A Lovers in Crime Mystery #4
Homicide Detective Cameron Gates learned long ago that there is no such thing as a typical murder case. Each mystery is special in its own right—especially for the family of the victim.The homicide of a successful executive, husband, and father seems open and shut when the murder weapon is found in his estranged son-in-law’s possession. The circumstantial evidence is so damning that when her step-son, J.J. Thornton, agrees to act as the defendant’s public defender, he assumes his first murder case will be a loss. Only the report of a missing husband proves that this case is not as open and shut as it seems. Strap on your seat belts for a wild ride in this mystery rooted in decades of deception that sprouts into murder.
The other books in the series
Killer in the Band
A Lovers in Crime Mystery #3
Summer of Love & Murder
Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua “J.J.” Thornton Jr., has graduated at the top of his class from law school and returns home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to Joshua’s and Cameron’s shock and dismay, J.J. moves into the main house at Russell Ridge Farm, the largest dairy farm in the Ohio Valley, to rekindle a romance with Suellen Russell, a onetime leader of a rock group who’s twice his age. Quickly, they learn that she has been keeping a deep dark secret.
The move brings long-buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. But when a brutal killer strikes, the Lovers in Crime must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the cross hairs of a murderer.
A Lovers in Crime Mystery #2
When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”
Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.
Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff’s deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.
It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.
Dead on Ice
Lovers in Crime Mystery Book #1
Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.
Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.
1. Did or do you like to read comic books/grapic novels? Which ones?
As a child, I used to read Archie. Those were the comic books with the high school group of friends. Later on, there was a Saturday morning cartoon where they sang cheesy pop songs. Riverside is now based on the same group, though there is no resemblance to the ones in the comic books.
I outgrew comic books by middle school. I was never into the graphic super-hero comic books. However, now I am totally into the superhero action movies like The Avengers. I was totally surprised by the huge comic book following they have. Until those movies started coming out, I never dreamed that grown adults were following these characters, their histories, and the multiple story lines.
2. Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
My mother. She was a true bibliophile. Like me, she was only interested in murder mysteries. She was not interested in any book that did not contain a dead body and the mystery of “who done it.”
When I was a young child, she would take me to the library every Friday morning. It was the Carnegie Library in East Liverpool, Ohio. It was huge. There was a big dome in the center of it. I would hang out in the children’s library, which had a grand mural of Sherwood Forest on the wall, while she would search the mystery section.
That’s where it all started. I was into the Bobbsey Twins. From there, I grew into the Hardy Boys and onto Agatha Christie.
My mother read every murder mystery in the entire library system and they had to import mysteries in for her. There were three libraries in the area. She visited each branch regularly. When she passed away a couple of years ago, the director at one of the branches told me that they used to refer to her as “that beautiful lady,” and every librarian knew who they were talking about.
3. When you need a murder victim or someone you can diagnose with a serious disease or someone who is involved in a fatal accident do you sometimes picture someone nasty you have met in real life and think ‘got you’ LOL?
Of course! That’s why I write murder mysteries! LOL! That’s a joke. I write because I love the puzzle of solving a murder mystery.
Truthfully, I very often base murder victims or killers on nasty people I have encountered or villains who have made the news. I think I’ve killed every unfair boss I’ve ever had―some multiple times. Most murder mystery or suspense authors have based victims or perpetrators on real-life antagonists. Those are the best ones. I find as a writer they make for more authentic characters and circumstances.
The dedication for my fifth Mac Faraday Mystery, The Lady Who Cried Murder, reads:
To the arrogant, envious, rude, self-centered, demented, and twisted souls amongst us. For without you, murder mystery writers would be without inspiration.
The genesis for The Lady Who Cried Murder was an encounter I had with a neighborhood bully. I’m not even certain if I know his name. He’s lived here well over ten years and the only times he has spoken to me has been to scream at me for perceived offenses against him.
One day, I returned home after being gone all day and he was waiting for me when I got out of my car. Immediately, he began screaming at me, up one end and down the other. Among my many offenses—allowing my Labrador to get loose and pee in his driveway. At that point, the Labrador had been dead for two years and the peeing incident happened a decade earlier. Clearly, this man had been so traumatized that he couldn’t let it go.
Shaking, I went inside the house and told my husband. At that time, I found out he (my husband) had been working outside in the front yard all day and this neighbor had driven by him no less than two times. Never did he stop to talk to my husband about our transgressions that were so horrific that he felt compelled to verbally assault me.
My conclusion – this man is a bully and a coward. Plain and simple. He couldn’t talk to my husband because he knew he’d stand up to him. He had to lurk and wait to attack me instead.
Of course, I couldn’t go up to his house to confront him. All that could come from that was an escalated neighborhood war.
Instead, I did what I do best. I stewed about it until I came up with an entire plotline written around him. This murder mystery included a justifiable ending for our neighborhood bully. I was so pleased with the end result that I dedicated the book to him.
There’s no therapy like writing.
4. How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I think and think until beads of blood form on my forehead. I struggle with names. When I’m lucky, a name will pop into my head along with the character. For example, Doris Matheson in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Her name was with me from the very beginning.
