A Wrench in the Works By Kate Carlisle: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Dec 29, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Kate Carlisle

This week we have a review of the latest Fixer-Upper mystery by Kate Carlisle, and a fun guest post about fixing up your home for the new year by Kate. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of A Wrench in the Works, along with a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

A Wrench in the Works: A Fixer-Upper Mystery by Kate Carlisle
Review by Cynthia Chow

Contractor Shannon Hammer is thrilled that her sister Chloe is finally returning to Lighthouse Cove after being away for years. Chloe left their hometown after high school in search of a career in Hollywood, and her skills at construction and natural on-camera charisma led her to becoming the co-star of the popular home renovation television show Makeover Madness. Chloe has enlisted her sister’s help not only in selecting historical rehab candidates for the show and website, but in appearing as an on-screen advisor. Most of the town’s local businesses will be involved in the production, with home owners of historical fixer-uppers vying for the chance of a free renovation. Shannon’s first realization that all is not copacetic on set is when she learns of producer Bree Bennett’s routinely ignored firings of crew members, including co-hosts Chloe and Bree’s husband Blake. It seems that Bree loves to create drama, whether on set or amongst those unknowingly competing to be featured on the show.

mystery book coverWhile scouting out one of the prospective renovation homes, the Hammer sisters make a discovery far worse than rotten wood or insect damage. Bree Bennett has been murdered, possibly poisoned not long after a public argument with Chloe. Bree’s husband Blake is also found drugged, but with so much of the town invested in the production the show indeed does manage to go on. Their last combative encounter makes Chloe an obvious suspect, but subsequent attacks indicate that she is as much a victim as a culprit. Chloe had originally left town due to her association with an entitled rich kid, and that self-inflicted guilt continues to haunt and influence her life. Shannon tends to lose objectivity when it comes to her little sister, and when all of her big sister protectiveness kicks into gear, she will be unstoppable in her efforts to keep Chloe safe and out of police custody.

By this sixth in the series, Shannon and the rest of Lighthouse Cove are more than aware of her propensity for stumbling across bodies. While Shannon’s friends may have generously underestimated the corpse count at eight, that number quickly escalates as attacks seem to center around the Makeover Madness renovations. Even without her sister’s experience with murder, Chloe should probably have known that making public threats only tempt fate.

The relationship between the sisters is the highlight of this novel, especially since it’s been five years since Chloe last visited and their lives have changed. As proud as Shannon may be of her successful younger sister, the fact remains that Chloe is indeed the younger sister with a popular television show and new bestselling book. That drop of insecurity is quickly surpassed by Shannon’s big sister protective side, which is why she will bulldoze over the very likable police chief and his justifiable concerns. Shannon’s boyfriend MacKintyre Sullivan is fully in support of Shannon’s efforts, providing backup along with some sizzling romantic moments. The rewarding moments of the Hammer sisters confronting their pasts and moving forward, not to mention the humorous banter and surprise ending, ensure that readers will be more than ready for the next appearance by these extraordinary women.

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).

Fixer-Upper Checklist for Your Home

By Kate Carlisle, author of A Wrench in the Works, a Fixer-Upper Mystery

In every town across America, there’s at least one house that looks like only a ghost would call it home. The front steps look like they couldn’t bear your weight. The roof is sagging on one side. Small children are afraid to walk past. It might have once been beautiful, which makes it even sadder to see it now.

mystery author

Kate Carlisle

This kind of deterioration happens after years of neglect, and if you’re not careful, it could happen to your home, too. When was the last time you inspected your house, actually walked through and looked for problems?

Contractor Shannon Hammer, the heroine of my Fixer-Upper Mystery series, would tell you that it’s important for every homeowner to have a regular maintenance schedule. Your house is like an organism. The HVAC is how it breathes. The plumbing is its circulation. A seemingly minor failure in one system can create havoc in another.

To help you, I’ve created a handy Fixer-Upper Checklist. You don’t have to be a pro to do any of these things—though if you find problems, you might need to hire a Shannon Hammer of your own. On the plus side, you and your contractor are very unlikely to stumble across any dead bodies.


To enter to win a copy of A Wrench in the Works, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “wrench,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 5, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

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. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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

Kate Carlisle is the New York Times bestselling author of two ongoing series: the Bibliophile Mysteries featuring San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, whose rare book restoration skills uncover old secrets, treachery and murder; and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, featuring Shannon Hammer, a home contractor who discovers not only skeletons in her neighbors’ closets, but murder victims, too. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has brought three of the Fixer-Upper Mysteries to life in a series starring Jewel and Colin Ferguson. Watch for Kate’s cameo in the second film!

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. 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. Please enter me!

  2. Thank you for the chance. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. I love this series plus the Hallmark movies! Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. Love reading this series…. It makes me want to build something when I read it! LOL!

  5. Love the cover! This looks like a fun series to read. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  6. I recently read the first book in this series and I loved it. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  7. Looking forward to this one! Love this series.

  8. Thank-you. Would love to read this. kckendler at gmail dot com

  9. Love this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. love the cover. please enter me in the contest for the book a wrench in the works. Alice

  11. Love Kate and her books!Enter me!Thanks for the article and the chance! violetblue61@yahoo.com

  12. Love Kate Carlisle! Please enter me in contest.

  13. Love this series, love the cover. Thanks for the giveaway. And the maintenance list. My bad. I’ve been doing only half of those

  14. Thanks so much for the chance to win this book. I love her books; they are all so good. Happy New Year!

  15. Good way to start the new year!

  16. I like this series and thank you for the chance. Happy New Year.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  17. Love this series here’s hoping I win this book, the cover is awesome and it sounds great! Ty for the list, I needed it.

  18. Great series! Would love to read “A Wrench In The Works”.

  19. This sounds like a very interesting book. I would love to read. Thanks for the chance!

  20. We have a winner!


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