Confessions of a Contractor

Confessions of a Contractor

by Richard Murphy

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440630682
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/14/2008
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 301 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Murphy has written for New Line Cinema, Sony/Revolution, and Universal Pictures. Before screenwriting, he renovated apartments and houses in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Murphy lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, with his wife, and he is currently in the market to buy a home. Visit his website at

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Confessions of a Contractor 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The history of construction all points to one question, according to the narrator of this ingenious novel, '...can that home bring true happiness, and if so, how long will it last before it needs to be renovated again in a different color scheme?' Renovation, in other words, fills an empty space and the renovator, by inference in the rest of this humorous, potent tale, just might be contracting to be the filler of a gaping hole or flaw in the 'home' under the transformational process. So begins Henry Sullivan's tale of his relationships with many filthy rich Los Angeles women who all know each other's dirty secrets but who have been providing Henry and his crew work and intrigue by word of mouth for a very long time. Meet Sally Stein with whom Henry has some great sex but who is a bit jealous of what he's doing with the other woman he's working for. Then there's Rebecca Paulson whose husband hopes that this home renovation process might make his wife happy, that is until Henry begins Derrick Paulson is trying to frame him in order to divorce Rebecca. Not that Derrick is exactly an angel since he's bedding half of Los Angeles' females and is just a rather shady guy, the pot calling the kettle black perhaps? Learning that there's an inexplicable relationship between Rebecca and Sally in the past intrigues Henry. For some reason it reminds him of his romance with Gina, which he describes in a descending scale, from their intimate infatuation to the malicious act she performs to get back at him for what died quite quickly. He's rather stymied by the latter as he supposed Derrick Paulson was behind this particularly threatening act. Henry knows beyond a doubt that he should be running in the opposite direction from any and all of these possessive women, but the fact that he stays finally allows him to know his presence has been a most redeeming act in a surprising but oh so satisfying conclusion. Confessions of a Contractor is a fun romp through the lives of the rich and famous, a sort of bachelor reality show pushing the protagonist into an antagonistic state and then traveling full circle to something richer and finer in the end! Very clever and an unusual, rewarding read! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on September 3, 2008
Guest More than 1 year ago
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. But Confessions is much more psychologically astute than just that. The novel is really about the unfulfilled needs and desires we all have, but that wealthy people try to fill up with the right tile for the bathroom and a new addition to the guest house. Murphy very cleverly shows that, once the basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing are met, if the more basic human need for love goes unfulfilled, no amount of expensive food, shelter or clothing is going to fill that aching void. A very exciting first novel. I can't wait for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Contractor: a novel, by Richard Murphy, is a solid book in a shiny red jacket that is a pleasure to hold, to read, and to get lost in its pages. The protagonist, a simple man who lives in an apartment and drives his father¿s beat-up pickup truck, shows appropriate yet clear insight into the lives of the families that he works for/with. As he reconstructs their houses, he deconstructs their lives and tweaks their circumstances here and there, as he sees fit, to improve their marriages, their relationships, their lots in life. Until he meets Sally Stein. Sally is the challenge, the opportunity, the reason that he begins to look outside his ordered life and wonder what pieces he has been missing. His work for and with her changes him, and he is caught off guard a little by that. The developments that ensue are thrilling if mundane, and totally believable. Confessions of a Contractor is a book that kept my attention long past my expectations. It drew me in with its frank confessions about renovating a house and renovating a family, and it kept my attention with a well-paced story and engaging characters. Whether the subject is the women overseeing the renovations, their busy or missing husbands, or the contractors themselves, the author peppers the story with unexpected revelations that work on both a personal and a professional level. Whether you¿re considering renovating, wondering how to prepare to meet the contractor, or just intrigued with the world of the uber-rich in LA (and the contractors who work in their homes), this is a book that will keep you reading well past lights-out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read! It was nice to see how the characters developed, and Richard Murphy did a great job of creating so much clarity in the end when the story came together. The book was a modern take on the complicated lives of the wealthy and the people who they encounter and become part of their lives. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Contractor is the debut novel from Richard Murphy just released last month from Penguin. I must admit that my initial impression from the cover shot was that 'Contractor' would be a sexual romp through the desperate housewives of Renovation Lane. I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. Yes there is sex, but that's not the main thrust of the book. Henry is a contractor to the wealthy of Los Angeles. For the most part, he dodges landmines as some of his wealthy women clients do have more than renovations in mind. Henry acts as a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on and reads his clients well. In fact he states that: 'The first thing a woman needs to know about renovating a house or apartment is simple: do not, under any circumstance, sleep with your contractor, no matter what your husband or boyfriend is doing to you or not doing to you' But one summer he takes on two houses at the same time and falls in love with both women owners. The ensuing story is about love and friendship told with a healthy dose of humour. The supporting characters are well drawn and believable. His friend Bill steals the show when they are together. Murphy himself worked in the renovation field before working as a screenwriter. 'Contractor' is told in the first person and is filled with lots of advice and humorous situations that have to be the product of experience. It is a fun,enjoyable read that went deeper than the cover predicted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like a cold beer on a hot summer day, it's pure enjoyment and finished too quickly. Richard Murphy's vivid descriptions of the home renovation scene made me feel like I should be taking notes since I am starting a home building project myself just now. His personal insights and straightfoward style will make you smile.
