Why Paranormal Scares This Mystery Writer—and a Giveaway! @TheMysteryLadie

With a little tinkering, here’s a re-play of a post
from five years ago, just in time for Halloween…

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Killer Deadline marks Lauren’s first venture into mystery’s purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist. 

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest

Okay, everyone knows that paranormal is IN. Not too long ago an author of suspense told me that she knew of a paranormal writer who was making money hand over fist. “What is she doing that we’re not doing?” she asked.

“She’s writing paranormal,” I replied. “Angels, demons, elves, fairies, wolves, and vampires are in. Cozies are out.”

So now she’s inserted a ghost into her next suspense.

I’m still holding off. I confess—I am that one person with the ability to read left in the United States who has not read a zombie book or vampire love story. I have never read Harry Potter and only just this month started watching the movies, which my husband can’t believe because he has seen every one, which begs the question, “Who did he see these movies with?” (That’s another post.)

What’s keeping me from jumping on the bandwagon?

Paranormal scares me.

I can sit all day and watch an autopsy scene on the ID channel without cringing. Give me a shoot ‘em up or a car bomb and I’m glued to the pages. How about suspense that involves a husband in the midst of a mid-life crisis killing his wife and disposing of her frozen body in a wood-chipper? I consider that how-to-catch-‘em detective work in top form.

But throw an elf into the mix and … well, that’s just weird.

Give me the daring young lovers trying to identify the crazed ax-wielding serial killer? Little do they know that the killer is one step behind them, revving up his chain-saw while waiting for the perfect time to dismember them. By the end of that book, my nails are chewed down to nubs.

Make one of those lovers a vampire and I’m out of there. The thought of anyone but the Red Cross taking my blood, even if he is handsome and loves me more than life itself, is just too creepy.

I can write about psychopaths, dysfunctional couples, robbers, kidnappers, and even a serial killer or two. I can have people poisoned, stabbed, drowned, blown up, suffocated, tossed off tall buildings, or even run over by a car and then backed over again.

Sorry, I cannot write about sexy young teenagers who feel compelled to stop at every fire hydrant and chase cars when there’s a full moon. Werewolves creep me out. Did you know there was a difference between a werewolf and a wolf-man? One of my best friends clued me in on that for The Murders at Astaire Castle.

Fairies give me the willies, too. Little people with wings scare me more than killer bees.

Okay, I confess. I’m a wimpy murder mystery writer. So sue me … or lock me in a cell with an elf.


Click here to see the book trailer for Lauren’s
Halloween mystery, The Murders at Astaire Castle

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop – even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the 10 top haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago – and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet – including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.



To enter the drawing for an audiobook
of The Murders at Astaire Castle
, just
leave a comment below
with the name
of your favorite scary movie.
winning names will be drawn
Monday evening, November 2nd.

Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee – Book Review

I love this sentence — “I also found that
the description of each house functioned like
wardrobing for the character who lived inside it.”

WordMothers - for women writers & women’s writing

Nicole Melanson ~

Poppy Gee’s sophomore novel, Vanishing Falls, is a mystery about the disappearance of wealthy socialite Celia Lily. Set in the Tasmanian rainforest, this book reads like an old-school who-done-it, with a cast of suspicious characters in an isolated location.

Told primarily from three different viewpoints, Vanishing Falls alternates between Celia’s husband Jack, poultry farmer Cliff, and townswoman Joelle, who is the only appealing character in the book. The residents of Vanishing Falls have a grubbiness about them that manifests in shame, envy, and resentment, much of which is uncomfortable to read but feels authentic. These are people beaten down by the harsh realities of social inequality, financial instability, and lack of opportunity. (I will say I would have liked to see either more or less of the ten children involved, but everyone else is fleshed out in explicit detail.)

Vanishing Falls is a wonderfully atmospheric read…

View original post 185 more words

Waiting On Wednesday (144) @martywingate @BerkleyMystery

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Murder Is a Must
A First Edition Library Mystery #2
Marty Wingate
Berkley Prime Crime, December 2020
Mystery, Traditional/Cozy

From the publisher—

Hayley Burke, curator of Lady Fowling’s collection of first edition mysteries, is settling into her position at the First Edition Library in Middlebank House. She’s even made progress with Lady Fowling’s former secretary, the ornery Miss Woolgar. The women are busily preparing for an exhibition that will showcase Lady Fowling’s life and letters. Hayley knows the exhibition is a huge undertaking and decides, against her better judgement, to hire Oona Atherton, her former boss from the Jane Austen Centre to help with the planning.

Oona is known for being difficult, but all seems to be going swimmingly until she and Hayley uncover a one-page letter that alludes to a priceless edition of MURDER MUST ADVERTISE signed by several Golden Age of Mystery authors. Oona feels this book could be the focal point of the exhibition and becomes obsessed with finding it.

When they find clues that appear to point to the book being somewhere in the First Edition Library, Oona is certain she’s unraveled the mystery and texts Hayley the good news, but upon arriving back at Middlebank, Hayley finds her old boss dead at the bottom of the stairs. Did her discovery of the rare book get her killed or was it some angry shadow from her past? Hayley must read between the lines to catch a malicious murderer.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? Marty Wingate is one of those American authors who just seems to have a special affinity for everything English and I’ve been inordinately fond of all her traditional/cozy mysteries. This particular series has the extra added attraction of being about books and, unlike so many book-related mysteries, the protagonist doesn’t know a thing about mysteries and detecting. The first book was lots of fun and I’m expecting no less with this one.

