Dead Level by Sarah Graves (Bantam, May 2012)
Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree has learned a lot about home renovation since she left her high-powered job on Wall Street and bought an 1823 Federal-style house in Eastport, Maine. In the time that has past, she has worked on restoring her house, seen her son through rehab and into adulthood, made peace with her estranged father and witnessed his remarriage, remarried herself, cared for her ex-husband while he was dying from a brain tumor, and made a new life for herself and her new husband Wade. She also solved a few murders since coming to Maine and one of the men her testimony help convict, Dewey Hooper, has escaped from prison and is hiding in the woods in Maine. He spies Jake and her best friend Ellie at Wade’s camp in the woods where Jake has gone to fix the porch on a bet that she can restore it in less than a week’s time. Hooper sees the women and decides this is the perfect opportunity to seek revenge on Jake and realizes no one will be any the wiser. A heavy rain storm floods the roads to the cottage making Jake and Ellie sitting ducks. As always, Dead Level provides a great mystery complete with home improvement tips from Jake. Jake and her son are working through their grief and closing out another link to their lives in Manhattan. A clever mystery helps keep the plot moving forward, though readers of the series will have a slight edge over those just discovering Jake, the book can be read as a stand-alone but they will find themselves quickly reaching for the pervious mysteries in the series.