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The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr
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The Murders at Astaire Castle

by Lauren Carr

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Note: Even though this is Book 5 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.

Set on Spencer Hill, in Deep Creek, Maryland, Mac Faraday won’t balk at exploring his property in full, and that includes the Astaire Castle which has been closed up since his biological mother passed away. It’s haunted and even his own half-brother David O’Callaghan (local police chief) thinks it’s a very bad idea to go exploring the castle. The Astaire Castle is the site of suicides, disappearances, and murders. As Mac Faraday, retired homicide detective, delves into the castle’s history yet more bodies turn up, and he and David are soon forced to reopen the case of the missing horror writer Damian Wagner.

This was an entertaining story, especially for the Halloween season. This tale has the haunted castle, a missing horror writer, and a wolf man! And that’s just the opening few chapters to this book. Mac and David argue like brothers and there’s a real friendship there even if they disagree on things. Hector, the blunt Australian, was a favorite character as well. I liked his (sometimes snarky) humor. Gnarly, the big friendly, food-oriented German shepherd, often stole the show.

While the men get to do most of the action and decisions for the book, there are a few ladies that stand out. Archie, Mac’s lover, has some role attached to the police department, though the details of which remained a bit fuzzy to me. While the guys often left her behind as they went off to adventure, she did have her moments with her gentle teasing, easing info out of this character or that. Chelsea with her medical condition and her service dog, Molly, also added to the story, specifically as an interesting love interest for one of the characters.

The wolfman was an interesting touch and one I didn’t expect. It definitely added a dimension to the book. The reveal of who did it came as a surprise as well. The wrap up left me wondering if there was a supernatural element to the story after all. All told, my only quibble is that I would have liked the ladies to be a bit more involved. Other than that, it was a pretty fun read.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author (via iRead Book Tours – thanks!) at no cost.

Narration: Dan Lawson makes a great Mac Faraday. He sounds decisive and also captures the characters fondness (and sometimes exasperation) for Gnarly. His female voices were believable. His voice for David was similar to Mac’s (which makes sense since they are related) and he kept it distinct from Mac’s most of the time. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 31, 2016 |
There is a slightly different, "spooky" twist to this Mac Faraday Mystery series by Lauren Carr. As always, Lauren's writing is captivating with an endearing humor. If the reader does not feel he/she already knows the Mac Faraday group, it is because he/she has never indulged in reading one of the great mysteries.
While retired police chief, Mac Faraday, was assisting David O'Callaghan search for a missing elderly lady with Alzheimer's disease, David suddenly stopped an demanded they go no farther. When he wouldn't answer Mac's questions as to why, Mac was determined to find answers...Beware what you ask for!
Mac's discovery immediately lead to a series of fatal events. Past and present meet in a long forgotten mystery when Mac insists on getting answers. Never a loss for action, the author has successfully blended in all other human elements. The fast moving tale ends with a "Twilight Zone" ending. Read it and find out what it is.
The book cover and title are very fitting. As in all of Lauren Carr's books, the characters become very familiar and real. The scenes are described in a manner which is easily visualized and "puts the reader at the scene".

I received this ebook free of charge from the author or publisher which does not affect my honest review. ( )
  LAWonder10 | Oct 11, 2016 |
The title was misleading. I had read the first book in this series and liked it so this title was interesting. However, the investigation led the main characters into looking for a man who went missing from college and had been living rough for years, aka "the wolfman." Mac, David and Gnarly go up to the "haunted" castle and discover the body of a dead writer.

The main characters and their development were the most interesting part of this book. ( )
  Kathy89 | Jul 15, 2015 |
From this book's description, I expected more of a haunted house story. While there is certainly a paranormal aspect, the focus is more murder mystery and we spend little time in the castle. The paranormal part is not so much about ghosts and hauntings, but leans heavily on someone called the wolf man, which, to me, feels out of place in this mostly conventional mystery.

The plot is intricate, maybe a little overly complicated at times, but certainly one that will keep readers guessing.

My biggest problems come with characterization. Much of the dialogue sounds scripted, silly, and unnatural. Some of the interactions between the characters feel juvenile and, again, not natural responses to given situations. We have a lot of characters moving in and out of the story. Many of them struck me as immature and one-dimensional, placed there only to serve a specific purpose within the plot. Because of this, I was never able to fully connect or take the story seriously. ( )
  Darcia | Jul 17, 2014 |
4 STARS

Last night I was wanting something to read a short story so I would not be tempted to stay up reading, when my kindle showed me there was a new Mac Faraday Mystery out. So of course I downloaded it and got it free on Amazon lending prime. So I stayed up late reading.

The Murders at Astaire Castle is good. Did not want to stop reading. It is a little bit different from the other books in the series. The characters show a little bit different side. At least David and Gnarly do.

The plot has some surprising twists in it. Mac finds out that he owns a haunted castle. David and Jeff don't want to talk about it. David even threatens Mac that he will shoot him. Hector is willing to spill all the murders and missing people to Mac and Archie. Of course they want to check it out for themselves.

Hector and Mac are going up there. David talked Mac out of letting Archie go with them. David ends up going with them to check out the castle.
David had a party their with college age friends and his one friend disappeared. It was Halloween and Riley Adams disappeared wearing a werewolf costume.

Years later there were two more murders and a missing author and the witness claimed to see a wolfman running away into the woods. After that Robyn had the castle boarded up. Archie did not even know of its existence.

Mac does not believe in haunted houses or ghosts. He finds answers to some of the mysteries. Mac and Archie are still a couple living together. Mac net worth has kept increasing, but he can't help not getting involved in solving murders.

David still has a troubled love life. His most recent one left to join FBI. But old high school girlfriend he hurt is back in town bring old emotions with her. He does not like going to the castle and if he dies there he is blaming Mac.

Gnarly gets scared, finds a new love in Molly. Everyone likes Molly and compares her good behavior against Gnarly's bad habits. I like Gnarly would not like to own him though.

I liked the Murders at Astaire Castle and I would have been tempted to see it but I don't think I would go inside it with only a couple of flashlights. Can't wait for the next book of Lauren's to come out.

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (July 18, 2013) 249 pages ASIN: B00E1IVPB0
  rhonda1111 | Jul 22, 2013 |
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