iubookgirl on LibraryThing 29 days ago
I'm not normally a fan of books where the narrator talks directly to me, giving me advice (in this case about remodeling my home), but Confessions of a Contractor grew on me. Author Richard Murphy cashes in on the home improvement/remodeling craze by combining his own years of real experience with a fictional look at two clients of his main character, contractor Henry Sullivan. I seem to be getting a lot of books with themes of troubled marriages and infidelity right now, and this one was fun to read. Henry gets caught up in the drama of two former friends, Sally, a single forty-something, and Rebecca, whose marriage is rapidly failing. Along the way, he falls for them both and lets his own life slide as he tries to unravel the mystery of their shared past. Eventually, he does and then manages to right the drifting ship of his life. There isn't a great deal of substance to the story or Henry Sullivan, but he is likable and amusing. If you are looking for a fun, easy read (and some remodeling tips), give Confessions of a Contractor a try.
jocraddock on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Confessions of a ContractorBy Richard MurphySoftcover: 288 pps.Publisher: G.P. Putnam's SonsISBN: 978-0-399-15507-9This was great! Confessions of a Contractor is a fantastic first novel by screenwriter and former renovator Richard Murphy.Murphy's writing style is enjoyable and compelling. He masterfully blends the emotions and romance alongside the witty renovation sidebars. (And, being in the midst of some renovation ¿ but acting as my own contractor and renovator! -- I really appreciated these.)This was a truly entertaining book and I look forward to more work from this author.
curvymommy on LibraryThing 29 days ago
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.For some reason, I had a hard time following the intricacies of the plot, and keeping track of some of the secondary characters. I was somewhat confused about what was going on with one of the women, and I never did fully understand the relationship with Rebecca.Overall, an interesting, enjoyable read that I would recommend to others.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Henry Sullivan is a contractor who specializes in renovating the houses of wealthy, bored women. He's good at playing the game until he falls for two of the women at the same time, and then learns they are former best friends. He tries to untangle the story of what happened between the two women as he also tries to untangle himself.It is very interesting to read a gossipy love story written by a man. I liked the more serious side stories he added about Henry's illegal immigrant workers and about Henry's relationship with his father. While the book was light and entertaining I just never really connected with Henry. His propensity to fall in bed with his clients so easily made me like him a bit less.
reader247 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
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 remodeling challenges. Richard Murphy writes of experiences that I am sure happened to him in his career as well as some what-ifs. I particularly was drawn to his character hanging on to the wood his father kept for so many years. It was touching and heartfelt and Henry did indeed break some rules but also found out about himself. You never learn unless you make mistakes. Great read!
sheckylovejoy on LibraryThing 29 days ago
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 psychologically astute than just that. The novel is really about the unfulfilled needs and desires we all have, but that wealthy people try to fill up with the right tile for the bathroom and a new addition to the guest house. Murphy very cleverly shows that, once the basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing are met, if the more basic human need for love goes unfulfilled, no amount of expensive food, shelter or clothing is going to fill that aching void.A very exciting first novel. I can't wait for more.
