“Old Loves Die Hard
Author: Lauren Carr
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
What happens when your ex=wife who cleaned you out in your divorce settlement turns up on your doorstep stone drunk and wants you back? Well! If you are millionaire Mac Faraday you handle it with finesse, intelligence and hopefully without too much fanfare. But, that would be in the real world and this is his world filled with one dog named Gnarly who was not happy to see Christine, one close friend named Archie and one police chief named David who left Mac to handle her on his own. But, what happens next? First, she fawns all over him, cries, weeps and confesses her sins blaming them on someone else. Then, he takes her to his Inn to sleep it off and she walks smack dab into the man who dumped her and his girlfriend threatening to murder him. Well, it gets better. Neatly tucked away in a private sweet with only the staff being able to access her room, he leaves her there to spend the night waiting to deal with her in the morning. That would be ideal but this is Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr and you guessed it: the only thing on the room service menu today is not coffee, tea or eggs just a double murder served up in the true style of a real murder mystery in the suite with tons of not red sauce but blood to go around. So, who are the victims none other than his ex=wife Christine and her ex-lover Stephen. Poor Mac, trying to adjust to his millions and having helped solved multiple murders that resulted in his half=brother becoming Chief of Police in Deep Creek Lake, now this. Our retired detective will now work feverishly to find out who killed these two people in his own Inn, clear his family name and hopefully connect more with Archie.
Mac for the first time is totally unwound, taints the crime scene, sick to his stomach and has to deal with telling his son and daughter about his ex-wife’s murder. Added to that his daughter Jessica stayed at her mom’s home only to find that some broke in. Motive for murder yet to be discovered. Did she really kill Stephen too early to call?
While Mac is trying to find out more about the case Stephen’s wife Natasha shows up with her companion. Learning more about his life, his career moves and his financial situation he uncovers some interesting information about what he was investigating and his relationship with his ex-wife. Stephen’s family is rich but he managed to live off of the women he slept with until they ran out of money or he just moved on. Using his federal credit card to pay for his stays at the Inn including his final one, Stephen was man who used women for his own selfish purpose. But, there is much more as we learn about Christine’s financial situation, how Stephen was responsible for depleting it and the fact that Mac did not know she was in Spencer even before she appeared on his doorstep. Questioned by David the Chief of Police brought to light information about the murder, the fact that someone copied her identity and went to a lot of trouble to duplicate her appearance and make it look like she killed Stephen. Dinner in her room, repeatedly calling Stephen’s cell phone and then having him come to her room, where he winds up dead. How convenient for the killer to frame her? How this is done well you need to read that for yourself? Just how depressed was Christine enough that she might have been considered incompetent. But, the plot thickens as the spotlight shines on Stephen himself, his past transgressions, the murders who might have gotten away with and Mac’s in-laws. Everyone wants a piece of what was left of Christine’s meager pie from her sisters who are fighting over a beat up car to a lake house that partly in Mac’s name to anything that is not nailed down. You would think they were not rich, but they are which is one reason that Christine left Mac for greener pastures in order to keep up not with the Jones’s but with her sisters. Added into the mix is the mysterious maid that appears and then disappears without a clue. But, one smart Security chief named Hector solves that puzzle but there is much more. Poor Mac and Archie try to have a quiet evening only to receive the wisdom, unasked for advice of his lawyer and hotel manager. When will he ever have some peace and alone time with Archie?
When Mac is blindsided by a Black SUV and David winds up with a dislocated shoulder and Gnarly once again saves the day, he winds up in the hospital returns home to his in-laws arguing, coming face to face with ex-cop hired for murder and then the pieces begin to fall into place. Throughout the novel one theme is current and strong and that all of the murders are connected to Mac’s old cases. Just how you won’t believe and who is behind them even more startling. Murders allowed going free for more than just technicalities, one man claiming to belong to a rich family and a family caught in a web of lies, deceit, murder, mayhem and old-fashioned vigilante justice. Who is behind this vigilante group? A reviewer’s sources are sacred and kept secret just like those of the police or new reporters. Never reveal your sources, who did it or how you figured or did not figure it out. Let’s just say this is one ending you will never be able to unravel by yourself unless you are Mac Faraday or of course our real sleuth: Gnarly. One smart and clever dog who has a sixth sense and real nose for murder, finding the criminals and remembering their scents, once again author Lauren Carr has created a compelling, humorous, heartfelt, mystery thriller that will throw even Perry Mason or the teams from CSI off the real killer’s trail until she reveals them the truth at the end. Will Spencer, Maryland and the Inn ever be a save place to visit and have dinner? Will poor Mac and Archie ever be alone? Wait until the next novel comes out and maybe you will find out if our retired police detective turned sleuth/ aka Private Eye solves another murder or just enjoys the rich life.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
This book deserves five more Gnarly’s and one red rose for Archie.