A Beth-Hill Novel: Karen Montgomery Series, Novella 3: Ladybug Ladybug by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy)

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Polly for Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=257)
Rating: 4 Tombstones

The library has a problem - make that thousands of problems. The area has been infested with ladybugs and they seem to love the library. They are in the books, the corners, the newspapers, the desk drawers, and any place else they can find a millimeter of landing room. The library director has, of course, passed off the problem to her able assistant, Karen Montgomery. With the bid in hand, Karen contacts The Gentle Touch, the newly opened extermination company, and runs right into the first hurdle: her personal account representative.

Hurdle number two comes in the form of a computer questionnaire all clients are required to fill out. To Karen's way of thinking the questionnaire asks some questions which have absolutely nothing to do with the infestation problem. What does the religious affiliation of the librarians have to do with getting rid of ladybugs?

Next comes the arrival of the drop-dead gorgeous Andre Dunfaddin who needs to inspect all the library facilities before the extermination can occur. But after conversing with the charming bug killer, Karen's sense of wrongness is piqued and she contacts her vampire friend Ivy who mustn't show up for work tonight while the exterminator is on the premises. Ivy herself is upset because the Hunters have come to town and one vampire has already been killed. She and her boyfriend are leaving. Appealing to the ruling Council for help, Karen finds herself once again in the middle of a mystical problem having only the most flimsy of connections to the library.

I have come to admire Karen Montgomery. As a Mary Sue heroine she is much like I would like to see myself in similar circumstances: clear-thinking, courageous, forgiving and compassionate, and above all, a true friend. With that said, this third installment in the chronicles illustrates the need for length to develop tension. At no time during the pivotal scenes can the reader feel the danger Karen is in because she doesn't acknowledge it. We see the danger all around, but because Karen doesn't feel it, the reader can't either. We get a sense of the emotional tumult that the other characters experience, but Karen remains lamentably above the fray.

The introduction of a new character, ex-Hunter Russell Moore, again ushers in the question of trust. Can an ex-vampire hunter be trusted to help the bloodsuckers elude their nemesis? Ivy and her friend Jesse obviously think not. Karen, of course, is willing to try.

I sincerely hope there is a fourth installment of this series because Karen most definitely needs to explore the possibility of a relationship with Russell. Here is the chance for Jennifer St. Clair to forge into novel length with this delightful series. With the extra word count and the story world already defined, St.Clair can push Karen further along to road to completion. Karen's ancestry has been touched upon, but the implications most definitely need exploring. Her involvement with the Wild Hunt begs for attention, and above all, what is her life like away from the library?
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