Booked to Die by John Dunning

Are you someone who will read a random book you picked up in a thrift store?

Such people must exist since there are so many thrift stores still carrying old paperbacks. My copy of Booked to Die has a 1992 copyright way back when the cover price for a paperback was $5.99. It’s already been resold at least once for $4.00 according to the penciled price on the top right corner of the first page.

$4.00 is a bit high if you ask me.

I bought it for a dollar at the Animal Place Thrift: Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills in Auburn, CA, just down the road from my home in Grass Valley.

I picked it up because of the title and bought it because of the premise–a Denver cop with a passion for books leaves the force to open his own shop and ends up involved in a murder case featuring book thieves after a collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Booked to Die turned out to be a well-crafted entertainment. It didn’t win any awards, but it is professionally written, well plotted with interesting characters. I don’t really believe the antique book market works the way Mr. Dunning describes it here and I had a hard time buying the notion that Denver is a city rich with bookstores and book collectors, but I was willing to play along for the entertainment value Booked to Die provided.

In the end, I certainly got my dollars’ worth from Booked to Die. If your ever in Auburn or passing through on highway 80, Animal Place Thrift is right off the freeway at the Foresthill Road exit.