Apr 4, 2014

Review--Home for the Haunting by Juliet Blackwell

No good deed goes unpunished.

San Francisco contractor Mel Turner is leading a volunteer home renovation project, and while she expects lots of questions from her inexperienced crew, she can’t help asking a few of her own—especially about the haunted house next door…the place local kids call the Murder House.

But when volunteers discover a body while cleaning out a shed, questions pile up faster than discarded lumber. Mel notices signs of ghostly activity next door and she wonders: Are the Murder House ghosts reaching out to her for help, or has the house claimed another victim?

Now, surprised to find herself as the SFPD’s unofficial "ghost consultant," Mel must investigate murders both past and present before a spooky killer finishes another job.

Juliet Blackwell's Home for the Haunting is yet another outstanding addition to her Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. As you all might know, I am a big fan of the paranormal cozy mysteries, and this series, along with her other one, Witchcraft Mystery series, are among my favorites! Juliet knows how to blend is just the write amount of paranormal to make this mystery series amazing!

Mel Turner runs a home renovation business, but she also sees ghosts, it's a recent development. And you can imagine restoring old, historic houses, she sees quite a bit. And naturally as it is with mysteries, she always seems to stumble upon a dead body. She's even become friends--sort of--with one the local homicide detectives.

While working at her volunteer site, one of the volunteers finds a body. And an investigation begins nearly right away. What made this one interesting was the "Murder House" that sits right next door to where Mel was working. The story goes that the husband killed his wife, his daughter and then himself, while his other two children escaped. No one knows the reasons behind the murder, but the house as been haunted and untouched for years.

I'm always amazed at how flawlessly these two stories get interwoven together. There's two clear-cut mysteries going on and yet Juliet is able to draw them together. There's connections to them, as we learn as the story moves along. And I have to admit, as I tweeted while reading, that I absolutely LOVED having Annette--the homicide detective--watching the show Ghoul Getters, in order to understand how ghosts operate better. And as I said, Ghoul Getters is the show M.J. Holliday works on from Victoria Laurie's Ghost Hunter Mystery series! It was just a great little cameo, as I know Juliet and Victoria are pals, as we can see from Victoria's quote on the cover!

I was also pleased with seeing Annette, the tough as nails kind of woman, becoming more open and accepting of Mel's abilities. Mel doesn't like to broadcast what she can do, in fact she's still in the learning stages, another factoid that I love. But Annette shows us a somewhat, softer side to herself and I enjoyed that.

There was a bit of comedic relief in this one too. Mel's older sister, Cookie--that's her nickname--decides to pay a visit. And as you'll learn, Mel and Cookie don't always see eye to eye and are pretty much night and day when it comes to things. But it's always fun to watch other siblings squabble! 

And yes, there was a bit of romance in there as well. Graham is still hanging around Mel and trying to woo her, much to her confusion. Mel definitely has her issues when it comes to opening up and having a relationship, but with her past marriage, you can easily see why. But sometimes, you gotta wonder why Mel just won't accept Graham's feelings at face value. I definitely have a soft spot for that man and give him many kudo points for his determination to truly win Mel over!

As for the who-dunit part of the mystery, I gotta say, I didn't see this one coming! I had my speculations but could never pinpoint the why to it all, the motive, as it were. But I was totally wrong! When the murderer is revealed, I got to say I was shocked, yet it does make sense once it gets all piece together!

Home for the Haunting was yet another delightful paranormal mystery! It is definitely one series I would recommend to any mystery or paranormal reader looking for a nice cozy mystery that involves a few ghosts and of course a murderous bad guy! And while this is a series that goes in order, you could really pick up any one of these at any time and read along. It's not the chronological type, but the plus side or reading in order, is always knowing what's already happened and who people are as they come up to page time. But still, they can be read as standalone, if that's something you might worry about!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

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