Mystery Writer Tackles Cold Case Series

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 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:

Gnarly’s Facebook Page:
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Cold case mysteries are hot.

As a fan of mysteries, I have always been intrigued with the unsolved cold case. I still remember the chills that would go up and down my spine when I’d pick up a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book to discover that the plot revolved around an unsolved mystery from long ago.

As an adult, I’d wait anxiously every week for Robert Stack to pull me in for an hour of Unsolved Mysteries. Now, I’m able to satisfy my cravings with other cold case enthusiasts via the internet which offers a ton of websites and blogs where amateur and even some professional detectives offer tips and theories in hopes of thawing out cases that have turned to ice.

So it should not be any surprise that I would eventually endeavor to tackle a mystery series that revolves around a cold case squad. The Last Thing She Said is the latest installment in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries.

“I’m working on the greatest mystery ever,” was the last thing noted mystery novelist Mercedes Livingston said to seven-year-old Chris Matheson before walking out of Hill House Hotel never to be seen again.

For decades, the writer’s fate remained a puzzling mystery until an autographed novel and a letter put a grown-up Chris Matheson on the trail of a cunning killer. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris puts a flame to this cold case to uncover what had really happened that night Mercedes Livingston walked out of Hill House Hotel. Watch out! The clues are getting hot!

Frankly, the Chris Matheson cold case series is not my first endeavor into cold cases. My first novel, A Small Case of Murder dove into a series of cold cases dating back over fifty years. The plot for Shades of Murder involved two seemingly unconnected cold cases, including a missing painting. A Fine Year for Murder takes the Thorny Rose detectives to the Virginia wine country to investigate the brutal murder of a family from Jessica Faraday’s childhood.

While the excitement of solving a cold case mystery makes for thrilling plotlines, they do present their own unique challenges.

For one thing, the writer penning the cold case has to ask the all important question, “What makes a cold case, especially a decades old cold case, turn hot?”

In recent years, science has played a major role in solving cold cases. Police departments across the globe have been dusting off cold cases and sending evidence to labs in hopes that advances in forensics since the crime had been committed will provide that breakthrough needed to identify the killer.

That’s an ideal situation in real life, but not necessarily a page turning plotline for a fictional mystery. Luckily, life and time offer many other scenarios that can—and have―heated up cold cases.

Death Bed Confession: Still, this can be too easy—or maybe not. In one case I researched, an elderly woman confessed to her daughter that her son had killed a young woman decades before. In this true case, the daughter was not surprised. She had often suspected that her brother had committed the murder. The problem was that her brother had an airtight alibi. In spite of the mother’s deathbed confession, the police couldn’t arrest her son, who had gone on to establish a highly respected life since the murder. First, they had to reopen the fifty-year-old case, break the suspect’s alibi, and find proof that he had committed the murder.

Changed Circumstances/Relationships: One cold case murder that I had researched was blown wide open when the prime suspect landed in jail for an unrelated crime. As is so often the case, the police in the small town were certain about who had murdered the victim, a witness in a burglary case. The defendant he was testifying against had an airtight alibi, but not the defendant’s brother, who had a long violent history. Unfortunately, everyone in the small town was terrified of the suspect. The police believed many people had knowledge of the murder but were too scared to come forward. After all, the murderer had already killed one witness. Many years after the murder, the prime suspect was arrested for an unrelated crime. With him locked up, suddenly witnesses poured out of the woodwork—including the brother who the victim was going to testify against.

Long Lost Evidence Discovered: In May 2016, the Plumas County Sheriff in California announced the discovery of a hammer that they believed to be the murder weapon in the thirty-five-year-old murder of Glenna Sue Sharp, her son and a friend of his. Her missing daughter’s remains were discovered three years after their murders. The hammer was discovered over three decades later a stone’s throw from the cabin where the two prime murder suspects resided. Unfortunately, both suspects had died before enough evidence was collected to bring them to justice. This tragic murder case became known as the Keddie Murder Mystery. The discovery of the hammer, resting not far from the crime scene, inspired my second Thorny Rose Mystery, A Fine Year for Murder.

That is often how it happens.

Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into years, which turn into decades. Suddenly, something somewhere happens—when you least expect it. That unexpected event acts like a flame to make those clues hot again.

Counting Our Blessings

May you and yours have a
most wonderful Thanksgiving!





