Frank Anthony Polito

Books: Mystery | LGBT

Renovated to Death (2022)

Renovated to Death (2022)

YA author PJ and his fiance, the actor JP, became starts of the home renovation show, Domestic Partners, and are trying to settle on a house for the next season. Unfortunately, one of the owners of the house the are planning to renovate doesn't want to sell. And when one of those owners turns up dead, PJ wonders if the death as an accident or murder.

I wanted to love this book. It's a cozy, and I am always searching for a good cozy! It's about house renovation, which I have some minor experience in!

I mean!

Why anybody in their right mind would ever paint over woodwork was totally beyond me!

I have wailed and bemoaned that myself.


I didn't love this book.

First, I caught the plot twist almost immediately.

Second, the story shifted POV several times, though the majority of the book was written in first person, from PJ's POV, so the shifts were just… weird and jarring. I can manage dual POV stories, although they are not my favorite. But random chapters from a different characters POV just confused me.

"I don't think I've ever seen an entirely original 1920s kitchen," I mused aloud.

So that's the majority of the story. Then we randomly get Terry's POV.

(H)is cell phone vibrated. He reached into the pocket of his track pants, removed the ancient device, and flipped it open. On the tiny screen, he found a message from Danny the bartender: Where r u?

He didn't bother responding.

For one thing, Terry hated modern technology, hence his holding onto the flip phone he'd received as a fortieth birthday present from his twin, Tom. Secondly, texting on a flip phone took forever. Last of all, he was running behind schedule. Taking time to text the bartender back would only make Terry later.

That was just weird.

Third, the bit about the puppy grated on my nerves. I love pets. I understanding wanting a pet. But their reactions to the whole thing were unbelievable to me. As in, I have a hard time believing those would be the reactions of two grown men in regards to a puppy. Plus, the whole puppy bit took up a huge chunk of the book, which made it feel like he was stretching out a novella with filler. (Also, people who treat their pets like children rather than pets weird me out. They just do.)

So as much as I wanted to love a cozy about home renovation, I ended up just wanting to finish the story so I could start something else I'd actually enjoy.

ADDENDUM: I was thinking about this some more–why this book was so disappointing and aggravating. I think part is that I felt nothing for PJ or JP except annoyance. Everything was surface and I felt like I learned nothing about either. Neither felt the slightest bit like a real person. Even when the plot of a story irks me (I'm thinking of the last Soulwood book I just reread) I still feel something for the characters, and what happens to them.

So, I'm still aggravated, and I still wanted it to be MORE.

Publisher: Kensington Cozies

Rating: 5/10