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Nail Biter by Sarah Graves (2006)

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  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Set in Eastport, Maine, this is the latest (at the time) in a series about a former financial wizard who restores an old house and solves crimes in a struggling small town Down East. Always enjoyable with good characters, plots and setting. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Nail Biter is one of the best books in this series, at least so far. Jacobia (Jake), husband Wade, son Sam, and ex-husband Victor all live in a small town in Maine. Jake is busy restoring her 1800's home, Sam is going to school and living on his own. Victor is, well, Victor. Fans of the series know what that means.

When Jake and best friend Ellie purchase an old fixer-upper home to eventually rent they are shocked when someone wants to rent it before they even get started on repairs. The people who are renting are rumored to be witches and that sets the locals to gossiping. Then one of the locals is found dead in the shed beside the rental, sending Jake and Ellie on the hunt for the killer.

There are some terrific sub-stories here. Child abuse, mutism, and a shocker twist at the end that still have me mulling over the next in the series. No spoilers here but if you've been reading this series and like me are behind, you need to read this one. ( )
  bookswoman | Apr 2, 2013 |
To start with, the premise is preposterous that these two women who have no background in police or detective work, no intelligence background or anything that would suit them for this line of work would be recruited to find a missing person. Besides being woefully underqualified to do this work, the way they went about it made little sense and was very unrealistic. I found the constant home repair interludes to be horribly annoying. The characters, both the protagonists and antagonists were poorly drawn out. The twist at the end, including the antagonist's motivation was silly and not remotely believable. All in all a terrible novel.
Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternity ( )
  Carl_Alves | May 21, 2012 |
I love the setting, I enjoy the characters, but this one is very uneven. Jacobia Tiptree (our heroine) is asked by the local sheriff to search for a missing teenager because he doesn't think the State Police are putting enough emphasis on the search and because he has been told by the Staties to butt out. YEAH RIGHT. The Sheriff assigns the town busy-body to search for a missing/possibly kidnapped child???? For some reason, "Jake" keeps flashing back to some unspecified but awful situation in her past that has her convinced that the missing girl is in grave danger. I found this whole part of the plot very contrived, and Jake's anxiety so repetitive that I wanted to abandon the book, or at least skip over her on-going angst, on several different occasions. However, Graves is skillful enough to arouse my curiosity to the point that I had to keep reading to find out the resolution to several different pieces of the story.

It's always difficult to review mysteries without giving away the plot. I won't reveal the story, but I will tell you there are storms, ghosts, several suspects, natural and man-made disasters galore. In fact, this one might not qualify as a cozy in many peoples' minds. There are several sub-plots and enough amateur detecting to keep it interesting. I just wish it had been tightened up a bit. The extra helpings of words did insure that anyone who hadn't read one of the earlier books wasn't going to miss anything. A bit wordy, but still a satisfying read. As usual, Lindsay Ellison's narration is first class. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | May 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553585797, Mass Market Paperback)

Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree took the dangerous plunge from Wall Street power broker–to homeowner! Now the do-it-yourself enthusiast is about to discover that her own dream house is built on a foundation of murder.

Buying a beachfront fixer-upper to lease out to Eastport, Maine’s, burgeoning tourist crowd seems like a good idea to Jake Tiptree and her best friend, Ellie White. But working double-time as landladies to a coven of wannabe witches isn’t what they had in mind. And it only gets worse when Jake is called out one stormy night to make a repair–and stumbles on a dead body in the utility shed.

A small-time thief and street preacher with a particularly violent message, the deceased was no favorite of Jake’s–nor of anyone else in Eastport. But what’s he doing shot to death on Jake’s property? Jake’s bewitching tenants–including an ex-cop, a con man, and a mute teenage girl–claim to have been too busy conjuring spells to have heard or seen a thing. Then a member of the coven disappears without a trace and Jake doesn’t think it’s a case of witchcraft–but a kidnapping...or worse.

Scandal, secrets, and a mysterious box buried deep in the foundation of her own home are just the beginning of a mystery that threatens to bring Jake’s house–and life–crashing down. Now she and Ellie are racing to find a missing girl who may be the key to it all...or lead them to a killer holding the final nails to their coffins.


Praise for the Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries of Sarah Graves:

“Anyone who can mix slaughter and screwdrivers is a genius. Plus, anyone who has bought a home that needs even a new toilet seat is probably consumed with murderous thoughts.”—Boston Herald

“Like the old Victorian homes she describes...Graves’ stories seem to grow better with the passing of time....Readers who enjoy solving mysteries and fixing up older homes will appreciate Jake’s do-it-yourself expertise in both areas.”—Booklist

“A sleuth as tough as the nails she drives into the walls of her 1823 Federal home enhances a clever plot, which comes to an unexpected and explosive conclusion. Many will relish the vividly described Down East setting, but for anyone who’s ever enjoyed making a home repair it’s the accurate details of the restoration of Jake’s old house that will appeal.”—Publishers Weekly

“Think Diane Mott Davidson with a tool belt instead of recipes!”—Denver Post



From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree faces trouble when a coven of self-styled witches takes over her Eastport, Maine, rental property for Halloween, fundamentalist preacher Eugene Dibble turns up dead, and she must do everything to find the culprit.

(summary from another edition)

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