Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1)
The first in a brand-new cozy series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville—where the real estate market is to die for. WILL THIS KILLER DEAL LEAD TO A DEAD END? Meet Whitney Whitaker. A hopeless romantic when it comes to real estate, she knows what it takes to find—and flip—the home of one’s dreams. A fixer-upper is like catnip to Whitney: she can’t resist the challenge of turning an eyesore into a priceless work of art. So when one of her clients decides to liquidate a crumbling property, Whitney seizes the opportunity to purchase it for a song. But soon a curious incident of the cat in the night-time leads to a change in tune. . .Sawdust is the name of Whitney’s cat—of course. Whitney’s passion for gut-renovation may be a mystery to him but one thing Sawdust knows for sure is this: Dead bodies don’t belong in flower beds. So why is there one in this new, albeit old, house? Now it’s up to Whitney, along with the help of hot-and-cold Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn, to find the truth about what happened before the mortgage property forecloses and Whitney loses her investment. . .and maybe her own life.

Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1) Details

TitleDead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 29th, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN-139781250197429
Rating
GenreMystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1) Review

  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly is the first book in the brand new cozy House-Flipper Mystery series. This series takes a couple of my favorite things, renovating real estate and kitty cats, and combines them together so how could I say no to reading this one?Whitney Whitaker has been working as a property manager to pay the bills for a while now while living in her parents pool house with her cat, Sawdust. Real estate and renovating are really Whitney’s passions so when an opportunity to Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly is the first book in the brand new cozy House-Flipper Mystery series. This series takes a couple of my favorite things, renovating real estate and kitty cats, and combines them together so how could I say no to reading this one?Whitney Whitaker has been working as a property manager to pay the bills for a while now while living in her parents pool house with her cat, Sawdust. Real estate and renovating are really Whitney’s passions so when an opportunity to buy a home in need of her TLC way below market value comes up Whitney finds it hard to pass by.Knowing she can’t afford the property on her own even wiping out her bank account Whitney brings in her cousin as a partner. After the inspection is done and the paperwork signed Whitney and Buck end up with one problem after another including finding the seller’s body in the flower bed and with Whitney a person of interest in the murder she needs to find the real killer quickly.Dead as a Door Knocker was such a cute cozy mystery that grabbed my attention right away. Whitney was a likable enough character along with the supporting cast around her but Sawdust steals the show with his own chapters from his point of view, watch out for demons in those! The story was one that took a bit to get to the mystery side but being the series opener I appreciated taking the time to build the characters and story before the suspects started lining up with the murder. All in all 4.5 stars for this new series by Diane Kelly and I will definitely be back for more.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker is a property manager and carpenter in Nashville, TN. When one of her developer clients wants to off load a house, she jumps in to buy it, intending to fix it up and flip the property. The project is difficult from the start. First, bad wiring causes a fire, quickly followed up by Whitney finding a dead body buried in the flower bed. Her house flipping days might be over before they even really start!I enjoyed this first book in the House-Flipper Mystery series. Whitney is an in Whitney Whitaker is a property manager and carpenter in Nashville, TN. When one of her developer clients wants to off load a house, she jumps in to buy it, intending to fix it up and flip the property. The project is difficult from the start. First, bad wiring causes a fire, quickly followed up by Whitney finding a dead body buried in the flower bed. Her house flipping days might be over before they even really start!I enjoyed this first book in the House-Flipper Mystery series. Whitney is an interesting and intelligent main character. Her cat has the cutest name ever -- Sawdust. I liked the setting, the background theme and the side characters in this new series. Cute, creative idea! I felt sorry for Whitney.....she wants to build her business, expanding into renovation projects....but gets waylaid by fire and dead bodies. Yikes! What a way to start a new business venture!This is the first book by Diane Kelly that I've read. She also writes the Paw Enforcement and Tara Holloway mystery series. I'm definitely going to read more by this author. I like her writing style and the mix of humor and mystery. **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St Martins Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Darinda
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker is a property manager with dreams of making it big in real estate. When she gets the chance to buy a property to flip it, she thinks it might be too good to be true. And it is. Especially when a dead body is found buried in the flower bed.The first book in a new cozy mystery series. Whitney is a likable character. She is single, living in her parent's guest house, and working all the time. She's a hard-worker with good relationships with her family and friends. In addition to he Whitney Whitaker is a property manager with dreams of making it big in real estate. When she gets the chance to buy a property to flip it, she thinks it might be too good to be true. And it is. Especially when a dead body is found buried in the flower bed.The first book in a new cozy mystery series. Whitney is a likable character. She is single, living in her parent's guest house, and working all the time. She's a hard-worker with good relationships with her family and friends. In addition to her family and friends, Whitney has a cat, Sawdust. The reader gets insights to their relationship, since a few chapters are from Sawdust's point of view.A cute and entertaining cozy mystery. With this being the first book in a series, a lot of the story is spent getting to know the characters. The murder mystery doesn't get started right away, but when it does, it's clear Whitney needs to investigate on her own to find the killer.A fantastic start to the House-Flipper mystery series. I look forward to reading more about Whitney in future books.I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Peggy R
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first thing I have read by this author and thought it was a solid start to a new series. I'm a fan of the fixer upper, flipper, home improvement shows on cable so this book appealed to me for that reason. The characters were likable and while not a cat person, I enjoyed the brief chapters giving a glimpse of life from Sawdust's perspective. The mystery was pretty well crafted. I thought the pace was a bit slow and it took awhile to set up the mystery. I did enjoy the story and would This is the first thing I have read by this author and thought it was a solid start to a new series. I'm a fan of the fixer upper, flipper, home improvement shows on cable so this book appealed to me for that reason. The characters were likable and while not a cat person, I enjoyed the brief chapters giving a glimpse of life from Sawdust's perspective. The mystery was pretty well crafted. I thought the pace was a bit slow and it took awhile to set up the mystery. I did enjoy the story and would be open to reading more in the series.I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me through Netgalley.
