Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell

Title: Dead Bolt
Author: Juliet Blackwell
ISBN: 9780451235305
Publisher: Signet, 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #2 Haunted Home Renovation mystery
Rating: B
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.

First Line: My father always used to say: There's nothing quite like a protracted remodel to test a person's sanity.

Mel Turner's father was right. The renovation of the historic Queen Anne Victorian house in San Francisco is taking much longer than it should primarily because the owners insist upon living on site throughout the entire process.

When strange things begin to happen and  Mel begins to see ghosts out of the corners of her eyes, she knows she's got trouble. A grumpy old man across the street covets the house, and Mel wonders if he could be at the heart of some of the disturbances. He's found dead in his shop and things keep happening, so Mel knows the answers are going to be a bit more difficult to find. These are the first dangerous spirits that Mel has had to deal with, but deal with them she must if this renovation has a prayer of being completed.

If you like strong female characters surrounded by a loving if unconventional family and a handsome man or two... and if you like your mysteries housed in old Victorian homes being brought back to life... and if you like your old houses populated with a spirit or two... then you've come to the right book in the right series.

Mel Turner is a general contractor specializing in restoring historic homes. She's divorced, lives with her father, and dearly loves her stepson, Caleb. She didn't know she'd inherited her mother's ability to see ghosts until after she'd sustained a solid whack to the head. In this book, the spirits are decidedly unfriendly, and one of them (the "shadow ghost") made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

This isn't just a ghost-laced little mystery, though. There's the renovation to savor, and those homeowners who insist on living in the house while it's being torn apart are every bit as interesting as the ghosts with whom they're sharing space. If you're in the mood for a light, fun, well-written cozy that whets your appetite for old houses and ghosts, Dead Bolt will be just your cup of tea.

12 comments:

  1. I really need to read this series -- Mr. BFR would be amused.

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    1. Now you've got me all curious, Candace!

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  2. Cathy - I admit I haven't dipped into this series yet. Usually I'm not much of a one for the ghost plot element although there have been some novels where it's done brilliantly. I do like the idea of the old Victorian house though - what a setting! I may read this...

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    1. Margot, I'm not sure why, but the paranormal aspect seems to be handled much better now than it used to be. Either that, or I've mellowed in my advancing years! LOL

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  3. I do like strong female characters and unconventional families. This sounds like a winner to me.

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    1. It is. I really enjoy this series, Kathy.

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  4. Your reviews today are of books taken from my own life I think. Dave and I restored a wreck of a house in NJ many years ago. It wasn't Victorian and it wasn't haunted, but I can relate to stories about restoration of a house. This does sound like fun.

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    1. These books are fun, Barbara. I can relate to this one in a way because I used to go with my grandfather whenever he'd help someone out who was renovating an old house out in the country. Grampa would do all the electrical. As long as I stayed out of everyone's way and didn't do anything stupid, I could explore to my heart's content. Several of those old houses spoke to me.

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  5. The haunted theme is popular in cozies nowadays. I'm in the middle of reading Murder Buys a T-Shirt, a Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery.

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    1. I'll have to keep an eye out for your review. That's one of the books I've been wanting to read!

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  6. Glad to hear the 2nd one is good, I still need to read the first.

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    1. I take comfort in the fact that I'm not alone in this!

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