Real-life domestic partners and stars and producers of the new hit reality home renovation show Domestic Partners, bestselling mystery author Peter “PJ” Penwell and actor JP Broadway are enjoying work and life in their sleepy Detroit suburb of Pleasant Woods—until a suspicious death makes an unscripted appearance . . .
After a successful first season of Domestic Partners chronicling the renovation of their historic Craftsman Colonial, Peter and JP are taking on a renovation of a local Tudor Revival inherited by identical twin brothers Terry and Tom Cash. But linoleum floors and a pink-tiled bathroom aren’t the only unwelcome surprises awaiting inside the house . . .
Just as the show is set to start filming, Peter and JP discover Tom Cash dead at the foot of the house’s staircase. And when the police ruling changes from accidental death to homicide, the list of suspects grows fast. Could the killer be the crabby next-door-neighbor, the Realtor ex-boyfriend, the bartender ex-boyfriend, the other, much younger, ex-boyfriend, or even renovation-reluctant brother, Terry? And what’s that awful smell coming from the basement? Now Peter’s mystery writer skills, and JP’s experience as the former star of a cop show, will be put to the test—as will their relationship while they uncover the secrets of the house and its owners. With a killer on the loose, this is one fixer upper that may prove deadly . . .
This sprightly cozy from Lambda Award winner Polito (Drama Queers!), a series launch, introduces writer PJ Penwell, a self-described "gay millennial" suffering "from a self-inflicted Peter Pan syndrome," and his partner, JP Broadway, an actor best known for playing a detective on TV. The couple have moved from New York City to the sleepy Detroit suburb of Pleasant Woods, where they host Domestic Partners, a home improvement TV reality show. They're in desperate need of a house to restore for their second season when Tom Cash, the owner of a gay-friendly tavern, offers to let them do up his parents' home, which has been sitting empty for years. When PJ and JP stop by to look the place over, they find Tom dead at the foot of the stairs. Was it an accident, or was it murder? The subsequent sleuthing takes a back seat to such matters as the various characters' busy romantic lives and the leads' desire to adopt a puppy. Some crackerjack renovation tips, including the proper procedure for refinishing woodwork, will appeal to DIY enthusiasts. Mystery readers, though, may feel shortchanged.
Tons of fun to read.