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  • JoAn
    January 1, 1970
    Dead As A Door Knocker by Diane Kelly was an entertaining beginning to this new series.I enjoyed meeting Whitney and her family. She is a strong and likable character who never gave up throughout the story. Her cousin, Buck, is adorable with his sense of humor and concern for Whitney. Whitney's friend, Collette, also added some interesting details and warmth to this cozy mystery.I found the story to be slow to start but it finally picked up about 1/3 of the way into the book and swiftly moved to Dead As A Door Knocker by Diane Kelly was an entertaining beginning to this new series.I enjoyed meeting Whitney and her family. She is a strong and likable character who never gave up throughout the story. Her cousin, Buck, is adorable with his sense of humor and concern for Whitney. Whitney's friend, Collette, also added some interesting details and warmth to this cozy mystery.I found the story to be slow to start but it finally picked up about 1/3 of the way into the book and swiftly moved to the reveal with plenty of suspects and twists to keep me guessing. Ms. Kelly has developed the characters well in this book; and I am sure that they will grow more as the series continues. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    The first book in The House Flipper mysteries. Meet Whitney Whitaker and her cat, Sawdust. Whitney has been saving for a house of own. She accepted an offer to purchase a dilapidated house at a reduced price as the owner is liquidating his rentals. Since Whitney did not have enough funds to start remodeling She asked her cousin go into with her. The first-night Whiney spends at the house, she and her, cat Sawdust nearly escape with the lives from a fire in a back room. As the electoral system wa The first book in The House Flipper mysteries. Meet Whitney Whitaker and her cat, Sawdust. Whitney has been saving for a house of own. She accepted an offer to purchase a dilapidated house at a reduced price as the owner is liquidating his rentals. Since Whitney did not have enough funds to start remodeling She asked her cousin go into with her. The first-night Whiney spends at the house, she and her, cat Sawdust nearly escape with the lives from a fire in a back room. As the electoral system was not updated she asked the seller to cover the deductible portion of her insurance. He agreed but is found dead in the flower bed next to them. The police believe that Whitney had motive and arrested her for murder. Whitney begins to explore them. Does she find answers before she spent her life in prison?Many thanks to NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first in a brand new series. In this book Whitney Whitaker is attempting to flip her first house, with the help of her cousin, Buck. Whitney soon realizes that the person she bought the house from omitted some key problems with the house. After one problem after another arises, the last thing Whitney expects is for her cat, Sawdust, to find a body in the garden in front of the house. The body is the previous owner of the house. The police immediately suspect Whitney because of the ar This is the first in a brand new series. In this book Whitney Whitaker is attempting to flip her first house, with the help of her cousin, Buck. Whitney soon realizes that the person she bought the house from omitted some key problems with the house. After one problem after another arises, the last thing Whitney expects is for her cat, Sawdust, to find a body in the garden in front of the house. The body is the previous owner of the house. The police immediately suspect Whitney because of the argument she had with him over the sale of the house. Whitney starts to investigate because with her as a suspect and the body being found in the front yard it is making it hard to resell the house.I think this was a great first book in the series. The characters were enjoyable and felt very natural. I loved the few chapters were we were told Sawdust's point of view. I will defiantly be reading the next book.I received this book from net galley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly is the 1st book in the House-Flipper Mystery series, and a great start. Whitney Whitaker manages real estate properties and when a trashed home is offered to her cheap, she jumps at the chance to fix it up and flip it. When a dead body is found on the property's front yard, things get complicated. Whitney is determined to find the real killer and not lose her investment. I really enjoyed this book, it has a lot of action and suspects to sort through. I can't Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly is the 1st book in the House-Flipper Mystery series, and a great start. Whitney Whitaker manages real estate properties and when a trashed home is offered to her cheap, she jumps at the chance to fix it up and flip it. When a dead body is found on the property's front yard, things get complicated. Whitney is determined to find the real killer and not lose her investment. I really enjoyed this book, it has a lot of action and suspects to sort through. I can't wait for the next book in the series. If you love cozy mysteries than I highly recommend this one. Ms. Kelly is no stranger to writing good books. I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I was eager to read this book because of my interest in do-it-yourself projects. Whitney Whitaker is an admirable strong character who is not easily deterred by circumstances or men. She bought a house with her cousin to renovate and flip but things turn from bad to worse immediately after they close on the deal. The book moved at a very slow pace for me. I thought there was an overabundance of detail about the materials and the action of the renovation which could have been devoted to better de I was eager to read this book because of my interest in do-it-yourself projects. Whitney Whitaker is an admirable strong character who is not easily deterred by circumstances or men. She bought a house with her cousin to renovate and flip but things turn from bad to worse immediately after they close on the deal. The book moved at a very slow pace for me. I thought there was an overabundance of detail about the materials and the action of the renovation which could have been devoted to better developing the mystery. The best part of the book was the interspersed short humorous chapters "written" by her cat Sawdust. They provided a well-needed relief for me. 2.5/5Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance digital copy of this book. My review is voluntary.
