- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
To the arrogant, envious, rude, self-centered, demented, and twisted souls amongst us. For without you, murder mystery writers would be without inspiration. — Dedication of ‘The Lady Who Cried Murder’
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Lauren Carr’s “The Lady Who Cried Murder” (Acorn Book Services, 296 pages, trade paperback, $12.99, also available in a Kindle ebook edition) is the sixth entry in Carr’s Mac Faraday series, but it covers so many sordid deeds that it also brings in Cameron Gates, an officer in the Pennsylvania State Police, and Hancock County, WV Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton — the married stars of her Lovers in Crime series — to solve a number of crimes in the greater Pittsburgh area which have Maryland connections.
Mac Faraday is the love child of famed mystery writer Robin Spencer, who, on her death, left him a $270 million fortune, a magnificent home in Deep Creek Lake, MD and the Spencer Inn, a five-star resort in Garrett County, MD. He also inherits the lovely Archie Monday, Robin’s researcher and editor and Mac’s lady love.
For more background on Mac and his friends, here’s my review of the debut entry in the series, “It’s Murder, My Son”: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/23832
There’s so much in this fast-paced novel featuring some truly evil characters that I can only summarize some of the action. I leave it to the reader to react with horror to the actions of U.S. Sen. Henry Palazzi, his weird beyond description son Bevis Palazzi and a collection of bad people who would do credit to a Mickey Spillane thriller. Fortunately for the reader, Carr provides one of my favorite, if often left out, features: a front-of-the book Cast of Characters.
Carr says “The Lady Who Cried Murder” was inspired by a personal encounter with a neighborhood bully. “Believe it or not, childhood bullies do grow up,” Carr says.
“Just like any bully, ours never attacks when my husband is around. He only makes his verbal assaults when I’m alone and for no reason.”
Carr takes this incident — what some who would consider to be minor, if annoying — and expands it into a murder mystery.
“Writers like to analyze people for character development,” Carr explained. “Not knowing anything about this man, including his name, I had to imagine virtually everything about him to come up with a motive for his arrogant behavior, especially toward me. Then, I came to realize that our society is overrun with bullies—not just those who stop their cars and scream at women who happen to be walking their dogs. I was surprised to realize that some areas of our society embrace arrogance. Also, some bullies, due to their power or social positions, are protected by those around them, which allows them to prey on the rest of us.”
A central character in the novel is Khloe Everest, a would be reality TV star, who — determined to get her pretty face in front of the cameras — fakes an abduction, only to make a grand entrance in the midst of a press conference being held by Mac’s half-brother, Spencer Police Chief David O’Callaghan.
Three years later, after failing to catapult her notoriety into a long-lasting celebrity, Khloe Everest returns to Spencer upon her mother’s sudden death and seemingly finds another weapon to propel her into the spotlight. Unfortunately, someone kills her before she can make this entrance.
No Mac Faraday novel would be complete without Gnarly, his German Shepherd, who becomes a hero in the book after being pressed into service as a K-9. Also present is Gnarly’s girlfriend, Molly, the service dog of Chelsea Adams, a woman with whom David O’Callaghan seeks a relationship. In addition to being mysteries, Carr’s novels have a large helping of romance in them.
Along with the two dogs, Irving, Homicide detective Cameron Gates’ 25-pound black and white Maine Coon Cat, also appears in the novel; Cameron can’t leave Irving behind in Pennsylvania. It’s fortunate for Archie that Irving is on the scene in Spencer Manor.
About the Author
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.
Carr is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, Blast from the Past, and The Murders at Astaire Castle have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The Lady Who Cried Murder is the sixth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second installment in the Lovers in Crime, Real Murder will be published in 2014.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.
She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. Her website: http://mysterylady.net
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Reviewer’s Note: For my Feb. 26, 2014 review of the seventh Mac Faraday mystery, “Twelve to Murder”:http://www.huntingtonnews.net/82960