Unhinged by Sarah Graves

*Note - I read Wreck the Halls in the spring during my bed-rest...it was really good but I dropped the ball and didn’t review it and now I’ve read the next one and so that ship has sailed. But let me say this - it was really good. I read it in a single afternoon, which is easy to do when getting out of bed is a Bad Idea and you just can’t sleep anymore.

Unhinged opens as so many mysteries do: with a missing person and a home-repair nightmare. Ok, not all mysteries have home repair nightmares, but Sarah Graves’ do and that’s part of their charm. The other part is her characters: Jacobia, who is afraid of heights and sometimes clumsy but who insists on going up the ladder herself. Ellie who dresses like an extra from Dumbo’s circus but is unfailingly loyal and intuitive and bull-headed when necessary. In addition to the rest of the crew we’re coming to like (I’ll admit it...I’m even starting to like Victor when I’m not rolling my eyes at him) we meet a few new characters in this installment: all of whom are potentially murder suspects.

It’s nice and juicy. There’s a little bit of gossip, a little bit of romance, some explosions, some suspense...all the good stuff is there. Even home repair tips, although the recurring theme in Unhinged is to hire a professional because some things go beyond what mere mortals can accomplish without dragging an entire house down with you.

The book reads (again) like a love-letter to Eastport, Maine. I’m not complaining...but every time I read about the hijinks gotten into by Jake, Ellie, et al, Maine moves a little higher on my must-visit list.

I do like that while Jake and Ellie are well-known around town for snooping into shady events and often getting themselves completely embroiled in them, that it’s not always someone they know who is the victim. Because in some series you just think “Man, you sure are a magnet for murder. I’m glad I don’t know you in real life!”

By the end of Unhinged I found myself being rather moved - emotionally - by the events that were unfolding. There was just enough suspense and grit without a complete unravelling that you get caught up in the events...and by this stage of the game it’s entirely possible to forget that these characters we are beginning to know so well are imaginary so their fates feel just that much more important. I was satisfied by the ending, and am not going to hesitate skip a few books in the TBR stack to move straight on to the next one...mostly because I suspect some foreshadowing in the last chapter and I want to know if I’m right.

Have you started reading these yet? Catch up!

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