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  • Tari
    January 1, 1970
    One of the cool things about this book is that just as you don't want it to end, there's a little sneak preview of the next book at the end! It goes right into the same time of year too. I'm so anxious to find out when that next book is coming out! Whitney Whitaker was a carpenter and a property manager who was about to become a real estate agent and a house flipper with her cousin Buck as her partner, after her real estate agency's biggest client offered her a house for a steal of a deal. The h One of the cool things about this book is that just as you don't want it to end, there's a little sneak preview of the next book at the end! It goes right into the same time of year too. I'm so anxious to find out when that next book is coming out! Whitney Whitaker was a carpenter and a property manager who was about to become a real estate agent and a house flipper with her cousin Buck as her partner, after her real estate agency's biggest client offered her a house for a steal of a deal. The house quickly became a huge source of trouble, starting with Sawdust her cat finding a dead body in the flower bed. Since Whitney's hammer was the weapon, she became the main person of interest, so she knew she had another job cut out for her: prove her own innocence or go down for something she didn't do. Her good friend Colette and her cousin Buck for always up for adventures! The suspenseful scene that took place before there was a showdown was pretty cool, and Sawdust got to have a major part in that--way to go, sweet kitty! When Whitney insisted on going with Det. Flynn to the showdown with the killer, she somewhat came in handy. I had another person pegged for this murder, although I'd made a random comment early in the book for no reason whatsoever of "oh, I wonder if s0-and-so did it." There were good red herrings and secrets along the way. Now that I've read the little preview for the next book that comes at the end of this one, I'm probably going to be checking Amazon regularly to see when it comes to presale! Hopefully getting the author's newsletter will take care of that though. I just fell in love with these characters! Mr. and Mrs. Hartley were the nicest people, who wouldn't want to have bosses just like that. Buck was a hoot and I'm wondering if he and Whit's friend Colette might get together eventually. I loved the camaraderie of the three of them. Whit actually had a great relationship with her parents--I'm always a fan of that! They weren't in it a lot, but they were super nice people. I'm not really a fan of the neighbor of the house they were flipping though. Patty seems like nothing but a complainer. And of course there's Det. Flynn who is a cat person like Whitney--I really hope they get together eventually! Last but not least whatsoever, Sawdust the cat was such a sweetheart! I thought it was fun how every so often there was a one or two-page chapter coming from his view-point, third person as written, but still giving the cat's thoughts--especially about a one-eyed mechanical demon that came to life when Whitney was gone!
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Dead as a Door Knocker is the debut of the House-Flipper Mystery series set in Nashville and featuring Whitney Whitaker, property manager, realtor trainee and house flipper. The worst part of Whitney's job as a property manager is evictions and she's got her hands full with the three rowdy college students months behind in their rent.Property owner Rick Dunaway is well known as a cheapskate when it comes to repairs and this time after surveying the damage left behind by the boys he offers to sel Dead as a Door Knocker is the debut of the House-Flipper Mystery series set in Nashville and featuring Whitney Whitaker, property manager, realtor trainee and house flipper. The worst part of Whitney's job as a property manager is evictions and she's got her hands full with the three rowdy college students months behind in their rent.Property owner Rick Dunaway is well known as a cheapskate when it comes to repairs and this time after surveying the damage left behind by the boys he offers to sell the house to Whitney just to get it out of his extensive property portfolio. Whitney who works part time doing carpentry work with her cousins Buck and Owen, desperately wants the house thinking it would be a great flip, so she reaches out to Buck for help securing a mortgage.With the sale finalized and the renovations underway, Whitney and Buck are soon faced with random acts of vandalism from egging to arson. Convinced that the damage is the work of one disgruntled student, Whitney is shocked when her cat, Sawdust digs up the dead body in the front garden.Detective Collin Flynn is convinced that Whitney is the killer and she sets out with the help of her cousins and best friend, Colette to unearth the real murderer. Plenty of suspects include the college students, the neighbors on both sides, and the victim's employees and business partner.A quick, fast paced plot with a spunky heroine and supporting characters. The author pens enough twists and turns that the final reveal feels like a hammer blow to the head. The main story line is broken up with chapters narrated by Sawdust. A refreshing family dynamic and a hint of romance will leave readers looking for the next in the series.I received an advanced copy of Dead as a Door Knocker from NetGalley via St. Martin's Press. While not required to write a review I am more than happy to offer my honest opinion.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    If you love a good cozy mystery, this is one for you. A fast no frills read typical of the genre. It's okay not great.
