(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Tired of the Manhattan rat race, money trader Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree buys a dilapidated, 200-year-old mansion on a whim. The crumbling fixer-upper is located in Eastport, Maine—a far cry from Wall Street. And her arrogant snob of an ex-husband. Both Jake and her 16-year-old son, Sam, breathe easier in the small town, in spite of (or maybe because of) its colorful residents, laidback atmosphere, and backwater way of life. Even with her house falling down around her, Jake is happier than she's ever been.
In renovating the old mansion, Jake has learned to expect the unexpected. Still, she's shocked when she finds a dead body in her storeroom one ordinary April morning. The corpse is not a victim of some ancient crime, either. It's Threnody McIlwaine, a local bazillionaire, who's been very recently stabbed to death with an ice pick. How he ended up in Jake's house is anyone's guess. His killer, however, confesses immediately. Jake's best friend, Ellie White, claims she murdered Threnody to avenge her parents, whom he swindled out of a large sum of money. Ellie's confession doesn't ring true to Jake's ears, however. Since the DIY diva is already channeling her inner Bob Vila, she decides to Nancy Drew her way to the truth about McIlwaine's murder. Desperate to clear her friend's name, she starts digging into family and town secrets—secrets someone will kill to keep hidden. Jake must solve the mystery fast or McIlwaine's won't be the only corpse rotting in her storeroom.
After thoroughly enjoying all the books in the Lizzie Snow series by Sarah Graves, I wanted to give her older mystery novels a go. I'm not a huge cozy fan, however, so I wasn't sure the Home Repair is Homicide series would be my cup of tea. Boy, was I wrong! The Dead Cat Bounce, the first mystery in the series, hooked me with its very first paragraph. Jake made me laugh right off the bat, so I was more than willing to stick with the empathetic but wryly witty heroine. With a cast of quirky characters, a plot that kept me guessing, and a Down East setting that bursts right off the page, the novel offers an entertaining, enjoyable read. I loved it and can't wait to see what Jake Tiptree gets herself up to in the next installment.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of The Dead Cat Bounce from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.