Monday, December 06, 2021

Absence of Mallets by Kate Carlisle

First Lines: Coffee. The aroma was calling my name and nudging me out of a deep, dreamless sleep.
Shannon Hammer and her construction crew are happily working on a feel-good project called Homefront, a veterans' village consisting of fifty tiny houses and a large community center with spaces for a visiting nurse and dentist, legal aid, a veterans' benefits expert, mental health professionals, a vocational counselor, and even a unisex barber. 

At the same time, Shannon's boyfriend, bestselling thriller writer Mac Sullivan, is running a two-week writers' retreat.

The good feeling doesn't last when Shannon's friend Linda, a mosaic artist she'd hired to work on the tiny houses, is found bludgeoned to death at the beach. It takes Shannon and her friends no time at all to band together to find Linda's killer.


I've long been a fan of Kate Carlisle's Fixer-Upper cozy series. There's always something to learn in the fields of architecture and construction. There's always an intriguing mystery to solve. Shannon and her friends are good people who go out of their way to do the right thing, and the resident ill-tempered diva makes her presence known without overpowering my patience (or lack thereof). Absence of Mallets is another strong entry in this engaging series.

Shannon and her construction crew are working on probably their best project of the entire series: a veterans' village. This village is for veterans in need, with fifty tiny houses being built and given to the vets on a first-come, first-served basis. The community center is large and has just about everything these men and women could need. 

Shannon's boyfriend, Mac, has moved in with her and has turned his lighthouse keeper's house into a writers' retreat. His latest group, a bunch of entitled, argumentative, sneaky know-it-alls, fuels most of the action in the book and has Mac wondering if he needs to pull the plug on the whole retreat idea.

If you find yourself feeling the need to spend some time with good people, I've got just the people and just the place for you: Shannon Hammer and her friends in Lighthouse Cove, California. So what if a dead body or two may be involved? These folks will restore your faith in amateur sleuths specifically and in the human race in general.

Absence of Mallets by Kate Carlisle
eISBN: 9780593201343
Berkley Prime Crime © 2021
eBook, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #9 Fixer-Upper mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


  1. I may have to read this book just because of the wonderful pun in the title. It sounds like a refreshing read after a lot of murder and mayhem.

  2. Lighthouse Cove the name itself brings up a cozy feel. Thanks for the review.

  3. This sounds like a solid balance, Cathy, between making sure a story has some 'meat' to it, and also keeping it light. It's not always easy to do that, I think. And the setting sounds appealing, too.


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