Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
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Recently, a chilling murder case made the national news. A forty-two-year-old mother and housewife was found strangled in her front yard. She was a beautiful young woman. Perfect figure. Lived in a lovely home in a quiet suburban area in the mid-west. She had a great husband with a good job and they had two cute kids.
Why, her friends and neighbors wondered, would anyone want to harm her? She was living the American dream. She had … the perfect life.
To get to the heart of the case, the police started peeling back the layers of this young woman’s life to discover that she had been living a double life. Behind the scenes, she was a lingerie model posing on an erotica site on the Internet.
Eventually, the police arrested her husband, which further shattered the illusion of the victim having achieved perfection and living the American dream. Obviously, there was more going on behind the scenes.
This real murder case was the seed that inspired Murder by Perfection, the third installment in the Thorny Rose Mysteries. It is not the first time that I have explored the theme of things not always being what they seem in my mysteries.
This is a fascinating topic to me. Maybe it is because, as a child, my mother often told me that things are never what they seem—usually when I was crying about Susie’s life being so much more perfect than mine. I think many people buy the illusion that our friends, neighbors, or co-workers create with having perfect families, homes, and metabolism. You can’t help but hate someone who can eat a whole plate of brownies without gaining an ounce!
The setting of Great Falls, Virginia, is picture-perfect for this mystery. Great Falls is a woodsy, upper class area in northern Virginia that runs along the Potomac River. While working for the federal government in Washington, I used to drive through it every day. I would gaze longingly at the mansions and horse farms that made up the area and wonder about the flawless lives of those fortunate enough to have achieved the perfect status to make them worthy of living in such a place.
Then, I grew up and learned that such is not the case. Salvador Dali was right when he said, “Have no fear of perfection―you’ll never reach it.”
Last week, my husband came home from the grocery store with a couple of avocados. They appeared to be perfect on the outside. When it came time to prepare them to serve with our dinner, I removed the peel and cut through the pulp to discover that they were both rotten on the inside. They were the perfect color and texture on the outside. But underneath, they were rotten where it really counted.
Perfection is just an illusion. While most of us are mature enough to know this—others can be so hung up on creating the illusion of perfection to the outside world that we neglect the real stuff underneath. They become like the avocados—perfect on the outside, rotten on the inside.
Murder cases like the one that inspired Murder by Perfection make the national news because of the victim’s success in creating that perfect illusion. Unlike the drug addicted hooker in the alley or the gangster dodging bullets on a daily basis, the murder of a middle-class housewife make the national news because the victims have succeeded in convincing everyone around them that everything was peachy—when in reality, all was rotten at the core.
Those unaddressed issues became tasty ingredients for a fascinating murder mystery.
Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton learn that perfection can be fatal in Murder by Perfection. NCIS asks Lieutenant Murphy Thornton to help them solve the murder of a navy doctor, who had information about some illegal activity occurring at a private clinic. The case is going cold fast and they believe a caterer and cooking instructor named Natalie Stepford could be the key to heating up the case.
The Thorny Rose detectives sign up for Natalie’s couple’s gourmet cooking class. At first blush, the beautiful blond-haired instructor is the embodiment of feminine perfection: beautiful, smart, successful. She’s married to a doting wealthy older man who gives her everything she wants. What more could she want?
When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s flawless life to discover that perfection can be deadly.