Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Latest Mac Faraday Mystery by Lauren Carr Provides Outrageous Hostages, A Jealous Dog, A Ring...and Murder!

People are more what they hide than what they show. --Unknown

Stillman Mansion on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

"Austin is back this year," Olivia said in rhythm with the pace she had set for her power walk.
Two paces behind his wife, Roland took note of the white stone mansion along the chilly lake shore. The mansion looked closed up. All was quiet, as it was with many of the estates along the lake in the early spring. With each passing day, the quiet was giving way to the snowbirds coming in to roost at their summer homes in the resort town of Spencer, located in the corner of Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland...
I wonder if Janice will be throwing her week-long Fourth of July bash with all her has-been clients this year?" Roland asked.
"I can tell you right now that I'm not going if that loser Lenny is there." Feeling her heartbeat slowing down, she picked up her pace.
"Come on," her husband said with a laugh, "Lenny Frost isn't that bad. He's really kind of funny."
"He's crude," she shot at him from over her shoulder...
The couple continued on their way. They had only made it to the other end of the property when Derrick's screams stopped them. The
young man was running out the front door and dropped to his knees in the yard when they made it back to the driveway.
Olivia rushed over to Derrick, who had his face buried in his hands. "What's wrong?"
Shrieking, he pointed to the door. Roland ran inside. Olivia's heartbeat was racing. "Roland..."
"They're dead," he said in a panicked tone while taking his cell phone out of his pocket. "Both of them. Janice and Austin...Janice wrote something in her blood," Roland said before turning his attention to the cell phone. "I'd like to report two murders."
"Her killer," Derrick spat out. "I saw it, too. Lenny. Why else would Mom have written out his name in her blood while she was dying? Lenny Frost did it. He killed my parents."
~~~

Twelve To Murder: 
A Mac Faraday Mystery
By Lauren Carr

By the time Mac trotted up the steps
to the living room, Molly had ambushed
Gnarly from behind, chomped on his
tail, and pulled him back down onto the
floor when he had jumped up on the
front door to check out the visitors.
With a yelp, Gnarly whirled around
to get an earful from the white German
Shepherd...
His ears laying on the side of his head,
Gnarly slumped and gazed with big
brown eyes at the other dog who
returned to the kitchen with her
mistress...
~~~ 
Lenny whipped up the gun and
aimed it to Mac's forehead.
Edith, the barmaid, screamed.
With a growl, Gnarly jumped
to his feet...
~~~
I loved the title and cover of Lauren Carr's latest novel. Simple, but yet a portent of what is to come--Murder! And there are so many involved that the bodies are falling fast--faster than Mac is able to put the whole shebang together! Of course, there are many who are working with Mac, including Gnarly, who is called upon to use his former military training to help Mac! But still has time to get in trouble with his new girlfriend when he greets her after having been loaned out for...LOL

The two important reasons I enjoy reading this author is that her mysteries are complex. Readers need to be paying attention and looking for any clue she slides in, because you could very well miss them! The second is that there is an underlying feeling of humor that provides both a relief from the twists and turns as well as providing a love diversion. In this book, there is a very interesting exchange about marriage and then some internal soul-searching by Mac about the woman that sleeps in his bed...

And, of course, Gnarly... who, by the way, did "NOT" have a say in whether or not he was taken somewhere else just to be with another girl dog!


...he stepped inside to hear a baritone voice say, "Not
only do I feel violated, but I feel--these monsters stole
something from me that I'll never get back. I spent
four days handcuffed to a bed. I couldn't go anywhere.
They didn't just take away my freedom, but they made
me realize the true meaning of a word I had heard
uttered so many times without realizing what it really
meant. Victim. And I swear, with God as my witness,
that I will never again be a victim...
"Speaking in a manner that sounded eerily like
Andrew, the role in the first Mickey Forsythe movie
that had won him an Academy Award, Lenny Frost
told Barbara Walters about being kidnapped and
held for a million-dollar ransom...
"Seems the media has already identified their
prime suspect..."
~~~
Then, there are the hostages, which takes us back to the beginning, when Mac is called to a local bar by Lenny Frost who calls him by a name from a movie in which Lenny had played while in his teens! He was on top at the time but since then he had moved into drugs and alcohol as his daily acquaintances. He even claimed that the only way he could do his comedy club act was while using...

Lenny had been at the bar when the announcement came on the TV that the police had found the bodies of the Stillmans and that Lenny was named! This set Lenny into a frenzy and he immediately took everybody in the club as hostages, demanding to see Mickey Forsythe. Fortunately, the Sheriff called David, who, some of you may know, is Mac's half brother... They had both already been looking for Lenny due to the murders...

Just a word about the hostage "event." It's hilarious! And the police have no idea what to do when the hostages vote to have Mac leave and send in dinner for all from his resort!

But the medical examiner had already confirmed Mac's belief that Mrs. Stillman couldn't have used blood to write Lenny since she would have died too fast. But Lenny now taking hostages and seeking help from somebody who had played a role during the years he'd been kidnapped, confused everybody! Maybe...

So, while trying to solve the deaths of the Stillman family, which obviously placed their son as someone with a motive, and others who would have had a connection [Mrs. Stillman had been a talent agent for young actors], the cold case that had never been solved--that of who had kidnapped Lenny when he was a young star, and where was the money--all had to come back out for another examination!

..."Can I bother you for an autograph, Mac?"
Stunned, Mac stared at her with his mouth
hanging open. "Autograph? Mine? Why?"
"You're Robin Spencer's son," she gushed
while extracting a marker from hr bag. "You
are the offspring of a literary legacy. No one
in my book group will ever believe I met you
if I didn't get your autograph." She held out
the marker to him...
"You can sign it on my chest." To their dismay
she unbuttoned the top of her blouse and held
it open to expose the top of her left breast.
"Just sign your name right here over my heart."
~~~
By that time, bodies have started to appear, some of them likely part of the criminal activities. Can the entire set of mystery issues be solved? Why, of course, Mac wouldn't let something hanging when he's involved. After all, he's the son of the most famous mystery writer of all time! LOL

Hey, I think I was wowed more by the humor (which reminds me of another scene I loved!) than the mystery in this one... But then, again, I had to wait until the end to know whodunit...Tough mystery case, so be prepared... and, most of all, Enjoy!


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