  • The Cozy Review
    January 1, 1970
    Meet Whitney Whitaker. A hopeless romantic when it comes to real estate, she knows what it takes to find—and flip—the home of one’s dreams. A fixer-upper is like catnip to Whitney: she can’t resist the challenge of turning an eyesore into a priceless work of art. So when one of her clients decides to liquidate a crumbling property, Whitney seizes the opportunity to purchase it for a song. Soon a curious incident of the cat in the night-time leads to a change in tune. . .Sawdust is the name of Wh Meet Whitney Whitaker. A hopeless romantic when it comes to real estate, she knows what it takes to find—and flip—the home of one’s dreams. A fixer-upper is like catnip to Whitney: she can’t resist the challenge of turning an eyesore into a priceless work of art. So when one of her clients decides to liquidate a crumbling property, Whitney seizes the opportunity to purchase it for a song. Soon a curious incident of the cat in the night-time leads to a change in tune. . .Sawdust is the name of Whitney’s cat—of course. Whitney’s passion for gut-renovation may be a mystery to him, but one thing Sawdust knows for sure is this: Dead bodies don’t belong in flower beds. So why is there one in this new, albeit old, house? Now it’s up to Whitney, along with the help of hot-and-cold Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn, to find the truth about what happened before the mortgaged property forecloses and Whitney loses her investment and maybe her own life.--Series: A House Flipper Mystery - Book 1Author: Diane KellyGenre: Cozy Mystery/BusinessPublisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks The first book in this series from author Diane Kelly, Dead as a Door Knocker is an exciting debut. The characters feel like old friends and get into situations that make the reader smile and at times outright laugh. St. Martin’s has a winner on its hands. Ms. Kelly has been writing two other series and is the award-winning author of the Tara Holloway and Paw Enforcement series.Whitney loves home renovation, she isn’t a girlie girl, and never was. When other girls wanted to play princess, she wanted to build something. She will pick up a hammer before she will a lipstick. Branching out into the home renovation business could be lucrative, and with her cousin, Buck helping it shouldn’t take long to turn a profit. But everything goes wrong right from the start. Fire, vandalism, and murder.The characters in this first book have plenty of personality. Whitney’s cousin Buck has pluck and comes to her defense whenever necessary. Whitney’s charming employers are loving, kind and willing to help Whitney when they can even if it costs them business. The star of this book beside Whitney is her cat Sawdust. He is a lovable little furball, the chapter headings of Sawdust’s thoughts are worth the read alone.The setting of this book in Kentucky brings to mind cool walks on quiet dirt roads along with the sounds of birds and cicada’s on hot summer days; winters may not get a lot of snow and ice, but it will still have you longing for a warm fire and hot cocoa.The murderer is not necessarily a surprise. However, the unraveling of the clues takes a bit of thinking, as all good mysteries should. Dead as a Door Knocker is the delightful combination of fun and mystery that cozy writers strive for in their books. It is entertaining, fast-paced and well written. The plot stays true, and the twists and turns keep readers turning the page. I look forward to reading more books in this series and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fun-filled who-done-it.
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  • Jeanie
    January 1, 1970
    This will be one of my favorite new series this year! Dead as a Door Knocker appeals for many reasons, including the protagonist, Whitney Whitaker. She works at least part time for her uncle doing upgrades and other carpentry work as well as for a realtor overseeing repairs for managed properties. Her sidekick and roommate is Sawdust, the littlest kitten of his litter, who absolutely adores Whitney. The mystery is complex and challenging, and the author’s trademark humor is LOL funny.Whitney evi This will be one of my favorite new series this year! Dead as a Door Knocker appeals for many reasons, including the protagonist, Whitney Whitaker. She works at least part time for her uncle doing upgrades and other carpentry work as well as for a realtor overseeing repairs for managed properties. Her sidekick and roommate is Sawdust, the littlest kitten of his litter, who absolutely adores Whitney. The mystery is complex and challenging, and the author’s trademark humor is LOL funny.Whitney evicts three college guys who stopped paying their rent on a home. She was upset with the damage they left. She couldn’t hide it from the home’s owner, who decided to sell the house. Because he knew Whitney, he would give her a great deal on it. When she heard the price, she knew she and her cousins could do most of the work to enhance its natural beauty and sell it quickly for a good profit. With the loan requirements complete, they begin the work. Because of the costly tools and material they would have in the home, Whit will stay there at night. She packs up a bag and Sawdust, prepared to stay. While relaxing the first evening, the fire alarm goes off, barely allowing her time to find Sawdust and escape wearing her rubber ducky jammies and slippers.Days later, with the roof replacement underway, Whit works in the yard to put colorful flowers in front. She was to meet the former owner of the home there the prior evening for business yet to be completed, but he never showed. When she finally left that evening, Whit found an envelope with the necessary docs on the porch. The next morning, Sawdust is with her when she works in the garden…and makes a horrifying discovery. Just beneath the surface of the garden lies the dead body of the former owner of the home…and the nosy neighbor pointed the police towards a huge hammer Whit had somehow left outside all night as the likely weapon. What a fine mess this house flip has become!I love that little Sawdust! The characters, including Sawdust, are very well depicted with loving, hard-working family members and Whitney’s work family, the owners of Home and Hearth. Whit and Buck have clearly been close through the years with their easy banter and how well they work together. I am very impressed by how the author writes about Sawdust, including the chapters dedicated to reflecting his feelings and his true cat-sonality. The “demons” he fears reminds me of the “monsters” my own cats try to escape.Whit tries to determine who the real killer is, as the detective acts as if she may have done the deed. Whit is certain that her home inspector, Bobby, was involved, as she heard him on the phone with what sounded like his bookie, and he needed fast money. Did the former owner bribe him to keep the faulty wiring out of his report and not get enough? Maybe the owner’s biggest property management competitor is behind it, since he wanted to get his hands on the property. There are several plot twists that shuffle the suspects but simply don’t bring the right person to light. I was stumped, and totally surprised when seeing who the killer really was, and why. It was not someone I had considered at all. The end is satisfying, with all loose ends tied up. I highly recommend this clean, fun cozy to fans of the author and anyone who enjoys cats and property management or construction.From a grateful heart: I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
