Tuesday, December 7, 2021

ARC Review: Absence of Mallets by Kate Carlisle

Absence of Mallets

Kate Carlisle
Series: A Fixer-Upper Mystery (Book 9)
Publication: Berkley (December 7, 2021)

Description: Contractor Shannon Hammer steels her nerve to pin down a killer in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Premeditated Mortar. . . .

Shannon could not be happier that her hunky thriller-writing boyfriend, Mac, has moved in, and it is a good thing they are living together because they are both busier than ever. Mac is hosting writing retreats at his now vacant lighthouse mansion, while Shannon and her crew build Homefront, a quaint Victorian village of tiny homes for veterans in need. Mac’s latest guests are proving to be a handful though, and Shannon has heard some grumbling from the luminaries of Lighthouse Cove about her latest passion project. But nothing can throw a wrench in their plans except a malicious murder.

When one of Shannon’s new friends is found brutally bludgeoned with a mallet near the lighthouse on Mac’s property, the couple hammers out a suspect list and searches for a motive. As they drill deeper for clues, more violence strikes and a new victim winds up in a coma. The pressure is on, and Shannon and Mac will have to move fast to find an unhinged killer dead set on demolishing anyone who gets in their way. . . .

My Thoughts: This was a very entertaining cozy mystery. It is the ninth book in the Fixer-Upper cozy mystery series. The setting is a Victorian beach town in Northern California. The main character is Shannon Hammer who is a contractor. Her current project is called Homefront and is a settlement of tiny homes being built for Veterans. 

Her famous successful boyfriend is Mac who is an investor in the project. Mac was a Navy SEAL before beginning his career as an author. He has decided, since he's now living with Shannon, to use his former home as a place for a writer's retreat. 

His current crop of authors are not at all like he was expecting. First of all, they seem weirdly dependent on one another. The most famous of them had his first book go to bestseller status and is now supposed to be working on his second. He is quite an unpleasant person who hits on one of the female Veterans who is taking Shannon's classes on construction for women. The woman is Linda who is also a mosaic artist with her own set of mallets which Shannon admires. She is rather known for her own pink tools.

When Linda is found bludgeoned to death, Shannon and Mac along with their friends are determined to find out who killed her. They have quite a few suspects among the authors, but someone is trying to frame one of the Veterans in the village. That Veteran is Travis who has been doing some writing to help with his PTSD and who is also working on Shannon's crew. When his tablet goes missing, Shannon and Mac think that clue leads back to he author's - especially the one who is late turning in his next book. 

The story was filled with great characters. I really liked the setting and the Homefront project too. I liked the details about doing construction and liked that Shannon used her staple gun to relieve stress. I haven't read earlier books in this series yet and am eager to give more of them a try. 

Favorite Quote:
"Were you aware that Whitney attacked Travis this morning?"

"What?" he said it through clenched teeth, and his gaze switched to Travis. "Is that true?"

Travis looked from Eric to me. "I don't know her name, but yeah, some woman came up and started slapping at me for grabbing Linda."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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