Bookish Giveaway & Review: Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr

Scroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Narrator: Dan Lawson

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2014)

Length: 7 hours 13 minutes

Series: Book 4 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 4 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

Set in Spencer, Maryland in the Deep Creek Lake gated community, retired DC cop Mac Faraday is about to be hip deep in organized crime and federal protection agents. Tommy Cruze is out of prison after several years and his search has finally turned up the witness that put him behind bars. He’s come to Spencer to hunt her down.

This was a great addition to the series. We finally have something more to Archie Monday than her efficient nature and love of pink. She witnessed a serious crime many years back and had to testify and then go into federal protective custody. That meant saying goodbye to her entire past and becoming the personal assistant to Robin Spencer, a renowned mystery writer and Mac’s true birth mother (who gave him up for adoption). Now all that has to come out and Mac’s both a little hurt that Archie hadn’t told him before and also feeling very protective of her, as two of Cruze’s men have already made an attempt on her life. Lucky for Archie, she took the time to become a proficient shot.

Things get even more convoluted when a poisoning occurs at a dockside cafe where a woman and her daughter, who also happen to be in federal protective custody, work. Leah and her young daughter Sari move into the big Spencer Manor for protection while all this gets sorted out.

Randi Finnegan was a fun addition to the story. Mac’s half-brother David O’Callaghan has caught the eye of the federal agent but Randi isn’t sure he’s interested at all. She’s prickly and not a beauty and she knows it. So she focuses on the job and she’s good at it. I liked the potential of something blooming between these two.

There’s potentially another murder at a B&B. Initially, it looks like a very sick woman stumbled and fell down the stairs, but Mac and David look deeper. Yet another death occurs outside of a restaurant in town and the police have to consider if this one is linked to Tommy Cruze and his second in command. Indeed, it seems Spencer is full of killers this season!

Mac, Archie, and David have their hands full untangling this one! I really enjoyed watching them dig down to the roots of these cases and figure out which were related and which weren’t. Meanwhile, Gnarly was keeping the little girl Sari company. This was so sweet and so cute that it was almost too much. Like a sweet lemonade, sometimes the sugar can just be too much. Luckily, those scenes were sprinkled throughout the story so it wasn’t a turn off.

I received a free copy of this book via iRead Book Tours.

The Narration: Dan Lawson rocked this book. There have been a few narrators for this series and Lawson is my favorite so far. He has a really good range of voices, his female voices are believable, he does the little kid Sari really well, and he even has believable accents (both foreign and regional). I was impressed with his performance on this book.

What I Liked: Archie’s past; Archie’s gun skills; Randi’s dedication to her job; Sari & Gnarly; the tangle of murders; great narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really liked this one!

Check out the TOUR PAGE for more reviews and stuff.


One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally). Ends July 9th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: Lauren Carr, Author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleEveryone, please welcome Lauren Carr to the blog today. I really enjoyed her Mac Faraday mystery, The Murders at Astaire Castle. Lauren has been kind enough to give us a bit of her time for this interview. Also, don’t  forget to check out the tour-wide audiobook giveaway! If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom.

What makes you cringe?

A very messy kitchen that needs cleaning.

Who are some of your favorite book villains?

This is such a hard question to answer. I know what I like and don’t like in a villain. Not being a fan of serial killer books, I don’t like Hannibal Lecter, no matter how elegant and educated he is. I actually get angry when the villain escapes justice at the end of a mystery so that he or she can return in another book, which has become a popular gimmick that some writers use. It leaves me with a heavy sense of injustice. There’s too much of that in the real world. I read books to escape. So I want to see the villain captured and getting what he or she deserves in the end.

Do you have any phobias?

No, but I live in fear of a horribly dirty house that I have to clean. But I don’t have a fear of germs. I just hate cleaning. I’m not afraid of it. I simply hate it.

CarrItsMurderMySonIf everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Caution, murder mystery writer at work. Careless treatment of this writer could result in ending up in one of her book.

In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

I always enjoy talking about my books and my writing. So I have to say that I love book tours and the opportunity to talk to readers and reviewers about my murder mysteries. As for what is most challenging? That’s easy. Keeping my website up to date. I get so wrapped up in my writing and answering questions that I forget about my website. There have been times that I have actually forgotten to list my latest book or even tour dates.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

1. Agatha Christie. She would order something French in honor of Hercule Poirot, who was Belgian, not French.
2. Erle Stanley Gardner. He would order a manly steak and potatoes and smoke a cigarette over scotch for dessert.
3. Carolyn Keene, which is a pseudonym for several writers who wrote the Nancy Drew books, which I read while growing up. She would order rice cakes. Since she’s not real, she wouldn’t be eating real food.
4. Of course, at the other end, we can’t not have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the master who created Sherlock Holmes. He will order kidney pie.
5. And a mystery dinner would not be complete with the author of the first mystery, Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote The Purloined Letter. He would order a poultry dish, most definitely not raven.

