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The Librarian    by Larry Beinhart order for
by Larry Beinhart
Order:  USA  Can
Thunders Mouth Press, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

David Goldberg is The Librarian at Nebbish University. He tells us that a librarian is 'in the business of giving away knowledge. Free ... our ideals are important to us and the love of books and the love of knowledge and the love of truth'. David is forced to release Elaina Whisthoven from the library's roster due to 'financial adversity', i.e. budget cuts. Elaina visits Dave six months later to ask for his help. After taking a job with the eccentric Alan Carston Stowe, she needs some time off. Keeping his position at the University library, David agrees to moonlight part-time to catalogue papers for Mr. Stowe, who is 'building' a memorial library about himself.

Stowe is financially powerful, and controls an interest in the re-election of U.S. President Augustus Winthrop Scott. Anne Lynn Murphy is a decorated Vietnam War heroine, a nurse who became a country doctor after military discharge. She married a TV producer, who asked Anne to do a weekly medical show. Gaining popularity with Idaho's locals, Murphy ran for Congress, was later elected to a Senate seat, and became the other party's candidate for President. In the presidential debates, Senator Murphy says exactly what the voters want to hear, clinching her chances to be elected. Jack Morgan is the Director of Homeland Security. David is attracted to Jack's wife Niobe, who soon warns him that he is in danger from government men hot on his trail. Narrowly escaping entrapment and death, Dave is running and 'dost not know why'! Readers learn early in the story that Homeland Security henchmen (all with 'tough guy syndrome') believe the librarian has gained access to certain secrets through his employer's files. The Octavian Institute, an 'evil think tank' under the wealthy Stowe, has a plan for world domination called the 'Project for the New American Century', and a plan to guarantee the re-election of President Scott. David Goldberg ends up on the 'Ten Most Wanted' list.

This is not a sparkling literary achievement. But with a lot of schmaltz, Beinhart maintains a spry momentum in the tale, enough to tempt us into his entertaining conspiracy. The ending leaves readers with political points to ponder. The Librarian is a tongue-in-cheek tale that will either grab your interest and not let go, or impel you to quickly dispose of the book. David wanted to go back into 'the peace of the library, surrounded by books' - I'll raise a book high in salute to that! Larry Beinhart has created a good read for those who like political thrillers with ditzy, zany twists.

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