Book Review: Death at a Fixer Upper by Sarah Hobart

May 19, 2016 cozy mystery 1

In Sarah T. Hobart’s wickedly funny and fast-paced Home Sweet Home mystery series, small-town real estate agent Sam Turner discovers it’s bad for business when her clients keep dropping dead.

Newly armed with her real estate license, Sam Turner loves Arlinda, her quirky seaside hometown in Northern California. But life by the beach isn’t exactly a breeze: She and her teenage son, Max, are being evicted from their apartment, her long absent ex-husband unexpectedly resurfaces, and her possibly romantic relationship with sexy Chief of Police Bernie Aguilar is, well . . . complicated. All Sam wants is a quick and easy sale. What she gets instead is a killer headache—or three.

Sam’s trying to drum up interest in 13 Aster Lane, a rambling Victorian fixer-upper that’s more than a little neglected—and possibly haunted—so when a trio of offers arrive out of the blue, she can’t help thinking it’s too good to be true. But after a new client drops dead on the property, she fears she’s lost more than a commission. Before Sam’s out of house and home, she must unmask a killer targeting her clients, or the only property she’ll be moving will be plots—at the local cemetery.

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SERIES: Home Sweet Home Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Alibi
RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2016
PAGES: 267

my thoughts

Death at a Fixer Upper by Sarah Hobart is a little less cozy than I was expecting, but the mystery is really well done. It kept me guessing right to the end with twists and red herrings and unexpected turns. I loved the ghost angle because it added to the intriguing feel of the story without being overdone.

Hobart also has a gift for setting, and I could picture each scene as it unfolded. I could hear the old house creaking around me as Sam poked around, and I think I even brushed a couple of subconscious spider webs away.  Even as early on as the first chapter when a spider crawled up her arm while she was searching the tall grass for her dropped phone, I felt like I was there in the scene with her.

Bottom Line: This cozy mystery is a little snarkier and steamier than some in the genre, which takes some getting used to, but the story is well-paced and the mystery is spot on.  Bits of humor peppered throughout lighten the mood, and the settings immerse you immediately into the story. I did have issues with the frequency of the vulgar language (typically, I expect cozy mysteries to have little to none), and I  didn’t care for the romantic interest – I felt he often came across as rather smarmy, but that may have just been me.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

My Rating: 3.5 stars / Liked it

Reviewer’s Note: As this is primarily a blog for clean/Christian fiction, I want to point out that, even though this was a general market book and not held to the same standards, the language was a bit much for me. It went beyond the “minor” words that even occasionally show up in clean/Christian fiction and crossed over into the coarser words. As such, I am not comfortable recommending this book for my readers who prefer my usual review genre.

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about the author

SARAH HOBART

Sarah Hobart is a real estate agent and former newspaper reporter in Northern California, where she lives with her husband and two children in a majestic fixer-upper overlooking State Highway 101.

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Carrie

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