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.
Before long, 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 Thorny Rose Mysteries, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?
Kill and Run
Nothing is simple when five women are murdered at a gathering in one victim’s home, even when you factor in the odd coincidence that both the Navy and the Army are inextricably involved. Or is it a coincidence? Murphy knows that the Officers Wives clubs in both organizations have enormous power to control the lives of not only wives but also their husbands. Were all five women connected to the military? Jessica is drawn into the investigation because she learns firsthand what it means to be inspected by the queen bees of the local Officers Wives. Was one of these women the real target or did the killer have more than one motive?
Intermittently, we see connections to other Lauren Carr series; as an example, Jessica is the daughter of multimillionnaire Mac Faraday (Mac Faraday Mysteries) and Murphy’s stepmother, Cameron Gates (Lovers in Crime series), who is a homicide detective working with her prosecutor husband, has come to visit in hopes of finding out more about her first husband’s hit and run death years ago. As Murphy, Jessica and Cameron all follow various leads, they’re faced with mounting evidence that the years old hit and run has current day relevance with the mass murders but getting to a real resolution takes them down some twisty paths.
As is to be expected in any Lauren Carr novel, a number of animals are present and all are temporarily housed together at Murphy’s and Jessica’s house. Monique, a very large tarantula, along with Maine Coon Irving, and dogs Spencer and Newman, offer a lighter side to things and become very attached to Izzy, teenaged daughter of one of the murdered women. Irving is a longtime favorite of mine but I have to say that Newman gives new meaning to “couch potato” and won my heart the first time somebody blocked his view of the TV 🙂
This was my first listening experience with C.J. McAllister and, while I can’t say he’s one of my favorites, he does a really good job with the various characters’ voices and, for the most part, performs with the right levels of tension and mood. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.