Book Review: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #4
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: Mike Alger
Publication Date: January 30, 2020

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #4
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, January 2020
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

 “13”

Unlike most of Lauren Carr’s books, The Nutcracker Conspiracy features one body after another after another and it’s no wonder that Dean Conway believes a conspiracy is tying so many of these deaths together. It all started with an attempt on the President’s life that actually claimed two other lives and it’s only natural to think that such an assassination attempt must have involved one federal agency or another, maybe more than one. Murphy Thornton didn’t pay much attention to Dean’s theory, that is, until Dean himself was blown up by a bomb.

Since Dean’s wife, Amy, is a close friend of Jessica’s, the latter is drawn into Murphy’s investigation when Amy is pegged as a prime suspect in the bombing. With a little help from Jessica’s brother, Tristan, and Nigel, the Thorntons’ very efficient AI butler, not to mention even more family members and friends, Murphy and Jessica start down a very complex trail of clues, theories, motives and potential perpetrators that lead them to a multitude of puzzle pieces. Putting the puzzle together kept me listening into the night hours while the couple worked as hard as they ever have to catch the killer…or maybe more than one.

As it happens, Jessica’s dad’s dog, Gnarly, is visiting—he needed to get out of town for a while till the furor dies down—and he’s settled right in with the other two dogs, Newman and Spencer. Newman is perfectly happy with the visitor as long as Gnarly doesn’t mess with his TV remote and Spencer seems to have a bit of a crush on the German Shepherd but Gnarly is more interested in continuing his life of minor crimes and misdemeanours, a habit that doesn’t fit well with his position as elected mayor of the town of Spencer. You can imagine, I’m sure, the chuckles and outright guffaws that ensue when these pups are on the page.

Mike Alger continues his stellar performance as narrator of so many of Ms. Carr’s books and he really has become one of my favorite readers; Mr. Alger has a way with words and vocal personalizations, not to mention a clear sense of mood and pacing. Between his narration and Ms. Carr’s deviously tangled plot and vivid characters, a listener/reader won’t be the least bit disappointed in this latest Thorny Rose adventure.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, the Thorny Rose, and now the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—almost thirty titles across five 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 ~ Books on Audible

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Follow the tour

June 8 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 –Mystery Suspense Reviews – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
June 10 –Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 10 –T’s Stuff – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 11 –Sefina Hawke’s Books – audiobook review
June 11 Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
June 11 – Rosepoint Publishing – audiobook review
June 12 –Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / guest post / author interview / giveaway
June 12 Nighttime Reading Center – book spotlight / giveaway
June 12 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 15 –Buried Under Books – audiobook review – giveaway
June 16 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review /giveaway
June 17 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 17 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 19 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
June 23 – Books for Books – audiobook review
June 24 – JBronder Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 25 – Thoughts in Progress – audiobook review / giveaway

************

Giveaway

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

The Nutcracker Conspiracy.

Enter here.

************

Book Review: Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: Murder by Perfection
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: Mike Alger
Publication Date: May 31, 2018

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Murder by Perfection
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, May 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Murphy and Jessica lead hectic lives but he’s more than willing when an old Navy friend asks to meet him, hinting that he wants to talk about something shady. Just as Murphy is arriving, he hears a gunshot and finds Commander Ross Caldwell dead in his car. NCIS is quick to respond and Murphy, even though he’s a witness, is soon deep into the investigation but no one can foresee what they will begin to unearth, beginning with the disappearance of the HHS representative Ross was planning to see.

Various bits of information lead them in several directions including to what may be criminal activities in a private clinic but it’s the kidnapping of Murphy that brings the extended Faraday-Thornton family into the mix and Jessica’s brother, Tristan, along with JJ, Murphy’s twin brother, become particularly important to the entire investigation. Jessica carries out her part, somewhat haphazardly, in the ransom negotiations but it’s the brothers who play critical roles. Before all is said and done, a tangle of leads unravel more than one sinister plot with plenty of paths for the investigators—and readers—to follow.

