Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review and Guest Post: A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr



About:

After 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 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 living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting 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?

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~ Add on Goodreads


My Thoughts:


I have now read a few of author Lauren Carr’s books, but I was especially excited to see that she had written a second novel in her Thorny Rose Mystery series.  Why?  Because the first book in the series was my first introduction to author Ms. Carr and immediately I liked newlyweds Murphy and Jessica.  A Fine Year for Murder puts the focus back on my favorite newlywed couple and throws some pretty huge road blocks in the way of their happily ever after.  Jessica is experiencing nightmares and night terrors that are set off when she is exposed to certain triggers.  I like that Murphy, as a good husband, is learning to deal with these nighttime situations as part of the adjustment to being a newlywed. However, he begins to notice a pattern that raises some questions that something may be buried deep in Jessica’s subconscious and that they need to get to the bottom of it.

Now Jessica’s father is a great help in all of this and suggests that it has something do with when Jessica was 10 years old and staying with some distant relatives for the summer.  There was a murder incident that occurred that Jessica may have been witness to.  So taking some vacation time, Murphy and Jessica decide to go pay a visit to these obscure relatives and try to get to the bottom of what happened, with the help of Dallas, a relatively new family friend. 

Once again Ms. Carr has given us a mystery that is chock full of crazy and shady people that all seem to have some murkiness in their pasts.  And at times the mystery is complicated by the local police and even more developments that seem to have nothing to do with the current case.  I felt that the suspense was ratcheted up more by the problems that were occurring in Murphy and Jessica’s perfect marriage that I was really concerned how everything would play out.

Ms. Carr has always been a master in adding fun loving pets in her suspense’s, this time we got to meet Nigel, Murphy’s and Jessica’s virtual butler.  He was a fun added element to the story and I hope he continues to make an appearance in their future stories.

On a side note, this story contains some mature themes, some bad language, and intimacies (though not graphic) between a husband and wife.  The bad guys, well they were really bad and so they did some pretty evil things that I would definitely consider this an adult read.


I received a copy of this book for free.  I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions and views expressed are my own.

About the Author:



Author's Bio:

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!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, 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, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Interview with Lauren Carr

1) Please tell us about your book.
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 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 living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting 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.

2) Please tell us about the Thorny Rose detectives. How are they different? How are they similar?
Jessica and Murphy are much younger, more daring, and without a doubt more impulsive than their fathers. Also, since they are millennials, they lean toward today’s high tech lifestyle—thus, the character of Nigel, their virtual butler.
The setting alone (Washington DC) makes for a different type of criminal element. Since Murphy is a military officer assigned to the Pentagon, then we get to add a political element. As a phantom, he’s often sent on secret assignments. Then, we have Jessica Faraday, a savvy and rich young woman who knows her way around high society, which will prove to be helpful to Murphy.
Behind the scenes, readers get to see the normal adjustments that every newlywed couple must deal with—like where does the peanut butter go (fridge or cupboard) and how many children do they want to have and when.
Yet, personally, I do not want the Thorny Rose Mysteries to be a wholly political suspense mystery series. Wanting to make that clear, I set our detectives in the wine country of southern Virginia for A Fine Year for Murder.

3) Why did you decide to cross the characters of your three series over from one series to the other?
It just sort of happened. After I had started writing the Mac Faraday mysteries, fans of my first two books, the Joshua Thornton Mysteries, asked me to bring Joshua back. So I decided to include him Shades of Murder, in which I introduced Joshua Thornton to Cameron Gates and they became the Lovers in Crime. Once I had introduced my protagonists to each other, I couldn’t stop.

4) What's your favorite part of writing mysteries?
The creation of the puzzle. I view a mystery as a story puzzle. The mystery writer puts together the murder mystery, complete with the characters, their separate agendas, evidence, and clues. Then, the writer takes it all apart and scatters it throughout a story that takes the reader on a thrilling adventure of mystery.

5) What got you interested in writing mysteries?
I fell in love with mysteries when my mother read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. She loves murder mysteries and devours them. As a matter of fact, the libraries in and around Chester, West Virginia, have mysteries brought in from other libraries for her because she’s read all they have in stock.
Out of four children, I’m the only one who inherited her love for mysteries books. Like her, I would inhale every mystery I could get my hands on, but I felt writing mysteries would be too difficult to tackle. However, eventually, the mysteries that I was reading ceased to be challenging enough. That was when I started writing my own mysteries with lots of twists and turns to challenge the reader.

6) Do you have any authors who influenced you?
Having grown up on the masters, I definitely look to Agatha Christie and Earl Stanley Gardner. I also like the twisting plotlines of Tess Gerritsen.
7) Mysteries have remained a consistently popular genre for the entire history of mass market popular literature. Why do you think that is?
Mysteries cover a broad genre, which encompasses a wide range of sub genres. What makes this genre so great is that it is flexible enough to change with the times. The genre is not confined by time period or technology. It has the capabilities of growing with our society, which makes it every changing.
For example, when science came to the forefront in crime solving, then mystery writers easily adapted. A whole new subgenre grew out of that to include forensics detectives.
Technology has also opened the door for new and different characters. For example, I’ve been quite surprised to have both readers and reviewers say that one of their favorite characters in A Fine Year for Murder is Nigel, the Jessica and Murphy’s virtual butler. He’s a computer!

8) Do you think reader expectations have changed throughout the decades?
Most definitely. Readers, especially die-hard mystery fans, are quite sophisticated, and are becoming more so with the Internet, which has put scientific information at readers fingertips.
As a result, mystery writers must keep up with science and technology in law enforcement and the courts, because our readers do. An author can’t write a mystery that completely ignores forensics anymore, unless they create a situation where it is not available, like a period piece where the story happens before forensics came to the forefront, or set in a remote location where it is unavailable.
9) What other mysteries do you have planned for these detectives in the future, either separate or together?
Look for Twofer Murder this summer.
Twofer Murder will be a treat for mystery lovers because it will be two mysteries in one novel. This book will contain all of the characters from the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go fishing and get embroiled in a murder mystery. Meanwhile, the ladies go off to a murder mystery writers conference and end up wrapped up in their own mystery when an up and coming mystery writer ends up dead! Can’t beat that! Two mysteries for the price of one!






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