Howdy, howdy! Since I missed last month’s book review, I figured I would go ahead and do it this week. After all, I’m only a week late. That’s not too bad, right? For January, I picked up an advanced reader copy (ARC) of the first book in a new cozy mystery series. Dead as a Door Knocker is the the first book in Diane Kelly’s House Flipper Mysteries. As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Now, we might as well get to the review!
Dead as a Door Knocker introduces us to Whitney Whitaker, a 28-year-old who enjoys helping her cousins remodel houses and harbors dreams of becoming a real estate guru. She lives with her parents and her cat, Sawdust, in Nashville and works at a small mom-and-pop property management firm. When the firm’s biggest client offers her a deal on a property that’s too good to be true, she jumps on it. However, the guy is murdered on the site and everything goes haywire from there.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I didn’t like this book. The story was the same as every other cozy, which could have been fine. Combine it with the fact that the main character is extremely unlikable and not even the parts from the cat’s point of view could save it. Why is Whitney unlikable? First off, she’s 28 and acts like she’s 15. If she doesn’t get her way, she pouts or throws a fit. Second, she’s a bully. She runs around questioning people like she’s a cop or something, ambushing people and even forcing her foot in doorways so people can’t close the door, then has the gall the get upset when she gets a glass of iced tea thrown in her face. I had zero respect for her.
The background characters were flat and only served to enable Whitney’s antics. She dragged her cousin and her best friend around as bodyguards, neither of whom ever bothered pointing out when she was crossing boundaries. The detective let her go based on weak arguments and tantrums. I get that it’s a story and all, but it still needs to be believable. None of these characters came across as actual people, especially the police.
As far as the writing goes, it was a tight, quick read. Every other sentence seemed like a well-worn cliché or at least a play on one. If the author was aiming to make Whitney sound like a 15-year-old, she was spot on. But don’t go into it hoping for the 28-year-old we’re supposed to be getting.
Ultimately, I was super disappointed in this story. I just couldn’t get past the characters. It’s not a series I’ll be following.
Overall, I gave Dead as a Door Knocker one star out of five. Pretty sure this is a first for me. I honestly feel bad. I really wanted to like it, but nope. If you’re okay with childish characters and unrealistic police officers, try it. Otherwise, you’re not missing anything.