Saturday, July 2, 2016

A High End Finish

Author:  Kate Carlisle
Series:  A Fixer Upper Mystery #1
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Obsidian (Berkley)
Published:  November 2014

Description:  Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…

My Review

This is a book that has been on my to be read pile for a while now, and since I am trying to whittle that pile down (a hopeless feat I assure you) this seemed like a good choice.  What drew me to the book in the first place was the theme.  I enjoyed a series by another author where the protagonist was a female contractor/builder so I thought I might enjoy this one as well.  It is the first book that I have read by Kate Carlisle and I will definitely be back to read more books in the series. 

To begin, I really enjoyed the main character Shannon.  She is independent, smart, witty and loyal to her friends.  I like her profession and that she stands out in a male dominated field (and she isn't ashamed to own her pink handled tools).  She's an accidental sleuth and really doesn't do all that much sleuthing as she is trying to stay safe in light of the events taking place.  She has a great group of friends who are just as loyal to her as she is to them.  They all are unique and have great personalities.  As a secondary cast of  characters for a first book, I thought they were pretty strong.  There is a hint of romance to come for Shannon as there are two men who are interested in her.  I liked Eric, the Chief of Police.  As we got to know him the more the story progressed, he comes across as strong, smart and protective, but a little gun shy in the romance department due to his fail marriage.  I also liked Mac, the author who comes across as fun, warm and a little devil may care.  It will be interesting to see who Shannon picks.

This book is well written and has a wonderful pace that kept me engaged and turning pages.  The first murder occurred pretty early on in the book and the action just continued.  This was a well plotted mystery that had me hooked from the start.  There are plenty of viable suspects, with believable motives and some not so nice victims (that to be honest I was not sad to see them go).  I liked how the author set up the mystery and threw in plenty of twists, turns and red herrings so that Shannon appeared guilty.  I didn't really guess the identity of the suspect until it was revealed to Shannon.

This is a great start to a series and an author that are new to me.  It is well written, with likeable characters and a strong mystery.  I will be back for more adventures with Shannon.


  1. You hooked me with your review, I need to check this book out. Thanks for increasing my TBR pile while you decrease yours!!!!!!

    1. Mary....I think we can call it a draw. My TBR pile has been increased by my reading some of your reviews so it was only polite for me to return the favor.