Mini-series of young adult novels by Ann Brashares
One Book in the Grave
Author: Kate Carlisle
Brooklyn Wainwright loves books. Her job as a bookbinder is more than just challenging to her it excites her. When summoned to the Covington Library to see her close friend and curator Ian McCullough a rare and special edition of a book she thought lost forever is replaced in her hands. Max Adams was a handsome and charismatic man whose goal in life was to create different types of paper for books. Max loved what he did and had many followers including Brooklyn and her many friends. Max loved books and when getting engaged to a woman named Emily Brooklyn decides to present them with a special gift of a first edition of Beauty and the Beast. To many these might sound trite and not an appropriate gift but to Max it meant the world. Thinking of himself as the ultimate Beast to Emily’s beauty he endorsed the book in his special way and presented it to her as a special gift. Emily was never seen without the book, which she held close to her heart. What does this have to do with the present and Brooklyn’s meeting with Ian? Ian requested her presence to rebind this very book that she thought stolen. Learning the history behind it and knowing where he purchased it and from whom, Brooklyn literally bursts his bubble when she relates the story and that the book was once really hers. Needless to say Ian is quite upset and wants to find out more about the origin of the sale from his seller. Brooklyn is aiming to learn that for herself as she leaves Ian to find the man who sold him this rare first edition. But, what she finds when she arrives is anything but what she hoped for. What happens when she enters the office of the man and finds him stabbed to death? Joseph Taylor lied on his Persian Carpet dead. Eyes starring up at her and throat slit. But, Brooklyn is not one to take things lightly and when she realizes the killer just might be in the same room with her she investigates to learn more. Returning to the crime scene, calling the police and waiting for them to arrive she investigates even further and finds the murder weapon. Calling herself, “ The Angel of Death,” seems apropos as dead bodies seem to follow her.
Getting caught up in the murder scene and realizing she has a similar knife she decides to call her love interest Derek Stone. Derek owns Stone Security dealing in protecting art objects, valuables and anything that requires safekeeping. Joe is a bookstore owner and found dead in his antiquarian room. When Inspector Janice Lee arrives words are exchanges, daggers fly between them, remarks are shared and one homicide detective is anything but thrilled to see Brooklyn. But, the event heats up even more when it becomes personal. Brooklyn and Derek are about to leave the crime scene and Joe’s office when they realize the tires on Brooklyn’s car have been slashed. Even more telling is the weapon or knife used to slash the tires inscribed with the name Max giving her and the detective more than an eerie feeling that someone is sending a message from the great beyond. Just what that message is and who is sending it remains within the binding of a rare book. Realizing that she might need some support and guidance she and Derek head for her family’s home or commune hoping to see Guru Bob and get some insight on the events and how to proceed. Learning more about Guru Bob and his insight about why Brooklyn seems to be a dead body magnet is quite startling to say the least. Understanding the rationale behind what he says interesting to say the least. As he states that the dead just might be pulling towards her in order to find justice. Feeling like she is part of an Agatha Christie murder mystery what she learns next will really change everything as Guru Bob reveals that Max is alive. What follows is definitely not what you would expect in a supposedly serene environment. Everyone reacting at once, truths told and the reason Max staged his own death, where he might be and why. The next step would be to go to the safe house where Max is hiding and learn more. Using the book, Beauty and the Beast as Brooklyn states as the catalyst they hope to find out who is behind Joe’s death, why Brooklyn is being targeted and if any other bodies are waiting to be found.
Told in the first person narrative in Brooklyn’s own voice you learn her inner most thoughts, how she sees the investigation going and what her feelings are toward each character and her reactions to every incident related. Ten years ago, Max Adams fell in love with Emily, gave her the copy of this rare book as a symbol of his love. But, when he died in car crash Brooklyn was distraught so why did he fake it? Who does she suspect and will she return the book to Emily? With characters so unique, colorful and definitely out of the ordinary Brooklyn needs to find the answers before she becomes one of the bodies. Just how this murder might be linked to Max’s disappearance still remains to be seen.
Learning the truth about Max and his death sparked the three friends into action to learn just why he faked his death and who might have been behind the attempts on his life. Max’s ex- girlfriend, Angelica who has a strange way of showing her affection and an ex- boss named Solomon who is not quite normal either. Both seem to want to taunt Max in different ways but which one is more deadly and why? With help from his friends from the Dharma Max hopes to find out who is taking shots at him, how they knew where he was hiding out and just what the connection is to his friend Brooklyn? With her inquisitive and eager mother, a father who had a hand in Max’s disappearance and a whole lot of colorful and quirky friends Brooklyn, Derek and Gabriel hope they can solve the murder of the bookstore owner and much more before her not so favorite police detective is back on the scene.
Our bibliophile or lover of rare books will not give up until she gets the answers she wants but who will be next, who is at risk just being near her? What is really unique about this book is the author’s inclusion of the bookbinding process where Brooklyn describes how she is going to restore the first edition of Beauty and the Beast and several others that she has received the commission. It is a tedious and precise process that is described and adds to the character’s credibility as a bookbinder and allows the reader to understand the character even more.
When the team realizes that Max is in even more danger and another warning is left, Brooklyn decides to have him stay with her in order to keep him safe. But, will it? Where is Emily and why did she take a leave of absence from her job and just what happened to Angelica? Well! How about a special delivery to Brooklyn of the dead kind? Just what was delivered and who was sent COD: Dead on Delivery I won’t tell. You have to read the book to find out for yourself and just what happens when Emily shows up? Added to the mix is one lunatic named Minka who hates Brooklyn, wants her share of her commissions and shows up unexpectedly and of course unwanted.
When all of the pieces or threads of a bookbinder’s skills are put together what is created you just won’t believe as the ending will surprise you and the twists in the plot will definitely unnerve the reader when you find out just who was behind the murders, who was standing in plain sight and definitely blindsided our Brooklyn. Emily is kidnapped. Minka is taken and it’s up to Derek, Gabriel and Max to save them. But, will they or is it the chocolate trail? One book you definitely want to read. One book bound book that keeps you bound to the printed page. One great novel. To learn the ending, which I am bound not to give, away you will have to buy the book, read it and see just how clever our Brooklyn Wainwright is and learn what lies between these binded pages.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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