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  • Dan Curnutt
    January 1, 1970
    I love the character development that Diane Kelly gives us, especially of “Sawdust” the cat. Those tiny two page chapters giving us “Sawdust’s” thoughts is absolutely wonderful.The story is about Whitney Whitaker and her attempt to flip a house and make a little bit of money for herself and her cousin Buck. But what she didn’t expect to find was murder, intrigue, disaster, and maybe bankrupt. Whitney purchases a home to flip from a client of her Property Management Company. Little did she know t I love the character development that Diane Kelly gives us, especially of “Sawdust” the cat. Those tiny two page chapters giving us “Sawdust’s” thoughts is absolutely wonderful.The story is about Whitney Whitaker and her attempt to flip a house and make a little bit of money for herself and her cousin Buck. But what she didn’t expect to find was murder, intrigue, disaster, and maybe bankrupt. Whitney purchases a home to flip from a client of her Property Management Company. Little did she know that he would take advantage of her by selling her a home that had some major flaws. As those flaws come to light Whitney gets a tad bit angry.But when a murder happens her little fits of anger start to make it look as though maybe she murdered someone in an attempt to assuage her anger. How far from the truth could that be, she is a wonderful person, or is she?Diane Kelly develops a plot line that keeps you guessing throughout the book. You along with Whitney think you know who did the murder, but then you are proven wrong. So, who did it? And why is someone still trying to harm Whitney?The story is very different from anything I have ever read in that it is about a carpenter, a house flipper, a property manager. How interesting a life could Whitney really have. But then we follow her on this harrowing ride to try and prove her innocence and we realize how easily any of us could be accused of something terrible. How would we respond.I also love the fact that “Sawdust” plays a major role in the story. I know, I know, creative writing class tells you to never tell a story from an animals point of view. But heck, Sawdust is not just any animal. Sawdust is a hero in disguise.Enjoy the Book!
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  • Nancy Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker, carpenter/property manager, was excited about a lucky break into the world of real estate flipping but one fire and a murder later she was not feeling so lucky.A unique and fun twist to this story are the brief chapters written from the viewpoint of Sawdust the cat. The human characters are a likeable group too and I look forward to getting to know them better in coming editions of the House-Flipper Mystery series. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this s Whitney Whitaker, carpenter/property manager, was excited about a lucky break into the world of real estate flipping but one fire and a murder later she was not feeling so lucky.A unique and fun twist to this story are the brief chapters written from the viewpoint of Sawdust the cat. The human characters are a likeable group too and I look forward to getting to know them better in coming editions of the House-Flipper Mystery series. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this story. The opinions are my own.
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  • Arlene Arredondo
    January 1, 1970
    Nice read, but a bit slow paced for my taste.The main character is given an opportunity to buy a house that could be flipped and get a great profit.What will be a nice fast project, will become a nightmare with more inconveniences than benefits.When a murder occurs, she will land herself as main person of interest and will try to clear her name by finding out who did it. Note: I received an ARC for review and an honest and unbiased opinion.
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  • Homerun2
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsLight and undemanding series debut about carpenter, property manager and future real estate agent Whitney Whitaker. Whitney gets a rare opportunity to buy a refurbishable property at a bargain price and flip it for a profit after doing some renovations.She and her cousin and renovation partner Buck are excited about this deal, until everything begins to go wrong. The first night Whitney and her cat Sawdust barely escape a fire that reveals that the property had old and faulty wiring -- 3.5 starsLight and undemanding series debut about carpenter, property manager and future real estate agent Whitney Whitaker. Whitney gets a rare opportunity to buy a refurbishable property at a bargain price and flip it for a profit after doing some renovations.She and her cousin and renovation partner Buck are excited about this deal, until everything begins to go wrong. The first night Whitney and her cat Sawdust barely escape a fire that reveals that the property had old and faulty wiring -- despite passing a building inspection. Whitney suspects the inspector has taken a bribe to overlook the house's problems. Unfortunately, a dead body also comes with the deal, a former business associate who has been bludgeoned and hastily planted in the flower bed at her new house and project. Since one of Whitney's tools is the murder weapon, she becomes a suspect.This is certainly readable, but there's not much character development and there is a lot of looseness and lack of continuity in the plot. Then again, it is a series debut and this is a congenial set of characters and a good setting. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Rima Aiello
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew me away. The way the author moved between the main character and her pet was perfection and added so much to the overall story. The author did a great job really building the family dynamics in this book as well, it was so real. The mystery was well written and just when you think you know whodunit, the author throws you a curve ball. Definitely a book to read again and again.
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  • Linda Quick
    January 1, 1970
    This is an entertaining cozy mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. Whitney is a wonderful character that drew me right in. I loved that she's in a non-traditional female job and how she approaches life on her terms, no matter what obstacles she faces. I'm also looking forward to seeing more of Colin, the police detective.If you enjoy the genre, you will love this book. I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing how the relationships develop over time. Put this one on your This is an entertaining cozy mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. Whitney is a wonderful character that drew me right in. I loved that she's in a non-traditional female job and how she approaches life on her terms, no matter what obstacles she faces. I'm also looking forward to seeing more of Colin, the police detective.If you enjoy the genre, you will love this book. I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing how the relationships develop over time. Put this one on your TBR list.
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  • Gea
    January 1, 1970
    Clearly, this book is aimed at cat lovers, featuring chapters devoted to Sawdust. I have to confess I am not a fan, either of cats, or of the number of pages devoted to this cat. I also found the book heavy on various aspects of the property management, real estate and home renovation industry. The mystery plot was the saving grace of this book.
