BOOK TITLE: The Murders at Astaire Castle
AUTHOR: Lauren Carr
GENRE: Adult Fiction - Mystery/ Crime
NUMBER OF PAGES: 286
SERIES / STANDALONE:A Mac Faraday Mystery
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank iRead Book Tours for this review copy.
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 10 top 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.
When you have read a few books from a series, no matter what order they were in, some familiar things comfort you. The Mac Faraday mysteries have grown on me that way, and the chance to read yet another book was very welcome. The cover, of the shade of Halloween, immediately spoke of the spooky twist and the summary intrigued me. The last line was the LOL moment, classic Carr style of introducing humor where least expected.
I began the book with the author's note and completely agreed with her viewpoint of a Halloween special twist to what is quickly becoming one of my favorite set of books. This Mac Faraday thriller is the same - with a slightly spooky twist that is not enough to classify a mystery / crime novel to the paranormal genre. Reading the character list, though, brought me back to the old familiarity, as if I am preparing to read yet another story about someone I knew.
Convincing a skeptic to believe in the paranormal is hard. Mac Faraday has inherited a castle that is spooky, mostly because of the unexplained things surrounding it. Fear of the unknown and rumor that spread like fire make Astaire Castle a boarded up, forbidden place. Once home to a strange disappearance, Astaire Castle is now home to yet another mystery - a novelist who wanted the peace and quiet of the secluded place to finish his novel has disappeared with his work in progress. Right when Mac knows about the castle while on another case, the corpse of the novelist turns up, with strange rumors abound. The multiple strange incidents giving the place a bad name, it is finally boarded up until Mac Faraday hears of it. Of a naturally inquisitive mind, he is stubborn about knowing the secrets the place holds.
His friend and half brother David threatens him with dire consequences to prevent him from going there but soon realizes that saying a no to Mac Faraday would only create the opposite effect. Mac approaches all available sources of information and embarks on a journey to solve the mysteries with a reluctant David in tow. What originally began as a search for a missing person quickly becomes a series of surprises revealed one after another, maintaining the healthy pace of twists in the book. The book moves forward to end in one of the best possible ends that could be cooked up after all the mystery
What worked for me in the book, despite the jumpy narrative at places, was the plot. The change of flavour did me good (though I am not yet sure if it was one of the reasons why I could not connect with this book like usual). The Halloween twist to the story and the inclusion of new characters made the story all the more interesting. Molly stole my heart like Gnarly did, and the language was comfortable to read. The story that began creepily enough thankfully retained the interest it created through and through. Overall, a satisfying, but slightly different, experience of having read a Mac Faraday book.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The plot is excellent, adding the right amount of necessary elements to keep it interesting
- The narrative is racy, never lacking pace
- The climax, naturally, is a good one
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
- I felt that certain scenes and reactions the character showed were way off the normal mark - could be analysed better
- Maybe due to the change of theme, the book did not quite sit with me like others from this series do
- The writing style showed significant change, not flowing smoothly like it usually did.
A perfect treat for Mac Faraday fans, the usual dose with a spooky touch
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook
PRICE $0.88 for Kindle, $12.99 for Paperback, free on Audible trial
BOOK LINKS: Amazon