“The day comes when love means something beyond a reflection of ourselves, when there is more behind than ahead and the house of mind is haunted in every chamber with old songs, old ghosts, old hopes.”– Parke Godwin
Author: Declan Sands
Publisher: Electric Prose Publishing
Pages/Word Count: A Hoale Lot of Trouble – 175, Hoale Ill-Manored – 139, Hoale Inexplicable – 202
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: I was introduced to the Hoale Construction Mysteries when the author submitted a Christmas story to us for review. I hadn’t read any of her other books, but the Christmas story (Oh! Hoaley Night!) looked really funny, so I took her up on it. Then, I liked it so much, I had to read the rest of the series. See, that’s how these evilly talented authors suck us in. First it’s just a short story, then, the next thing we know, we’re spending Christmas day reading a novel instead of spending time with family! Works on me every time!
Adam Hoale (yeah, he gets a lot if shit about his name, A. Hoale), along with his partner Maddy, owns a house flipping business. He is the contractor and she is the diamond-in-the-rough finder and decorator. They also work closely with Mink, a very flamboyant real estate agent. You know how it can be when you take on rehabbing an old house, right? Old secrets, old mysteries, old enemies all get uncovered.
I decided to review this series (so far) as a whole because each one takes place immediately following the end of the previous book. Declan Sands goes so far as to have Maddy mention the next project by the end of each book. As you read each novel, the characters become more alive to you, and more real. I found myself cringing and shutting my eyes and laughing, and sometimes scoffing along with the crew. The mysteries themselves aren’t the centerpieces of the books. Ms. Sands may have planned them to be, but for me, they were all pretty simple and easy to predict.
These books are more about this group of friends and co-workers, willing or not (Detective Clandestine, better known as C.C., much to his chagrin) and the lengths to which they will go in order to protect and care for one another. Even Walter, Adam’s ever-present OCD drive-by licker has a major role. Each book has a colorful cast of supporting characters whose purpose is either to cause trouble, stir up the mystery, shoot at, kidnap or otherwise threaten our beloved main characters or to help solve the mystery.
I have intentionally left one character out. I do not like him! But the review wouldn’t be complete without introducing you all to Dirk the Dick (Maddy calls him that, I’m just repeating it)! Dirk is a famous actor and Adam’s sometimes lover. I don’t like the way be breezes in and out of Adam’s life when it’s convenient for him. I don’t like that he refuses to come out for fear of ruining his acting career. I don’t like his picture in the paper with other men whom he claims are just “business associates”. He does always seem to turn up at the right moment. He saves Adam’s bacon on a few occasions as well as Adam saving Dirk’s.
I really enjoyed these books. They are light, fun, the sex is really hot when Dirk shows up for it! They have a little bit of everything. I am a hopeless romantic. I want Dirk to come out and move Adam into the house Dirk bought from him and for the two of them to solve mysteries together happily forever, just like Shaggy & Scooby. Ms. Sands is really leaving their relationship open-ended and I am hoping for a nice big HEA bow tied around it before she decides to stop writing about these engaging characters.