The Grim Reader By Kate Carlisle: Review/Giveaway

Jul 4, 2020 | 2020 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 the previous book in this series The Book Supremacy and a link to order the new book from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Rare book restorer Brooklyn Wainwright and her husband Derek are delighted to be back in her hometown of Dharma, California, for their first annual Dharma Book Festival. As much as they love living in San Francisco, it can’t compare to the communal warmth of the tourist-friendly wine country near Sonoma County. In addition to the variety of restaurants and craft shops run by Brooklyn’s numerous siblings in the wine country, her British in-laws have also recently purchased a second home in the town where Derek’s tarot-reading mother flourishes.

As Festival Committee’s co-chair, Brooklyn’s own mother Rebecca has enlisted most of the family members and friends into participating in the book-themed events. Included in this is a musical theater performance of the selected Book of the Festival, with Little Women featuring a star performance by a famous actress from Sonoma. Her diva demands to play a role far below her age range pales in comparison to the outrageous behavior by Jacob Banyan, a winery owner buying up vineyards to rebrand them into low-grade box wines. An obnoxious bully who threatens Brooklyn’s mother and physically intimidates Brooklyn’s best friend, he has all of the Wainwrights and adjacent-relatives on alert protectively circling their wagons around the family matriarch.

When the mothers of both Brooklyn and Derek call with the news that they’ve discovered a dead body, Brooklyn can’t help but expect – and maybe hope – that the detested Jacob Banyan has finally driven someone to murder. Surprisingly, this time he is not the victim stabbed to death in the town hall, and the moms seem all too exuberant at the chance to run their own investigation. Brooklyn is more than happy to leave the detecting to her former fourth grade boyfriend Detective Stevie Willoughby, especially with Banyan still on the loose and escalating his attacks on the family. While cranky local resident Saffron Bergeron continues to object to the festival’s plans and accuses the Wainwrights as being a part of a cult, the Fellowship community led by Guru Bob only encourages peaceful interactions and acceptance of the members. Brooklyn’s going to need all of the meditations she can get as they learn of thefts from the festival funds, her mother is nearly run down, and the edition of Little Women she’s repairing may turn out to be worth thousands of dollars. As Brooklyn declares from experience learned from her extensive adventures, every time she’s “ever been involved in a murder investigation, it always had to do with a book.”

This outstanding fourteenth of the series fully exploits the strong bonds and long histories the characters have with one another. Brooklyn’s and Derek’s friends, many of them now having coupled up themselves, entertainingly arrive in Dharma for a visit and to share their own news and recent activities. It is so refreshing to have Brooklyn’s and Derek’s very large families shown to be so loving and accepting of one another, especially when it’s done through humor and good-natured teasing. The affection readers will feel towards Brooklyn’s extended family only makes Jacob Banyan’s behavior all the more infuriating, especially when it is actual assault and should be reported. Readers can be reassured to know that the goodwill, good humor, and generosity of Dharma lead to a rewarding conclusion, with loose ends tied up satisfyingly at the end. These characters continue to be so likable and fun that just spending time with them is more than enough reason to invest in the next installment. The exploration of rare literature, Brooklyn’s love of book restoration, and integration of intriguing further make this series impossible to resist.

To enter to win a copy of The Book Supremacy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “supremacy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 11, 2020. 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. One of Kate’s books is featured in a past episode. A new episode went up last 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. This is a fun series. Thanks for the contest.

  2. This series has been on my to-read list. Great article.

  3. Sonoma County has some nice spots! Count me in!

  4. I would love to read this! Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Yes please, I’d love to add this to my collection of Kate Carlisle books.

  6. Thanks for this captivating feature and giveaway.

  7. Thanks for the opportunity! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  8. Great series. Thanks for the chance.

  9. Looking forward to reading this book! All of her books are so good!

  10. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  11. I really liked the addition of Derek’s parents a book or two ago. Would love a book or a novella featuring the moms in the lead roles.

  12. Loving this series! Would love to catch up and read the newest!! Thank you for the opportunity!

  13. Sounds good! I can’t wait to read the newest book. Thanks for the chance!

  14. Love this series. Can’t wait to read
    this newest. thanks.

  15. Cute cover. positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com

  16. We have a winner!


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