Monday, December 26, 2016

Lauren Carr Gives Us One of Her Best Mysteries, Killer in the Band!

Cameron slipped her cell phone out of her pocket and brought up her police app so that she could search for the case. “When and where was this Dylan Matthews killed, and who do you think killed him?” 
“I don’t know who killed him.” Tears came to her eyes. “But I do know that he was murdered, and I didn’t say anything.” She sobbed. “Now I feel so ashamed. I’m afraid to tell J.J. what I did— or didn’t do. How could he respect me if he knew I didn’t do anything and let my friend, someone I cared about—” 
“That’s something you need to talk to him about,” Cameron said. “In the meantime, tell me who this Dylan Matthews was and what happened to him.” 

Eleven Years Ago— Dixmont State Hospital, Outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania “Hard to believe this was once a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital,” the young Pennsylvania state trooper said to his partner, an older officer who seemed unimpressed with the long history of the century-old hospital that rested on top of a hill overlooking a major freeway and railroad tracks. Heavily damaged by fire and decades of neglect, the complex’s main building had once been a historic landmark, a toast to what had been considered cutting-edge psychiatric treatment back in the 1800s. More than a century later, the many buildings that made up the facility lay in ruins, decaying, and the grounds were overgrown and covered in trash left by kids, psychics, and filmmakers.
“Detective Gates,” Fred said with a stiff smile before introducing her to his partner. “Detective Gates is with Pennsylvania’s homicide division.” Struck not only by how attractive she was but also by how young she appeared to be, the young officer shot her a grin. She couldn’t have been much over thirty, if that. With a polite nod to the young police officer, she asked, “What have we got?” “A dead body,” the young officer answered. “A creepy dead body.” “They’re going to tear the place down,” Fred said while leading her down the battered concrete walkway, around the long main building, and to the abandoned building behind it. “I heard all about that,” Cameron said, watching to make sure that she didn’t trip over rocks or the broken cement on the uneven path. “The owners tried to have the place renovated so that they could build a shopping center a couple of years ago. Ended up causing big landslides down onto Highway Sixty-Five and the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. It took the state weeks to clean up the mess.” “So now they’re just mowing the whole place down.” Fred led her around the corner of the main building. A second abandoned building came into view. “This is the dietary building,” the young officer said. “They found the body in the walk-in freezer.”
Shaking her head, Suellen sucked in a deep, shuddering breath. “Like I said, it was thirty—” She paused and then corrected herself. “No, I was twenty, so it was twenty-eight years ago. Fourth of July. Our band was one of four selected to do a concert at the college in Moon. We were the third band to perform and went right before the main attraction.”
“Moon?” Cameron cocked an eyebrow. “Out by where Dixmont State Hospital used to be?”
“Exactly.” Suellen’s eyes glazed over as she recalled what had happened. “We were on top of the world— on top of our little world. We had been together a little more than a year, but we were successful enough to get bookings practically every weekend. We had a following, and we were making money.”
 “That’s big,” Cameron said.
“I liked to think it was because of my original songs,” Suellen said. “But I was enough of a realist to know that it was more than that. Dylan Matthews was our lead singer. He was tall with wavy blond hair and one sexy body. He had a good-enough voice and could play only six chords on that fancy guitar of his. But, man— he knew how to work a crowd.”

Killer in the Band:
A Lovers in Crime Mystery

By Lauren Carr

Whew! What a Mystery--undoubtedly one of Lauren Carr's best! Cold cases take us back in years, while more recent murders get up close and personal with the main characters, the Thornton Clan... 

The easiest way to explain the merge  of cases from a family standpoint is that Josh Thornton's son has come home after finishing law school, to prepare for the State Bar Exam. While there, he gets a call that a former lover has asked that he come to her--she is dying. Not an easy way to learn that your son has been involved with a much older, former teacher and is now moving in to her home. She is a neighbor!

At the same time Cameron Thornton, Josh's wife, has been called in on a cold case--a body had been found in an old refrigerator at Dixmont State Hospital and she's anxious to take on a new case since her present murder case is going nowhere. That murder was of a local woman, found murdered by her husband, who had provided a composite sketch of the killer, but nothing had been discovered.

