Dead Bolt

Haunted Home Renovation Series, Book 2
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Series: Haunted Home Renovation, Book 2
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (808 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Turner Construction's latest restoration project is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco. This time, general contractor Mel Turner has to work around the owners, who insist on sticking around-along with some ghosts that insist in their own way that the work stops.

The ghosts aren't the only ones standing in the way of the renovations. A crotchety neighbor, Emile Blunt, secretly wants this house and could be behind some of the disturbances. But when Emile is found dead, it's Mel who appears guilty. Now she must restore the building-and her reputation-before it's too late.

©2011 Juliet Goodson-Lawes (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Cleverly plotted with a terrific sense of the history of the greater Bay Area, Blackwell's series has plenty of ghosts and supernatural happenings to keep readers entertained and off balance." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Dead Bolt

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A nice mix of ghosts, mystery, and relationships

Any additional comments?

It's taken a while for the female lead to grow on me, being a bit different from the norm. She's a strong female but walks to the beat of a different drum. I feel like I'm starting to know her, however, and can appreciate some of her quirks. Love the ghosts and the complexity of her relationships! Also enjoy learning about house renovation techniques. This book starts off a bit slow, so I listened to it at 1.25 speed. Not sure if that was the narrator or the story line. I will continue to listen to this series. I have the feeling it will get better as the characters continue to develop and move forward.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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And who will be murdered next?

I highly recommend this series if you like paranormal mystery.

The main character, Mel, a general contractor, is interesting and quirky. However, she wears frilly clothes to the job site even though she has “overalls to wear over them if she needed to crawl through grime”. (Please, that is a little over the top.)

She has taken over Turner Construction from her retired dad and is surrounded by a warm non-traditional family and steadfast friends who add to the interest of the story.

Every house has problems during a renovation, but this one has the additional problem of Jim Daley, the owner, who insists on living in the basement apartment with his family while the renovations occur despite the fact that his wife is against it.

There are spirits residing in Cheshire Inn. Mel has dealt with spirits on other jobs but this one is different. When cantankerous neighbor and former resident of Cheshire House, Emile Blunt, is found dead, Mel believes there is a link between the murder and the spirit. Although she understands the risk, Mel, must find a way to coax the ghosts to move on and out of Cheshire House while finding out who killed Emile.

There is also a sub plot involving Jim’s wife that adds to the mystery and intrigue as well as a female police investigator that has her eye on Mel's dad as a suspect for Emile's murder.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Boarding home also housed cats

This book follows Mel Turner, current head of Turner Construction, a leading company that renovates old homes in San Francisco to their former glory as much as possible and to the extent their clients desire.

Mel has run into some snags on the renovation of The Cheshire House, once a boarding home with many feline residents. Today all that is gone, and a young couple thrilled to finally own it have hired Mel to restore it to its former state before the boarding home.

They don't quite realize at first that this will include laying three or four ghosts to rest. The story of their demise is actually based in fact. Mel's former beau, Graham, has left his former job with Cal. OSHA in favor of green construction methods, at Mel's suggestion. He plays a key role in dispelling the ghosts. Even the neighbor across the street with his upholstery shop helped and hindered. There were many subplots well presented and explained and tied into the ending, far too many to list here without spoiling the book.

I enjoyed DEAD BOLT just as much this time if not more. I was able to make much more sense of the many twists and turns of this title. I'm sure some of that came with my familiarity with the characters and the city. I could devote a bit more emotional energy into following the intricacies of the plot as well as the spirits in the attic. Granted my interest was further piqued by Mel renovating The Cheshire House because of the many cats that lived there at one time.

I've truly enjoyed the story, the many mysteries within, and the variety of people who populated it. Further, I still enjoy Xe Sands' voice narrating the book with the numerous foreign words and phrases rolling off her tongue as naturally and seemingly effortlessly as a child's fairy tale. A narrator can make or break an audiobook, and I think Xe Sands helps make it as much as Juliet Blackwell's writing each time. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Another great listen

Would you listen to Dead Bolt again? Why?

Yes and no, I would if the author writes another but if that happens than nope.

What did you like best about this story?

I would have to say that the main characters style and lack of caring what others think,

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed inside several times and at others I could not keep from rewinding it because I seemed to miss something due to laughing out loud.

2 people found this helpful

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Ready for book 3. Love the series.

I only read an entire series if the leading character has something I can relate to or the author knows how to sell a mystery to a pretty sharp reader. Juliet doesn't disappoint. Plus it doesn't hurt I've been in construction for 30 years and have just about seen it all. Every aspect of the leading lady is fun to envision. The fact that the LL can't keep her nose out of other people's homes or business leads to some funny and scary adventures. The books suck you in, give you some details to breath for a while and then let you relax. Over and over until you think you know who did it or why. Nope, I was wrong again. The style of the books has been well thought out and I'm always excited to listen to the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Even Better than Book 1

This series is really growing on me. I have gotten especially fond of the narration. We really see Mel's soft side in this book and it made me like her even more. The mystery got a little elaborate at times for me but I do enjoy that it is never obvious who did it. Mel's love life is moving alone, though slowly. I appreciate the fully developed characters in this series - I read a lot of cozies and those often fail to do more than sketch out the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Built to last

I love this author to pieces. Which ever series I am reading of hers I always feel so connected to the characters. I also love that I don't always figure out who the murderer is before its revealed. The narrator gives the main character life with her spunky inflections.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Easy listen

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would like midway through the book for Mel to partner with Graham. Tease more and get together before the last three sentences of the book. When the summation happens in the end, it would be good to repeat to a couple people, the dad or Russian girl what bodies were there and why. Telling once right at the end when several intense things are happening with several people leaves you trying to say who what where. Some books that develop each character more and their connection with others helps in the summation.

Would you be willing to try another book from Juliet Blackwell? Why or why not?

Yes. This is the second of her books I have listened to. You can count on a light mystery. Easy listening.

What about Xe Sands’s performance did you like?

She does very well with all the characters. I have looked for other books she has narrated.

Do you think Dead Bolt needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes, it could have a follow up, only if it is not going to tease the relationship the whole book.

Any additional comments?

There is so much potential for a more developed book. Why not develope more lines with different characters. More interaction with the dad and his friend, more with the stepson he could bond with Graham. Some sarcastic funny humor between the characters and crazy self talk would step this up from a fluffy light to a developed book that I would listen to more than once.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story

I enjoyed the fast pace and the characters in this story. Melanie is a likeable character who happens to be a general contractor. I like the way she pairs her masculine job with her frilly outfits. Mel is smart, strong-willed, funny and loyal. She works in a man's world and is able to hold her own. The ghostly aspects were well-handled and often very creepy indeed. This is a must read series. It a realistic mystery and interesting characters to make it a good read. Also, the setting of San Fransico and the historic homes make this series even more intersting.

1 person found this helpful

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This is how you renovate an old Victorian!

With this book we get to know our main characters a little better and the author does a great job describing the scene. As the mystery unravels you find yourself totally changing your mind from what you first thought of some of the guest characters. And as always there is a little history lesson about San Francisco. Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful