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Nail Biter (Home Repair is Homicide #9)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,086 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree took the dangerous plunge from Wall Street power broker–to homeowner! Now the do-it-yourself enthusiast is about to discover that her own dream house is built on a foundation of murder.

Buying a beachfront fixer-upper to lease out to Eastport, Maine’s, burgeoning tourist crowd seems like a good idea to Jake Tiptree and her best friend, Ellie White. Bu
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Bantam (first published 2005)
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I really liked this series in the beginning. Jake (Jacobia) Tiptree was not a stupid woman – is not a stupid woman. In her past, she was a very successful investment advisor, making money for her clients and herself.

However, as the series goes on, she is doing more and more stupid things in the course of her amateur investigations. At least, she is not getting her best friend, Ellie, involved in some of these ill-advised capers. Ellie has a 1 year old daughter that needs her; Ellie doesn’t need
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a trashy mystery read as a relief from the last one. It is from a series called Home Repair is Homicide Mysteries. It had an ending I didn't expect because a connection wasn't revealed until the end of the book.

I liked the main character and wouldn't mind reading the other books in the series. A funny thing about the character is that unattended home repairs bother her and she just has to fix them. For example, she was trying to get evidence from a drug dealer in an old house. She was
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I always enjoy the mix of goofy snooping done and deeper psychological insights. This was the case also with Nail Biter, but what stood out most for me was how the author recognized that it was time to get rid of a character that had been very useful to set up the main character but that was becoming flat and stale.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book 9 and one of the best books in the series! The characters remain interesting and it's fun to see how they have grown. There are interesting new characters too with an unexpected ending. I couldn't put this one down!
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Liked this one better than some of the others, but there always seem to be too many extraneous characters in the story.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ab
AB 12.13.16
Lori Gronewold
I just started to listen to this book and I have 2 problems already: 1. Early on I the series Jake bought her gun herself and in this one she said her husband bought it for her. 2. Once again the wealth of people keeps changing, in a previous book Ellie and her husband are barley making ends meet and in this one she had enough money to buy a house with Jake. In the previous book, Jake makes a comment that her ex-husband is not rich any more and in this one he is buying expensive items for their ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
So I've been working my way through this series, 3-4 books a year. I will probably continue (the remaining books are all library available), but this one was really infuriating. I like the main character but she's getting stupider and more reckless with each book. I thought the last book went over the line with heroines reacting stupidly, but this one took the cake.

A few things:
- Victor deserved better (than the sub sub sub plot of this already thin book)
- Sam deserved better (maybe how he's de
Ellen "Elli Mae" Eberhardt
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much darker, relevant and real than the earlier part of the series, this is by far my favorite book yet. Victor, Jac and Sam's relationship is looked at in a final tone. And a mysterious find dated back to the building of Tiptree's historically accurate refurbished home sends an icy finger down your spine, as one asks how anyone would know of her future existence... Witches of Eastport, they say... "aye yeh... yeh can't get thehe from hehre.." (I really do miss Moxie and the rolling in of fog ...more
Nail Biter
Sarah Graves
Audio Book
copyright: 2006
isbn: 1-57270-503-5

Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree took the dangerous plunge from Wall Street power broker–to homeowner! Now the do-it-yourself enthusiast is about to discover that her own dream house is built on a foundation of murder.

Buying a beachfront fixer-upper to lease out to Eastport, Maine’s, burgeoning tourist crowd seems like a good idea to Jake Tiptree and her best friend, Ellie White. But working double-time as landladies to a coven of
Anna Bayerl
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it liked it
So I started reading this book a couple of days ago, and realized that I had read it before. But since I don't really remember it, I am going to finish reading it and then post a review.

I enjoyed reading this book again. I did feel a little mislead by the back cover, stating that she rents her cottage to a group of witches. They weren't really witches and I thought that could have been an interesting plot development. I did like the teen Wanda. Her character seemed a little more thought out. The
Another novel where the cover blurb didn't line up with the story.

The biggest one is in the opening line: Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree took the dangerous plunge from Wall Street power broker–to homeowner! Now the do-it-yourself enthusiast is about to discover that her own dream house is built on a foundation of murder. Guess what? Nowhere does this happen at all.

The dead man Jake discovers is known throughout the town as a street preacher of the fire-and-brimstone school, yet none investigating his d
Jan C
Jan 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I am still enjoying this series. But at least in this one she didn’t include any questionable historical details. They are light with occasional household rehabbing hints. Jake Tiptree has been, through this series, rehabbing her old house in Eastport, Maine. Here, she and her friend, Ellie, have bought an old cottage with the intention of rehabbing and then renting. However, some folks come along who want to rent before the rehab. I guess the ladies made it livable and there are 5-6 unrelated p ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm giving this two stars for the fact that Ms. Graves at least attempted to write a good read. I found the characters disjointed. It was as if the characters were formed as the plot went on - not characters formed and then the plot unfolded. The plot had many gaps too. Facts were a bit off and there was some copy/paste too.

The first bell for me was feeling as though she was treating her 20 year old like a ten year old. Drugs or not - you gotta let him fly. I had to reread the paragraph that st
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery lovers looking for some lightness included in their otherwise serious mysteries
Shelves: mysteries
#9 in the Home Repair is Homicide series starring Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree and takes place in an ocean-side town in Maine. It was funny, yet mysterious, and I even cried a little (but I've been very emotional lately so...) plus there were some home repair tips. Oh and it ended with a fresh mystery, so that when the audiobook ended, I started shouting at my radio, demanding to know what happens next. (I've already requested some of the earlier books in the series from the library.)

And though there
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-cozy
More problems than a mystery, November 18, 2012
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: Nail Biter (Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have been trying to get into this series and have thur far failed miserably. The characters have so many problems that I find myself questioning whether I am listening (on CD) to a mystery at all.

