Book Review: Kill and Run by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours


Title: Kill and Run
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #1
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Publication Date: October 14, 2016


Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon


Kill and Run
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #1
Lauren Carr
Narrated by C.J. McAllister
Acorn Book Services, October 2016
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

Nothing is simple when five women are murdered at a gathering in one victim’s home, even when you factor in the odd coincidence that both the Navy and the Army are inextricably involved. Or is it a coincidence? Murphy knows that the Officers Wives clubs in both organizations have enormous power to control the lives of not only wives but also their husbands. Were all five women connected to the military? Jessica is drawn into the investigation because she learns firsthand what it means to be inspected by the queen bees of the local Officers Wives. Was one of these women the real target or did the killer have more than one motive?

Intermittently, we see connections to other Lauren Carr series; as an example, Jessica is the daughter of multimillionnaire Mac Faraday (Mac Faraday Mysteries) and Murphy’s stepmother, Cameron Gates (Lovers in Crime series), who is a homicide detective working with her prosecutor husband, has come to visit in hopes of finding out more about her first husband’s hit and run death years ago. As Murphy, Jessica and Cameron all follow various leads, they’re faced with mounting evidence that the years old hit and run has current day relevance with the mass murders but getting to a real resolution takes them down some twisty paths.

As is to be expected in any Lauren Carr novel, a number of animals are present and all are temporarily housed together at Murphy’s and Jessica’s house. Monique, a very large tarantula, along with Maine Coon Irving, and dogs Spencer and Newman, offer a lighter side to things and become very attached to Izzy, teenaged daughter of one of the murdered women. Irving is a longtime favorite of mine but I have to say that Newman gives new meaning to “couch potato” and won my heart the first time somebody blocked his view of the TV 🙂

This was my first listening experience with C.J. McAllister and, while I can’t say he’s one of my favorites, he does a really good job with the various characters’ voices and, for the most part, performs with the right levels of tension and mood. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

About the Author

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!

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.

​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


Follow the tour:

May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Kill and Run
May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of A Fine Year for Murder
May 6 – Buried Under Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Murder by Perfection
May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 13 – Bookish Quest – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Blooming with Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 14 – Buried Under Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight
May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 – Bookish Quest – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 20 – Blooming with Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 21 – Books for Books – review of Murder by Perfection
May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 25 – Buried Under Books – review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway
May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Bookish Quest – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May  27 – Blooming with Books – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight
May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway
May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post
Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight
Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight / giveaway



Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.


Book Review: Solemn Graves by James R. Benn

Solemn Graves
A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery #13
James R. Benn
Soho Crime, September 2018
ISBN: 978-1-6169-5849-7

The adventures of Billy Boyle during World War II bring him close to the front lines shortly after the D-Day invasion of Normandy to investigate a suspicious murder of a communications major in a farmhouse. He arrives with Big Mike at the house which was occupied by a Nazi military police group and now serves as headquarters for an American battalion.

The investigation is hampered by the existence of a ghost army nearby operated by actors and technicians who perform theatrical stunts to mislead the German forces.  Shrouded in secrecy, it makes Billy’s task more difficult.  And, of course, the various potential witnesses have their own agenda, withholding information vital to Billy’s solving the case. As a result, Billy dives into the biggest operation of the invasion forces, seeking to interview a Nazi officer behind German lines.

Like all the previous novels in this wonderful series, the descriptions of the battles and army operations are real and gripping. The Billy Boyle series only gets better with each new book.   Each has been highly recommended, and Solemn Graves joins that list.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, September 2018.

Book Reviews: Infamy by Robert K. Tanenbaum and Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet by Reed Farrel Coleman

A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller #28
Robert K. Tanenbaum
Pocket Books, March 2017
ISBN 978-1-4767-9321-4
Mass Market Paperback

This novel is not up to the usual standards of the author.  Usually, the first half of the book recounts a situation which sets the stage for the other half, which, ordinarily, few do better than Mr. Tanenbaum: a dramatic courtroom scene.  So it is with Infamy.  Unfortunately, however otherwise well-written the novel is, the courtroom scene is flat and perfunctory.

The novel opens with an intelligence raid by a secret U.S. Army unit in Syria which was supposed to capture at least one suspect.  Instead, they find the suspect had shot and murdered other important enemy subjects and obtained important documents which point to a conspiracy to evade sanctions on ISIS and Iraqi oil.  Butch Karp, the New York DA and protagonist of the series, enters the plot when a U.S. Army Colonel is shot and killed in Central Park, and slowly a conspiracy begins to unfold.

