The Murders at Astaire Castle (Mac Faraday Mystery – 5) by Lauren Carr
Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.
Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop—even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!
Topping the list of the ten most haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!
In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.
What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.
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.
We start the story from the view point of a housekeeper at Astaire Castle. Famous author Damian Wagner is staying at the castle to write the last book in his series. But there are some strange happenings that revolve around the myth of a wolf man.
In present day, Mac Faraday is helping look for a missing lady and stumbles upon the information that he has inherited a castle along with his property. But the castle is cursed and his mother had it locked down to keep others from dying too. Too bad that when he plans on exploring the castle, the corpse of Damian Wagner is discovered, a wolf man attacks Mac and billionaire that refuses to take no for an answer are going to make this an interesting story.
This is my first Mac Faraday story and I am absolutely in love. Mac is a former detective that has inherited the fortune of his late mother, famous mystery author Robin Spencer. Those detective skills are going to be needed to figure out who killed Damian Wagner, who the wolf man really is, and what happened to the missing Damian Wagner manuscript.
This story is fast paced, engrossing and give a great ending that I didn’t expect. Of course I loved Gnarly and one of my favorite scenes is him dumpster diving for chicken bones. I was lucky enough to have been given the audiobook for review. The story was narrated by Dan Lawson and he did an amazing job. It was easy to tell which character was which and the pacing was amazing.
My only complaint would be that the rest of the series on not on audiobook yet, just some of them. But this has not stopped me from purchasing the remaining books in the series on kindle. I have a new favorite author. Definitely check out this book and series. You will not be disappointed.
I received The Murders at Astaire Caste from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Blog Post:
The Secret to Eliminating Writer’s Block
By Lauren Carr
It is probably hard to believe that I once suffered from writer’s block. I mean, I just released my eighteenth book, Killer in the Band, and well into my nineteenth book, A Fine Year for Murder. This year, I wrote four books.
Writer’s block? Seriously? Me? Lauren Carr who has been rivaling Agatha Christie for most fictional people slain in one year?
Yep, I’ve had it. For a full year, I stared at my computer monitor without writing one worthwhile word.
It struck between drafts of It’s Murder, My Son, my third book and the first Mac Faraday Mystery. My father-in-law had passed away. I was looking for a new publisher because my traditional publisher for A Reunion to Die For did not do paperback at that time. They were willing to take It’s Murder, My Son, but I knew my next book had to come out in paperback. It is very hard to sell a $26 hardback when you’re an unknown.
After a year of penning nothing, I decided to quit writing. I walked away. I did volunteer work. I cooked. I exercised. Within a month, I was back at the computer. Then, I had an uh-huh moment and realized with all of my professional experience editing, layout design, journalism, why could I not publish my own books? I decided to forget about making best sellers lists or impressing literary agents or publishers. I was going to write what I wanted and if others wanted to read it, fine. If not, so what?
I started writing for myself.
One month later, I received an offer from a traditional publisher for It’s Murder, My Son. I turned them down.
Since that time, I have never had any trouble writing—except for that time Gnarly drooled all over my laptop and it shorted out. I can churn out a chapter a night after my family goes to bed and it is not unusual for me to start a new project the day after sending a manuscript off to the editor.
What was the secret to getting over my writers block?
American poet William Stafford offers this advice to poets who suffer from Writer’s Block: “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.”
This sounds terrible at first. “What? I’m supposed to write junk? I need to write the great American Novel! I’m better than that!” No, Stafford is not encouraging writers to produce garbage. He is suggesting, however, that it’s easy to take yourself too seriously.
When I walked away, when I stopped trying to impress literary agents and publishers and decided to write what I want for myself, my writers block went away and I am now the happiest writer in the world.
Now, fifteen books later, I am still writing for myself. Yes, I do check out reviews and I love to read emails from readers about how they love Gnarly and how much they are looking for to the new series, or asking what is next for Mac Faraday and Archie.
When that rare reader takes offense by a certain turn I have taken in a plot or how they perceived a certain character, or an unintended message written between the lines, I may listen to their opinion, but in the end I make the final decision based on what I want to write, because—
I write for myself.
Recently, while teaching a class about writing your bucket list novel, I opened and closed with a warning to the writers attending to not give into the temptation to rewrite the latest best seller in hopes of cashing in on the latest trend.
As tempting as it may be, even if you self-publish, then once again, you find yourself writing for someone other than yourself—stretching and straining to meet someone else’s standards.
The truth is … gradually readers have been discovering the previously undiscovered treasures produced by independent authors. It’s a huge library in cyberspace. So, even when an author’s writings don’t meet the desires of the most popular marketing demographic, he or she can still find a niche audience who will appreciate his or her story on his or her terms.
And, believe me, it is much more fun writing what you want and love to write.