Book Review: Paw of the Jungle by Diane Kelly @DianeKellyBooks @StMartinsPress

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Book Review: Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel @KT_Gabriel @BlinkYABooks @TLCBookTours

Every Stolen Breath
Kimberly Gabriel
Blink, November 2019
ISBN 978-0-310-76666-7

From the publisher—

The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim.

Lia is the only one still pursuing her father’s killers, two years after attorney Steven Finch’s murder by the Swarm. Devastated and desperate for answers, Lia will do anything to uncover the reasons behind his death and to stop someone else from being struck down. But due to debilitating asthma and PTSD that leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality, Lia is the last person to mount a crusade on her own.

After a close encounter with the Swarm puts Lia on their radar, she teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the master puppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target.

Inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence that struck Chicago in 2011, Every Stolen Breath by debut author Kimberly Gabriel is a fast-paced and immersive thriller that shows just how hard one girl will fight back, knowing any breath might be her last.

It’s really hard to fathom how a vicious flash mob can happen, especially when you realize that 98% of the people involved would never do such a horrible thing on their own. The mob mentality is a very real thing and, yes, we can be sheep in the wrong circumstances.

What’s not hard to believe or understand is how a victim can be so messed up, mentally and emotionally, but also physically; Lia’s PTSD is almost a given but it has become a part of her, a part that she has to control as best she can while she pursues justice for her dad and for herself.

This is as intense a story as I’ve ever read and there were moments when I had to put the book down so I could catch my breath. Lia’s journey is frequently a train wreck but she is a girl who won’t be stopped and must be true to herself, no matter what dangers lurk seemingly around every corner. While I’ve never experienced anything even close to this situation, Ms. Gabriel drew me in with a tale I won’t soon forget.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2019.

About the Author

Kimberly Gabriel is an English teacher who writes every chance she gets and struggles with laundry avoidance issues. When she’s not teaching or writing, she’s enjoying life with her husband, her three beautiful children, and a seriously beautiful boxer in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Connect with Kimberly
Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram


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Book Review: Our War by Craig DiLouie @CraigDiLouie @orbitbooks @SDSXXTours

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Book Review: A Bad Hair Day Cookbook by Nancy J. Cohen @nancyjcohen

A Bad Hair Day Cookbook
Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series
Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press, November 2019
ISBN 978-0-9997932-5-1
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.

Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes! Bonuses Include:

• Meet the Sleuth
• Introduction by Marla Vail
• Cooking Tips
• Excerpts from Series Titles
• Themed Menu Suggestions
• “A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother

For Home Cooks, Food Lovers, Mystery Fans and Cookbook Collectors

I can’t think of a better time to bring out a new cookbook than a food-centric holiday season, can you? Ms. Cohen‘s timing really is good for me as my daughter and I are about to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new-ish home in St. Augustine. I’ve been rummaging through her (Marla’s) recipes and I’ve found way too many to try all at once but there are a few that will be gracing our table this Thursday:

Garlic Cheese Biscuits—like Marla, we’re big fans of a certain restaurant chain’s biscuits and my mouth is already watering.

French Onion Soup—I’d be just as happy with Potato Leek Soup but Annie has a “thing” about leeks so French Onion it is (not that I’m complaining, mind you). I’ll make the Potato Leek Soup for myself another time 😉

Roast Turkey Breast With Herbs—well, duh! We’ll be doing the whole bird, though.

Sweet Potatoes w/Red Onions & Rosemary—this will be a tasty change from mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole

Apple Ginger Cake—this is totally new to me and I can’t wait to try it. The recipe includes lots of my favorite flavors and spices, like brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, apple, etc. Yum!

This cookbook is just chock full of recipes that sound delicious but, maybe more importantly, most of them seem really easy and they’re accompanied by comments from sleuth Marla. Try it, you’ll like it!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2019.

The Horror of the Heights by Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★★☆ #BookBlog #BookReview #ShortStory

Sherlock Holmes can do very little wrong but it’s nice to remember that his creator dabbled in other things once in a while 😉

KayCKay Book Reviews


Primary Genre(s): Short Story, Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction
Published: November 1913 in Strand Magazine
Page count: 32
My Format: audiobook via Hoopla Digital
Cover: Good
Pacing: Fast
Ending: Scary
Would I recommend it: Yes

My rating:★★

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