As can be expected by anyone familiar with Lauren Carr’s work, the suspense and tension are lightened by side moments with pets like Newman, a Basset hound mix who brings new meaning to the sobriquet “couch potato” and who has learned how to operate the remote to watch his favorite tv shows. Adding to the fun is Nigel, an AI created by the techno-geek Tristan; Nigel runs the Faraday-Thornton mansion and is a whiz with research. Nigel has become my latest fantasy, not to mention the mansion and all the nifty toys the very wealthy couple enjoy. There’s also a hilarious scene involving JJ and some phone calls that had me chortling out loud 🤣

Having come to love Mike Alger’s narration in other books by Ms. Carr, I was very glad to hear him again and, while I wasn’t so thrilled with a couple of enhancements, for lack of a better word, they didn’t detract in any way from my enjoyment of the audio version of this book.

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

************

Giveaway

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

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

************

Book Review: Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich—and a Giveaway! @authorkschleich @shewritespress

Salvation Station
Kathryn Schleich
She Writes Press, April 2020
ISBN 978-1-63152-892-7
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Despite her years of experience investigating homicides for the force, Captain Linda Turner is haunted by the murders of the Hansen family. The two small children, clothed in tattered Disney pajamas, were buried with their father, a pastor, in the flower garden behind a church parsonage in Lincoln, Nebraska. But Mrs. Hansen is nowhere to be found—and neither is the killer.

In St. Louis, the televangelist Ray Williams is about to lose his show—until one of his regular attendees approaches him with an idea that will help him save it. Despite his initial misgivings, Ray agrees to give it a try. He can’t deny his attraction to this woman, and besides, she’d assured him the plan is just—God gave her the instructions in a dream.

Multiple story lines entwine throughout this compelling mystery, delving into the topics of murder, religious faith, and the inherent dangers in blindly accepting faith as truth. While Reverend Williams is swept up in his newfound success and plans for his wedding, Captain Turner can only hope that she and her team will catch the Hansens’ cunning killer—before more bodies surface.

Creepy cover, right? There’s something about a beat up, abandoned doll baby that immediately captures the  eye and the imagination and we know we’re in for an emotionally difficult read. Sure enough…

Linda Turner has seen a lot in her years on the Lincoln, Nebraska, police force but the discovery of the three bodies in the backyard of the pastorage and the seeming abduction of the pastor’s wife is a kicker and it’s hard to know where to begin her investigation. The missing woman is the primary concern, of course, since she might still be alive but the killings of the children, in particular, make this a high profile case. It’s always possible, of course, that Nicole Hansen is involved in the murder of her family but all anyone knows at first is that they had been expected on a missionary trip but had never arrived.

Meanwhile, another pastor, one who’s much more visible than Pastor Hansen, is ending his televangelist program in St. Louis because the revenue just isn’t supporting the expenses. Ray Williams’ heart was in the right place but he never managed to make a real success of this venture. When he’s approached by Susannah Baker, a fairly recent member of the church, with a potential plan to grow the ministry, Ray is initially disturbed by the appearance of fraud but Susannah does seem to believe in what she’s saying. Not far away, a mother and daughter have a disagreement about the mother’s attachment to Reverend Ray.

Early on, the reader learns who Susannah really is and the story arc lies in how Captain Turner will put the apparently unconnected pieces together. Linda is a woman of character, intelligent and driven by the search for justice, but can she get to the truth in time to prevent more tragedy? On the opposite end of the spectrum is Susannah, a manipulative, vicious woman compelled by greed and lacking any conscience. Blind faith plays a big part in her machinations and shines a light on how so many people are drawn into religious operations that may or may not be legitimate. Whether Linda can stop this unusual serial killer also involves a bit of blind faith of another sort.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

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Giveaway

To enter the drawing for an advance
reading
copy of Salvation Station,

leave a comment below. The
winning name will be drawn on
Sunday evening, May 24th.
Open to residents of the US and Canada.

Book Review: A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: A Fine Year for Murder
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #2
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Publication Date: February 6, 2017

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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A Fine Year for Murder
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #2
Lauren Carr
Narrated by C.J. McAllister
Acorn Book Services, February 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Nightmares or even normal dreams can tell a lot about a person, especially if they seem to be repetitive as in Jessica’s case. The fact that she strikes out at Murphy meant more to him than her at first but I was glad that he didn’t just dismiss what was happening. When they learn from investigative journalist Dallas Walker what might be the root of Jessica’s night terrors, finding out if she really did witness the murders becomes paramount and off they go with the unusual Dallas to do some after-the-fact sleuthing.

