Nutcracker Conspiracy

The Latest Best-Selling Thorny Rose Mystery

"Steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own. It's thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.  Nicely done, Ms. Carr!" - Review by Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

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Book Details:

Book TitleThe Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr's books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description:

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:


Hey!  That’s My MO (modus operandi)!
By Lauren Carr

Have you ever read a book by one of your favorite authors and felt as if you had read a very similar scene in an earlier book written by that same author?
As the author of multiple books, that is my worst nightmare.

The Nutcracker Conspiracy is my twenty-seventh mystery. Currently, I am working on Came Upon a Midnight Murder, which will be my twenty-eighth book and I have found myself asking, “Did I do that before?” Or saying, “Nah, I can’t strangle this victim. I used a strangling in my last book.”
“How about a bombing?” Nope. Been there. Done that.
I’m scared. As an author, I often lurk on Amazon to read my competitors’ reviews. I specifically check out their negative reviews. I don’t do this to chuckle and smirk. Rather, I do it to learn about what turns readers off. By learning what other writers have done to turn off their readers, I can avoid the same mistakes.
More than once, I have read reviews in which the readers have complained about the prolific author churning out the same general plotline under the guise of a different title and setting. For that reason, I am always striving to change things up in my murder mystery plots.
In other words, as a mystery writer I am constantly looking for more imaginative ways to commit murder.
Set in Washington, DC, the Thorny Rose Mysteries is my big city mystery, which makes the plotlines more cutting edge. Jessica and Murphy Thornton live in a smart house, complete with an AI, artificial intelligence assistant. Every piece of technology written into the Thorny Rose Mysteries truly exists.
As I was coming upon a climactic scene in which the antagonist attempts to murder one of the protagonists, a thought occurred to me. “Hmmm, hackers can hack into computers and phones. They can hack into security systems. Nowadays, vehicles are basically computer systems. Why couldn’t someone hack into a car?”
Think about it. Most vehicles have GPS. GPS talks to satellites. If you have a GPS system in your car, it will communicate with the satellite. If your car is stolen, then the police can locate it via satellite. They can even turn off the vehicle remotely—all with the use of the satellite and the vehicle’s computer system.
Why couldn’t a bad guy use that satellite to communicate with the vehicle and take control of it?
I rubbed my hands together in glee at my cleverness.
Of course, I was so pleased with myself, I couldn’t wait until the book’s release to tell my husband. I had to brag to someone.
One month later …
The Nutcracker Conspiracy was at the editor when I sat down to watch a crime drama on television. It started out with witnesses coming up to a car accident. There were no skid marks to indicate braking. Could it be a suicide?
To my horror, fifteen minutes into the show they revealed that the car had been hacked!
“After all,” one of the lead characters explained, “vehicles nowadays are mostly computer. People can hack into computers and phones. Why can’t they use the GPS satellite to hack into a vehicle’s computer to take control of it?”
I screamed and pointed at the television.
I thought of it first! I wanted to scream to anyone who could hear me. Unfortunately, the only one around to hear me was Alexa who uttered an evil laugh.
Two weeks later, my husband sent me an email. “You’re going to want to see this,” he wrote.
The email contained a link to a blog post about the Washington Post hacking into a Chevy to show how cars are being used to spy on owners.
Two weeks after that, I turned on another crime show in which a mistress used a laptop to hack into her lover’s wife’s car to kill her.
“You’ve all stolen my idea!” I screamed at the television.
Again, Alexa laughed.
Then, the murder mystery writer in me started thinking. Suppose someone used my MO to kill someone in real life? Since the hacker is removed from the scene of the crime, then the police will have to find out who conceived such technique to commit murder. If I claim that it is my MO, then the police could come knocking on my door.
Maybe it’s better at this point to just keep my mouth shut and quietly walk away.
“Alexa,” I said, “tell no one.”

This time, Alexa uttered an evil snicker.

Every time I think I have read my favorite Lauren Carr novel, the next one from her TOPS it. This was not surprisingly my FAVORITE book so far and that is difficult to do. I don't know how this author can sleep with so many fantastic plots running through her head. 

The characters are amazing and even though there are political themes (not my usual or favorite genre) involved, she writes them so well I find it difficult to put her books down. 
She manages to balance the darker topics with well placed romantic suspense and humor!
Whether or not you are a conspiracy theorist, you will find the plausibility of conspiracy worth pondering in this story. The question is, which one? Whose motive is the strongest and correct one?
How significant is the number thirteen?

With a sense or element of the paranormal added, I kept telling my family "just one more chapter" more than I usually do.  Every page pulled me in deeper and would not let go.

You can read this as a stand alone novel but once you meet the extended family you won't want to miss any of the related series and books.

Check Out These Other Thorny Rose Mysteries:

"The plot was original, fresh and fast paced in spite of the "traditional elements" employed which can normally be found in any other thriller of this genre. The USP of this story would be its unpredictability. When you think you have it all guessed up, the plot would change its course keeping you hooked. There were a lot of suspense twists and turns that kept the momentum up. Needless to say, the writing was simply perfect. One thing that writer needs to be lauded for is the humor she inculcated in the book. Minus those humorous parts, the book would have been one serious read." - Reviewer: Book and Ink

Book Description:
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.

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, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

"Mysteries, murder, danger, and memories that threatens their lives keeps the action and suspense at a high level and even when the answers are found, it left me wanting more." - Review by Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental

Book Description:

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?
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Murder by Perfection is a wonderful read and a perfect to escape from the challenges of a busy day. Danger, intrigue, humor, and love all take their turn in this tale which will keep you reading into the wee hours." Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

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Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram



  1. Thank you so much for the fabulous review for The Nutcracker Conspiracy. I am certain that your followers will enjoy the latest Thorny Rose Mystery as much as you did. here's wishing each one luck in the giveaway for the Amazon Gift Card.


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