Shades of Murder opened with a prologue about the death of Ilysa Ramsey, a prominent well-regarded artist. Her body was found in her studio on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland and her final work of art was missing. The case was never solved.
It is now present day, and Mac Faraday receives an unexpected gift - the missing masterpiece. The accompanying letter explains that the owner purchased the self-portrait years before knowing that Ilysaís murderer had never been found. He instructed his lawyer to send the portrait to Robin Masters upon his death. As Macís mother Robin had also died in the meantime, Mac ended up with it.
The letter informed Mac that the mystery remained open and the murderer should be found. Of course, Macís curiosity got the better of him and he had to check out the claim and look into who killed the famed artist.
In the meantime, Joshua Thornton, a small town prosecutor and former JAG lawyer is asked to visit a murderer in prison who insists he did not kill one of the victims attributed to him. As he was never charged with victim number four, Joshua reluctantly decides to look into the case. Cameron Gates, one of the original detectives on the now cold case, joins Joshua in his quest to find the real murderer.
Eventually, as Mac and Joshua search for clues to their respective murderer, their cases end up being connected in a surprising way. Now, the two have to find solutions before the real killer can strike again.
Shades of Murder by Lauren Carr is the third in the Mac Faraday series. She is also the author of two Joshua Thornton mysteries, and in a clever twist has brought the two men together to ultimately solve this latest mystery.
Carr has created a number of likeable and relatable characters in these two mystery series. They both have a male amateur detective, a female sidekick, and an unusual pet in Gnarly and Irving. The rest of the recurring cast are easy to get to know and therefore worth looking forward to seeing again in future books.
The author writes in a comfortable conversational manner which puts readers at ease and drawing them into the story. To say it is difficult to put one of these mysteries aside is an understatement. It is far easier to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
And, there is always something. The twists, turns, and surprises are all part of the fun in this present book and in the rest of the series.
Hereís hoping we get to occasionally see Mac and Joshua together again, although their separate mysteries are also well worth the read.
A special thank you goes to Acorn Books for sending us a complimentary copy of Shades of Murder. If you are interested in any of Carrís novels, they are available at Amazon.com.