Giveaway & Review: Kill and Run by Lauren Carr

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Narrator: C. J. McAllister

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2016)

Length: 11 hours

Series: Book 1 thorny Rose Mysteries

Author’s Page

Set in modern day Washington D.C., a serial killer has just taken out five women. As Murphy Thornton digs into it, more possible victims are discovered as the pattern becomes clear. He will need the help of his stepmom Cameron Gates to untangle this mess!

While there were plenty of things I liked about this book, I often felt that I needed two maps – one for the family tree of all the relatives involved in this story and the second for all the different military and state police groups involved. Basically, I could tell that our main characters had to be very careful of stepping on toes no matter what they did.

Now that I have that little criticism out of the way, here’s the good stuff. I really liked how deep this mystery went. There were plenty of people involved and the events span years. Now there’s a young girl, Izzy, in danger. She was a real treat, being the animal lover that she is. I was on the edge of my seat sometimes hoping things would work out ok for her.

There’s a little romance here as there are a few couples involved in solving the crime. Murphy, who is working with the NCIS, and his wife Jessica Faraday are newlyweds and still figuring out some of their longer term goals. Incidentally, Jessica is related to the main Faradays in Carr’s other mystery series – The Mac Faraday Mysteries.

Cameron Gates, a police detective, lost her first husband to a hit and run many years ago. She since has remarried to Joshua Thornton (a JAG lawyer), Murphy’s dad. As that hit and run is revisited, Cameron and Joshua are drawn into this mystery as well. Cameron and Joshua have their own mystery series that I am sorely tempted to check out – Lovers in Crime Mysteries.

With this talented cast, we need equally devious and dedicated criminals to make a good story and Carr doesn’t disappoint there. A string of rapes is soon connected to certain men rising in the military. Now some of those women are dead. There’s a killer on the loose who is also a sexual predator. It was pretty intense towards the end complete with car chases.

I liked that not every thing came out all rosy. The true villains at the hear of it got most of what they deserved but the good guys didn’t get all they asked for. I like how that reflects life sometimes. With yet another generation of this tangled family setting up for a love match, I had the distinct feeling the author was prepping us for another spinoff mystery series. Hooray!

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

The Narration: C. J. McAllister did an OK job. The narration started off pretty bland but got better throughout the book. At first, the narrator sounded a bit bored but later on he seems to get into the story and the narration picks up. Also, from the voice acting I thought Murphy was much older and then his dad Joshua is brought into the story and Joshua’s voice sounded about the same or younger to me. The ladies voices were distinct and a somewhat feminine. He did do a really good job with young Izzy.

What I Liked: A deeper mystery; ties in characters from other mystery series; the ending isn’t all roses; Izzy stole the show.

What I Disliked: I needed a family tree to keep it all straight; I needed a military/state jurisdictional map.

Check out more reviews, interviews, spotlights, and more on the blog tour.

 

Synopsis of Kill and Run:

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 Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift 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?

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About the Author Lauren Carr:

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.

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Blueblood by Matthew Iden

IdenBluebloodWhere I Got It: Own it.

Narrator: Lloyd Sherr

Publisher: Matthew Iden (2014)

Length: 6 hours 36 minutes

Series: Book 2 Marty Singer

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

Marty Singer returns to more private investigation work. His last case was forced upon him and he’s reluctant to take on this new case. He’s still fighting cancer and wants to focus his time and energy on that and enjoying what he can of his early retirement. But an aging cop, Sam Bloch, asks for his help in looking into four seemingly unrelated murders scattered across a few precincts. Right away, Marty is intrigued. On the surface, nothing appears to link the cases. Yet as he digs into the details, he begins to wonder if he isn’t dealing with a serial cop killer.

Once again, Matthew Iden delivers a captivating murder mystery. I really enjoyed Book 1 (A Reason to Live) and this book continues the same quality entertainment. Marty is a bit of a history buff, a little bit of  a wise ass, and a sometimes lonely man who has his heart in the right pace. Amanda Lane, who we met in Book 1, continues to be his surrogate daughter. She’s graduating and has started applying for jobs, some of which could take her out of the DC metro area. Poor Marty has a little heart ache over that but would never ask Amanda to take a job closer to home if it’s not what she wanted.

