Shades of Murder: Lauren Carr

The name is Gnarly. I am a really great German Shepherd who lives in a mansion. Not bad for a dog.  The guy who lives here is a millionaire several times over but I have the run of the place and usually do my own thing. I was dishonorably discharged from the United States Army but that really has no bearing on this story but I thought you might want to know before hear it from someone else. Living with Mac Faraday is definitely great because you never know what’s going to happen, who is going to wind up dead and what help he is going to need from me to solve the murder. It all started in 2006 on a beautiful day before I was born and came to live here. Several police officers were called to scene of two different deaths. One was said to be a murder and the other an accident. The accident victim, Charlie Smith was not who he appeared to be. When the real Charlie Smith learned of the accident did not seem to care about the demise of the man in the accident. Turns out, Mr. Smith was a thief who enjoyed stealing the identities and of course funds of the victim whose identity he stole. The second death was a murder. Ilsya Ramsey was a noted artist and was about to have a showing at the Louvre in France. Completing her self-portrait the day before the murder she was excited about the showing but never shared her work before completing it.


Spencer Police Office David O’Callaghan is hot, smart and definitely the one officer you want handling any investigation. You should see the girls ogling him. On his way to Robin Spencer’s Labor Day celebration he gets called to a murder scene of a well-known artist. Ilysa Ramsey had just started taking the art world as the author states by storm when she is found murdered. Neal Hathaway might be rich and have power but all the money in the world could not revive or bring back his wife. Someone bludgeoned her to death.  But, there is much more that I have to relate to you because we cannot forget Charlie Smith. Could these deaths be related?


Let me flash ahead to the present time where I can tell you first hand what is going on in Deep Creek Lake. I am Gnarly and as I said I have the run of the mansion. As two deliverymen find their way to my home, my curiosity got the better of me and I made sure to blindside them before they could deliver their package. Mac, our millionaire, has a flare for getting involved in mysteries and solving them.


Archie Monday was Robin Spencer’s assistant and lives in the guest cottage at Spencer Manor. A package, as I said, is about to be delivered to Mac that would once again envelop him into a murder investigation. But, having a serious mind of my own, I high jacked the deliverymen, disobeyed all of Mac’s commands, and definitely got everyone’s attention. What was in the box delivered that nobody but Mac and Archie were curious about? Let’s not forget me: Gnarly.


Let’s bring the past into the present and tie some events together right now. In this package is a letter addressed to Mac’s late mother, which explains its contents. Within this box was a painting by Ilysa Ramsey. The painting in question had been stolen and her murder is still unsolved. The value of the painting- priceless. Was Mac thrilled? That still remains to be seen because this book definitely has many different Shades Of Murder.


Deputy Police Chief Art Bogart was one of the officers, along with our Police Chief David O’Callaghan, who investigated this murder. Just in case you did not read the other books by Lauren Carr and have no idea just who this great guy is, Mac Faraday inherited millions of dollars, the estate, his mother who was a famous mystery writer’s journal and one hot half-brother named David. Hope you got it all.


The Ilysa Ramsay painting is a self-portrait adding to its value. Within the painting were family members, friends and associates. The one person not in the picture was her husband. As Bogart identifies each person in the painting to Mac, they formulate in their minds which one or ones might be suspects. Since Ilysa was just starting to become part of the art world and her husband was a big patron of the arts, completing this painting before the showing was paramount to her. The showing was at the Louvre in France. As the events are recounted, they state that she had a disagreement with her manager who has since disappeared.


Let’s add another player and hot guy to the plot, who many of you might know from Lauren Carr’s earlier novels. Hancock, County, West Virginia prosecuting attorney, Joshua Thornton is visiting SCI Green Maximum Prison to see serial rapist and murderer Oliver Cartwright. Asked to see him by Reverend Brody, Cartwright wants his name cleared for a murder he claims he never committed.


Cartwright was convicted of killing and raping seven women. But, he claims only six. Jane Doe, or Victim Number Four, was not his and he wants Joshua to investigate the murder and find her killer. Joshua promises to help only for Jane Doe’s family. Searching for the names of the lead investigators led him to Pennsylvania and a chilly welcome from the officers at the police station. As the discussion continues with the officers, the reader and, of course, me, wonder if they ever really looked past Cartwright for the murder. The end result is not what you would expect and what follows adds not only humor to the plot, but explains why I said this guy was not only a great prosecutor, but hot too. A phone call from Detective Cameron Gates would change everything as they decide to meet in an unusual way and manner. But, let’s not forget her friend Irving. As Gates reveals the information from her informant known as the Ghost, more information about Jane Doe comes to light. But, Joshua notices something that everyone overlooked. Could this be a copycat murder? Where did this victim come from and was that the reason no one identified her? But, Gates had more than just the case in mind after meeting Joshua.


Let’s get back to our millionaire and the painting. Staring into the face of Ilysa, Mac gets a strange feeling that she is crying out to him to find the killer. Mac, David and Bogart pay a visit to the Hathaway’s and their meeting is quite telling. Meeting the different family members, you begin to wonder whether they even cared about poor Ilysa. When Mac tells Neal and his son Scott that they are going to reopen the case and investigate, Neal’s primary concern is the painting that Mac has in his possession and not the murder. It takes Neal a while to register why they are there. We meet Rachel, who is Scott’s wife, and the housekeeper Greta.


When the fingerprints come back from the forensic lab what they find out will definitely astound the reader as author Lauren Carr once again supplies a twist so devilish and cunning you won’t see it coming. Would you believe that the murder that took place in 2004 was the second murder of the same person? How can that be? Well, some facts cannot be revealed and only if the author allows me to bark out the evidence (and she won’t) will I divulge the answer to that question and many more. Besides I was able to get the police officer’s submarine sandwich away from him just by being cunning and staring at him. But, what follows is even more mindboggling as an another murder similar to Ilysa’s occurs, her manager is found dead and the pieces of the canvas will definitely paint a whole new picture when the portrait of this killer is finally done. Just what was behind the murders and what was Ilysa really doing besides painting? How was one police detective involved and why?


What happens next to Mac really is quite startling as his boat goes up in flames. I protect everyone and the house and get the thief, too, but will I be praised for my efforts? Only trying to do my job. Thank goodness Archie is on my side or they might send poor me to the pound or worse!  Deceit, lies, betrayals, cover-ups and much more before all is said and done. Wait until you see how this plays out and who killed Ilysa and who lives to see another day. Don’t worry, I will be back again as soon as this amazing author decides to create another plot for me and, of course, Mac. Maybe he and Joshua will team up for good or maybe they will be smart enough to deputize me once and for all. This is Gnarly until next time.



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