The ending came up fast and hard which would have been ok except that the rest of the book lacked the attention getter plot I have b
Holly Booms Walsh
This is the first book that I have read in this series, and the theme gets a bit jarring with all the home repair tips obviously interspersed in the story. I liked the main character but it's very light and a bit cardboard in the character development. The narrator did a great job with the Maine accents but I just cannot allow the time it takes to listen to this book. If I had it in paperback, I could skim-read it in a few hours and enjoy it for what it is. This is very much like Diane Mott Davi ...more
Oct 06, 2008 added it
Shelves: audiobook, 2013
This wasn't my favorite of this series, but it did introduce a few new plot lines, all of which are quite interesting! The Victor stuff, the hidden book stuff, Jake's past... I'm interested to see what happens in the next one.

I should caveat that this book, like all of the books prior, suffers from the same things that make me a little crazy about Graves' writing. There are also plenty of parts which are just completely unbelievable, and parts which the author obviously did not do enough researc
Carl Alves
Jan 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
To start with, the premise is preposterous that these two women who have no background in police or detective work, no intelligence background or anything that would suit them for this line of work would be recruited to find a missing person. Besides being woefully underqualified to do this work, the way they went about it made little sense and was very unrealistic. I found the constant home repair interludes to be horribly annoying. The characters, both the protagonists and antagonists were poo ...more
Rogue Reader
Hapless characters milling about the Maine coast flipping houses. In Nail Biter, Jake's still pulling up concrete from the front walk and is progressing to the stairs. Her dad hammers out the foundation and floods the place and Jake and Ellie rent out a WWII bungalow before they've rehabbed it. Ellie's stronger and more capable in Nail Biter, bringing a refreshing change. Love the local scene, local history and unique sleuthing of the series.

--Ashland Mystery

May 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was an okay book - I think I was a little bothered by her writing style because (a) she used stupid a's and b's to make lists, and (b) it was very distracting. It got to the point where I was just waiting for her a's and b's to show up. And the plot was a little confusing. It's a mystery, so it's supposed to be confusing, but she purposefully held back info, and it was so obvious that she was just trying to drag out the story. And the home repair tips were few and far between, and too basic ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
These are good stories. The home repair parts are true and most of the Maine people are fairly true to form. But, having lived almost half my life in Maine, I can assure you crime is not this rampant. Also, Ms. Graves has an irritating habit of sometimes using too much location exposition breaks inside of dialogue. You almost forget which character was speaking and what they were saying when she gets back to their sentence.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
This story was ok but it was a bit boring. I did not connect with any of characters, you really do not get to know them except they are known for being nosy. I was not excited to keep going and I ended up putting this book down a number of times to go read something else. Finally in the synopsis, it describes a mystery box but t has nothing to do with the story until it all of a sudden adds a paranormal aspect which is completely out of place for this type of store line.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Jacobia Tiptree murder mystery. Jake and friend Ellie buy a beachfront fixer-upper to lease out in Eastport, Maine. Their first clients are wannabe witches; not the type of clients they had in mind. Called out one stormy night, for a repair, Jake discovers a dead body in the shed. The tenants claim to know nothing but when a mute teenage girl disappears from the property Jake feels it could be a kidnapping or worse. Lots of twists and turns in this story.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting with book #9 in a series is never really a good idea…you always feel as if you are missing something. And that is kind of where I found myself with this. All the back stories were brought up to date, like most good series, in just a few short sentences. I enjoyed this--will probably check out more of the series, but overall it was jut fair. Would have liked more dialog and a bit more humor here and there to lighten the mood.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozy
I really enjoyed the fast pace of NAIL BITER. Jake rents a house to people who turn out to be witches, aka scam artist. A man is killed a 15 year old goes missing. Jake takes it upon herself to find the girl. There are a few times when Jake takes too many risk, but I've found that to be a running problem with all the books I've read. Still, it's worth the read.
Janet Windeguth
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another strong entry into the Jacobia Tiptree series. This one had a couple of wicked curves, which I won’t go into here for fear of spoiling it for anyone, one of which came completely out of left field. I think this is my favorite book in the series so far. I really liked Mac Rickert; sort of a modern-day Robin Hood, as Ellie calls him.
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is just a lot of fun and entirely unpredictable. No risk of figuring out whodunit before the conclusion here. And a slightly snarky, yet practical female sleuth who fixes broken down houses in Eastport, Maine is a very appealing character. I'm not too much of a series girl, but I'll continue listening to these.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jacobia puts herself amd eventually Ellie in more danger than ever before. While searching for a missing mute teenage girl, the readers learn more about Jacobia's childhood and gain insight into her behavior. An unexpected development concerning her ex-husband Victor provides even more insight into Jacobia's chracter and past life.
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Sarah Graves lives with her husband John, a musician and luthier, and their black Labrador Retriever in a house very much like the one Jacobia Tiptree is remodeling in Eastport, Maine. When she's not writing Jake's adventures, Sarah works with her husband on the house and she plays the 5-string banjo.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

More about Sarah Graves...

Other Books in the Series

Home Repair is Homicide (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide, #1)
  • Triple Witch (Home Repair is Homicide, #2)
  • Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3)
  • Repair to Her Grave (Home Repair is Homicide, #4)
  • Wreck the Halls (Home Repair is Homicide, #5)
  • Unhinged (Home Repair is Homicide, #6)
  • Mallets Aforethought (Home Repair is Homicide, #7)
  • Tool and Die (Home Repair is Homicide, #8)
  • Trap Door (Home Repair is Homicide, #10)
  • The Book of Old Houses (Home Repair is Homicide, #11)

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