Jessica and Murphy visit her ultra-wealthy father, Mac Faraday, and it was a real pleasure to me to spend time with Mac and other family members and friends along with assorted pets that steal the show every time they step on the page. I hesitate to choose favorites because each one is wonderful but I do lean towards tv-obsessed couch potato Newman, Murphy’s Basset hound mix, and Mac’s German shepherd, Gnarly, at least this time. Added to the lighter side of things is the introduction of Nigel, Jessica’s and Murphy’s virtual butler, who is developing an attitude.

The extended Faraday-Thornton family has connections to the Riva family that owns the winery where the killing occurred and that’s why the young Jessica was there to see the teenaged Ava be so brutally murdered. The fact that she repressed the memories all these years isn’t at all surprising; the question is can she remember enough to help Sheriff Tim Taylor clear his friend’s name since it’s now clear to him, from a new discovery, that Curt Browning didn’t kill his sister, father and grandmother. To make things more difficult, there is a plethora of possible perpetrators and motives to muck it up, not to mention more unsolved crimes.

Jessica is no frail damsel in distress and she’s unafraid, if leery, to learn the truth about that frightening night. With a set of great characters by her side –or not– she will confront her demons and get to the facts. The reader who is not so familiar yet with these people will learn a lot about them in A Fine Year for Murder. Adding to that pleasure and a fascinating story, C.J. McAllister does a fine job with the narration and helps the listener distinguish between the players with little difficulty. I do want to mention that, although this is a pretty “clean” read, there are some very bad people and violent scenes that make this what I would call a traditional mystery, not a cozy unless you want to label it as cozy noir.

Next up, Murder by Perfection, and I can barely wait to get started 😉

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

************

Giveaway

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

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

************

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

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

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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

************

Giveaway

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

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

************

Book Reviews: Spin by Lamar Giles and Sideline Pressure by Kyle Jackson @LRGiles @Scholastic @JollyFishPress

Spin
Lamar Giles
Scholastic Press, January 2019
ISBN 978-1-338-21921-0
Hardcover

Mr. GilesSpin is a suck-you-in-so-fast YA suspense novel centered around teen-aged rising star, DJ ParSec. Or maybe more honestly, her murder.

Childhood friend and confidante, Kya, is incredibly proud of Paris’ success. Not just because of her own countless contributions in creating ParSec’s first set up. Kya has always been her biggest fan, staunchest supporter and most fierce defender. But, when one event shatters a huge part of Kya’s life and she desperately needs her best bud, she gets the persona, ParSec, and a cold shoulder instead.

That isn’t the only relationship crumbling for the frustrated DJ. She and fan-turned-friend, Fuse, had been spatting more than planning lately. Creative differences, nothing to do with the boy who may or may not have caused this wedge.

Oh, and the boy—well, his motives have been questionable since he’s come onto the scene.

From the outside looking in, it seems that there was a riff with Paris and three of the most important people in her life. But when delving deeper, the reader is reminded that things are not always as they appear and sometimes, the very real danger is cleverly disguised.

Spin epitomizes the stories I love to share with “my” students. Realistic, relatable characters with actual issues, sometimes solved by the very real strength of friendship.

Reviewed by jv poore, March 2020.

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Sideline Pressure
Mac’s Sports Report
Kyle Jackson
Jolly Fish Press, September 2018
ISBN 978-1-63163-236-5
Trade Paperback

It takes a responsible, disciplined person to make a reliable reporter. One who will remember his role. For example, a sports reporter provides a recap of the game. Sure, it can be colorful and somewhat opinionated, but it needs to stay on topic.

And that’s why Mac had to delete his original draft. While well-written, it had not exactly centered on the dismal performance of the Predators. But, by the last buzzer, none of the fans could concentrate on the middle-graders playing their hearts out on the court, either. The eruption of the anger-ball in the audience far overshadowed the basketball game.

I first ‘met’ Mac and his stellar statistician sidekick when I read Mr. Jackson’s Concussion Comeback. I adore the free-wheelin’ sports reporter, and I’m equally enamored with Samira. No surprise that I was super excited to start Sideline Pressure. Tackling yet another tough topic, this fast-paced Juvenile Fiction sports story shines a light on parents behaving badly and the rippling adverse effects.

