Bookish Giveaway & Review: Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr

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Narrator: James C. Lewis

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2017)

Length: 6 hours 39 minutes

Series: Book 7 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 7 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

With the gruesome murder of the Stillmans, the police of Spencer, Maryland are out in force. Unfortunately, they fail to corral Derrick Stillman before he talks to the press, throwing blame for the murders on former child movie star Lenny Frost. From there, we end up with a group of drunk baseball enthusiasts held hostage while Mac Faraday and his half-brother police chief David O’Callaghan dig into the sordid pasts of all these people, the victims and suspects alike.

This was a delicious murder mystery that brings together failed movie careers, hostage situations, double and triple crossing, and guilt trips. Also, we delve into Mac’s love life a bit as his girlfriend Archie pushes to know why he doesn’t want to take the next step. Meanwhile, Gnarly dog is having girlfriend trouble of his own as he was pimped out, only to return to his regular girlfriend, Molly dog.

My favorite scenes were the old timers at the bar who are nearly oblivious to being held hostage (if only everyone would quiet down so they could enjoy the ball game!) and then when David takes on the female stunt woman Sela Wallace and walks away with some injuries. I also liked the jokes at Gnarly’s expense (lovingly doled out). He did over eat a bit, and it was weird bar food, so of course he would have digestive issues later on.

As a minor quibble, Wanda at the police station is described the exact same way in each book. I think I only noticed this because I have been listening to these books back to back. The sentences are the same, explaining that she’s almost always at the office because her grown kids and their offspring moved back home and she’s avoiding that chaos. With that said, we actually get to know more about her in this book as she has several lines while folks gather at the police station to figure out this tangled mystery.

I liked how we had two alcoholics/addicts in this tale. One has obviously worked hard to clean up his act while the other only enjoys the drama of the cycle (treatment, recovery, falling off the wagon, binges, treatment, etc.). It pulled at the heart strings a bit to see how one was trusted over the other with the resultant consequences.

Over all, it was a good solid mystery with plenty of moving parts and more than one guilty person with more than one motive. I love the way Mac puts challenges in front of his hotel manager, a really good guy who takes his job seriously.

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

The Narration: James C. Lewis was OK with this book. His female voices were good but his range wasn’t that big. Often, I had to listen closely to keep track of who was talking unless it was a character with a distinct accent. The narrators keep changing for this series and I think that’s part of it. I had gotten used to Mike Algers and previously Dan Lawson did an incredible job on one of the books. Book 1 was narrated by a woman, Janean Jorgenson. As a stand alone, I would say this is a decent narration.

What I Liked: A layered mystery; former child stars; an alcoholic who is succeeding with his recovery versus one who doesn’t take recovery seriously; the drunk baseball enthusiasts at the bar; Gnarly’s woman troubles; Sela the stunt woman; multiple guilty parties.

What I Disliked: There’s a minor character, Wanda, who gets the same descriptive paragraph for the last 3 books. This is a minor criticism and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. 

Check out the TOUR PAGE for more reviews and stuff.

GIVEAWAY!!!

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally). Ends July 21st, 2017.

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Giveaway & Review: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr

Scroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Narrator: James C. Lewis

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2016)

Length: 7 hours 40 minutes

Series: Book 2 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone novel.

Set in Maryland, Mac Faraday is looking forward to a nice companionable evening with his neighbor Archie and his dog Gnarly when his ex-wife Christine unexpectedly shows up. She wants to reconcile but Mac isn’t even going to consider it. Making sure she’s safely ensconced at the nearby resort for the night, he plans to have a final conversation with her the next morning when she’s sober. However, she and the man that wrecked their marriage, Stephen, are both found dead at the resort. The plot thickens when Stephen’s room is searched and old case files that concern Mac are discovered.

It was nice to return to Mac Faraday’s neck of the woods. I have previously enjoyed Book 5, The Murders at Astaire Castle. Here, I get to know more about Mac’s origins. He’s a retired homicide detective who unexpectedly inherited a fortune from his birth mother. He’s also got a half-brother (David), the large mansion he now resides in, and the local resort. With no day job, the mystery of his ex-wife’s murder becomes the focus of his keen wit and all his energy.

As with every Lauren Carr novel I have experienced, this mystery has layers, some of which go back decades. For some reason Stephen was looking into old case files, several of which were tied to Mac in some way. The Chief of Police (David) has to take a hard look at Mac before he can be cleared in the murders, and their blood relationship ruffles some people’s feathers. Now I did find it a little too convenient that David was OK with Mac investigating the murders. Even with him cleared, he still has a stake in the outcome of the investigation. While it makes for great drama having Mac run around asking tough questions and discovering clues, I did have to work hard to suspend my disbelief on this point.

Archie is a wonder with modern electronics and worked closely with Mac’s birth mother (a famous mystery writer) for over a decade before she passed away. She’s become friends with Mac and there’s potentially a romance building between the two. While I do like her character, the author doesn’t really do much with her. Christine, who dies pretty early on, has more influence on the story than Archie does.

There’s this one side character who is of South American decent and works as a maid. The plot felt a little weak when Christine’s sisters immediately equated this person to a South American maid they had years ago. How many documented and undocumented South American women work as maids in the US? Too many to count. So I did feel that it was a really big leap for everyone to assume this maid was the same one who worked for the sisters in the past. While this leap did move the plot forward, it could have been done much better.

Otis the squirrel added some perfect comedic relief. I also liked Gnarly’s klepto behavior, not that I want to encourage it. Still, it was funny how he was so picky about what dog chew he stole from the store.

The answer to the big mystery wasn’t what I was expecting. I liked the surprise, but I felt the execution was a little far-fetched. I wanted a bit more build up or a few more details – something to help me buy into it. Even with that, I found the over all story to be engaging and entertaining. I really like Mac’s character.

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

The Narration: James C. Lewis makes a really good Mac Faraday. He sounds like a retired cop. I also liked how he managed to make David, Mac’s half-brother, sound related. His female voices could use more femininity but each character was distinct.

What I Liked: A layered mystery; Mac’s character; Gnarly and Otis; Archie’s skills; David’s easy relationship with Mac; an unexpected twist at the end.

What I Disliked: I had to work hard several times to suspend my disbelief and just go with the story; Archie’s character is under used.

Check out the TOUR PAGE for more reviews and stuff.

GIVEAWAY!!!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway