BOOK REVIEW: 'Twelve to Murder: A Mac Faraday Mystery': Bodies Pile Up, Gnarly is Gnarly, Commitment Issues with Mac and Archie

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen

In my previous reviews of Lauren Carr's Mac Faraday mystery novels, I neglected to mention the humor that infuses these very readable books.

Humor -- much of it engendered by Gnarly, Mac's irrepressible German Shepherd -- is present in her latest Mac Faraday mystery, "Twelve to Murder" (Acorn Book Services, 262 pages, $12.99 trade paperback, also available in a Kindle from Amazon).

BOOK REVIEW: 'Twelve to Murder: A Mac Faraday Mystery': Bodies Pile Up, Gnarly is Gnarly, Commitment Issues with Mac and Archie


The murder of a wealthy middle-aged couple in their  home in Deep Creek Lake, MD, opens up several cans of worms involving Hollywood celebrities. And, despite the fact that Mac Faraday is no longer a homicide detective, he becomes involved in the case.

The victims are Janice and Austin Stillman. Janice is a high-profile agent, relocated from Tinseltown to Garrett County, Maryland's westernmost county. One of Janice's clients, former child star and teen idol, Lenny Frost, is almost immediately suspected of doing the deed. Austin Stillman is a high-powered public relations man.

In what is perhaps the most hilarious hostage scene in crime fiction, Lenny holds a motley crew of innocent bystanders at gunpoint in a local pub. His mind befuddled by a combination of drugs and alcohol, he calls on Mac -- whom he calls Mickey Forsythe, a character in a Robin Spencer novel -- and his dog Diablo, with Gnarly playing the role, to hear his side of the story. Mac and Gnarly become hostages and the former D.C. homicide detective who inherited the Spencer resort and mansion, join the crowd in the seedy  Blue Whale Pub in McHenry, Md.

One of the story lines  of "Twelve to Murder" is Mac's relationship with Archie Monday, a beautiful emerald-eyed blonde, who was the  research assistant to Mac's birth mother, Robin Spencer. On the day Mac's divorce from his first wife was finalized, the impoverished Mac Faraday becomes heir to the late Robin Spencer's  $270 million fortune and her mansion and resort. The details of all this are contained in the first Mac Faraday novel, "Murder, My Son." For my review of this wonderful novel:

 Mac has twelve hours to find the killer or killers of the Stillmans, a deadline set by Lenny.  Can Mac, his half-brother, Police Chief David Callaghan, Gnarly and the rest of the gang meet this deadline?  Read "Twelve to Murder" to find out. 

 Lauren Carr writes that her inspiration for Lenny Frost was the entire class of entertainers who are on destructive paths:  "Anyone who is near the news can't help but hear about the fall of one child star or teenybopper idol after another. Miley Cyrus twerking everywhere. (I actually had to google to find out what that is.) Lindsay Lohan going in and out of rehab like it had a revolving door. Has-beens arrested and committing suicide or dying of overdoses. In the eighties, Corey Haim was a very successful child star, became a teen-idol, and ended up dead before he was forty."

Reviewer's note: Sharp-eyed readers will notice that I've skipped the last Mac Faraday novel, "The Lady Who Cried Murder," released in October 2013.  I didn't receive it: "The Lady Who Cried Murder"  was delayed in delivery by the massive storms that hit West Virginia, where Acorn is located, according to Carr, who also owns Acorn Publishing Services. "The Lady Who Cried Murder" review copy arrived in the same shipment as "Twelve to Murder" and I'm reading it now.  Be patient: I'm reading as fast as I can!


Lauren Carr
Lauren Carr

About the author

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder , was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. 

A best-selling mystery author on Amazon, Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, set in the resort community in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It's Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, Shades of Murder, Blast from the Past, The Murders at Astaire Castle, and The Lady Who Cried Murder  have all made the top one hundred in sales for police procedural on Amazon, and been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Twelve to Murder, the seventh installment in the series was released in February 2014.

Lauren Carr's website:

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