a brutal serial killer. However, the main plot was so good that I could not put the book down -- even though I was sick and my eyes were watering from a terrible cold!
azurelion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love mysteries but too often dislike those written by male writers. Often they're too focused on being tough and gritty and sleazy and raunchy to be bothered to develop an actual mystery, a puzzle to be solved. Not true with this one. It's tough and gritty and sleazy and raunchy, but at its core is a true conundrum. The last line alone is worth the price of admission.And it's about books! People killing and being killed over rare books, like something out of Chandler or Hammett. I don't believe that's an accident. Booked to Die reads like an homage to noir - though set in the 80s, the book's lurid and sometimes exotic characters could easily have been rendered forty years earlier in glorious black-and-white. All the elements are there - the seedy apartments, small-time hustlers, the big house on a hill, the femme fatale who may or may not be involved in shady dealings, the (sometimes ridiculously) old-fashioned character names, the protagonist who used to be a cop until he got tired of playing within the boundaries of the law. Except in this case, he didn't become a private eye like the rest of them do; he became a book dealer, and the glimpse into the rare book trade is fascinating.This one was a winner, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I really wanted to know this much about bookselling and the calculation of prices of rare books I think I would have used another way to find out. This is a book where the author really did write about what he knew, and boy does he know a lot about bookselling.A bookscout is found dead and Detective Cliff Janeway investigates, not only is he a detective but he's also a book collector of sorts. The investigation leads him into all sorts of trouble and he has to make some choices about his life.Interesting but after a while I really didn't care.
FMRox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cliff Janeway, homicide detective in Denver, Colorado searches for the murderer of a local bookscout. Along the way he becomes entrenched with trying to capture another local sleeze ball who seems to be adept at eluding the law. Janeway's chief interest book collecting plays heavily in the novel.I really do enjoy this police procedural. Dunning did an excellent job developing his main protagonist Janeway. He looks to make a fine character for a series. The only drawback I have is when the police procedural gets to philosophical on who done it which does happen occasionally in this book. Show me, don't tell me, I say. I'm also happy to find a new setting of Denver.
bookishredhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Booklovers will love all of John Dunning's writing. Yes-it's simple, and a bit of a snack read, but it fires up the soul of a book hunter. Bet you'll find yourself scouring the used book stores for fantastic first editions once you finish this delightful book.
librisissimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fair mystery, good detective; interesting information on how the used book trade works. Too much crude language for my taste.Consult before selling any of my books. Explains the wide variety of on-line prices for (e.g.) "Baudolino"; may influence me to quit making marginal notes, but unlikely, esp. for non-fiction.
wewerefiction on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The back cover for this mystery describes:¿Tough, book-loving Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway wants to nail Jackie Newton ¿ a suspected psychopath who just barely beat the rap for a series of vagrant killings. Janeway is certain his sleazy, sadistic nemesis is to blame for the recent murder of a down-and-out rare book hunter ¿ and treats Newton to a rather brutal helping of off-duty justice that ultimately costs the overzealous cop his badge.¿A civilian once more, Cliff Janeway now has time to pursue his true passion ¿ the buying and selling of valuable first editions ¿ and to get to the bottom of the unfortunate bookscout¿s still-unsolved slaying. For somewhere undercover, in the bizarre, cutthroat world of bookmen and collectors, someone is dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.¿It¿s that last bit: that ¿someone is dealing death¿ part that usually turns me off of mysteries. It sounds cheesy, like the taglines for Goosebumps books or really bad 80s movies that don¿t fit the qualification of ¿it¿s so bad, it¿s good.¿ However, my strong appeal for books about books brought me to this one, and I was surprised that it didn¿t turn out to be the only thing that kept me going.The writing style is undeniably addictive. It took me longer to read this book than I would have expected, partially because I read quickly, but also because I found myself completely engrossed. It took an addictive distraction to pull me away, and even then, I still snuck in a few minutes of reading here and there ¿ to the point where I was actually greedily consuming words while I was at red traffic lights.This is going to sound like an awful statement, but this book read like a ¿real book.¿ You know how most people view romance novels as trashy works of fiction that have no real significance in the grand scheme of writing? Well, supposedly (I¿ve heard), there are quite a few that aren¿t just smut; they¿re well thought-out, well written, with extremely detailed and intricate plot-lines that aren¿t just about being bedded. Well, the former description is how I have seen most mystery novels in the past. Not ¿trashy¿ per say, but certainly not significant. Selling them, I saw older women buying five a day, complaining about how they¿re such ¿quick reads¿ and they ¿don¿t leave much of a mark,¿ but they¿re addicted anyway - sort of like how my mom is addicted to romance novels. However, just as there are plenty of good romances, there apparently are great mysteries. John Dunning¿s Booked to Die is one of those books.Romances and mysteries were always two genres wholly unknown to me. I don¿t read a lot of science-fiction, but I have, and while ¿grown up¿ horror doesn¿t appeal to me either, I favored the genre when I was younger. I took on the Summer Mystery Reading Challenge to rectify the non-mystery part of my life, and even though I probably won¿t read the remaining three books before the end of August (though I could get lucky!), it¿s books like this one that make me want to dive further into the genre. Not only that, but I plan on reading the rest of the books in this series, learning more about Janeway and McKinley if she reappears, hoping that they¿ll all be just as brilliant.