Author: Lane Robins
Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Publication date: May 19th 2015
Page Count: 228 pages
Age Rating: Adult (language, explicit sexual scenes and violence, mentions of assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Renovation
JK Lassiter moved to Dallas for a chance at a normal life. But normal is a hard thing to come by when he’s at the mercy of the rogue psychic power that robbed him of a decade of friendships and joy. At twenty-eight he’s finally making up for those lost years. He’s landed a job renovating a long-neglected house. He’s met eccentric neighbors, made new friends, and after sexy man-next-door, Nick Collier, shows up, he’s even begun to hope that romance might not be impossible. But when JK’s extra-sensory abilities reveal evidence of a brutal crime, he finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation and feels his dream of attaining a normal life slipping away again. Even worse, the list of suspects starts with JK’s new neighbors, his new friends, and, as far as the police are concerned, ends with Nick. Now with the lives of people he cares for on the line, JK he must fight to control the abilities he never wanted to hunt down a killer.
JK Lassiter can pick up psychic atmospheric readings just by walking into a room and with the touch of his hand, assimilate memories, good and bad, along with the overpowering surge of physical and emotional feelings attached to them. His gift has proved to be more of a curse to JK, one he has to manage with medication and protective gloves to stop from being completely overwhelmed by. Now 28 years-old, he’s tired of his life being ruled by his abilities – which is why he’s excited when a new career path flipping houses opens up, offering a road towards independence and a chance towards a new, normal life. The chance at normal pretty much gets thrown out the window when it becomes apparent that the house he’s flipping has dark secrets tied to the sudden disappearance of the former owner.
Renovation is a great whodunit in a classic nosy neighborhood setting. The neighborhood is populated with all the usual characters you’d expect – the elderly, garden-obsessed couple down the way, the retired military man across the street, the single mom struggling to take care of her son, the house a few young college kids are renting – not exactly an original cast, but they provided a great list of suspects to chose from.
There’s also a great romantic aspect to the story with JK’s slightly-agoraphobic neighbor, Nick. The two share a pretty good connection, and some semi-explicit-to-explicit intimate scenes. I loved how the romance played out between the two, not insta-love, but not a slow burn either; it was paced pretty well, although the intense events in the book kind of accelerate the depth of closeness in their relationship towards the end.
Be warned there’s some drama and angst here – JK, our poor, relatable everyman main character, suffers some serious mental trauma while investigating the mystery. Some of the memories he has to re-live, and then live with, are memories that no one should have to endure.
I really enjoyed this book and found myself staying up until 3 a.m. on a week night because I just couldn’t put it down. I definitely see potential for a series here and I would absolutely love to read more of JK’s adventures in crime solving using his “rogue psychic power”.
In Renovation, Nick makes one awesome cup of coffee, prompting JK to ask his budding love interest to “Take me to your coffee shop”. Nick then takes him to a local coffee shop called Sabrina’s where the two have some of the house specialty coffee: cinnamon mocha. I love cinnamon and I love mocha and I love love them together. I recommend Aroma Ridge Cinnamon Mocha Twist – a great flavored coffee that combines cinnamon and mocha together to make a delicious cup of coffee with the sweet taste of a chocolate-frosted cinnamon roll.