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Thorny Rose Mysteries #4

The Nutcracker Conspiracy

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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: “13”

341 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 30, 2020

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About the author

Lauren Carr

48 books364 followers
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty 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, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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5 stars
114 (63%)
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54 (30%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for Sherry Fundin.
1,727 reviews115 followers
January 31, 2020
Is that a lycanthrope that stole that hamburger patty right out of Orville’s hands? LOL

I think I know the answer to that question. The critters in Lauren Carr’s books have distinctive personalities that have me laughing, and at times worrying about them.

Newman is a basset hound TV addict. Don’t mess with his remote. Gnarly, a German Shepherd, is a force of nature. Spencer is the sweet loving female of the group.

Archie has her own thoughts on the death of the vice president’s wife and I do love a good conspiracy. Was the president their target and Paloma just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Lauren Carr has thrown in so many twists and turns and multiple mysteries that make me wonder what they could possibly have in common.13 victims. Is there more than one murderer?

I read The Nutcracker Conspiracy in one sitting. I couldn’t believe how fast I flew through it, having to know who would be the next victim and why.

Lauren Carr has upped the game in this mystery, thriller, police procedural. There are a lot of characters, so to choose my favorites is hard for me to do. Of course, the dogs are always a hit and I look forward to what they are up to next. The love and romance is sweet and sexy without the details. Who wouldn’t love to have a husband like Murphy?

Every time Lauren Carr has a new novel, I jump at the chance to read it. She keeps me entertained, unable to put the book down until the last page is read. She keeps the mystery alive and the story filled with lots of action that is so well written it is easy to fly through the pages…having to know who did what to who and having some laughs along the way. I do love some humor with my murder. I will be waiting…patiently (?)…for the next book.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr.

See more at fundinmental
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
January 30, 2020
Thank you IRead and the author for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Nutcracker Conspiracy
By: Lauren Carr

*REVIEW* 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I've been fortunate to read several of Lauren Carr's books, and each one has been enjoyable. The Nutcracker Conspiracy did not disappoint. This is a thrilling read full of mystery, intrigue, suspense and drama, all in the grip of Washington D.C and the kind of conspiracy theories you might expect in this type of climate. As the mystery unravels, it goes further back in time than I expected, and there are plenty of twists and turns. The characters are intelligent, engaging and likeable. I enjoyed this thrilling mystery and recommend for fans of this genre.
Profile Image for Laura Thomas.
1,300 reviews78 followers
February 12, 2020
I love this series and I’m thrilled to get back to it.

So much worked in this book. The characters were complex. Many of them were favorites I’d encountered in the previous books. The mystery was convoluted. Something caught my attention and pointed to who was behind the crimes. Later, something else kind of confirmed it for me. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was way off the mark and it was someone else. I think those misdirection’s Lauren planted were intentional and very clever.

There was also a prank thing going on. Someone from the past returned and a certain someone else couldn’t resist getting payback, in quite the imaginative ways.

And let’s not forget my other favorites. The critters! This time there are reported sightings of a lycanthrope terrorizing the community. It strikes from cover, even from up in the trees. I wonder who it could be. LOL

I had so much fun and didn’t want it to end. Now I can’t wait for the next book in this charming, addictive and hilarious series.

I received a complimentary copy. My review is voluntarily given.
Profile Image for Kathleen Kelly.
1,294 reviews106 followers
March 2, 2020
This is a review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr and done for iRead Book Tours.

What is the book about?
"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."

What did I like about the book?
I love a good mystery/thriller/murder mystery book. This book had all the elements of a good murder mystery. Good strong characters, although an awful lot of them. At times it was confusing to keep up with who is who. The setting was mostly in Washington DC and the author told the mystery in a very convincing way. You never expect who the bad guy is and it is unexpected. I also liked that one of the characters is dog Gnarly. At first, I thought it was a person.

What I didn't like about the book?
The only thing I can think of is the number of characters. I did like that the author put in the front of the book a cast of characters. That really helped.

