From Publishers Weekly
Like an ornate Victorian house, Bentley's debut mystery is built on a solid foundation but winds up laden with gewgaws and light on practical basics. New York textile designer Avery Marie Baker inherits a run-down New England manse from a reclusive aunt who died under mysterious circumstances. Avery is little and cunning and pouts a lot, and she's about as bright as her boy friend's crowbar. She instantly suspects dislikable people of having a hand in her aunt's death, while completely missing blatant clues pointing to the killer. Avery soon winds up in predictable anticlimactic peril, waiting for buff handyman Derek Ellis to rescue her. The characters and the town are charming, but without any real suspense—except whether Avery can convince Derek to let her mosaic tile the kitchen counter—there's no substance to the mystery. (Nov.)
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RT Rating: 4 ½ stars Category: MYSTERY Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Published: November 2008 Type: Mystery (Amateur Sleuth)
While this is another in the themed mysteries that are not only extremely entertaining but lightly educational, the mystery is unusually strong. Home renovation and design tips are skillfully worked into the story, the characters are developed and sympathetic, and the setting is charming. The climax leads to a bang-up ending in which the intelligent heroine has to either save herself or lose all. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Summary: Avery Baker loses a boyfriend and then quits her job after inheriting her aunt's Victorian cottage on the Maine coast. She decides to work on the cottage so she can sell it and gets local hunky handyman Derek Ellis to help her. Soon she doesn't know whether the cottage or the man is more attractive, but when her house is broken into she wonders if he's one of the bad guys. A missing professor, disappearing antiques and old secrets all combine for a first-rate mystery and a frightening surprise ending. --Romantic Times Book Reviews, November 2008
Fatal Fixer-Upper's polished writing and well-paced story set it a notch or two above many first novels. Some books take awhile to get into - but I was hooked on Fatal Fixer-Upper from page one. I particularly appreciate the author's ability to make do with a small cast -- so many first-time authors overpopulate their books. Fatal Fixer-Upper is a fun read that's just the ticket when readers crave escapism. --The Cozy Library, November 5, 2008