Eaves of Destruction
Fixer-Upper Mystery, Book #5
By Kate Carlisle
Author Website: katecarlisle(.)com
Murder is on the to-do list when construction contractor Shannon Hammer looks for a killer in the fifth Fixer-Upper Mystery….
At the annual Victorian Home and Garden Tour, Lighthouse Cove, California’s premier contractor, Shannon Hammer, realizes that the competition is about to turn deadly….
Shannon is in high demand among rival homeowners, who will do anything to win Best in Show. One-upmanship and even espionage break out among neighbors, construction crews, decorators, and landscapers. Thanks to several new hires, Shannon is sure she can handle the extra load–until murder throws a wrench in the works.
The small town’s corrupt building inspector is found dead on one of Shannon’s jobsites, and soon plenty of suspects are coming out of the woodwork. When another body is discovered, Shannon calls on her team of close friends and devilishly astute thriller writer Mac to help her nail down the details and build a case against the killer before the door shuts on someone else–for good. (Goodreads)
This explosive new novel in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series pulled me in from the beginning of the action and kept my thoughts on it long after reading the final page. Most of the characters are familiar to those who have read earlier books in the series, yet a new reader can come up to speed with the charming folks in Lighthouse Cove, on the northern California coast.
Shannon has been managing her father’s Hammer Construction for a few years, and loves making repairs or restoring the gorgeous, detailed Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove. As the town prepares for its Home and Garden Tour, she and her crews are maxed out on work. A young woman inquires about work, and she is exactly the kind of person Shannon needs. Amanda is even-tempered, loves her work and has a kind heart toward people, and is very talented in trim carpentry and carving replacement details for homeowners.
Victorian homes, both new and old, are on huge lots on Cranberry Circle, where Hammer Construction is doing work prior to the tour. One home belongs to the Jorgensen’s, Petsy and Matthew and their daughter, Lindsey. Petsy is one of the meanest people they have worked for, but her sharp tongue jabs at her family members as well as Shannon and her crew. Amanda is doing detail woodwork in the gorgeous home, and an orangerie (solarium) is being added. Another home is across the street, belonging to Joan and Stan Derry. There is a section of dry rot in their basement in urgent need of replacement. Shannon takes some time to look at the orangerie at Joan’s to see how it is constructed.
Joe Scully is the building inspector who should have been retired years ago. He is rude, holds up inspections and delays construction schedules, is suspected of receiving bribes so people will pass inspection, and goes where he doesn’t belong – such as walking into the Derry’s home to “inspect” the work being done in the basement. The response he got was not positive, as it doesn’t require inspections, so they chased him out, blaming him for the dry rot as his son-in-law had done the original work. Stan even threatens to kill him…bad. It wasn’t long before Scully was found dead, murdered and lying in their orangerie.
Amanda seems too good to be true! She proves to be a more than capable employee. Yet when Mr. Jorgensen shows Shannon and Amanda a portrait of one of his ancestors that Amanda looks exactly like, Amanda’s reaction leads Shannon to mull it over when she isn’t thinking about Scully.
The author has a delightful cast of characters for the most part, very well-defined. She uses snappy dialog, steady action and reasoning to further the plot and round out the people. Shannon is my favorite, of course, and Amanda is probably a new favorite as well. One of the reasons I enjoy both the series and the ladies is due to the many years I did construction admin. Shannon is the kind of boss I would like to have had.
The plot twists continually change the mysteries; some are gentle.and others pack a punch that is more like a head shot. Kate Carlyle has long been a favorite author of mine and in this novel she definitely raises the bar for future novels! She has given Shannon the best kind of boyfriend to match her penchant for finding murder and mayhem. Mac is a well-known mystery author, and they often discuss mysteries that are part of her and her friends’ daily life. I enjoy seeing the thought processes he uses in analyzing the situation. I also enjoy this novel having more than one mystery. I had figured out only a fraction of the mysteries and no motive, so was totally stunned at the full solutions! Suspense turned into horror while awaiting the final actions; it seemed like forever before I could draw a deep breath again. I was completely satisfied with how the novel ended, and highly recommend it!