The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr plus GIVEAWAY



“Wow – this is one INCREDIBLE novel that I could not put down. It had me  on the edge oseat and I can honestly say that I never saw the end coming. It was full of suspense, action but also humour (done in a way  that only Lauren can accomplish).” – 5-Star Review ofTHE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY by Working Mommy Journal
Join Us for This Audiobook Tour from June 8 to June 26, 2020!
Book Details:Book Title:  The Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020
Format available for review:  audible (download code), mobi, epub, PDF
Tour datesJune 8 to Jun 26, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description:

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

Interview with Lauren Carr, author of The Thorny Rose Mystery Series

1. Lauren, you really have kicked things up a notch with The Nutcracker Conspiracy, which is full of conspiracies, spies, and cover ups. Your other best-selling mystery series (Mac Faraday Mysteries, Lovers in Crime Mysteries, the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and now the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries) take place in more “sedate” settings of rural or small towns. What made you shift gears to set The Thorny Rose Mysteries in Washington, DC?

LC: Because that is where Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday live.

When creating the Thorny Rose Mystery series, I flipped my creative process somewhat. I choose the series to fit the mystery. Lovers in Crime is a small town setting. I grew up in Chester, West Virginia. Mac Faraday lives on Deep Creek Lake, a resort area where my family vacations. The Chris Matheson Mysteries are set in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which is still considered the Washington DC metropolitan area, but it’s still quite a bit away.

However, in the case of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the characters came first. Murphy Thornton appeared in my very first book—A Small Case of Murder. Then, he was only seventeen years old and aspired to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Jessica Faraday, Mac Faraday’s daughter, has been mentioned in the Mac Faraday mysteries. Originally from Washington, DC, she was attending William and Mary University in Williamsburg and is planning to go to medical school.

Since Murphy is a navy lieutenant, it is natural for him to be assigned to the Pentagon. Therefore, Ihad little choice in the setting.

2. Did setting the Thorny Rose Mysteries in the Nation’s Capital present any challenges that you didn’t encounter with your other series?

LC: Every book presents its own challenges. As a writer, I embrace them. That’s why I love writing.

The setting sets the tone of the book. I had lived in Northern Virginia and worked for the federal government as an editor and layout designer for over ten years. So I was already intimate with the fast pace and diverse characters that would be a part of Jessica and Murphy’s lives—not all of them positive.

For example, one character reveals in the first book, Kill and Run, that the first rule he was taught when going to work for the government was to “watch your back and cover your butt.” In other words, it is basically every man for himself. The characters in my other series are not so self-centered. Such rules make it difficult to know who to trust when members of your team put their own professional advancement first, which is something Murphy discovered first hand in Kill and Run. That rule has continued to run throughout the other installments because, unfortunately, it is a theme that has contaminated Washington DC area.

3. If you could cast a movie of The Nutcracker Conspiracy, who would you put into the roles of Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton?

I am frequently asked this question and I always stumble over it because I don’t base any of my characters on famous actors. I develop them from the inside out, and sometimes they can even change.

Murphy Thornton was in my very first book. He was sixteen years old then. Now he’s in his mid-twenties. Chris Pratt is too old and his eyes aren’t blue, but he can perfectly reflect Murphy’s fun loving nature.

As far as appearance, I was envisioning Elizabeth Taylor when she was in her twenties when I created Jessica Faraday. Notice the reference to her violet eyes, dark hair, and abundant bosom. Jessica Faraday is a stunningly beautiful woman, but she’s smart, too. I’m going strictly by appearance, because I have not seen any movies she has appeared in, but Megan Fox is a good fit for Jessica—looks wise.

4. You always have such interesting characters in your series—especially furry four-legged ones. There’s Gnarly in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, Irving and Admiral in the Lovers in Crime Mysteries. What four-legged sidekicks do you have in the Thorny Rose Mysteries?

LC: As with every new marriage, there is a merging of households. Readers met Spencer, Jessica’s Shetland sheepdog in Three Days to Forever, the book in which I introduced readers to the Thorny Rose detectives. Murphy calls her Candi, after an old girlfriend who used to kiss everybody. Spencer is a blue merle. Her long fur has a bluish cast to it and she has blue eyes.

