Cover Image: Renovated to Death

Renovated to Death

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Member Reviews

It is always interesting to find fresh and new voices in cozy mystery and everything about Renovated to Death hits the tropes in an interesting way.
This cozy is a house/decorating theme built around a gay couple in Detroit who have their own house renovation TV show. This creates an ideal situation for the team to meet new clients and new homes and get involved in solving murder mysteries.
The contemporary references to modern TV cop shows and home decorating and renovation series are absolutely right on the button. 
Most of the humour in this book came from the very over the top and campy secondary characters, and a bewilderingly large cast list. 
Unfortunately, most of these were clear stereotypes. Not all gay man feels empty unless they have a dog “fur-baby” or love hanging out with drag queens in gay bars.
I found that the constant commentary on the gay community in Detroit came across as less than flattering. Yes, not only gay men prey on the young and beautiful, but the obsessive nature of these hook-ups and why someone would get dumped for a younger replacement simply because of their age, underplayed the motivation for the murder.
On the other hand, if you are interested in home renovation then this is the cozy for you.
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This book wasn't for me.
The plot and the mystery were okay, but I found the campy-ness and the stereotypes to be over the top.
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This is an absolute delight and exactly the breath of fresh air cozies need. A recommended purchase for all collections where mysteries are popular.
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Michigan, M/M cozy-mystery, television, red-herrings, renovation, family, friendship, family-dynamics, murder, murder-investigation, law-enforcement, rivalry, actors, writers, twins, situational-humor, verbal-humor, snarky****

Needs work. Starts off as more of a bodice ripper for the very uninhibited gay crowd (more like some of the modern hetero bar and bed hoppers in some of the more recent police procedurals). I was getting bored except that the renovation stuff was really good and I'm a sucker for a plot that has dog rescues in it. Then comes the murder of the client and their best friend becoming chief suspect, and I couldn't put it down. Think it is a good start to a fun series that will get better with each addition.
I requested and received a free temporary e-book from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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To know me is to know that I love a good whodunit. I like the hunt, the Chase, and figuring out what happened. This is my first time reading anything by Frank Anthony Polito. I'm always excited to find new voices in this genre. I enjoyed the back-and-forth chatter, the antics of their friends, and all the interpersonal relationships. Having said that, the constant change of POV could be at times confusing. I did find the constant razing and amplified drama of mundane issues to be a bit taxing but overall I enjoyed the feel and premise of this book. Will I be picking up the next book in the series? Absolutely! I feel like it's gonna keep getting better the further the series moves along.

~Tanja
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Calamity Comes Crashing…
Partners in life and work become sleuthing duo in this fun and feisty, first in series, cosy mystery. When Peter and JP discover a body in the house being renovated for filming and that body is Tom Cash, a joint owner of said house, chaos ensues. The chase commences to catch the killer on the loose before more calamity comes crashing. A fun start to a new series.
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Renovated to Death is the first book in a new cozy house renovator series by Frank Anthony Polito. Due out 31st May 2022 from Kensington, it's 288 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a house/decorating cozy built around the premise of a HGTV type renovation team who are also partners in real life as well as on their house renovation TV series. It's an ensemble cast and made up of the gay couple (PJ and JP) who are the stars and creative duo behind the TV show called Domestic Partners. Their season project for the show is a craftsman built bungalow in their immediate neighborhood, unoccupied for decades, and owned by twin brothers who disagree about almost everything, including the house makover. 

It's a new series, and I am looking forward to see what comes next, with some codicils and warnings. The book, the characters, the settings, the ancillary characters, in short everything is quite often almost caricature campy and overdone, nearly (but not quite) breaking the fourth wall. There are a number of super precious details which only served to confuse me. I am still not 100% sure I know which one of the main characters is PJ and which one's JP and don't really care a lot since it doesn't affect the outcome of the story. The secondary characters are largely over-the-top stereotypes: drama queen, gay twin brothers who are constantly at each other's throats, lots of unflatteringly rendered himbo-hook-up-app young men looking for sugar-daddies, sleek token straight couple (bonus points for them being interracial), etc. 

