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Confessions of a Contractor

3.04  ·  Rating Details ·  246 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
A sexy, page-turning novel about the combustible mix that results when you blend desire, jealousy, and home renovation—written by a successful screenwriter and former contractor.

Henry Sullivan has spent fifteen years renovating houses for wealthy women in Los Angeles. To distance himself from his clients and the intimate environments he works in, Henry has devised a set o
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 14th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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(showing 1-30 of 428)
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Feb 22, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I thought this would be more of a story and less of a contractor's point of view in rehab/work/etc. I read a couple of chapters and decided to "shelve" it for now. I don't know if I couldn't get into it because I have other books I *want* to read or if it was the way the story was written.
George Nemeth
Jun 30, 2008 George Nemeth rated it really liked it
It's a great read! I read this over the weekend—and couldn't put it down until I was finished.
Sep 07, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
You can read my full review on my blog.

Harry Sullivan reads renovations the way a fortune teller reads tea leaves: he can predict the course of your marriage by the tiles you've chosen for the master bath. At the end of a project, when he has been part of your family and had access to your most intimate spaces, he knows more about you than anyone else. In Confessions of a Contractor, Harry learns some of these same lessons about his own life.

Rebecca Paulson has been dumped by her contractor and
Aug 09, 2008 KrisT rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2008
Confessions of a Contractor is a fun look into the life of Henry Sullivan, experienced home fixer-upper. With fifteen years of experience Henry knows to seperate work from pleasure. However, he gets caught up in the mystery of a broken friendship between two women who he signs on to do remodel work for. One women is single and successful and he is drawn to her at every turn. Then there is her old friend, who is married with children. Both women offer many enticements as well as the usual remodel ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Jul 08, 2009 Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it
Quick, breezy read -- great for the summer. What takes it from 3 to 4 stars is an insider's perspective on high end remodeling, where money is rarely an object. For all of us HGTV junkies, it is a lot of fun. Also lifting it out of the ordinary is Henry Sullivan, the first person narrator who in an ironic voice gives the book its structure in the form of a lecture to potential home renovators. Everyone should be so lucky to have such an honest contractor. I liked this book a lot particularly sin ...more
David Ketelsen
Dec 30, 2011 David Ketelsen rated it liked it
I liked this book. It was a little uneven at points and there were times around the half way point when I found the insider contractor comments a little too cute. But the underlying story of how Henry Sullivan was able to recenter his life during and after a tumultuous Summer was worth reading. Particularly interesting was author Richard Murphy's take on relationships, both comradely male-male and amorous male-female ones. I've read a number of the other reviews on here, many of them negative, a ...more
Jul 20, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: books-about-work
Here's what's great about this book.

1. It's about friendships, but not in a touchy-feely, creepy-crawly kind of way.
2. The narrator's got the tone of one of those hard-boiled private eyes, like the Ross MacDonald novels. Which is awesome, for a book that could easily have been chick lit.
3. I think it does a good job of portraying L.A.
4. The author actually seems to know a lot about building houses and such, which makes it feel almost educational. Of course, it could be totally wrong, but wha
Michelle Delgado
Jul 06, 2008 Michelle Delgado rated it it was amazing
This is a real page turner. I couldn't put it down. After reading this book you can't help but want to meet this Henry Sullivan
Mar 06, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it
I read this book quickly because a) I liked it and b) it was a quick read at less than 300 pages. The book is told first person from Henry Sullivan's perspective, and I loved his dry sense of humor and turns of phrase. (I.e. talking about a woman he worked for, Katherine Whitlock-Webber, and how her neighbors helped their "hyphenated friend"; I also enjoyed the line, "Caissons are pillars of concrete and steel used to build things like bridges, as in the Golden Gate, as in the Brooklyn, as in th ...more
Shecky Lovejoy
Aug 20, 2008 Shecky Lovejoy rated it it was amazing
John Cheever says that the hallmark of good fiction is when the action on the surface of the narrative is underlined by deeper meaning below the surface. Confessions of a Contractor has that in spades. On the surface, it is a romp through the lives of LA's too-wealthy-to-give-a-crap-about-money set, and as such it holds up hilariously, and I think it's easy to get fooled into thinking this is merely a good, light summer read because of Murphy's effortless and breezy tone. But Confessions is much ...more
Sep 01, 2008 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
If you live in the LA area and are in the market to do some home renovations then you need not look any farther then Henry Sullivan. Henry has been in the business for about fifteen years as a contractor. His clientele is mainly made up of wealthy, beautiful women. So for this fact alone, Henry has rules set for himself and the most important one of them is…..never sleep with your clients. Plus the best contractors know how to keep the peace in the neighborhood, which is a wonderful thing as you ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Donura rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Richard Murphy definitely knows women. He has woven a beautiful story and given full dimension and character to the women in his book. His knowledge and background in construction are almost inconsequential in the story to his knowledge and sense of women’s feelings. Don’t get me wrong, he does seem to know what he is talking about from a craftsman’s standpoint.