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  • Book
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker, currently works as a property manager (Home & Hearth Realty) and a carpenter (Whitaker Woodworking), saving money by living with her parents.Studying to take her real estate license exam, Whitney wants to flip houses – that is buy a house that needs work cheap, fix-it up and sell the renovated property for a nice profit. Whitney gets her first break when she evicts three college students from a house she manages for Home & Hearth’s client Rick Dunaway. The house is a wr Whitney Whitaker, currently works as a property manager (Home & Hearth Realty) and a carpenter (Whitaker Woodworking), saving money by living with her parents.Studying to take her real estate license exam, Whitney wants to flip houses – that is buy a house that needs work cheap, fix-it up and sell the renovated property for a nice profit. Whitney gets her first break when she evicts three college students from a house she manages for Home & Hearth’s client Rick Dunaway. The house is a wreck and Dunaway offers the property to Whitney at a discount if she can close quickly. Since Whitney doesn’t have enough money, she convinces her cousin Buck to partner with her and after getting a home inspection, they buy the house.Trouble begins immediately when one of the evicted college students eggs the house and then is suspected of arson. Whitney and her cat, Sawdust, have moved into the house to keep an eye on the materials and tools while doing the renovations. The first night a fire destroys part of the second floor and roof at the back of the house. Sawdust and Whitney barely make it out alive. The arson investigation reveals the fault is old, out of code electrical wiring that the fire inspector believes should have been caught by the home inspector.After she remembers seeing a strange encounter between Dunaway and Bobby, the inspector, Whitney challenges Dunaway who agrees to pay the insurance deductible for the fire insurance claim. Working on the house while waiting for Dunaway to deliver the check, Whitney finding gives up only to find the check when she opens the front door to leave. Dunaway’s car is parked on the street, but she can’t find Dunaway anywhere.Whitney returns the next day with Sawdust and is working in the yard when her cat digs up a finger in the flower bed. Turns out Rick Dunaway has been murdered and buried in the front yard. Naturally, Whitney is considered the prime suspect due to the argument she had with him over the electrical wiring and possibility of fraud on his part.There are other suspects: a rival real estate developer Thad Gentry who wants to buy the house Whitney purchased; Presley, Dunaway’s assistant who wanted to manage the properties in-house to learn the business; Bobby Palmer, the home inspector who may have colluded with Dunaway; Jackson, the college student and evicted resident who has a record for violence; and Lance Abbott, Dunaway’s business partner. And then there is the new police detective Collin Flynn who has never solved a murder before which makes Whitney nervous about his experience and ability.This new series (House-Flipper Mysteries) debut by Diane Kelly is a well-crafted mystery using twists and red herrings that serve to keep the story apace. The characters that populate the Nashville setting are warm and relatable and dialogue and relationships are realistic. The tension Ms. Kelly maintains throughout is just right while managing to generate an engaging story.However, the method Ms. Kelly employs to break suspense with humor is as impressive as it is effective: Sawdust is featured in his own chapters, commenting on life from his perspective. For instance, a fur-eating floor demon that comes to life each afternoon searching for prey as it glides along the floor picking up dirt and debris terrifies Sawdust. Then there’s the ceiling demon, a “horrifying, screeching monster” that drives Sawdust to hide in the closet. Whitney’s interaction with Sawdust is heartwarming and Sawdust’s observations on his life with Whitney tug at the emotions. Dead as a Door Knocker is a five star cozy mystery debut.
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  • RoloPoloBookBlog
    January 1, 1970
    Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane KellyBook #1: House-Flipper Mystery SeriesSource: NetGalley and St. Martin’s PressMy Rating: 4/5 starsWhitney Whitaker leads a charmed life! She has a tiny, totally suited to her pool house she shares with her cat, Sawdust; she is on the verge of becoming a proper real estate agent, and she loves her jobs working as a property manager and skilled carpenter. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any better, Whitney gets an offer she just can’t refuse. With the he Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane KellyBook #1: House-Flipper Mystery SeriesSource: NetGalley and St. Martin’s PressMy Rating: 4/5 starsWhitney Whitaker leads a charmed life! She has a tiny, totally suited to her pool house she shares with her cat, Sawdust; she is on the verge of becoming a proper real estate agent, and she loves her jobs working as a property manager and skilled carpenter. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any better, Whitney gets an offer she just can’t refuse. With the help of her cousin, Whitney buys a gorgeous home for a song that she and her cousin can repair, upgrade, and flip for a healthy profit. Yeah, life is going along quite nicely for Whitney Whitaker.Right up to the moment it’s not . . . .Within 24 hours of buying the to-be-flipped house, Whitney and Sawdust find themselves in the middle of a fire and struggling to get out. The very next morning, the fire investigator informs Whitney the fire started thanks to super-old wiring which absolutely cannot be true since her trusted inspector cleared the house in order for her to buy it. As if all that weren’t enough, within the next week, the man Whitney bought the house from is found dead just out front in her flower bed. Oh, and he was killed with one of her tools. Yeah, life is suddenly not going quite as nicely for Whitney Whitaker. Though Whitney is generally a cat kind of girl, her questions related to the fire and murder have turned her into a bit of a dog with a bone. She and her cat’s life have been threatened, she’s been arrested and questioned, the house she’s trying to flip is costing her more money with every passing day, and she’s got no idea who’s trying to ruin her life. What Whitney does have is a dogged determination to find the truth which leads her to asking questions, poking around where she shouldn’t be, and