The murder mystery itself was fascinating. There are details in each case that fit the theory of a serial cop killer, but then there are also a few details in some of the cases that don’t fit. So it’s a bit of a jumble upon first inspection. I really enjoyed watching Marty dig into these cases. The cops were undercover, incorporating themselves into various gangs in the area. The author did a great job of showing how that undercover work affected the cops’ families.

There’s some nitty gritty goodness for this story and it gave this almost hard-boiled cop ambiance to the plot. I like that things are messy and that Marty has to keep reminding himself that not everyone (outside of certain professions like cops and medical personnel) can look at crime scene photos the way he does. While the gruesome violence is made crystal clear to the reader, the author doesn’t linger over it. This isn’t a horror flick; it’s a great PI crime story with a few horrific details.

The ending was satisfying. The murder mystery had me guessing at the details until the big reveal. Marty experiences some danger and putting the killer away is a little slice of bitter justice. All in all, an excellent read.

The Narration: Lloyd Sherr continues to be an excellent pick for Marty Singer. I like his voice for wise-ass Marty. He has distinctive voices for all the other characters, doing a very good job with the female character voices as well. He tossed in several regional accents which was great.

What I Liked: The murder mystery was pretty fascinating and kept me guessing to the end; Marty is still fighting his cancer; Amanda Lane plays surrogate daughter; justice can be a bitter pill to swallow.

What I Disliked: Nothing – it’s a worthy addition to the murder mystery genre.

What Others Think:

A Kindle & Kittens

Ami’s Hoard

Hand of Chaos by J. Hamlet

HamletHandofChaosWhy I Read It: I really enjoy the theme of government sanctioned arcane/paranormal beastie hunters.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author via Masquerade Tours (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Like your detective novels with a heavy dose of the magical and paranormal? Check this book out.

Publisher: Createspace (2013)

Length: 311 pages

Series: Volume 1 Chaos Theology

Author’s Page

Set in modern day Washington DC, Anna Wei is a government employee. But not a boring employee with a boring job. No, she uses arcane powers to track down paranormal baddies. And she is not alone. She is part of an entire team that does this sort of thing for a paycheck. Of course, they can’t really talk about their work outside of their organization, which might explain why Anna can be quite the weeknight party animal she is; she is seeking companionship but also fears it. So she settles for some drunken sport sex here and there and lives with the hangovers.

And today, at 530AM, she is dealing with a hangover as she heads off to fight a nest of zombies. Wish her luck!

And that is just the opening folks. This was a fun urban fantasy that employs the right mix of magic and nitty gritty detective work. Anna was easy to connect with because she wasn’t perfect and occasionally, knowingly, made bad decisions. Her partner Roy, a paladin blessed with (or cursed with) immortality brought some weightiness to the storyline with his age and experience. A summoner, a shaman, a wizard (Ayham), and a shapeshifter also played parts in the story (though I don’t want to spoil anything for you).

And Anna uses body jewelry/adornments to spell cast. I really liked this aspect because we start out getting to know Anna a little bit (her over indulgences, her job of saving the world) and then Hamlet throws in all the body piercings. We, the readers, don’t judge her first by her body modifications, and hey, they are work related. If I had a nose piercing that helped combat local paranormal baddies, I would wear it all the time. Except during a fist fight.

Speaking of baddies, our biggest antagonist of the story was Ethan. Now Ethan has a sponsor, a demon from Hell named Plague, so he can’t be given all the credit for every little bad thing that happens in this book. I quite enjoyed hating on these two, even though I started off a bit sympathetic to Ethan. After all, he is trying to avenge the death of his brother, even if he loses himself in the process.

My two criticisms are small. There were some typos throughout the book, so it could have used one more round of editing to give it that polish. Also, the cover art doesn’t really portray the book well. I see the government authority on the cover, but where is all the arcane stuff?

All in all, a fun read and I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

lavinia-portraitRIP9BannerWhat I Liked: Anna’s mistakes, even though she is the main hero; Anna’s team of sometimes misfits; the body ornamentation as work required; Ethan and his back story.

What I Disliked: Needs another round of editing; the cover art didn’t do it for me.

I am participating in the yearly reading event R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. I will count Hand of Chaos as my dark fantasy read for the R.I.P. challenge.

What Others Think:

Check out the blog tour organized by Masquerade Tours for more reviews, interviews.

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