Sally Stein and Rebecca Paulson are different as night and day and yet they used to be friends but aren't any l
Paul Downs
Jan 18, 2016 Paul Downs rated it liked it
I think that this book is aimed at women who fantasize about fucking their contractor. I picked it up at the library, and I'm bailing after completing half of it. The writing isn't terrible, but I don't find the hero (surprise, a contractor) to be a very interesting character. And his stable of unhappy female clients, who just happen to be super hot Hollywood ladies with tons of money, don't jibe with my experience in the renovation trade. Probably fun for somebody, but not for me.
Sep 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, swapped
I really enjoyed this first novel. It was an easy read, with a friendly tone. The main character, Henry, is a contractor. While the story is primarily about his relationships with two women whose homes he is renovating, you also get some great insight on how contractors work. Since we are considering adding on to our home in the near future, I especially was interested in those tidbits. Henry's relationship with Clyde the cat was great - both moving and funny, and an unexpected bonus.[return[ret ...more
Feb 13, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009-books
The summary sounded pretty interesting. Unfortunately the first 100 pages were pretty boring and dry. I struggled to keep my attention on the story and wanted to give up since I felt counterproductive; I didn't because I hate not finishing books.

Luckily the book got better halfway - the story and characters began to unravel and things were finally moving along. I appreciated the ending the most. It wasn't a fairy tale ending but good enough that everyone found their own revelations.

I contemplat
Oct 04, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: male-authors
A funny/serious story written by a new author who actually was a contractor. Henry has a few rules which helps him be successful in LA. The first and foremost is "don't sleep with your clients." For the most part, he does OK. The female characters are believable. The male characters, including his Mexican co-workers and Bill, the gentle spirited hippy type wacko are very likeable. Clyde the cat is great too.

A personal favorite quote: "Why bail bondsmen and people in real estate think the rest of
Dec 26, 2013 Libraryscat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, early, reviewers
Thank you to G. P. Putnam s Sons for the opportunity to read and review this funny book which mixes home renovation with sexual opportunities, both taken and refused. And before I read the author, Richard Murphy s bio, I knew that he had renovated a house or two. While I have never wrangled with $20,000 decisions, I have made decisions that ruined my budget and I was generally pleased that I had. And I would have shot my last (or maybe any) contractor before he touched me, much less slept with m ...more
Feb 14, 2010 Ashley rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ashley by: Jen Lancaster's blog
Not great, not terrible. I thought this was a memoir before starting it actually. Oops. Instead, this book tells the fictional tale of Henry Sullivan, an in-demand remodeler in the chi-chi side of LA. He deals mainly with rich housewives and sometimes develops relationships with them.

I found Murphy's writing style elegant and beautiful, but too heavy for this type of story. Describing relationships isn't Murphy's strongest suit, which left the story feeling a bit lopsided to me. You have airy, f
Oct 31, 2008 Molly rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Well this was a fun romp through Henry's world of life, love, and never ending renovations in Los Angeles. I would call this Stud Lit since it is a chick lit type book written by a man from the man's perspective. Although Henry is very captivating, Clyde the cat was my favorite character in the book - or at least Clyde's impact on Henry. The ending, like most everything I seem to read, fizzled out a little, but it wouldn't stop me from recommending this as a perfect beach read or when you are lo ...more
Sep 30, 2008 Yan rated it did not like it
"A sexy, page-turning novel about the combustible mix that results when you blend desire, jealousy, and home renovation written by a successful screenwriter and former contractor."

I think the book does not fulfill this description. It was very interesting in the beginning but after a while I had grown bored. It started to drag and the mystery of the "jealous husband" was a side plot that was truly unnecessary. More than half-way through the book I had grown annoyed at the book and just skipped t
Bill Boogle
Jan 09, 2011 Bill Boogle rated it did not like it
This book is not worth reading. I found it very boring and Murphy is not a talented writer. This was all an attempt to make a TV show. The whole thing was a set up from the start. Putnam would never publish garbage like this unless they new CBS was coming along to buy the rights. Too bad the whole thing backfired and Murphy once again failed to be a success in the entertainment industry. He has been trying for most of his life. Maybe he will make it one day but the years are running out.
Apr 16, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
This was a fun book that didn't take too long to read. It's a bit like a breezy chic-lit book, but with testosterone and a man's perspective. It helps that the author was a contractor for many years before becoming a screenwriter. He keeps the book chugging from scene to scene like you'd expect from a movie guy, but his knowledge of construction and carpentry keep the book grounded in a reality that might be lost with all the nutjobs the main character works for.
Sep 07, 2009 Tamra rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Romance Novel People
Recommended to Tamra by: Costco
Shelves: fiction
I needed a shower after finishing this book. I didn't find Murphy's writting all that compelling and his characters were so shallow that I didn't miss any of them after finishing the book. In fact some of discriptions and metaphors had me laughing when they weren't meant to be funny. Oh-well, another couple of hours of my life wasted, I could have done worse. I don't want to hear any more confessions from anyone. Keep it to yourself!
Sep 15, 2008 Sera rated it it was ok
Overall the book started out with a lot of potential but got sidetracked mid-novel with all the extra entanglements of the cat, the ex-girlfriend, the deportation etc. It perked up towards the end - but by that point I finished the book more out of obligation than enjoyment.

Kudos to whoever wrote the book jacket for this novel - the promise of this story was better than the actual book.
Nov 22, 2008 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, adult
The writing was good but I didn't really enjoy the story line. The main character is a contractor in california who is torn between 2 different women, both of whom he is working on houses for. The only good part of the book was when the contractor went after his buddies who had been deported. That was interesting and I liked the relationships between them, like brothers.
Jan 31, 2010 Tammy rated it really liked it
This book is authored by my cousin's husband, Richard Murphy. I'm about 3/4 of the way through and while it is not the type of book I normally read (no vampires, blood, mystery, etc), I am really enjoying it. Coming from a family of men in the construction business - the contents do not surprise me at all. Can't wait to finish it and give my final review.
Mallory Kellogg
Jun 05, 2012 Mallory Kellogg rated it liked it
This book bored me to tears. It didn't get good until the end with all the immigration stuff. I guess I should know better than to buy a book at the Dollar Tree. And the title is terrible, too. It's well written but stories about construction just aren't my thing.
Oct 09, 2012 Jeanne rated it it was ok
This appears to be a thinly veiled memoir of a contractor's exploits remodeling high-end houses in LA. It was amusing but the narrator has a snarky tone that grates after a while. The architectural and interior design details are interesting though.
Varrsity Varrsity
Apr 26, 2011 Varrsity Varrsity rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the dry humor and the laughs that I got from the book. He was really detailed with how a contractor goes about their day and work schedule but it had some dry moments and the ending could have been better.
Oct 05, 2008 icedtea rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Written in a first person voice. Henry's journey is worth it to see the secrets revealed, the tests of friendship, and the peek into private homes versus public exteriors. I thought it was funny, sexy and a pleasure to read.

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Really deep novel or just a good summer read? 2 16 Jan 09, 2011 01:45AM  
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I dropped out of college at nineteen and moved to LA, where I began wandering around looking for an entrance to the entertainment industry. Being the wizard that I am, it only took me about fifteen years to find it. While practicing my misguided circles of sorcery, I renovated houses and apartments to support myself. Those doors were open.
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