generally putting herself into harm’s way in order to clear her name and save her burgeoning career. Unfortunately, there is one person out there who has a vested interest in Whitney not uncovering the truth and is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure no one finds out the truth. The Bottom Line: I was absolutely, totally and completely sold on this book by chapter two; chapter two is the first of Sawdust the cat’s chapters and I adore any book that gives an animal his/her own voice! But I digress . . . . overall, I found Whitney and her crazy life to be quite charming, her cat to be utterly adorable and necessary, and her family and friends to be integral to her success. With that being said, all of those elements are going to need to be present in each book to recreate the same kind of magic that came together in this book. In truth, I don’t think that’s going to be problem as the author has clearly struck on a combination that should keep the series going for a good long while.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    After writing a couple of long mystery series (the Death and Taxes series and Paw Enforcement series) here we are introduced to Whitney Whitaker and her first attempt at house flipping. It's off to a very rocky start. She lives in the converted pool house in her parent's back yard, sharing the tiny abode with her cat, Sawdust. Living there and keeping an eye on her parent's house and dog when they travel counts as rent and allows her to sock away most of her earnings for her dream of entering th After writing a couple of long mystery series (the Death and Taxes series and Paw Enforcement series) here we are introduced to Whitney Whitaker and her first attempt at house flipping. It's off to a very rocky start. She lives in the converted pool house in her parent's back yard, sharing the tiny abode with her cat, Sawdust. Living there and keeping an eye on her parent's house and dog when they travel counts as rent and allows her to sock away most of her earnings for her dream of entering the real estate market. For now she divides her time between working as a carpenter with her cousins and acting as a property manager for a small mom and pop business. All is going well and Whitney is looking forward to taking her real estate exam and possibly becoming an agent. Fate has other plans and makes them known when she has to evict a group of really nasty tenants - college kids who trash the house, upset the neighbors, are known to the police and one of them threatens her. Out they go and she turns her attention to repairing the vast damage they have done. Those floors were refinished by her own hands and now they are a mess. When the owner makes her an offer to buy the house, at a much lower price than its market value, she contacts her cousin and they pool their money to buy the house and flip it. Their joy rapidly turns to horror when, on the first night of home ownership, the house catches on fire with Whitney and Sawdust inside! When the fire inspector tells her that the cause is faulty wiring and the inspector Whitney had hired seems like he is hiding a pretty big secret, well what more can go wrong. The answer is plenty! As this is a murder mystery, a corpse is soon to make an appearance. The corpse doesn't enter the story until about the 30% point. Don't let that put you off. The pace is not slow or tedious. We get to know Whitney, her family and friends and it takes awhile to set up everything for the corpse to arrive almost on her doorstep. Followed closely by the police who put her on the prime suspect list. As if she and her cousins aren't dealing with enough problems flipping their first house now their new partner is murder.I liked the human family and friends but I really did get a kick out of the short aside chapters penned by her cat, Sawdust. A nice touch. I hope both of them have a series that runs as long as the previous series by Diane Kelly. My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Cozy Cat Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book in the "House Flipper Mystery Series" by Diane Kelly. This is book is set in exciting Nashville in the real estate market and was pleasing to read from start to finish. This is one of my favorite new series of the year and I look forward to the next in series.. I highly recommend this book for all who enjoy mysteries . The author has all the definitive elements here of a great cozy series. Our protagonist is Whitney Whitaker who happened into the career of flipping houses This is the first book in the "House Flipper Mystery Series" by Diane Kelly. This is book is set in exciting Nashville in the real estate market and was pleasing to read from start to finish. This is one of my favorite new series of the year and I look forward to the next in series.. I highly recommend this book for all who enjoy mysteries . The author has all the definitive elements here of a great cozy series. Our protagonist is Whitney Whitaker who happened into the career of flipping houses as a new hobby and a business. She is working on her first house to flip after working part time for her Uncle and doing carpentry. She has a eye for what people want and enjoys learning about the transformation process. As she is working on her first house and staying there overnight with her cat, Sawdust a fire occurs. Then the original owner did not show up for their scheduled meeting but a suspicious package was left on the porch. Other suspicious occurrences happen . When she discovers his body in her garden suspicions are confirmed that nefarious people are trying to force her out and scare her. A weapon is found that she previously used on the house and soon she is the primary suspect. It is up to Whitney to clear her name so she can carry on with her new business . I loved Sawdust the cat as her companion and sidekick. This author knows cats and the antics of Sawdust are a fun part of this series. I love that Whitney takes Sawdust with her and he is her loyal companion. Whitney is a fun smart protagonist with a uncanny way of reading people and finding clues. She will prove to be a successful. sleuth in upcoming books.. Her family and friends were all likable and believable. I love the way that they all support her and help her . The sleuth was multi layered and interesting. I was surprised at the ending and enjoyed the trail of clues throughout All in all a successful debut mystery of what I hope is a long and successful series . The addition of the city of Nashville is interesting and fun for a armchair traveler. Thank you with gratitude for the ARC of this wonderful new series which does not influence my review.
