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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Murder, Mayhem, and Integrity, a guest post by Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr joins us today with a guest post discussing the importance of maintaining integrity in the relationship between author and reader.  Here at MRM we are (im)patiently awaiting the release of the first book in Lauren's new Thorny Rose MysteriesKill and Run, available for pre-order on Amazon. Don't miss the trailer for Kill and Run at the end of this post!  If you can't wait for September, be sure to pick up the latest Mac Faraday mystery, Open Season for Murder.  Thanks for another great post, Lauren!

Murder, Mayhem, and Integrity
Guest Post by Lauren Carr

With the upcoming elections (yep, another one is coming up), the word integrity crops up. Usually it comes up because we see so little of it among those asking us to instill our trust in them. But that’s another post…

Believe it or not, readers look for integrity in their books. Maybe it’s because many readers dive into the pages of a book to escape the dishonesty and chaos of the real world. Their boss may mislead to them about an upcoming promotion. Their child may lie about taking out the garbage. Their husband may fib about how good that tuna casserole was.

But Agatha Christie lie? Never! And if she did? Well, let’s just say readers will forgive their husband, to whom they have vowed to love and honor, faster.

Sure, the killer and suspects are all liars. How can you have a murder without deception? Yet, there is one person in a murder mystery who the reader counts on being honest to them.

That person is the mystery writer.

Ironically, in mysteries where lack of integrity is often the root in the motive of a major crime, readers trust that the author laying it out will have a sense of fair play. We mystery authors set up the playing field and challenge the reader to a game of who done it. The goal is to catch the killer before the author reveals him or her. If the reader uncovers the murderer too easily, then the game wasn’t enough of a challenge and it is not as much fun.

But, if the solution is revealed to show that the author has not played fair, then the reader feels betrayed, not unlike a driver getting a traffic ticket for not noticing the speed limit sign tucked fifty feet off the road and hidden under a boulder.

A couple of years ago, I was on a panel where an author recalled reading a book in which she had assumed the two main characters, a couple, were a man and woman. At the end, it was revealed out of left field that they were a homosexual couple. Finding no hint of this throughout the book, she literally threw the book across the room. That reader felt betrayed. Never would she trust that author enough to set foot into her virtual world again.

As a mystery author, I am as tickled as the reader when they say, “Hey, I caught that clue about the computer whiz in your latest book.” The reader feels clever for having caught the clue.

That’s okay.

My readers and I are playing a game. The purpose of a game is for everyone who participates to have fun. No one enjoys a game when one of the players is a cheat.

Lack of honesty on the author’s part is an intrusion into the reader’s virtual sanctuary. Readers expect authors to play fair. Even when a mystery writer is laying out the pieces of a complex mystery, readers expect there to be enough clues scattered about that when the solution is revealed they can go, “Oh, yeah! But of course! I missed that!”


Together, the reader and author have a mighty chuckle. The author pulled a good one over on the reader. But, having seen the pieces that had slipped by, the reader can respect the author for a job well done.

Through my work with authors, I have come to discover that writers and readers alike have an amazing sense of integrity. We offer it and we also expect it.

Maybe it is because when an author writes a book, they are putting more than words on the page—they are putting themselves out there as well. It is like they are cutting open their hearts and offering it to their readers. They make themselves vulnerable for all readers to see.  If what they are putting on the page proves to be false, then they themselves prove to be false.

The very act of picking up a book (whether it be an actual book or a download onto an ereader) and opening up the pages is a gesture of trust for the reader. They are taking a step into the author’s world, fictional or non-fictional. Will it prove to be real? Is the author holding anything back? Do they have clues hidden up their sleeves? Will this be a worthwhile journey? When I leave, will I want to come back?

Not if it proves to be a journey of deception.   Then, the reader, feeling cheated, will end up hurling the book across the room and won’t pick up another one.

It’s like catching your husband eating another woman’s tuna casserole and liking it. Never again will you open up a can of tuna for that man again! 

Likewise, never again will a cheated reader step into a dishonest author’s virtual world. 

Praise for Lauren Carr’s Best Selling Mysteries!

"The author's stories are entertaining with well-rounded, appealing characters readers will wish to revisit with each installment in the series. Carr weaves humor into her mysteries and gives her main characters plenty of tender moments as they continue to bond. And bond they do; so much so that fans seeking to immerse themselves into the next story will feel like they have returned home." - Edie Dykeman, Mystery Editor, Belleonline

“Lauren Carr does a good job of moving the quirky storyline along nicely with an abundance of witty dialogue.  And you have no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys are until the end." - Reviewer: Every Free Chance Book Reviews.

Kill and Run - The Thorny Rose Mysteries

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the The Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

Open Season for Murder
"Robin, it's me, Ashton."
Spring is in the air. In Deep Creek Lake, the burst of blossoms on the trees has the effect of a starting pistol in the race to get the resort area ready in time for the seasonal residents return to Spencer, Maryland.
In this latest Mac Faraday Mystery, Lauren Carr once again brings murder to the Spencer Inn, Mac Faraday's five-star resort located at the top of Spencer Mountain. "I have to confess," the author says, "personally I would wonder how the Spencer Inn hangs on to their five-star rating with all the murders that happen there."
Obviously, the high society guests in her book aren't worried about the Spencer Inn's mortality rate because they’re dying to attend the Diablo Ball, which is hosted by Mac Faraday's new bride, Archie Monday. An annual charitable event to benefit the Humane Society, the Diablo Ball used to be hosted by Robin Spencer, Mac's late mother, and would kick-off Deep Creek Lake's summer season.
"Naturally, in my book, the Diablo Ball truly is an event to die for," Lauren says. As readers have come to expect from every Lauren Carr mystery, Open Season for Murder delivers a punch even before the party invitations are put in the mail when uninvited guests begin RSVP'ing. 
Intrigued by a mysterious phone call, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday can't resist diving into the cold case of Ashton Piedmont, a young woman who had disappeared into the moonlit waters of Deep Creek Lake five years earlier. 
Mac quickly discovers that not only is the Diablo Ball drawing in A-listers from across the country, but someone is going to a lot of trouble to gather together suspects and witnesses connected to Ashton Piedmont and each one seems to have their own agenda for coming to Spencer.
When murder strikes, it is up to Mac Faraday and his friends to find the killer ... or is it killers? When it comes to murder in Deep Creek Lake, you never know. 
But readers do know this, if it's happening at the Spencer Inn, you know it's an event to die for!

About the Author
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries. Her upcoming new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries will be released September 1, 2015.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the new series. I am a huge Lauren Carr fan, so am looking forward to the new series. I like how charactwrs migrate between series - it's like seeing old friends in new, unexpected places.

    1. Glad to get the word to you, Denise! KILL AND RUN is already available for pre-order. My editor has declared it the most action-packed of all my series! It will be fun-I Promise!

  2. Thank you so much, MRM, for inviting me by today! As always, it is great fun!

  3. Thank you for another great post Lauren!!

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