Only Eight Days Left!












Book Review: Endangered by Lamar Giles @LRGiles @harperteen

Lamar Giles
HarperTeen, November 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-229757-0
Trade Paperback

Once again, I’ve found a book that ‘my’ students will want to read. I know this because I borrowed Endangered by Lamar Giles from their classroom library. This copy is clearly well-read.

Panda (it makes me so happy when a name and title go together better than peanut-butter and chocolate) has mastered the art of blending-in-until-invisible. A skill she’s particularly proud of. Imperative for tailing someone and snapping a series of not-so-secret photos. Handy for hiding in the hallways between classes.

What began as one, well-deserved, public humiliation has taken on a life of its own. Panda anonymously prowls to expose the not-so-great traits of seemingly superb human beings. Her photo-blog, Gray Scales, is incredibly popular. Her best friend, Mei, is a true fan. But even Mei has no idea that Panda is the person purportedly balancing the scales.

Things change the night that Panda sees so much more than she ever expected. Which happens to be the very night she, the original school-spy, was spotted. And photographed. Sadly, Panda remains unaware of her shadow until her latest sordid shots are available for all eyes on Gray Scales.

While disconcerting, Panda did not find it to be particularly worrisome. At first. She was absolutely not prepared for the murderous rage that soon follows. She’ll need to do her very best detective working to identify the culprit. Her life, and Mei’s, depend on it.

Endangered by Lamar Giles is a YA Suspense novel, in that the main characters are in high-school; but the plot pulled me in entirely. I stayed up stupid-late one night just because I had to know how it ended.

Oh-and when I later read a nature article that referenced a “camera trap”, I knew what that was because I’d read this book.

Reviewed by jv poore, August 2020.

Book Review: Arizona Dreams by Jon Talton @jontalton @PPPress

Arizona Dreams
A Davide Mapstone Mystery #4
Jon Talton
Poisoned Pen Press, September 2006
ISBN 978-1-59058-318-0

A former student visits David Mapstone’s office at the Phoenix Police Department, where he is a special sheriff’s appointee deputy who looks into cold cases. And enjoys some success, I might add. He doesn’t remember the woman from his teaching days, but the case she presents sounds interesting. She has received a letter containing details of a forty-year-old murder. When he investigates the remote section of dry Arizona desert mentioned in the letter, Mapstone is set upon and beaten by thugs.

Meanwhile, Mapstone’s wife has just gotten in touch with her half-sister, Robin. As they try to overcome previous conflicts, a neighbor is found murdered, with an ice-pick in his brain. Beset by curious details, Mapstone, aided in part by his wife, follows the old adage “follow the money,” which leads them on a trail of deception and murder that will finally bring all the various characters together. But first, just to add to the mayhem, throw in a few more murders and Robin’s attempted seduction of Mapstone.

The story is set in Phoenix, in the days when the city contained maybe fifty thousand souls. Water was rare and precious even then as the suburbs began their awkward sprawl. This is a fascinating look at what we now know became uncontrolled growth.

The writing is good, the premise is good. One or two things still puzzle me as to why they were included.  And although the book was published in 2006, with the ongoing problems of a big sprawling city like Phoenix, it all seems fresh.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, September 2020.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Five Days, Five Dead: A China Bohannon Novel

Waiting On Wednesday (143) @susanmboyer @HeneryPress

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Lowcountry Boughs of Holly
A Liz Talbot Mystery #10
Susan M. Boyer
Henery Press, November 2020
Mystery, Southern Fiction

From the publisher—

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but Private Investigator Liz Talbot is struggling to feel festive. She hasn’t seen her best friend, Colleen, in weeks and fears she may never see her again in this life. Meanwhile Nate, Liz’s husband and partner, is spending money like he prints it in the attic on a mysterious family Christmas celebration. Liz’s nerves are shot, and she hasn’t even decked a single hall. But there’s simply no time to fret.

On a morning beach run, Liz spots a wooden rowboat run aground with Santa inside. Did Old Saint Nick have too much eggnog at the boat parade? No indeedy—Santa’s been shot. And he’s none other than C.C. Bounetheau, patriarch of one of Charleston’s wealthiest families.

Liz and Nate already unwrapped quite a few family secrets while searching for the Bounetheau’s missing granddaughter last year—enough to make them swear to steer forever clear of the entire clan. But as Mr. Bounetheau’s body is found in Stella Maris, and Liz and Nate are the police chief’s on-call detectives, they’re on the case.

With no shortage of suspects, Liz and Nate dash to find a killer who may be working his or her way down a naughty list.

Spend Christmas in the Lowcountry with the Talbot family and their friends in Susan M. Boyer’s latest Southern charmer, Lowcountry Boughs of Holly. Tis the season for merry mayhem!

Why am I waiting so eagerly? I’m very attached to this series because it has so many elements I like such as a southern setting, humor, a genteel but opinionated ghost, good character relationships and, oh yes, intriguing mysteries. And now Santa has been murdered! I’ve been woefully lax in reviewing these and I’m determined to remedy that failing now that Ms. Boyer is about to entertain us with a Christmas story 😉