In the small resort town of Lighthouse Cove, California, the best man for the job is a woman. And that woman is Shannon Hammer, owner of Hammer Construction Company and an expert in Victorian home restoration and renovation. Shannon is the heroine of Kate Carlisle’s new series, the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. A HIGH-END FINISH – the first book in the series – is available now.
Peeling off more than 100 years of wallpaper from a Victorian home is enough to drive a woman to murder. 100 years of people too lazy to do the job right, meaning that instead of replacing it when trends and tastes changed, they just added another layer. I’ve counted five so far, and I’m not sure I hit bottom. (Though style-wise, you couldn’t get much lower than the orange-and-green layer I assume was added in the 1970s.)
My name is Shannon Hammer, and I run Hammer Construction. Yeah, I’ve got a crew that could handle this, but sometimes I like to take the grunt jobs myself to show them that I’m willing to do what it takes. It’s a respect thing, both ways.
Adding to the complications of multiple layers and who-knows-what glue products are the effects of saltwater, always an issue here in Lighthouse Cove. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, though. Now that I’m back, I won’t leave until I’m dead.
I glance at my watch and decide to knock off for the day. Dad and I are going to grab dinner tonight, and I need to take my dog Robbie for a walk first. He’s a Westie. The dog, not Dad. Dad is an all-American man who lives in his RV… most often parked in my driveway.
Which could explain why I don’t date much.
I do have a blind date next week. (What was I thinking?) My friend Lizzie set it up. It’s a compulsion with her. She’s happily married, so she constantly tries to find men for her single girlfriends. Her track record is terrible, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I sucked it up and said yes. A decision I hope I don’t live to regret.
A sneak peek at A HIGH-END FINISH:
Even with my flashlight guiding the way, I almost tripped over something on the floor.
It was an arm.
My heart was pounding in double time and I trembled so hard I almost fell. There was a man lying face down on the cold, broken foundation, his arms flailing out from his body. My flashlight beam was wavering, but I managed to train it directly at the man’s head.
I backed up and almost tripped against one of the new weight-bearing posts. I squeezed my eyes shut but I could still see the blood caked to his temple where someone had bludgeoned him with something like a baseball bat.
Chills crept down my spine as I recognized the face of the man whose blood had pooled on the floor beneath his cheek. It was Jerry Saxton, my blind date from the other night. He was dead.
You can read more about Shannon in A High-End Finish, the first book in the new “Fixer-Upper” mystery series, published by Obsidian.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 10 for the chance to win a copy of A HIGH-END FINISH. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
About the author
New York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle is a native Californian who worked in television production for many years before turning to writing. Kate’s “Bibliophile Mystery” series features bookbinder protagonist Brooklyn Wainwright, whose rare book restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. With the publication of A High-End Finish in November 2014, Kate introduces the new “Fixer-Upper Mystery” series, featuring small-town girl Shannon Hammer, a building contractor specializing in Victorian home restoration. Find excerpts, contests, book news, and more at Author Kate Carlisle and Facebook.