Kate Carlisle. Remember that name. I have the feeling you’ll be seeing it a lot in years to come. Carlisle bursts onto the publication scene February 3rd with her debut release, Homicide in Hardcover, a bibliophile mystery that kicks off what I hope will be a very long-running series.
Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon who uses her expertise with a scalpel to save the lives of her patients – patients with life threatening ailments of cracked, brittle leather, moldy paper and dried-up glue. The daughter of quirky, offbeat members of Guru Bob’s Fellowship for Spiritual Enlightenment and Higher Artistic Consciousness, this very likeable heroine is passionate about her books but pretty much oblivious to everything else, including her hair, clothes and shoes, much to the frustration of her sexy, stylish best friend, Robin.
As the story opens, Brooklyn is at a museum reception enjoying a happy reconciliation with her life-long mentor, Abraham Karastovsky but her happiness ends abruptly later that evening when she discovers her mentor in an isolated workroom, dying from a gunshot wound. With his final breath Abraham presses the supposedly cursed copy of Goethe’s Faust that he’s been restoring into her hands and pleads with her to “Remember the devil.” Suddenly, Brooklyn finds herself neck deep in the mystery surrounding Abraham’s murder and the curse of Faust. Derek Stone, the handsome, all-business British security agent (think James Bond with attitude) assigned to protect the priceless copy of Faust initially believes her guilty of the murder but there are suspects aplenty and, when Brooklyn is asked to finish the restoration that was begun by Abraham, they start coming out of the woodwork. There’s Ian, her former fiancée who is in charge of the museum exhibit that contains the Faust, Minka LaBoeuf, the thieving, conniving she-witch who has hated Brooklyn since college, Enrico Baldacchio, the sleazy book restorer who is always just this side of the law and, sometimes, on the other side. Even Brooklyn’s mother isn’t above suspicion. As Brooklyn works to restore the Faust she also turns amateur detective to ferret out the truth of Abraham’s murder, trying to stay one step ahead of the delicious Derek and well out of range of the killer who now appears intent on eliminating her.
I always assumed that book-binding and restoration would be a dull, dry subject but the historical facts and bits of trivia sprinkled throughout this book were so fascinating that instead of being bored I found myself wanting to know more. The sex factor is mild and, in fact, is limited to a kiss but the sexual tension between Brooklyn and Derek is palpable, growing stronger with each encounter. And while I do love steamy scenes, the absence of lovemaking in this book in no way detracted from my overall enjoyment. The potential for a deeper romance between Brooklyn and Derek is firmly established before the end of the book but Carlisle also tosses in a delicious twist that has me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.