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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review - A High-End Finish

This is the first in a new series by the author of Bibliophile mysteries.  Let's see if Ms. Carlisle tackles home renovation like she does book restoration!

Author: Kate Carlisle

Copyright: November 2014 (NAL) 336 pgs

Series: 3rd in Fixer-Upper Mystery series

Sensuality: mild kissing

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery

Main Characters: Shannon Hammer, owner of restoration/renovation construction business

Setting: Modern day, Lighthouse Cove California (near San Francisco)

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Shannon goes on a blind date with Realtor Jerry Saxton, which in itself results in a betting pool of how the date will end.  Jerry gets aggressive and Shannon resorts to kicking him where it really hurts.  Town's people had gathered and cheered her on and several people won the bet, including her father!  A few days later, Shannon stumbles over Jerry's dead body in a home she is renovating.  She is immediately the top suspect in the eyes of the new Chief of Police, Eric Jensen. Of course, Jerry being killed with one of Shannon's pink pipe wrenches doesn't help.  It is hard to understand what is going on as another body is Shannon.  The two victims don't seem to have anything in common at all. 

Shannon grew up in this small town, so there is plenty of small town grudges and long-term dislike.  Whitney Reid has been Shannon's arch nemesis most of her life, and provides a sub-plot to the story.  

Shannon is strong and spunky without being sarcastic or whinny.  She is has a great working relationship with her crews and seems very balanced in general. I love her dog, West Highland Terrier Robbie (after Rob Roy), and her cat, Tiger.  Chief Eric Jensen fulfills the potential cop romantic interest and the "Don't talk to anybody about the murder" roles all in one character.  Crime Writer MacKintyre Sullivan offsets Chief Jensen's character with his quirky author persona while giving the chief a little competition for Shannon.  Lizzie, Marigold, Emily, and Jane are her closest friends and compliment Shannon nicely.  Nemesis Whitney Reid and cohort Jennifer Bailey are actually like some people I have known: Snotty, petty, manipulative, and spiteful. 

Lighthouse Cove California is a standard ocean-side town, but the Victorians homes and the lighthouse really give it character.  The plot was good and a little surprising for a cozy.  The pacing was even without much slow down.  The climax was suspenseful and taut, providing a nail biting ride.  The wrap-up leaves you wanting to stay with the characters a while longer. 

Kate Carlisle has successfully created another cozy series with engaging characters and interesting plotting in a picturesque setting.  If possible, I think I may even love this more than the Bibliophile series!

Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

Halloween is over, now onto Thanksgiving.  

Here are some ideas for your table, from classy to simple or elegant to casual you will get simple ideas to brighten your celebration.  Click here.

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Mystica said...

That cover is stunning. Thanks for the link at the end.

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