Four-Alarm Homicide
April 12, 2024

Book Review

Four-Alarm Homicide

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Once again Diane Kelly brings plenty of mystery, atmosphere, and conflict to a series. Besides the mystery, the author gives readers insights into the personal lives and events affecting several of the characters.

While I’ve read the first three books in her Mountain Lodge cozy mystery series, this is the first one that I’ve read in House-Flipper Mystery series. Four-Alarm Homicide is the sixth book in that series, but I had no problem reading it as a standalone novel.

Carpenter and designer Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck are in the business of buying and flipping buildings. This time around they pursue a 1930s era fire station that has just come on the market in Nashville. During the interior demolition stage, Joanna Hartzell who lives in a nearby townhouse comes by and pleads with them to help her by buying the other half of her townhouse which is in disrepair. When Joanna later shows up at the fire station and collapses, Whitney suspects foul play.

Whitney is inquisitive, perceptive, believes in progress as well as preservation, and doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She is engaged to Collin Flynn, a police homicide detective. He is intelligent, has a strong work ethic, a strict moral code, and has recently taken up trail running. Buck has a great sense of humor and handles a lot of the heavier work. He also helps with the wedding planning. Like the Mountain Lodge series, this series has features cats with Whitney’s cat Sawdust’s thoughts being interspersed throughout the book in a few short chapters. While they aren’t necessary to the story line, they provide some humor and insights that made them enjoyable.

I was immediately drawn into the story and the main characters were likeable and relatable. The plot had a few twists and turns and the characters were emotionally rich. By setting this series in Nashville, the types of buildings available for flipping are varied and the descriptions of the firehouse and townhouse made them easy to visualize. However, I didn’t get a feeling for the city itself. While I guessed some of the items related to the mystery, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story as I sped through it effortlessly. Food is mentioned through the novel and several recipes are included at the end of the book.

Overall, this is a fun, light, and enjoyable cozy mystery with great characterization and some humor. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author’s writing style is easy to connect with and draws me into her stories. I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series.

St. Martin’s Press – St. Martin’s Paperbacks and Diane Kelly provided a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently expected to be April 23, 2024.

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