Note: While this is Book 3 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.
I’ve been a fan of Lauren Carr’s works for several years now. Sinking into this book was like joining an old friend for a lengthy cup of tea. I enjoy the writing style and characters equally. There’s also a twist or three and there’s usually more than one mystery to solve.
Jessica and Murphy are trying to balance her schooling and his career with their personal lives. And that’s how they get pulled into a minor investigation that involves a couples’s cooking class. Natalie Stepford is a well known cook and quite the looker too.
Of course, we get a body or two and the investigations into each are off and running. Then Murphy turns up missing. So the timeline jumps around a little in regards to Murphy and that through me a bit more than once. Still, I loved it that Murphy, this very capable man with lots of combat training and other special skills gained from his time in the super secret Phantoms, is the one that goes missing and it’s up to his wife and family to save him.
Newman was a source of amusement, a mix dog of some sort that rules over the TV, changing the station if the show doesn’t suit him. I also found the electronic butler Nigel fun, as people are sometimes started by his disembodied voice.
This tale had a few more cliches than normal for Carr’s works. On one hand, that made it easy to follow along and just enjoy the characters. On the other hand, it did make some things predictable. Despite this, I had a lot of fun with the story.
Murphy’s twin brother gets called in to help lay down a ruse that will bring the culprits to light even as other members of the family continue to pursue their investigations. I didn’t really like that Jessica had to use her feminine wiles, playing a woman in emotional distress, as her part of the ruse. First, she hasn’t acted like that at all, and secondly, she has plenty more to offer as a character.
The action is well balanced with humor and I also liked the flirtations between Murphy and Jessica as they do their best to fit in some sexytimes with their busy schedules. The end leaves us on a very satisfying note. 4/5 stars.
The Narration: Mike Alger has narrated several of Carr’s books and listening to his narrations is like listening to an old friend at this point. I love his voices for the men. He manages to make all the related men sound like relatives while also giving them their own unique voices. He makes a perfect Murphy. His female voices are usually feminine but there’s less range there and sometimes more then one woman will sound like the other. His pacing is perfect and there’s no issues with the recording. 4.5/5 stars.