I'm not slamming the stereotypes, but they did make me feel slightly old and straight and melancholy (and tired) from all of the machinations and anger and angst pouring out of the secondary characters. Of the main characters, they're sweetly stable, if a bit precious, and I liked reading about them. One thing which threw me, and I'm not sure it really served the book from a technical standpoint, is that the PoV changes from first person to third person omniscient several places and there was no chapter heading or notation which signaled the change in PoV. The book is absolutely full of fulsome descriptions of house construction and detail terms as well as references to period furniture and decorating. This will likely be a plus for folks who love decorating and house-flipper type mysteries. It's also filled with angsty dramatic scenes around the relationships between the characters - who is secretly seeing who, who's being dumped for a younger replacement, and so forth. I didn't engage much with the confrontations and drama, but they are a significant component of the plot.

It made me smile that the puppy the MCs hope to adopt they want to name Mr. Clyde Barker. It's maybe a little cutesy precious, but it fits very well with the vibe of the book. The language is very clean and although there's a fair bit of talk about who is sleeping with who, there's no explicit content on-page written into the narrative. (No racy bits).

Four stars, with the understanding that readers who object to LGBTQIA+ representation aren't going to find much to like here. It's a very gay positive book, in a sort of lighthearted and campy way.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Peter and PJ are partners in all things and as they arrive to film the renovation a house, they find the owner dead at the bottom of the staircase.  Who would want to kill Tom?  There’s quite a list of suspects and Peter and PJ put their prior skills to use, as a PI writer and an actor in a police series.  With their sleuthing skills alight, these two are in it to find a murderer, even if that means everything comes crashing down around them.

what I love most about this series is the witty banter, sassy dialog and a sleuthing duo that works really well together!  I just wish the author didn’t remind us of their sexual orientation quite so often.  Not because they are gay, but because no author does this with straight couples and it feels a bit like tip toeing around that part of the characters…which is who they are, so let them be normal.  I’ll be back for more in this series and I hope the author feels more comfortable in his sophomore installment and let’s the dialog be normally witty and sassy without repeating things over and over.
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I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Renovated to Death is the first in a new cozy mystery series. The protagonist, PJ, is an author turned home renovation TV star with his partner, both in life and on the show. Having moved from New York to his native Detroit, PJ soon finds himself involved with a suspicious death. The owner of a home they were about to start renovating is found dead at the bottom of the stairs of his house. With many ex-boyfriends, a resentful twin brother, and restaurant owners looking to expands, there are many suspects. 

This book was a great LGBTQ+ mystery and had a lot of lovable and interesting characters! I did find the "twist" a bit predictable, but I also read a lot of mysteries. I was surprised this was the first in the series because this was to be the second house being renovated. But this also makes me hopeful for more in this series! I will definitely read any future mysteries in this delightful cozy series.
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Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Polito is an excellent cozy mystery that is the first in what I expect will be an awesome new series. I loved it! 

Peter and JP are just awesome characters.  Their chemistry and interactions really made the day. The concept, the location, the character cast, the sleuthing double-duo, the whip smart sass/dialogue/banter, and the murder/mystery were all spot on. 

The idea of incorporating all of these themes into a rehab show of o.d homes, Domestic Partners, is just so creative, funny, and fresh. Plenty of suspects, and the path to the conclusion was just joyful. 

I had so much fun with this book and highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the next one. 

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Kensington for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/31/22.
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I enjoyed this book. It’s got great characters. The story is interesting although I did guess the twist prior to the reveal in the book. #RenovatedtoDeath #NetGalley
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Kensington Books  and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 


A new cozy mystery series and I can’t wait for more! A new series featuring a gay couple who renovate homes, love the premise. My only complaint is I don’t feel it necessary to mention they’re, their friends etc are gay every other page. It comes off as insecure with the theme. Otherwise it’s a clever, well-written, suspenseful story with a twist that was unexpected. The characters are funny, quick to know and I can’t wait for more. I rarely give five stars but this one deserves it.
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