Dead Bolt has an interesting premise, engaging back story, quirky but believable characters & is written w/a detailed, somewhat wry point of view. I liked this book's plot more than the first of this series even though the ghosts were much less likable. I found the Russian character more complex than I'd originally thought and the other new characters were believable. Yes, I've met that wealthy, driven technology guy, the weird cat lady who surprises you, and her ensemble of family & friends are blessedly believable.
The ghosts in this book are not particularly nice, but they grabbed my attention and kept their own secrets. Their pull on Melanie and the others was chilling and I found myself actually worrying about everyone involved. The frustrations Mel encounters on the job, with romance, clients, subcontractors & the mystery itself was rendered realistic by Blackwell's rich descriptions, deft turn of phrase & keen awareness of her cast of characters, San Francisco and Oakland, the people who inhabit those cities & renovation of historic homes. I found myself immersed in her world, enthused and learning about history, construction & architecture while also being entertained. Having known women in construction, Mel's quirks actually make her more believable as do her challenges in running multiple jobs, dealing w/a male-dominated world in a matter of fact way & working to hone her new found ghost communicating talent. The ups & downs of her potential romance also rang true for me because responsibilities timing really do shape our romantic lives.
I can honestly say that this series is staying w/me because now when I see or am in an old home, I view it differently than I did before I read these books. But lest you think that it's all about learning, remember it's also fun, spooky & entertaining. Bring us more Mel!!