CarrBlastFromThePastWhat do you do when you are not writing?

I love to cook and especially enjoy trying new and exotic recipes. But I hate cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Did I already mention that?

Side characters can make or break a story. What side characters have you enjoyed in other works? What side characters in your own work have caught more attention than you expected?

I really enjoy Archie Goodwyn in the Nero Wolfe mysteries. Here is a side character who, in reality, is the protagonist. He’s witty, even snarky. As the narrator and the front man for Nero Wolfe, he is in the forefront—yet, he’s the side character.

I have been completely floored by how Mac Faraday’s side character, Gnarly, his German Shepherd, has caught so much attention. I have included animals in every one of my books, because I love animals. I myself grew up as a farm girl. I knew my readers would have to love animals, too, but the immediate attraction to Gnarly took me completely by surprise. Would you believe Gnarly was not in the first or even second draft of It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday Mystery? I wrote him in a later draft of the book.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

The Bobbsey Twins. That was the first chapter book I read. I believe I was in the second grade. The actual book was in our family’s book case. It had been one of my mother’s school books from when she was a child. I remember it was an old worn book and didn’t even have a front or back cover. That’s how old it was.

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleBook Blurb for The Murders at Astaire Castle:

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.

Buy the Book:   Amazon  ~  Audible

LaurenCarrAuthorAuthor’s Bio:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

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


This giveaway is part of the iRead Book Tour. Don’t forget to check out more interviews, reviews,  & guest posts on the blog tour! Win an audiobook copy of The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr (2 winners – open int’l), a stand alone Mac Faraday mystery, narrated by Dan Lawson. Contest ends Oct. 30, 2016.  Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

iRead Website new logo

The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleNarrator: Dan Lawson

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2014)

Length: 8 hours 9 minutes

Series: Book 5 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 5 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.

Set on Spencer Hill, in Deep Creek, Maryland, Mac Faraday won’t balk at exploring his property in full, and that includes the Astaire Castle which has been closed up since his biological mother passed away. It’s haunted and even his own half-brother David O’Callaghan (local police chief) thinks it’s a very bad idea to go exploring the castle. The Astaire Castle is the site of suicides, disappearances, and murders. As Mac Faraday, retired homicide detective, delves into the castle’s history yet more bodies turn up, and he and David are soon forced to reopen the case of the missing horror writer Damian Wagner.

This was an entertaining story, especially for the Halloween season. This tale has the haunted castle, a missing horror writer, and a wolf man! And that’s just the opening few chapters to this book. Mac and David argue like brothers and there’s a real  friendship there even if they disagree on things. Hector, the blunt Australian, was a favorite character as well. I liked his (sometimes snarky) humor. Gnarly, the big friendly, food-oriented German shepherd, often stole the show.

While the men get to do most of the action and decisions for the book, there are a few ladies that stand out. Archie, Mac’s lover, has  some role attached to the police department, though the details of which remained a bit fuzzy to me. While the guys often left her behind as they went off to adventure, she did have her moments with her gentle teasing, easing info out of this character or that. Chelsea with her medical condition and her service dog, Molly, also added to the story, specifically as an interesting love interest for one of the characters.

The wolfman was an interesting touch and one I didn’t expect. It definitely added a dimension to the book. The reveal of who did it came as a surprise as well. The wrap up left me wondering if there was a supernatural element to the story after all. All told, my only quibble is that I would have liked the ladies to be a bit more involved. Other than that, it was a pretty fun read.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author (via iRead Book Tours – thanks!) at no cost.

Narration: Dan Lawson makes a great Mac Faraday. He sounds decisive and also  captures the characters fondness (and sometimes exasperation) for Gnarly. His female voices were believable.  His voice for David was similar to Mac’s  (which makes sense since they are related) and he kept it distinct from Mac’s most of the time.

What I Liked: Haunted castle; multiple bodies from different methods; the wolfman; Gnarly and his willingness to put anything in his mouth; Chelsea and her service dog; Hector the blunt Australian; good ending. 

What I Disliked: The ladies often get pushed to the backseat. 

What Others Think:

For Life After

The Journey Back

Just Reviews

Bless Their Hearts Mom