I am keeping everyone in California devastated by the tragic wildfires in my thoughts and prayers.
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am pleased to welcome Kate Carlisle back to Escape With Dollycas!
Distorted Reality by Kate Carlisle
There’s no such thing as reality TV.
Let me repeat that: There is no such thing as reality TV.
The camera, by its very nature, distorts reality. It starts when we’re very young when our parents tell us to smile for the camera. We manipulate our muscles obediently, even if the sparkle doesn’t quite reach our eyes. We “say cheese” to get our mouth into proper position.
Look back at the fauxtographs from your childhood, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s something both engaging and heartwarming about the genuine smile of a child. And something disturbing when it’s evident that the smile is forced.
Before becoming a writer, I worked for many years in TV production on so-called reality shows. Time and again, I witnessed a change come over the on-camera talent the moment that filming began. The changes were subtle sometimes, but there. Almost everyone instinctively stands a little bit straighter, tries to sound a bit more intelligent/less casual—and frequently less profane.
We clean up our language and clean up our acts because we’re aware of being watched. . . and judged.
I thought it would be really interesting to play with this concept in my latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, A Wrench in the Works. Contractor Shannon Hammer is known around Lighthouse Cove as an expert on home renovation—but her little sister Chloe’s skills are famous all across the nation. Chloe is one of the stars of Makeover Madness, a home renovation show. She and her crew have descended on Lighthouse Cove to film a few episodes.
And to stir up some trouble.
When you’re reading A Wrench in the Works, pay attention to how characters change when the cameras start rolling. No one acts like a murderer while the klieg lights are on. Behind-the-scenes is another story altogether.
Lights! Camera! Homicide! Contractor Shannon Hammer must sift through the suspects when a popular TV show comes to Lighthouse Cove and brings murder with it…
Shannon Hammer’s younger sister Chloe left Lighthouse Cove after high school to make it big in Hollywood. And she did it! Chloe is the co-host of a popular home repair show on the Home Builders Network. Now, after ten years, she has returned to their quaint, coastal hometown to film several shows featuring her sister Shannon, along with some special mini-segments on Victorian style and design.
But Shannon quickly realizes that things are not exactly blissful in TV land. Bree, the executive producer of the show, has a knack for stirring up sticky situations and when she’s found dead, Chloe and the entire crew are under suspicion. During the investigation, Shannon, her thriller-writer boyfriend Mac, and their crime-solving friends unearth the real reason Chloe left home. Is that ten-year-old secret connected to Bree’s death? And can Shannon track down the real killer before her beloved sister becomes the next victim?
Do you agree that most people behave differently when they know they’re on camera? Why or why not? Do you have any fun examples to support your position?
Thank you, Kate, for stopping by!
Keep reading for my review of A Wrench In The Works.
A Wrench in the Works (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – California
Berkley (November 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R3XMKZ
The synopsis is included in the guest post above.
The television cameras have arrived in Lighthouse Cove along with Shannon’s sister Chloe. She is the co-host of a home renovating show, Makeover Madness, and is thrilled to be taping back in her hometown. Shannon also gets in on the fun by making some guest appearances. The hammer comes down on all the fun though before they even start filming. Executive producer Bree is found dead in the house chosen for the big makeover and the whole crew including Chloe are now suspects. Even Shannon saw with her own eyes the way Bree always through a major wrench in the productions. But then a real estate agent from Lighthouse Cove is found dead, again at the makeover house and the suspect pool widens. What is really scary is that Chloe could be the next victim. Shannon, Mac, and their friends are nailing down every clue to keep her safe and catch the killer.
The author has created characters that are very likable and realistic. Both Shannon and Chloe grew up working construction with their dad and know their way around a job site and every tool in the box. Determined women but Chloe hasn’t been back to Lighthouse Cove since she left for Hollywood. We learn along with Shannon the secret that has kept Chloe away all these years. I really enjoyed this subplot woven throughout the mystery as we see so much evolve for Chloe. Shannon is so proud of her sister and her accomplishments. Their strong bond is heartwarming. The relationship between Mac and Shannon is getting more comfortable too. He really is a great boyfriend. He understands Shannon and her need to jump into these murder mysteries and is happy to help her in any way he can. The supporting cast is captivating too and made me feel like I was visiting old friends.
The backdrop of Lighthouse Cove, oceanside and all the old Victorian homes is a perfect setting for this series. Big enough to handle all the dead bodies, small enough to allow our amateur sleuth to nose her way into the investigation. I truly enjoy all the descriptions of the homes. The makeover house had so much wrong with it, novices would think the only answer would be to tear it down, but in the hands of Shannon, Chloe, and their teams you know they are going to turn it into a real jewel.
The mystery is well plotted and written. All the drama brought by the television people along with the added drama of some current Lighthouse Cove residents flows together to bring a story that sets a very nimble pace. There is always something happening, a twist, a turn, a curve, that diverts attention or sends everything in another direction. It is impossible not to totally be pulled into this story. I did solve the mystery just a little bit before Shannon but the entire story was totally entertaining.
This story does read well on its own. I always recommend reading the series in order for maximum enjoyment. The movies are great too but could never replace these wonderful stories.
Picturesque setting, terrific characters, and a delightful mystery. A Perfect Escape for all cozy lovers.
Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!
You can read my reviews of previous books in this series by clicking the links below.
A High End Finish
This Old Homicide
Crowned and Moldering
Deck the Hallways
Eaves of Destruction
Also by Kate Carlisle
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”