There are all sorts of subplots and side issues which add little to the tale, except to make it more complicated than it really is.  This reader was clearly disappointed, especially when the author decided to vent his own political views, sometimes crudely or bluntly chastising those holding conservative views.  It’s too bad, because basically Infamy began with a solid idea, but lost its way along the way from front cover to back cover.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, December 2017.


Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet
A Jesse Stone Novel #16
Reed Farrel Coleman
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, September 2017
ISBN 978-0-3991-7144-4

This is the fourth Jesse Stone novel Reed Farrel Coleman has written in the series begun by the late Robert B. Parker.  And he has kept the faith.  Moreover, he has done something the master never did.  He brings in Spenser to play a minor role in solving the mystery which begins with the death of an old woman, a member of the founding family of Paradise, and the ransacking of her home.

Jesse, still reeling from the death of his beloved Diana in his presence, is slowly drinking himself into oblivion.  But that doesn’t stop him from performing his duty as Police Chief, despite the hindrance of the Mayor and her hatchet woman.  The plot basically revolves around the recovery of a supposedly long lost tape made by a now has-been rock star in time for his 70th birthday party.

Coleman performs up to the standards of the late master, while offering a clever plot of his own, written in a slightly different style (few can duplicate the pithy sentences of a Parker novel).  He gives us a deeper insight into Jesse’s personality and presumably shows the force of his iron will.  Well at least let’s hope so.  Presumably we’ll find out in the next volume in the series.


Reviewed by Ted Feit, December 2017.

Book Reviews: Blue Madonna by James R. Benn and The Fixer by Joseph Finder

blue-madonnaBlue Madonna
A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery #11
James R. Benn
Soho Crime, September 2016
ISBN: 978-1-61695-642-4

Billy Boyle has received all kinds of assignments in his capacity as a special investigator on Eisenhower’s staff. But few, if any, match the bizarre task before him in the Blue Madonna.  To begin with, he is arrested, tried on trumped up charges and stripped of his Captaincy and sentenced to time in the stockade for black market activities.  (This, of course, a subterfuge to provide a cover story as part of an investigation.)  Then he is sent behind enemy lines to rescue a downed airman who is needed to testify against a black market gang.

No sooner does Billy arrive in occupied France than he finds himself investigating two murders of airmen being hidden in a chateau.  And he even participates in partisan operations, blowing up railroad tracks and bridges.

The Billy Boyle series takes him through various phases of World War II.  This novel takes place as Allied troops sail for Normandy on D-Day, giving the author the opportunity to describe conditions in Occupied France, how the partisans operated, and what was done to return downed airmen through clandestine networks.  The Blue Madonna, a valuable piece of art, is an example of how many Jews and others attempted to prevent the Nazis from stealing their possessions by hiding them in such places as the chateau, which also secreted parachuted Allied fliers.

As were the first 10 books in the series, Blue Madonna is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, October 2016.


the-fixerThe Fixer
Joseph Finder
Putnam, May 2016
ISBN 978-0-4514-7257-3
Mass Market Paperback

What would you do if by some off-chance you broke into a wall in your home and discovered $3.7 million in cash?  That is the good luck that befalls Rick Hoffman, erstwhile unemployed journalist.  And then the bad luck follows.  Rick begins to wonder where the money came from.  He can’t ask his father, whose house it was, because the latter was left speechless and partially paralyzed by a stroke about two decades before.  Rick was once an investigative journalist, and uses these talents to find answers.

He soon discovers that his attorney father was a fixer, paying off various persons to ward off claims against powerful Boston figures.   And for his efforts he is beaten severely, almost killing him, as was his father before him, to stop Rick from pursuing his investigation.  But he perseveres.

The story moves ahead in a straightforward manner, with each step along the way uncovering additional information, until Rick can prove where the money came from and why.  But more importantly, as Rick explains, he continues because he wants to know how the story ends.  And so will you.


Reviewed by Ted Feit, June 2016.

Book Review: Admiral by Sean Danker—and a Giveaway!

An Evagardian Novel #1
Sean Danker
Roc, May 2016
ISBN 978-0-451-47579-4

From the publisher—

“I was on a dead ship on an unknown planet with three trainees freshly graduated into the Imperial Service. I tried to look on the bright side.”
He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer.
Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.

I like a lot of science fiction but tend to shy away from the military type just because that usually gets a little too overbearing for me. What drew me to Admiral was the implication that this is really a blending of science fiction and mystery and I do love crossgenre. Mr. Danker exceeded all my expectations and took me on an adventure I won’t soon forget.