Drew Borders is a strong starter for Coyote Canyon Middle School. Not good enough for the high-powered, ever-so-important attorney that is, unfortunately, his father. Stalking the sidelines, fired-up like a college coach during March Madness, Mr. Borders begins to angrily bark ‘advice’; but by game’s end and in-spite of the win, he’s just being nasty. Mac wants to do something and when Drew comes to him for help, of course he’s willing. If he can only figure out how.

I really enjoyed watching Mac work through the problem. When he made a mistake, or did not get the result he was going for, he tried a new tactic. And when he made up his mind, he stood his ground. Even after Mr. Borders threatened legal action.

If you’ve not recently had the pleasure of participation in youth sports, the irrational actions of this basketball-dad may seem a bit over the top. Sadly, speaking from (what feels like) extensive experience, this portrayal is particularly precise. I’m looking forward to sharing my new favorite sports story with my younger reader-friends. It’s a special kind of awesome to handily have something that makes the boys’ eyes light up.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2019.

Book Reviews: The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford and Murderabilia by Carl Vondereau @joeclifford23 @DownAndOutBooks @CarlVonderau @midnightinkbook

The One That Got Away
Joe Clifford
Down & Out Books, December 2018
ISBN: 978-1-948235-42-6
Trade Paperback

An upstate small town where almost everyone has at least one scurrilous or dangerous secret, is the fall setting for this story. Alex Salerno is the flawed, inept and persistent hero of this long and winding tale.

A decade ago she was one of several girls in the town, located in upstate New York, who was abducted and held for unnamed assaultive practices in a dark space. Waiting there, she knew the other girls had been killed. And then, a small miracle, she is rescued by the local detective who becomes her lover. Her abductor now resides in prison.

The experience, naturally, has permanently damaged Alex’s psyche and her life in New York State, at least as she relates it, is fraught, unrooted and filled with booze, drugs and impermanence. For uncertain reasons she has now returned to her home town to meet a reporter who may or may not be preparing a story for the local paper on the history of that time when so many young women and girls had been abducted and murdered.

She knew her abductor was in jail and the reporter was focusing on the later disappearance of another teenager named Kira Shanks. The rambling torturous plot is further obscured by the belief in some corners of this conflicted community that the man now held in a nearby mental institution was not responsible for Kira Shanks disappearance.

As the plot slowly unwinds and layer after layer of a depressing community are revealed, against her better judgement and with menace ever closer, Alex Salerno persists in sticking her nose in unwanted sometimes dangerous places. She is physically and mentally abused and even her tenuous family ties in the town are stressed. The narrative blends the viewpoints of several characters and at times readers may be confused as to who is speaking. Ultimately some of the mysteries and secrets of this town are resolved but one is left wondering about the future life of Alex Salerno.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, January 2020.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

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Murderabilia
Carl Vonderau
Midnight Ink Books, July 2019
ISBN 978-007387-6130-5
Trade Paperback

A dark, intense story of murder and family destruction, this novel, after a slow start, will engage readers in a way that will leave them in thoughtful contemplation of family relationships.

Will McNary has a successful career as a private banker who works with individual clients on their financial investments and other monetary activities. He’s married with two young children and living in San Diego. His life is generally calm and ordinary, although he’s feeling a little heat in the form of competition from other officers of the bank. His sister Polly and their aging mother share an unsettling secret.

When Will was a child of only eight, his father was sent to prison for murdering and butchering several women. He compounded his heinous crime by posing and photographing the women, pictures that were circulated and sold on the underground market. McNary’s father was convicted and when the novel opens, has been in prison for more than thirty years. Now, a copy-cat killer linked to Will’s father has emerged, one who appears to be targeting Will and his family.

The story follows Will along a sordid twisting trail as he attempts to protect his loved ones, help law enforcement find the vicious copy-cat, and plumb the emotional depths of the knowledge that he is the son of an incredibly twisted killer.

The novel is well-written and once moving along its trail, enthralling. I hesitate to call it a page turner, however, for those readers attracted to the truly dark side of humanity in several of its manifestations, this carefully crafted story is insistently engaging.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, January 2020.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.