Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OMN Welcomes Back Lauren Carr, Author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries

Omnimystery News: Authors on Tour

Omnimystery News is pleased to welcome back Lauren Carr, author of the Mac Faraday mysteries It's Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard.

Though we often think of mysteries in terms of series characters, the supporting cast is usually just as important to the stories. Today Lauren writes about one of these characters that plays an important role in her books, Gnarly, the canine anti-hero.

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Lauren Carr
Photo provided courtesy of
Lauren Carr

Everybody loves Gnarly.

I shouldn’t have been surprised; but I was, when It’s Murder, My Son, the first installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, was released and everyone loved the dog.

Oh, they loved Mac Faraday, too. He’s a great guy. Handsome. Down to earth. Daring. Sincere. Rich. Who couldn’t love Mac?

But everyone really loves Gnarly, the delinquent German shepherd that was part of Mac’s multi-million dollar inheritance.

After Old Loves Die Hard was released with retired homicide detective Mac Faraday fighting to clear his name and reputation after his ex-wife’s and her estrange lover’s bodies were discovered in his penthouse; reviewers and readers said, “I can’t wait to see what Gnarly does next.”

Reviews have ended up on dog lover websites. Who am I to complain as long as they’re good?

Still, I ask, “What is it about the dog?”

Dogs are popular. According to WikiAnswers, 44.8 million people in the United States have at least one dog. In the last 15 years, the amount of money spent on pets in the U.S. jumped from $17 billion to $43 billion, according to a U.S. Times article.

I am certainly not the first author to include canine characters in my mysteries. Both Susan Conant and Carol Lea Benjamin have very successful mystery series that center around dogs.

Why should I be surprised that readers have taken such a liking to Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s sidekick? Because …

In It’s Murder, My Son, we first meet Gnarly when he’s standing on Mac Faraday’s chest threatening to rip his throat out. Less than an hour later, he steals Mac’s lunch. One of his previous owners, the woman next door whose murder Mac investigates, was sued by another neighbor for paternity after Gnarly raped their purebred champion poodle.

It goes on from there.

This overly intelligent German shepherd has the distinction of being the only dog to have been dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. Something the military still refuses to talk about.

This is not to say that Gnarly is vicious or completely unruly. A dog trainer explains that Gnarly is highly intelligent to the point of canine genius. Easily bored, he looks for trouble.

Gnarly is also capable of making his own decisions. So, when Mac says jump, Gnarly asks, in his canine way, “Do you really want me to do that? … I think not.”

Okay, so we love dogs. Gnarly is a dog. Therefore, we love Gnarly. But Gnarly is a bad dog. Is it because our love for dogs knows no boundaries of good or bad?

Yes, but there’s more to it than that.

Not only is Gnarly a dog, but he’s also the anti-Lassie, a canine antihero. We can’t wait to see what Gnarly will do next because we don’t know what he’s going to do next.

If Mac fell into an abandoned well, Gnarly would go get help … after raiding all the food at a family reunion on the way to the police station, at which time we’ll discover that Gnarly was the one who dragged Mac into the well in the first place.

We like not knowing what’s going to happen next. Take, for example, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or in more modern times, Jessica Fletcher. Heroes that I’ll love until the day I die. I cut my teeth on Perry Mason and Hercule Poirot. However, from page one of a Miss Marple book, we know with all your heart that in the end, Miss Marple is going to prove the wrongly accused innocent and catch the killer.

While these mysteries are entertaining, they’re also predictable, and so are their heroes. We know what our heroes are going to do. They’ll always do the right thing for the right reason.

I remember when episode 4 of Star Wars was released. This was the blockbuster that first introduced Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo to the world. Luke the hero wants to go off to save Princess Leia because it is the right thing to do. Hans Solo, the antihero, on the other hand, must be bargained with before he’ll fly the Millennium Falcon to the rescue. In the end, Luke saves the rebels by blowing up the Death Star. Even as we hung onto our seats, we knew Luke would do. He was the hero and heroes always win.

But we were all surprised when Hans Solo, the antihero who left before the big battle, came back to help Luke save the day. That was a pleasant surprise.

It is that unpredictability that makes antiheroes, especially canine anti-heroes with big soulful brown eyes, so much fun.

Gnarly coming to the rescue is much more exciting than Lassie’s. Can Mac hang onto the edge of the cliff a little bit longer while Gnarly makes a quick detour to rob the butcher shop on the way?

Hey, it’s a mystery. There’s supposed to be suspense.

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Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder, was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. A Reunion to Die For was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release.

Last year, the first installment of her new series, It’s Murder, My Son was released. The Mac Faraday Mysteries take place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, where Lauren and her family vacation. The second installment is entitled Old Loves Die Hard. Both are getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing consultant, editor, and interior layout designer for independent authors.

In addition to being an active member and director of the Association of Independent Authors, Lauren is a popular speaker who has made speaking appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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It's Murder, My Son by Lauren Carr

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition

Barnes&Noble NookBook

Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

About It's Murder, My Son: What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday's life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret, which would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America's Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.

Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself "Pay Back" begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found.

Three months later the file on her murder is still open with only vague speculations from the local police department when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother's home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide detective. With the help of his late mother's journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina's killer.

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Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition

Barnes&Noble NookBook

Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

About Old Loves Die Hard: Old loves die hard … and in the worst places.

Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits two-hundred-and-seventy million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final, is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up — and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars — and more bodies — start dropping!

1 comment:

  1. I can see why dogs more than other animals would work in a supporting cast. They are, in a way, humanity's invention. We bred them from wolves into the amazing variety we have today. I recently learned that dachsunds were originally bred to be able to go down gopher holes and kill them. Who would have figured?

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