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Brooke's Pick: How Can I Help You? by Laura Sims

Accepting a position at a small-town public library, a recent graduate student and failed novelist discovers a patron dead in the library bathroom and begins to dig up her co-worker's past as a nurse with a trail of premature deaths.

A library-centric story with a noir vibe, Laura Sims' sophomore novel How Can I Help You is a sinister tale of deadly obsession. Taking place in a small town library, this book explores what happens when a former nurse with an insatiable blood lust for killing her patients takes a job at a public library and attempts to lead a relatively normal life in hiding until her world collides with a new reference librarian and aspiring novelist intent on using her deadly secrets for writing inspiration.

Sims, a reference librarian herself, perfectly captures the rural library aesthetic, turning the traditional buttoned up librarian stereotype onto its head. You may never look at your local librarians the same again after reading this wholly unique and pithy novel! Sims has crafted a curious, yet ominous story that deftly explores the theme of passion manifested in polar opposite coworkers. Whether squeezing the life from a patient, patron, or the page, Sims' characters explore just how far they are willing to go in the name of obsession.

Despite its gristly subject matter, How Can I Help You is such a fun, gripping read. Sims keeps the tone light and playful while shadowing her characters in dark overtones, keeping the most gruesome bits right on the periphery of readers' minds without fulling engaging in their consequences. This is a book about the clever game two library workers play with each other, dancing in and out of reach in an attempt to uncover each other's truth. If you vibe on noir films, workplace relationships, and of course, libraries, this book might just be for you.

- Brooke, Public Relations Librarian


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