“Book Endings” by Syntell Smith

Book Endings – A Call Numbers Novel: Loss, Pain, and Revelations

Syntell Smith
Syntell Smith Publishing (2020)
ISBN: 978-0692036983
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for ReaderViews (01/2022)
5*Intrigue in a New York Public Library

“Book Endings – A Call Numbers novel: Loss, Pain, and Revelations,” is the second book in the Call Numbers series, following “Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians.”

Not having read the first book in the series, I can confidently note that it stands well on its own, although I do find myself curious about what happened prior to this one. There are frequent references to past events involving most of the same characters. In this series, there are a multitude of characters to track. The author provides a helpful list, at the beginning, that lets us know who the characters are, and he familiarizes readers with common library terms.

Robin, a young African American male, takes the lead in this drama. He is an employee at a New York Public Library. He is trying to stay on the right path and work towards a positive future. Losing his beloved grandfather is an enormous setback. He is angry at his family, because they allude to a dark secret about this man, but they aren’t forthcoming with details. When Robin is at his darkest moment, he finds love with a young lady of Japanese descent. Their relationship appears idyllic, except it is obvious that she is hiding secrets about her own family. When a nemesis, who is also a superior at work, discovers that they are a couple, she freaks out and makes this young lady disappear. Robin is surprised to discover that the two share a family connection. Things continue to heat up when his abusive coworkers set out to make his life hell at work. Anger erupts, and he finds himself stepping back into old, vindictive ways. He is still determined to track down his lost love. While all of this is taking place, there are other things happening among the employees that really help round out the story.

From childhood on, the library was a place for me to escape. I could easily get lost in there! I loved roaming among the bookshelves while searching for stories that would take me away from my mundane little world. I was always focused on what was on the shelves, and never on an idea that there might be drama unfolding behind the scenes. Most likely, there wasn’t, but I still enjoyed jumping into “Book Endings” and watching the melodramatic scenes unfold.

This particular drama involved complicated layers of issues. At the library level, there were leaders who were falsifying documents to earn benefits for their branch. There was also a lot of angst amongst this older crowd. Supervisors and lower-level employees also united to form a front against the protagonist. They worked hard to break him, but he would not budge. This created some extremely lively scenes. There were also issues of racism, teen pregnancy, and sexual predators. It all made for a very interesting story! The racism was of particular interest because it extended beyond the current issues. In this case, the main couple, was ostracized by their own peers for being in a multiracial relationship. It also existed at a higher level and seemed to be intrinsically woven into the system.

I highly recommend reading “Book Endings.” I really enjoyed this novel and hope to read more in the series. I also have to admit, I will be looking at librarians a bit differently now.

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