Book Review: Shades of Murder, by Lauren Carr

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Shades of Murder, book three in the Mac Faraday series, is an exciting story of two murders. Strangely, both appear to be same victim!

Intriguing it is.

Mac Faraday

We first met Mac Faraday in It’s Murder, My Son, when Mac inherits over two hundred million dollars from his birth mother.  Retiring from his position as a homicide detective, he moves to her estate on Deep Creek Lake in Maryland.  Though he may be retired, when a murder occurs, he can’t resist detecting.

Missing Portrait

In this edition, Mac receives a large package that contains a painting–and a new mystery to solve.  The painting, a one and only self portrait painted by Ilysa Ramsay, had been missing since the night she was murdered eight years before.

Joshua Thornton

Enter Joshua Thornton, prosecutor, miles away in Pennsylvania.  When called to visit a serial killer on death row, he reluctantly agrees.  The regretful killer wants Joshua to know that of seven women killed, he was not responsible for the fourth victim who was never identified.  He wants justice for that victim.  He wants Joshua to find her real killer.  Which brings Joshua to Cameron Gates, one of the original detectives who investigated the serial killings.

Who will die next?

Very soon, cases overlapping, the detectives are working together to find their killers. Then the FBI shows up.  Now why would they be there?

Mac is at the heart of it. Everyone wants the painting he has. Is it because or its value, because they are in it, or is there still another reason?

It’s a tale of jealousy and greed, false identities, and perhaps even treason, with a large cast of characters to consider, most of them potentially guilty of something!

The story contains violence, yet it is written in a way that isn’t gory or difficult to read.  We also see a bit more romance in this book too.  It’s a pleasure to see relationships developing without explicit scenes.

Lovers in Crime 

I enjoyed the introduction to Joshua Thorton, former JAG attorney, and Cameron Gates, homicide detective, especially knowing Ms. Carr has written them their own stories in the “Lovers in Crime” series.  Their instant connection is a hit.  Professionally and personally, the humor they shared in well written dialogue, and of course their part in the story, caught me from the first.   It looks like the beginning of a great duo.  Their series is now on my list to read soon.

Gnarly has company this time too, with Joshua’s dog, Admiral and Cameron’s cat, Irving.  Gnarly, for all his unruliness, knows when he is needed.  Animals add to the real life quality in a book, since they don’t especially care if they are rich or poor, cat or dog.  In this case that is a good thing since Irving has ‘issues’.  Watching the animals interact is entertaining, especially with Gnarly in the mix.

A great choice

This is one of my favorite books so far by Ms. Carr.  As always, she has woven a complicated tale with plenty of questionable characters.  Her stories keep me tuned in to each page, trying to decide who the elusive killer will be.

I’ve come to appreciate the list she includes at the beginning of the book.  It is helpful to refer back to it as a reminder of who’s who. Every time, she pulls the threads in the plot together to a satisfying conclusion.

Her skill keeps me coming back for more.  Let’s see if you don’t agree.

Lauren Carr is currently on her virtual book tour for this bestseller,  Three days to Forever.

Next on my agenda is Book 4, Blast from the Past

And here’s the first in the Lovers in Crime series that features Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Merry

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