Premeditated Mortar: A Fixer-Upper Mystery By Kate Carlisle: Review/Giveaway

Jan 16, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of Premeditated Mortar, he latest Fixer-Upper Mystery by Kate Carlisle and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Historical home renovator and building contractor Shannon Hammer couldn’t be more excited about her latest project. Hammer Construction has been hired by Shannon’s best friend Jane Hennessey to renovate the historic 1870 Gables into a planned hotel and spa resort. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the name was changed to the Northern California Asylum for the Insane, but the purpose always remained the same. Closed in 2002, Shannon is intrigued by its unique architecture, designed by an innovative psychiatrist intended to calm and essentially Feng shui patients into better mental health. Jane has her own less pleasant memories of the facility, though, as it was where her mother frequently stayed for years. Jane hopes to transform it into an attraction that will erase some of the negativity while benefiting the town of Lighthouse Cove. The construction site becomes a place of conflict when not only do angry protestors arrive chanting to “Burn it down,” but a former doctor descends upon them intending to profit off of the renovation.

After fake blood is thrown and angry protestors hauled away, Shannon and her team eagerly begin exploring the extraordinary buildings. A bricked-up hidden room nearly has Shannon toppling in, but it’s a forced push that gives her a concussion and second thoughts about the hospital’s reputation. Fortunately, Shannon is soon joined by her sister Chloe, who along with her sister’s knowledge of the family business has her own hit home renovating show on television. Even more helpful is Shannon’s boyfriend MacKintyre Sullivan, a former SEAL and bestselling author whose four novels have been turned into blockbuster movies. When a body shows up and guests at Jane’s hotel are implicated, Shannon and her friends once again find themselves attempting to unravel the puzzles that may be hidden within the increasingly malevolent former hospital.

Home improvement junkies will revel in the abundance of renovation details, from crown moldings to quartz tiles to mildew treatments. Even more satisfying are the sweet romances that seem to be flourishing in Lighthouse Cove, with so many of Shannon’s friends pairing up and finding unexpected happiness. Shannon herself is relishing the contented state of her relationship with Mac, which makes taking the next step all the more terrifying. Since moving forward – much less moving in – is not a topic up for discussion between them, Shannon has no clue where they stand or if she should risk making a change. Having grown to know and love these characters throughout eight novels, readers will so enjoy the banter and geniality between these longtime friends. Using research from a real-life hospital-turned-hotel, the author deftly constructs a plot that depicts how admirable ideals can devolve and be corrupted. Witty dialogue, architectural descriptions, and an adorable Westie guarantee that this mystery will please a vast array of readers looking to delves into a thought-provoking read.

To enter to win a copy of Premeditated Mortar, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “mortar,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 23, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Is Shannon related to Mike Hammer? Count me in the drawing!

  2. Love the cover! Thanks for the chance. JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. Sounds so good!
    Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win!!

  4. This looks like a light hearted cozy mystery that I would enjoy reading!

  5. Great series! Looking forward to reading “Premeditated Mortar”.

  6. Awesome! I love Katie’s Fixer-up series!!! Thanks for the review & the chance!! Y’all have a great day!!

  7. Looks so interesting. Love that building on the cover.

  8. Looks like another good one!

  9. Would love this Anna Russell 3130 county route 15 pulaski ny 13142

  10. Sounds good, would love a copy! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  11. I love books about insane asylums… and a cozy on top of it, Sweet!
    kimheniadis at gmail dot com

  12. What an interesting book
    Love the name if the town, this sounds fun.

  13. Thanks for the chance. Great cover!

  14. Sounds intriguing.
    Haven’t tried this series yet.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  15. We have a winner!


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