I had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing this book some years ago. And now it’s back with a new audiobook addition, this time narrated by Mike Alger (instead of Janean Jorgenson). It was so good to pick this book up again. The Mac Faraday mysteries are my favorites by Lauren Carr and I love this opening tale that introduces us to Mac, Gnarly, and Archie.
Mac Faraday receives the best news of his life on the toughest day he’s had yet. Just finalizing his messy divorce, he learns that his deceased birth mother who put him up for adoption has left him a fortune. Now Faraday has moved to Spencer Manor in an effort to connect with the mother he never knew. But murder lurks just around the corner and Mac puts his DC detective skills to use.
I’ve been listening to several Lauren Carr books recently and I love that they can be explored as stand alones. It was great to go back to Book 1 and see how things got started for Mac, how he met Archie, learned about his mom, and adopted Gnarly dog. While this isn’t my favorite book of the series, it’s a solid start to an entertaining murder mystery series.
Set in Spencer, Maryland, the Spencer Manor sits next to the lake in a gated community that harbors many secrets. Mac is new to wealth and he finds it takes some skills to navigate this new economic reality he’s landed in. It’s good that Archie is there to help him fit in. She was Robin Spencer’s assistant and lives in the guest cottage.
A few months before Mac moved in, a neighbor in the area was strangled to death. Katrina was a very charming woman who had a stalker. Of course, the husband Chad has to be cleared first but after 3 months, there are few clues to David (the local police officer) to continue on with the investigation.
I really enjoyed learning about David in this book. He’s Mac’s younger half-brother. The two have never met and it’s a bit awkward. Toss in David’s current problems with his boss, Chief of Police Roy Phillips, and David’s got a few reasons to be angry. Things get even more aggravating for the two experienced investigators when Phillips brings in his ‘expert’, a crime fiction author. Awkward, indeed!
Gnarly was the star of the show once again. He has his own insecurities and is something of a klepto. Mac has to learn about this the hard way and Archie does her best to keep Gnarly out of trouble. Of course, that all goes out the window when Gnarly turns up with a human skull. Good boy! Er… maybe not. Where did you get that? No! You can’t eat it! Here! Have my breakfast instead.
There are lots of characters in this novel and I sometimes had trouble keeping up with all of them. I think it could have been slimmed down a bit and the plot would have been less tangled. I also would have liked a bit more Archie. I feel she’s underutilized even though I know she comes into her own later in the series. Still, it’s an entertaining read and I’m glad I skipped back to this book to see how things got started for Mac. 4/5 stars.
The Narration: Mike Alger is at his best as Mac Faraday. I don’t think I could picture any other voice for Mac. Over all, this is one of his better performances. I like his voice for David as he does a great job of making him sound related to Mac but also younger. His voice for Archie is also well done. The pacing is perfect & there’s no issues with the technical recording. If anything, Alger could have a little more variation in voices. 4.5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.