The cases turn out to be all related by one person, but I won't try to elaborate. It's easy to follow during actual reading, however, and you'll enjoy how the story weaves around one character and then another, molding them into a delicious entanglement of cases that are to be solved, one by one... I was fairly certain on whodunit for two of the cold cases...but the last one is a psychological suspense tale all in itself that was amazing to see unwound...

Suellen had been living her dreams all her life. She had started a rock and roll band as her first creative endeavor and was writing all the songs for them. They were just getting known as a group when the lead singer announced one night, at the end of the performance, that he was moving on... Nobody had known about his leaving and the band members were completely surprised that he, in essence, had told the world that the group was through... He told everybody he was leaving that night, but not until many of the band members had physically let him know their feelings! It had only been discovered recently, when the Dixmont State Hospital was being torn down, that he had apparently been killed that night...

Suellen had learned that the body was found and had been contacted by a band member to keep everything low key, not to dig up that story again. She had at that time, but now, she was dying of cancer, and could not take her knowledge to the grave.

Cameron who took the homicide investigation was soon learning about what had happened that night.  She considered everybody in the band a suspect, including Suellen. But, as she learned more about Dylan who'd been the band's lead singer, she began to look for his sister, who had played drums for the group. It was understood that Dylan would be taking her with him, but that he was trying to split up she and her boyfriend. Did her boyfriend kill Dylan to keep his girlfriend? But the investigation brought out an interesting and provocative event.
Dylan's sister, Wendy Matthews, had walked off the stage and never was seen again, exactly 10 years after Dylan had disappeared...on July 4th...
Back on Suellen's farm, her former lover and Joshua Thornton's son, had moved in at her request. Although they had been separated for years, they both still loved each other. Suellen was beginning to look at the farm with new eyes and knew it needed much work.  There were many who were working the farm and other activities, but she had neglected the horses that her mother had loved... Soooo, we get to meet a new character, a beautiful horse whisperer, plus a young boy who had been living in the barn and was cleaning up in the morning. Then we meet and get to know an adopted daughter of Joshua and Cameron, who also loved horses...But they all had a background story that, in itself, adds greatly to the overall book, bringing a wonderful touch of heartwarming relationships between the animals and their caregivers...

I thought I'd be always placing the Mac Faraday series Carr started with, as my top personal favorite, but this book's storyline and the brilliant merge of cold cases together with new certainly shows that Carr arrived at the top of her game and is moving ever forward and upward. Of the books I've read in this series, this is the best of the best and certainly gives competition to the Mac Faraday series...and to other writers across the world writing in this genre! Bravo! 

I loved that she closed out the book with a big 4th of July celebration, which would have been the last that Suellen would host... if she hadn't been murdered... Wow! Whodunits from the beginning to the end! Don't miss it!


An Amazon All-Star Author, Lauren Carr writes mysteries that have made Amazon's best-selling ranks internationally. 
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. 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. 
Order! Order!
Numerous readers have asked the order of Lauren Carr's titles. All of Lauren Carr's books are stand alone. However for those readers who want to start at the beginning, here is the list of Lauren Carr's mysteries in order. The number next to the book title is the actual order in which the book was released.
Joshua Thornton Mysteries:
Fans of the Lovers in Crime Mysteries may wish to read these two books which feature Joshua Thornton years before meeting Detective Cameron Gates. Also in these mysteries, readers will meet Joshua Thornton's five children before they have flown the nest.
1) A Small Case of Murder
2) A Reunion to Die For

Mac Faraday Mysteries:
3) It's Murder, My Son
4) Old Loves Die Hard
5) Shades of Murder (introduces the Lovers in Crime: Joshua Thornton & Cameron Gates)
7) Blast from the Past
8) The Murders at Astaire Castle
9) The Lady Who Cried Murder (The Lovers in Crime make a guest appearance in this Mac Faraday Mystery)
10) Twelve to Murder
12) A Wedding and a Killing 
13) Three Days to Forever 
15) Open Season for Murder 
16) Cancelled Vows
17) Candidate for Murder

Lovers in Crime Mysteries
6) Dead on Ice
11) Real Murder
18) Killer in the Band 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries
14) Kill and Run 
19) A Fine Year for Murder (January 30, 2017)

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