Cherylk on LibraryThing 29 days ago
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 will be living there for a while; seeing as you just spent thousands of dollars fixing your home. This summer is going to test everything Henry¿s got. He has two simultaneous house projects that will commend his full and undivided attention. The first item at hand is named Sally Stein, a single woman, who Henry is finding himself spending the most time in one particular room, the bedroom. Problem number two is a married lovely woman with two children by the name of Rebecca Paulson. Henry wants both women. Henry finds that he also wants to mend this once good friendship between Sally and Rebecca. He starts asking questions as to why these two are no longer friends but neither woman is speaking much. What a refreshing, witty and innovative book Confessions of a Contractor turned out to be. I have that this book is not something that I would usually run and pick up right away but after read this book in one sitting, I just may have to start checking out more of these types of books. I could tell that Richard Murphy had a great personality about him. He wrote Confessions of a Contractor not for himself but for his readers. When an author writes for his readers, you can tell as you find yourself instantly drawn into the book and the story. You would never know that Confessions of a Contractor was Mr. Murphy¿s first book. It was just that good. Richard Murphy is one new author you don¿t want to miss, so do yourself a favor and read Confessions of a Contractor today. If you¿re not satisfied then you need to find yourself a new contractor!
icedtea on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Written in a first person voice, this book follows Henry Sullivan¿s balancing act between two clients, Sally and Rebecca, both of whom he gets entangled with over the course of the summer, working at their homes simultaneously. Henry also grapples with a few mysteries, including figuring out who stole his truck.Along the way, Henry make mistakes, but the 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.
amf0001 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
From it's arch title, I expected this to be a light, frothy satire. This book didn't live up to my expectations. It wasn't clever or beautiful written enough for me and in the end, the side characters were more interesting than Harry, our hero. Harry is a contractor who has a good rule - never sleep with a client. One summer he gets emotionally involved with two of them. And really, nothing much else happens. His crew and friends had better presence than he did, and Sally, one of his relationships, never really came to life for me. This book either had to be a lot more arch, or have a lot more depth, but it either wasn't glossy enough or clever enough to satisfy.That being said, it was an easy read, and I did believe that the person who wrote this actually knew something about contracting, it just wasn't well designed enough... B-Here's a sample paragraph which should explain what I mean - p74Like Sally and the city we lived in, the purse was full of secret compartments. Some with zippers, some with pockets, some with pockets within pockets that had zippers. Layers and layers of leather that made me feel as I would never get to the bottom of the woman who designed, even if I studied it for the rest of my life. If James Bond ever got married, this would bet he purse his wife would use to get them both out of trouble. If James Bond ever divorced her, this would be the purse that got him killed.
picklechic on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy brings us into the world of a contractor. Henry is a contractor that sometimes gets involved with his female clients. This time he has gotten involved with two women at once, who happen to be former best friends. Drama ensues. I really enjoyed this book. I was fascinated by the details and hints on hiring and maintaining a good relationship with your contractor. The complex relationship between a contractor and his client is something I had never considered before. It was a very unique idea for a book and very entertaining. The romance aspect told from the man's point of view was refreshing. This was a fairly light read and I recommend it to anyone looking for a something different with a bit of romance. 4 stars.
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bookworm52 More than 1 year ago
First, I must admit that Richard is my cousin's husband. Because I read so much, my parents asked me to read his book. Since I prefer suspense, fantasy, sci-fi and similar genres, I really didn't want to deviate. However, what a pleasant surprise. Richard is a wonderfully creative writer. I truly enjoyed reading this book and escaping into someone else's reality. At first blush, excessive sex comes to mind, however, it is nothing like that. There is sex, but the storyline is not based on it; this is a book about relationships and how they affect life. An easy, pleasant read that I would recommend to everyone. Richard, can't wait to read your next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cleverly written with great characters that you actually care about. Hurrah for his first novel, I can't wait for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring, wordy, in desperate need of a remodel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was boring. For a man to have written it without going into any detail of his encounters with the women was very disappointing. He has no problem wth the f bomb though. I think a high school student could write better. I can't believe I wasted my time and money on this stinker!