When you mix big city with old town, snoops, cops and drug dealers,
what do you get? An excitingly wild ride of suspense, mayhem, humor
and home repair. Moving from Manhattan as a power broker to
fix-it-up homeowner is one thing, but Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree takes
it a step further when she purchases a rental home with her good
friend Ellie White. Bought just two months earlier with repairs
sorely needed, they are both surprised when it's immediately rented
to a cult of witches.
Phone calls from the new tenants become the norm for Jake, as she's
become quite handy with tools. On one of her frequent repair
visits, though, she doesn't anticipate stumbling upon a dead body
in the shed. Who would have thought their shabby investment would
become the scene of a murder?
Adding to the mix is the kidnapping of a language-deficient child
who is semi-diabetic without her medicine. The problem: no one
knows why and no one can hear her scream. It's up to Jake and Ellie
to hammer out the details and find her before something bad
happens. As Jake unfolds the clues to this mystery, she encounters
more than what she bargained for, having to take a trip into her
son's drug-induced past to gather information. She soon learns that
the trade-off of being nosy is not necessarily one you would want.
Bringing it all together is the discovery of a conman whose agenda
is more than just swindling money. After all, things aren't always
what they seem. Revealing the truth behind the murder may turn out
to be Jake and Ellie's personal ticket to their demise.
Jake's womanizing ex-husband stubbornly refuses to get out of her
life, the personal home repair project falls to pieces, and her
father insists on tearing up the cellar. Can she handle all
that is going on, keep it together, and still fight the demons that
overshadow her past? Not many people get over the fact of their
mother being murdered, their father being an innocent fugitive most
of their life, and cousins who did more than give "family" love. At
what point does she stop holding it in and allow folks to help?
Jake's husband Wade is more than supportive; he knows there's
something wrong but is waiting for Jake to make the first move. As
she consistently places her life in danger, Jake realizes that
she's not just living for herself anymore, but also for the people
who care about her the most.
If you've ever wondered whether or not home repair was a boring
job, wonder no more. NAIL BITER is a delightful addition to the
Home Repair is Homicide mystery series. Sarah Graves
masterfully weaves her plot, adding touches of love, sympathy,
friendship and preservation, casting out the notion that all
stereotypes are true.
Reviewed by Belinda Williams on January 12, 2011