by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Dead as a Door Knocker, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
As she pursues her dream of becoming a licensed real estate agent, Whitney Whitaker lives in her parents’ pool house and works as a property manager for Home & Hearth Realty. Although it allows her to take on carpentry jobs for her uncle’s Whitaker Woodworking business, kicking out tenants also results in Whitney being harassed and stalked by a furious frat evictee. The chance to purchase at a bargain price the very house trashed by the former tenant gives Whitney her first opportunity to repair and house-flip an estate at an irresistible profit. A cosigned deal with her cousin Buck could give Whitney the start of a new career, but her prospects literally bursts into flames due to a shoddy electrical system and negligent home inspector.
Suspecting that she may have been duped by the seller, Whitney angrily accuses Rick Dunaway of bribing the inspector and attempting to scam her. Without admitting outright guilt, Dunaway agrees to pay off her insurance deductible and push along her insurance payment. Whitney does indeed receive a check from Dunaway, but it only makes her look guilty when she finds the real estate magnate half-buried in the garden, murdered by her own mallet. Fortunately for Whitney, Detective Collin Flynn may be newly promoted and leading his first homicide case, but he’s willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a woman who declares that she would never risk jail time and abandon a cat to be raised on his own. Still, Whitney and her best friend and chef Colette Chevalier decide to track down hard evidence to prove Whitney’s innocence while somehow successfully marketing a “murder house” to keep her financial future afloat.
Diane Kelly’s Paw Enforcement novels include chapters from the viewpoint of the canine K-9 officer Brigit, and here alternating chapters include the perspective from Whitney’s wood-colored feline Sawdust. Terrified by the monstrous Roomba that pops out daily to stalk him, Sawdust nevertheless proves to have more than enough valor to step up and protect his human when it counts.
The humor that is so outstanding within the author’s Tara Holloway novels is more than prevalent here, highlighted with the relationships Whitney has with her friends and her brotherly cousins. Not only is Whitney a sparkling personality who must deal with becoming an internet murder meme, she is a talented professional able to complete home repairs as she studies for her real estate exam. Details about interior design and house-flipping enhance the novel without distracting from the main mystery plot, which is unpredictable yet still leads to a logical solution. This is a stellar start of a new mystery series, sure to please fans who love clever dialogue, an adorably protective cat, and a heroine finding her purpose and path in life. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
To enter to win a copy of Dead as a Door Knocker, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “knocker,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 23, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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