Other times, I have changed characters’ names during proofreading!
My mother, who was not a writer but a reader, told me to never have two characters whose names begin with the same first letter. I found she was right. When it comes to proper names,
we tend to see the first letter in a name and then “skip” over the name to go on to the next word. If you have multiple characters with similar names, then it slows the reader down because they have to read the entire name. This is all sub-conscious. If you have too many characters with similar names, then it will slow readers down and they won’t understand why.
This didn’t hit home with me until I read a book in which there was one character named Carla and another named Carl. The book was very hard to read because the reader was forced to slow down to distinguish between them.
Also, I look for names that suit the characters’ nature. All of that is psychological. We each associate certain names with personalities and appearances based on our own experiences. When I hear the name Natasha, I envision Natasha Richardson, a stylish, sophisticated lady. Others may see the Black Widow, a Russian assassin.
Plus, writers need to consider the age and background of the character. I’ve heard more than one complaint recently about historical fiction writers using modern day names for their characters.
Where are they from? What year were they born? I am not above doing research to name a character. I’ll use the social security administration website to find out what names were most popular in a region during a certain time period.
So, when you think of all these rules for names: place and time of character’s birth and personality. Plus, I have to check to make sure there isn’t another character whose name begins with the same first letter. Can you see why I struggle with names?
Sometimes, if the words and plotline are really flowing, but I can’t come up with a name, I’ll google the current news. I’ll grab any half-way decent name that pops out at me and use it as a placeholder for that character until I find a better name later. Yes, there have been times that I have forgotten to change it before publication.
5. Do you write other things beside books (and shoppinglists )?
I write resource material for authors about writing, publishing, and book promotion. Since taking over iRead Book Tours, I don’t have time to write grocery lists. I leave that for my husband.
6. If your movie or series would be made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you have created it?
I actually had a conversation with another author about this not too long ago. Definitely, it would have to be exactly the way I wrote it. Nowadays, there’s no telling what movie or series producers would do to my characters if they were given a license to base their script on my books.
7. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Agatha Christie, of course. But I think I would be too star-struck to know what to ask her.
8. Do you have certain people you contact while doing research to pick their brains? What are they specialized in?
A homicide detective, who later on became a U.S. Marshal. I have some military connections, but they have all retired. So their materials aren’t recent.
I find that most of the time I search the internet and when I do, I check multiple sources to confirm my findings, which doesn’t always work.
With a recent release, I had a scene set in 1980, where a couple of characters were talking about baseball teams. I’m not a sports fan or expert. Based on the setting, I did a search to find out what baseball team the characters would be following. The internet said Washington Nationals. I found several websites about them. That’s what I used.
A week after the book’s release, a fan notified me that the Washington Nationals was not established until 2005. I went back to check the sites where I had gotten the information. No where on the sites did it say they were established in 2005. It never occurred to me that they wouldn’t have been around. My editor and proofreader missed that. They aren’t baseball fans either.
I had to go back and change the team to Baltimore Orioles.
Lesson learned, dig deeper when doing research.
9. Is there someone you sometimes discuss a dilemma with?
A fellow author, C.S. McDonald. She writes the Fiona Quinn Mysteries. Writers need to have writer friends to talk about plotlines with.
Friends roll their eyes when I start talking about plotlines with them. Think about it. To them, these are imaginary characters and I’m fussing about “My killer is one hundred and twenty pounds. How is she going to move a two-hundred-pound dead body?”
They think, “These aren’t real people. Who cares?”
My husband sighs and slumps. He knows it’s important to me, but he’d really rather not have these conversations.
A fellow author, especially a mystery author, understands. She’ll listen and offer advice and I do the same for her. No too long ago, I helped her figure out how to commit a murder on a cruise ship.
10. What is more important to you : a rating in stars with no comments or a reviewer who explains what the ratings they give are based on (without spoilers of course)
A reviewer who explains their ratings, but no spoilers! I find them to be very helpful.
Early in my career, I believe it was my second book, a book reviewer commented that I had too many characters in my books. Well, I have a lot of characters for a reason. I don’t want readers to flip a coin to figure out who the killer is. I want them to be challenged to uncover the culprit. In order to have multiple suspects, you must have multiple characters.
I’m not going to reduce the number of characters. So, I came up with a remedy based on her comments. I put a cast of characters at the front of my books.
Since then, I’ve read dozens of comments from reviewers saying that all authors should include a cast of characters in the front of their books.
Speaking of spoilers, I hate spoilers. A few books back, a reader gave away the killer in one of my mysteries on Amazon. I contacted Amazon to ask them to put “SPOILER ALERT” on the review. Not to remove the review, just put a notice on it. They refused to do even that. I found that reviewer following me on Goodreads and blocked her—not because of the rating, which wasn’t bad, but the spoiler.
I really hate spoilers
Thank you, Lauren Carr and iReads Book Tours.
About the author
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Thorny Rose, Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries—over twenty titles across four fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, 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, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Social Media Links
Other books in the series
Dead on Ice (Lovers in Crime Mystery Book #1)
Real Murder (A Lovers in Crime Mystery #2)
Killer in the Band (A Lovers in Crime Mystery #3)