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker loves turning an eyesore of a house into a beautiful piece of art. She's just been given the opportunity to purchase a charming old house for an amazing price. She can't wait to renovate the place and get it on the market, but she's going to have to because her cat, Sawdust, has just found a dead body in the flowerbed. This is Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn's first murder investigation and Whitney doesn't think he's up to the job, obviously, because he wants to put her Whitney Whitaker loves turning an eyesore of a house into a beautiful piece of art. She's just been given the opportunity to purchase a charming old house for an amazing price. She can't wait to renovate the place and get it on the market, but she's going to have to because her cat, Sawdust, has just found a dead body in the flowerbed. This is Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn's first murder investigation and Whitney doesn't think he's up to the job, obviously, because he wants to put her behind bars! Whitney needs to solve the case before she loses the money she put into the house, or worse, loses her life.I love that cover. I was pleasantly surprised by this first book in a new series. I liked the main character, Whitney. She had her share of problems but always persevered. She was a hard worker, loved her family, friends and her little Sawdust and appreciated all they did for her. I love home renovations, flipping, interior decorating and everything else that goes along with making a house beautiful and homey and this book didn't disappoint. At first I groaned at Sawdust having his own chapters, but that was before I read a word of them - they're short and sweet, are totally adorable and added a huge dose of cuteness. I liked the mystery. I was convinced I had it figured out from the very beginning and I'm so happy I was wrong. A page-turner for sure. I can't wait for more!Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.
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  • Sharon Grow
    January 1, 1970
    Whitney Whitaker arrives at the property she manages to evict three college age men for nonpayment of rent. They have done damage to the house and to her amazement they leave, but not without making threatening comments. When she contacts the owner of the property, he makes her an amazing offer to sell her the house, at a discount, for her to repair and flip the home. Whitney is excited about the offer and arranges, with help, to finance the purchase. She stays in the home to safeguard her equip Whitney Whitaker arrives at the property she manages to evict three college age men for nonpayment of rent. They have done damage to the house and to her amazement they leave, but not without making threatening comments. When she contacts the owner of the property, he makes her an amazing offer to sell her the house, at a discount, for her to repair and flip the home. Whitney is excited about the offer and arranges, with help, to finance the purchase. She stays in the home to safeguard her equipment and things start to go wrong. Was her professional home inspector honest with her? Did the owner deceive her about the condition of the house? All this will not matter when her cat, Sawdust, finds a dead body in the flower bed. Detective Colin Flynn will arrive to investigate as to who would have wanted the man dead. This is the first in a new series by Diane Kelly who is also known for her “Tara Holloway” and “Paw Enforcement” series. I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to give an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Dead As A Door KnockerByDiane KellyWhat it's all about...Whitney and Sawdust...her cat...live happily in a converted pool house in her parents’ back yard. Whitney wants to be a realtor but right now she is a property manager. When the opportunity presents itself to but and flip a house with her cousin Buck...they jump at it! But problem after problem ensues until the biggest problem...a dead man in the flower beds. Whitney is the suspect! Why I wanted to read it...I wanted a light hearted snappy Dead As A Door KnockerByDiane KellyWhat it's all about...Whitney and Sawdust...her cat...live happily in a converted pool house in her parents’ back yard. Whitney wants to be a realtor but right now she is a property manager. When the opportunity presents itself to but and flip a house with her cousin Buck...they jump at it! But problem after problem ensues until the biggest problem...a dead man in the flower beds. Whitney is the suspect! Why I wanted to read it...I wanted a light hearted snappy well written fast book and this one hit every note! What made me truly enjoy this book...Sawdust had his own chapters and they were delightful. There was just enough meanness with quite a few of the characters to make this book fun as well as interesting. Why you should read it, too...Readers who love a lighthearted fast paced cozy mystery should love this book as well as this series! I did! I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and Amazon. It was my choice to read it and review it.
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  • Patty Nobles
    January 1, 1970
    I love Diane Kelly and her books. They are highly entertaining and intriguing from the first chapter to the last, and her newest series is an absolute new favorite. In her latest novel “Dead as a Door Knocker,” we are introduced to Whitney Whitaker a part time property manager, part time wood worker and a soon to be real estate agent and her cute as a button cat named Sawdust. Whitney is given a chance of a lifetime to purchase a house from a client for a good price and she quickly involves her I love Diane Kelly and her books. They are highly entertaining and intriguing from the first chapter to the last, and her newest series is an absolute new favorite. In her latest novel “Dead as a Door Knocker,” we are introduced to Whitney Whitaker a part time property manager, part time wood worker and a soon to be real estate agent and her cute as a button cat named Sawdust. Whitney is given a chance of a lifetime to purchase a house from a client for a good price and she quickly involves her cousin in her new adventure. She soon realizes that she had been taken advantage of by the seller and one thing after has Whitney rethinking her future. She does not think life can get any worse until she discovers a dead body buried in the flower garden and becomes a suspect by the police. This is a fantastic novel and I look forward to reading more in this new series. I was given an advanced copy of this book, and all of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty conventional cozy mystery. If you read Kelly's Paw Enforcement series, you recognize a similar use where she gives the animal some page time. In the Paw Enforcement books Brigit (the dog) sometimes adds pertinent details whereas Sawdust (the cat) doesn't. So, I could do with out those asides.The setting, characters, action and story were pleasant, went by fast, but pretty standard for a cozy. So, I wasn't wowed, but I'd consider reading the next entry in the series. I'm thinking Whitney's Pretty conventional cozy mystery. If you read Kelly's Paw Enforcement series, you recognize a similar use where she gives the animal some page time. In the Paw Enforcement books Brigit (the dog) sometimes adds pertinent details whereas Sawdust (the cat) doesn't. So, I could do with out those asides.The setting, characters, action and story were pleasant, went by fast, but pretty standard for a cozy. So, I wasn't wowed, but I'd consider reading the next entry in the series. I'm thinking Whitney's new roommates could add something to the next story.I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 2.5/5
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