Newman is a forty-five pound couch potato. One reviewer has already called Newman “The Man.” Unlike Gnarly, who actively participates in Mac Faraday’s cases, Newman does nothing. He watches television from his recliner and doesn’t do anything—unless you try to come between him and the remote.

One last furry character is Monique. She is an eight inch long tarantula, owned by Tristan, Jessica’s brother. Being a tarantula, she is quite limited in solving crimes.

5. What about Gnarly? He’s made a guest appearance in The Nutcracker Conspiracy.

LC: By popular demand! Gnarly and Mac Faraday are back this September! Look for A Murder for Christmas!

There’s nothing Mac Faraday loves more than a new mystery to tackle. But the last thing he expected was a murder mystery in his stocking when the host of a swanky Christmas party ends up dead.

Guess post by Author Lauren Carr

Put a Little Love in Your Murder and Mayhem

By Lauren Carr

How is it that love and murder seem to go hand in hand when it comes to murder mysteries?

Think about it. We pick up a mystery because we want to read about murder and mayhem. Yet, somewhere, someplace, whether it be in the forefront of the plot or in the background, there’s an interweaving of romance.

Nancy Drew had Ned hanging around.

Perry Mason had Della Street at his beck and call—at least I think so. You could never really tell. That was one of the things that kept readers coming back. Are they or aren’t they?

Mystery fans fell in love with Elizabeth George’s Inspector Thomas Lynley and his late wife Helen. When George killed Helen off, I was as mad at Elizabeth George as if she pulled the trigger. (Actually, as the writer, didn’t she pull the trigger?)

Romance is not only found in murder mysteries. On the other side of the bookshelf, in the romance genre, mystery often plays a big role in romance novels. I remember not being able to put down Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, one of literature’s greatest romance novels, which is filled with mystery surrounding the death of Rebecca, the first Mrs. DeWinter.

Even mysteries with unattached detectives, some who want nothing to do with love, or who are never successful at it, usually seem to have a couple of characters who have been struck with cupid’s arrow somewhere in the plot. It is not uncommon for the protagonist to be dragged into the mystery to save the couple’s union. Does anybody know how often the hard-boiled detective has been hired by the wife of a murder suspect to clear her husband or boyfriend’s name?

“Love is for suckers and fools,” the detective will grumble before going off to solve the case, only because he wants to bring a smile to the poor lady’s pretty face.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m all for love and romance, especially when it means a big box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

Love has a big part in murder mysteries. Mystery writers, including myself, seem to always write it in and readers love to scoop it up. From the first installment of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers were anxious for Mac and his lady love Archie to get together.

Readers and reviewers were thrilled when I matched Mac Faraday’s daughter Jessica up with Joshua Thornton’s son Murphy for the Thorny Rose mysteries.

Why does love play such a big role in murder mysteries?

Well, the answer can be found in the definition of the two emotions.

Love:  The definition of Love as defined by Google is “an intense feeling of deep affection.”

Murder: Also according to Google: “The unlawful, premeditated killing of another human being.” While Google doesn’t go on to say it, it can go without saying that this act is brought about by an intense feeling, but not of affection, the feeling that is opposite of love: hatred.

In my opinion the mixture of these two emotions, so extreme from each other, is akin to a literary sweet and sour mix. In one chapter, we have the plot surrounding the intense act of murder, only be complemented by the sweet love scenes.

When planning the storyline for the fourth Thorny Rose Mystery, The Nutcracker Conspiracy, I could not resist adding a little spice to an otherwise average marital discussion:

Murphy’s personal phone buzzed on his desk. Jessica’s picture flashed across the screen. “I gotta go. My better half is calling.”

Afraid Jessica would disconnect the call if he didn’t answer fast enough, Murphy grabbed the phone and swiped his thumb across the screen. “Hello, Beautiful!”

“Hey, Handsome,” Jessica said in a less enthusiastic tone. “What are you doing later?”

“I was planning for some late afternoon delight before dinner.”

“Hmmm, that’s right.”

“What’s going on?”

