Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Dead Level by Sarah Graves

The blurb: Nobody knows the nuts and bolts of home repair quite like Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree,ex–Wall Streeter turned proud owner of an 1823 Federal-style house in Eastport, Maine. But when a killer with a screw loose sets his sights on Jake, her newest renovation project becomes a dire matter of life and deck.

Driving deep into the woods to her husband’s cottage with her best friend, Ellie White, in tow, Jake knows she has a challenging week ahead of her. Aside from saying goodbye to paved roads and indoor plumbing, Jake bet her husband that she could finish building the cottage porch in only a few days—a lofty goal for even the craftiest home renovator. But as Jake and Ellie set to work,they soon realize that they’re not alone. Someone is watching them . . . and that someone is out for blood.

Recently escaped from prison and having fled into the woods, Dewey Hooper recognizes Jake the instant he sees her. Her testimony got him sent away for murder years ago and here, in the remote wilderness, he can finally exact his revenge. Determined to make payback look like an accident, Dewey hatches a lethal scheme to ensure neither woman returns to Eastport alive.

But Jake and Ellie are tough as nails and not afraid to fend for themselves.With the exit roads flooded and a deranged convict stalking their every move, they’ll have to keep their wits above water to prevent the quaint little cottage from turning into the ultimate death trap.

My Comments: This is #15 in the series but I've only read 3 or 4. Graves has come a long way from the early ones for sure. I read those because they are set in Eastport Maine (one of my favorite spots in the state) and they had pleasant characters with the usual "amateur sleuth inserts herself into police business and saves the day" cozy plot....I really tended to view them as brain candy. This one changed my mind. It's a fully developed, well-plotted, exceptionally well-written page turner. It even has a ghost! 

Besides a good mystery, with strong characters and an interesting plot, the sense of place is really what makes this one special.  The reader can see the cabin, the road, and the wildlife; can soak up the atmosphere of the quiet rustic retreat; can hear the quiet; and can smell the pine trees.  Let's hope Sarah Graves continues to turn out more like this one.

Publisher-Format: Random House/Bantam; e-book ARC
Publication date: May 1, 2012
Subject: escaped prisoner, stalking
Setting: Eastport Maine and environs
Series: Home Repair is Homicide Mystery
Genre: cozy mystery
Source: E-galley from publisher via NetGalley


Post a Comment

Welcome, thanks for stopping by. Now that you've heard our two cents, perhaps you have a few pennies to throw into the discussion. Due to a bunch more anonymous spam getting through, I've had to disallow anonymous comments. I try to respond to all comments posing a question, but may not always get to you right away.