Brentwood Author Discusses Latest Book

Brentwood Author Discusses Latest Book

The Friends of the Brentwood Library has canceled a luncheon planned for February 7 due to low ticket sales. We thank people who have purchased tickets and will provide refunds. If you have any questions, email Kathy Mount at

Brentwood author Dan Hanel will discuss his latest book, Beneath the Tangled Vines, at a luncheon on February 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Bentwood Community Center. The book weaves a modern-day mystery story with the history of winemaking in Contra Costa County.

Wine will be served at the luncheon, which is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Brentwood Library. Tickets are $40 and are available at

Hanel will speak about the early wine industry in the county, including the story of Winehaven, which was the largest winery in the world. The book is the most recent novel in his In the Shadow of Diablo series.

“Winehaven was located in Richmond and processed wine from grapes grown throughout Contra Costa County and elsewhere in the state,” Hanel said. The winery was established after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed most of the city’s 27 wine warehouses.

“I grew up in Richmond and never knew about the winery,” Hanel said. The winery closed after Prohibition, and county farmers found other crops to grow. The building was used during World War II as a U.S. Navy fueling depot and hasn’t been used since as city leaders try to determine the best use of the site.

Many of the workers in the fields were Chinese immigrants. The book’s modern-day mystery hunters are high school teachers who help an Asian-American student uncover the story of his immigrant ancestors.

Beneath the Tangled Vines is the fourth book in the series, which Hanel began with a book about the John Marsh House, The Mystery of the Great Stone House. “My wife and I attended a fundraiser in 2010 for the John Marsh House, and I became fascinated with its story. At the time, I had been thinking about writing a novel but didn’t know what to write about. I decided to write one based on John Marsh’s story.

Hanel, an award-winning high school biology teacher, decided to have the modern mystery hero also have that career. He matched the character with a high school foreign language teacher. The two develop a romantic relationship.

Hanel did his own detective work for the books by searching through the historical records of the East Contra Costa County Historical Society and other historical collections.

“Dan is a great storyteller, whose insights help us understand our county’s history,” said Friends board member Diane Alexander, who helped organize the event. “The funds we raise will support children’s programs and other activities at the library.

To download this story, visit here.

Read Contra Costa

Read Contra Costa

Parini Shroff, author of Read Contra Costa 2023 selection, “The Bandit Queens,” comes to Brentwood on Saturday, November 18 at 11 a.m. in the Brentwood Community Center, located at 35 Oak Street.  This free program is presented by Contra Costa County Library in partnership with Contra Costa Television, and will later be broadcast on CCTV. Registration is not required. For special accommodation, please contact the library with 72 hours notice. Library cardholders can download Shroff’s book in digital format on the free Libby app, or request a print copy at

Read Contra Costa is an annual event that encourages all county residents and library users to share in the experience of reading and discussing the same book. The program runs from October 3 through November 18, 2023. 

This year, patrons had the opportunity to vote for the book they wanted to read, and the winner was The Bandit Queens, by Parini Shroff. The book is filled with clever criminals, second chances, and wry and witty women. Parini Shroff received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and is a practicing attorney currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Brentwood Library Fifth Anniversary Party

Brentwood Library Fifth Anniversary Party

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our Fifth Building Anniversary, which we hosted in collaboration with Mayor Joe Bryant, Vice Mayor Susannah Meyer, the City of Brentwood, and the Friends of the Brentwood Library! Here are some pictures of the event taken by Melissa Van Ruiten for the Press. 

Mayor Joel Bryant and Andrea Freyler, Sr. Community Library Manager welcome guests to the party.

Storytime with Mayor Bryant and Lindsay duPont, Youth Services Librarian

Mayor Bryant and Vice Mayor Susannah Meyer

Kathy Mount (left), President of the Friends of the Brentwood Library and Diane Alexander, President of the Brentwood Library Foundation, which merged with the Friends.

Below: Guests enjoyed fun craft like making the Library a Birthday Card

Brentwood Library 5th Anniversary Party

Brentwood Library 5th Anniversary Party

The Friends of the Brentwood Library is proud to help our Library celebrate it’s 5 year anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since the new building opened.

We hope you will join us for the celebration on Saturday, September 30th from 10 am to 12 pm.

There will be cake, crafts and a special storytime featuring guest reader, Mayor Bryant!

Enjoy this look back at Opening Day – September 29, 2018

Mayor Bob Taylor addressed a crowd celebrating the opening of the new library building on September 29, 2018. Diana Alexander, President of the Brentwood Library Foundation is seated in the middle of a row of guests behind him. The Foundation raised over $700,000 for the new library. 

Volunteers enjoyed the new Second Story Bookshop

A large crowd attended the event