Imagine if you were to wake up in a sort of locked room with just a few other people and you discovered that you’re apparently a high-ranking military officer although you have no memory of such an existence and, worse yet, no idea how to be a commander of troops. That’s what happens to this young man but he hasn’t forgotten everything. He knows, for instance, that he’s on a spaceship (just not the right one) and he knows they were bound for somewhere out there. That’s about it and there’s no time to figure things out because the ship is dead, meaning there’s no life support, and it’s resting on a strange planet. Add to that the hostility of one of the three trainees and we’re off to the races, so to speak.

Admiral or not, our hero has to take charge and there are a lot of questions to be answered while he keeps the others on course; he soon finds that the solution of one problem leads to one that’s even worse and the reader as well as these four space travelers are on a wild ride. Not least of the puzzles to be solved—just who is the Admiral?

The combination of mystery with the science fiction setting in unknown space makes for a rollicking good time and I have seldom been more entertained than by Admiral. Sean Danker has crafted a wonderful story and I can’t wait for the sequel I hope is coming.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2016.


To enter the drawing for
a print copy of Admiral
by Sean Danker, just leave
a comment below. The winning
name will be drawn on Tuesday
night, May 24th. This drawing
is open to residents of the US.

Book Review: Earth Star by Janet Edwards

Earth StarEarth Star
Janet Edwards
Pyr, April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61614-898-0
Also available in hardcover

Jarra is now 18 and finishing the first year of her history degree. After the dramatic rescue in Earth Girl, she’s slowly getting used to her new found family. But things are changing. A new threat has come to Earth. Will Jarra be able to save them all and will there be an Earth left to return to?

You know what they say about the second novel being the most difficult book to write but fortunately for us, the second Jarra Tel Morath novel is a good one! After the dramatic events at the end of Earth Girl life slowly gets back to normal for Jarra. While most people on her course accept and respect her, there are still some there who are quite happy to make her life a misery. But things are different now. She’s found a new family and discovered that her true parents are in the military.

In this outing, a strange threat has come to Earth and the military have sprung into action. Keeping their movements a secret from the rest of the Earth’s population is an arduous task and it’s inevitable that someone will let the cat out of the bag. This is when Jarra steps in to play her part and some unexpected characters find themselves with their own role to play.

All in all, this is an excellent second outing in the Earth series. Jarra’s character is developed further with more connections made to her true parentage and extended family. We also see more happening with her relationship with Fian and the obstacles they have to face as a couple and it’s nice to see how they tackle those challenges together and individually. It will be interesting to see what happens after this since Jarra ends up becoming pretty important to the military so her future is looking more and more intriguing. So I say well done to Janet Edwards, you’ve created a future that any young reader would love to delve into.

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, April 2014.


Book Review: Red Cell by Mark Henshaw

Red CellRed Cell
Mark Henshaw
Touchstone, May 2012
ISBN 978-1-4516-6193-4

This debut thriller pits the intelligence services and the military of the United States, Taiwan, and China against each other. Red Cell is full of secret agents, traitors, and politicians willing to go to any lengths to get what they want. There’s the cast of characters I expected to find in this type of tale with some extra goodies thrown into the mix.

After a botched mission in South America, case officer Kyra Stryker sees in her immediate future a vacation to recover both physically and to wonder whether she still will have a job afterward. However, she is called in by the CIA director who wants her to pair up with an analyst in a special section of the organization known as Red Cell. Jonathan Burke usually works alone and thinks outside the box but now he has a new partner in Stryker. The assignment: figure out what’s behind China’s increased hostility against Taiwan. Negotiations to bring Taiwan fully under China’s umbrella of control have fallen apart and the Red Menace is rattling more than swords. Burke and Stryker think the Communists have a secret weapon that could decimate America’s resistance to the takeover. The answer may lie in a mole working within China’s machinations with the code name Pioneer. However, when Pioneer finds himself in danger of being caught, Stryker and Burke are called in for the rescue. Time is of the essence for not only Pioneer and the CIA operatives, but for the growing conflict between China and America.

Red Cell is red hot! Bouncing from political offices in Washington to the mean and dangerous streets of Beijing to international waters where Navy ships await the word go, this book covers all the bases. Enough mystery that kept me guessing and enough tension that had me turning pages with eagerness. Stryker and Burke make an excellent pair that work well together. With his brains and her knack for squeaking out of potentially deadly situations, they provide the nucleus to a well written story which thriller writers should respect.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, April 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.