Jessica paused. “Amy met with her lawyer to see if there’s any way to get Dean out of the house.”

“It’s her house,” Murphy said. “She’s paying the mortgage.”

“Doesn’t matter that she’s paying the mortgage,” Jessica said. “It’s in both of their names. Just like I bought our house out of my inheritance. The deed has both of our names on it.”

“But if we got divorced, I’d be man enough to do the right thing and leave,” Murphy said.

“You’re not Dean.” She took in a deep breath. “I’ve called Willingham. He’s coming over to our house this evening. Amy is going to meet him there. We don’t want Dean to know that she’s planning to divorce him. He won’t think anything is up if she comes over to see me.”

“Gotcha.” Murphy cleared his throat. “What time is your dad’s lawyer coming over?”

“About six-thirty.”

“So if we can get home by five-thirty, then we can have a roll in the hay before he gets there.”

“Then we’ll be all sweaty.

“We’ll take a quick shower afterwards—together.”

“You know what happens when we take a shower together,” she said with a giggle. “It’s never just a quick shower.”

In a husky voice, he said, “I’ll do that thing you like.”

She caught her breath. “You know what that does to me.”


“Make it five.”

Murphy heard a throat clear behind him. He jumped up in his chair and spun around to find Perry standing in the doorway. “I’ve got to go.”

“Okay. If I’m late, don’t start without me.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Murphy disconnected the call. “What can I do for you, Perry?”

“They found Koch’s car out at the mall in Springfield. I’m going to look it over before they tow it to our garage.”

“Can someone bring Gnarly back here, or should I go out there to pick him up?”

“He’s on his way to Walter Reed hospital with the medical examiner?”

Murphy’s mouth dropped open. He had so many questions that he didn’t know which to ask first. First, his personal curiosity made him wonder what Gnarly was doing with the medical examiner. Professional curiosity made him want to know about the military’s medical examiner’s involvement in the case. “The body in Woodbridge was Koch.”

Perry nodded his head. “She’d been in the water at least two days. Archer and Hamilton identified her by her tattoos.”

“Any obvious clues about cause of death?”

Perry shook his head. “Her feet and hands were bound with duct tape. She also had rocks stuffed inside her clothes. Obviously, the killer wanted her body to be weighed down at the bottom of the river. She still managed to float back up to shore. Dr. Reed thinks it was the river’s current—something about the rain last week.”

“Why is Dr. Reed taking Gnarly back to Bethesda with him?”

“Gnarly jumped in the van.” Perry lifted a shoulder. “Archer says he and Gnarly hit it off.”

“Who’s going to Bethesda to pick him up?”

“He’s your dog.” Perry walked away.

“No, he’s not my dog,” Murphy called after him. “My dog is home in his recliner watching the business report—like all good dogs.”

The taste of a good romance in a mystery can take the edge off the gruesomeness of a killer plot, which is a good thing. I have found that books with no romance or tender emotion between characters to be depressing and leave a feeling of hopelessness—which is another genre.

Personally, I prefer a little love mixed in with my murder and mayhem.


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~Audible

BookBub ~ Add to Goodreads

Mystery Author Lauren Carr

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, the Thorny Rose, and now the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—almost thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~Books on Audible

Tour Schedule:
June 8 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 –Mystery Suspense Reviews – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 –Mystery Suspense Reviews– book spotlight / guest post
June 10 –Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 10 –T’s Stuff – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 11 –Sefina Hawke’s Books – audiobook review
June 11 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
June 11 – Rosepoint Publishing – audiobook review
June 12 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / guest post / author interview / giveaway
June 12 – Nighttime Reading Center – book spotlight / giveaway
June 12 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 15 –Buried Under Books – audiobook review – giveaway
June 16 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review /giveaway
June 17 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 17 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 19 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
June 23 – Books for Books – audiobook review
June 24 – JBronder Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 25 – Thoughts in Progress – audiobook review / giveaway
Enter the Giveaway:

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lauren Carr
    Jun 12, 2020 @ 09:43:35

    Reblogged this on themysteryladie.



  2. Trackback: Book Review: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours | Buried Under Books

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