Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 325pp
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mysteries)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Juliet Blackwell on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Books in the series: If Walls Could Talk (2010), Dead Bolt (2011)
CoverArt: Click on the pic for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Dead Bolt
THERE'S NO ROOM AT THE INN WHEN IT'S FULL OF GHOSTS.
General contractor Melanie Turner's latest restoration is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. Trouble is, she'll have to work around the owners, the Daley family, who refuse to leave during the construction. But when eerie things start happening around the site, the Daleys threaten to call off the renovation for fear that work is disrupting ghosts who live on the property.
But the ghosts aren't the only ones getting in the way of the renovation. The Daleys' neighbors aren't thrilled by the muss and fuss of the construction project. When Mel's father finds a dead body near the job site, Mel must add one more task to her growing to-do list. She has to finish the job, bring the house back from the brink, and complete her greatest renovation project yet: restoring her reputation...
Who you gonna call... when your Victorian haunted house needs a make-over? Mel Turner of course! Melanie Turner is a female contractor with knack for detecting otherworldly occupants in the houses she is renovating in the San Francisco Bay Area. Juliet Blackwell once again captivates readers with her latest release in the "Haunted Home Renovation" series, Dead Bolt. Blackwell's penchant for ghosts will have readers biting their nails and on the edge of their seats with this one!
Dead Bolt is what I would call a paranormal cozy mystery. Blackwell combines the two genres effortlessly to give the reader a creepy, but fun read. Being a paranormal fan myself, these kinds of amateur sleuthing adventures hit my proverbial sweet spot. There is just enough paranormal emphasis to shift the story a little bit, but the mystery still rings very true and to the point. Though some of the players may not be alive, they still play a significant part in the overall theme of the book and Blackwell handles them like a master.
Main character Melanie Turner is unique and different in the cozy world. To start off with she is a construction contractor. Not a profession that two many women take up, which gives her a different outlook. I liked the fact the author uses her own experiences in renovation to make Melanie comes across as real and confident. She is sure of herself and confident that she is making the right choices and following the right clues. Melanie is also a medium which adds a whole new dimension to the novel. She is able to see and talk to the ghosts that she encounters in her work. We have all heard stories of haunted houses and ghosts and Mel's character just works with that whole idea and expands it to fit the mystery.
Blackwell does an excellent job of making the paranormal seem normal in this book. Mel's job is more than just renovating the house. She is trying to get the ghosts of Chesire House to move on and in this case, one of the ghosts is not quite as benign as the others. When a cranky neighbor, who has been trying to buy the house for years ends up dead, it's up to Mel to figure out who the killer is and get rid of the ghosties! I liked the whole premise of the book and thought Blackwell pulled off the paranormal mystery well. The suspects were believable and Mel's clues were real, even if the unwanted house guests were not.
I recommend this one to cozy fans and paranormal enthusiasts. There is certainly something for each of these groups. I did't figure this one out to quickly and there were definitely some twists and turns I didn't see coming. The paranormal feel of the book, gave it a kind of spooky feeling and that made the mystery all the more entertaining and full of suspense. I definitely plan to read more in this series, as Blackwell has a knack for keeping me interested to the last page!
Dead Bolt is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag.
Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym for a mystery author who also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and, together with her sister, wrote the Art Lover's Mystery series as Hailey Lind. The first in that series, Feint of Art was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. As owner of her own faux-finish and design studio, the author has spent many days and nights on construction sites renovating beautiful historic homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently resides in a happily haunted home in Oakland, California.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell.
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