Do I recommend this book?
I most certainly do. I give it 4 stars! I loved the book and I highly recommend it if you like a good suspenseful story that leaves you satisfied at the end.
700 reviews5 followers
February 1, 2020
Fasten your seatbelt!! You are in for a great ride!!

I have always loved Lauren Carr' s books. Many of the books are based Robin Spencer's family that she knew about, but never acknowledged and left all of her money. Others still deal with law enforcement and characters often cross over from one series to another. Even though they are all stand alones, it is always good to know how the whole thing started. This one - The Nutcracker Conspiracy - was jam packed with action and are a wee bit more bloody than the others. But the plot was a thing of beauty. Chinese and American spies, stolen secret computer systems, and political assassinations are just a few of the goings on. Gnarly is present in all of his glory getting into all kinds of trouble as well as saving lives. Get comfortable and enjoy the trip with Gnarly and his family through one of the most exciting tales from Lauren Carr.
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,485 reviews16 followers
January 28, 2020
I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read several of Lauren Carr’s books, and I always enjoy them, but this is my favorite so far. I like her humor, and I usually smile or giggle several times when reading one of her books, but The Nutcracker Conspiracy made me actually laugh out loud several times. While there was humor, there was plenty of mystery and drama with several twists.

The book starts with an assassination attempt of the president gone wrong. According to the Nutcracker Conspiracy, several people wanted the president dead so the vice president could take over and the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies were in on it. But the vice president’s wife is the one who ends up dead. When 12 other people end up dead, several supposedly in accidents, it looks like maybe the Nutcracker Conspiracy is true…or is there more to it? Murphy ends up investigating the deaths and what a ride!

I definitely recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy. It does stand alone but I got more out of it having read previous books in the this series and other series in which the characters cross over.
483 reviews10 followers
January 20, 2020
Wow – this is one INCREDIBLE novel that I could not put down. It had me on the edge of my seat and I can honestly say that I never saw the end coming. It was full of suspense, action but also humour (done in a way that only Lauren can accomplish).

The book starts off with the murder of the vice president’s wife which led to the Nutcracker Conspiracy – that someone wanted the President dead and somehow the CIA, FBI and law enforcement were all in on it. Following her murder, eleven additional people were murdered. Their murders or disappearances were never solved and were thought to be connected to the original murder. Dean, an aspiring author but not a nice person, gets his hands on a book around this conspiracy but is murdered before he can publish his book – which forces Murphy to begin to look into the murders much closer. What he uncovers, will blow your mind away.

What begins to unravel is an intense, well thought out plot – which definitely keeps you on your toes as you are introduced to new characters, new plot twists and history. The story takes off fast and keeps on moving, drawing you in deeper to the story and feeling a deeper connection to the characters. They solve the original crime but also keep good friends of theirs from being criminally punished for something they did not do.

I loved this book from start to finish and would say this is by far one of her best written works. It has a little bit of everything with some well planned humour to lighten the mood. It is well written, an excellent, never before read plot with lovable characters. The Nutcracker Conspiracy is a definite must read, that does not disappoint!
3 reviews
February 1, 2020

This is one of my favorite books so far!!!! Its always interesting and keeps you wanting more!!!! I love the thorny rose series!!!! Murphy and Jessie make such an amazing team with a love story for the ages!!!!
2,320 reviews31 followers
February 1, 2020
Twisty as ever

Lots of mystery, danger, humor and lots of friends to see again. Including a famous small town mayor who is a hero,a thief and has four legs. Gnarly is visiting.
Murphy boss turns up missing. Crouch doesn't like him.
Jessica's friends are caught up in a conspiracy.
Loved the book.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
249 reviews4 followers
April 22, 2020
My favorite crime solving duo are back and full of wit and crime solving skills once again. In this installment Murphy Thornton and his wife  Jessica Faraday, try to solve a murder that happened years ago that is now somehow linked to the present. This is full of political intrigue, drama and surprise developments that had me guessing until the conclusion. What I love most about these books and actually all of this authors books are the animals that are characters in their own right. We have a TV addicted dog, a dog who is a thief and various other animals that will charm you and make you laugh with their antics. I love the interaction between Jessica and Murphy, so swoon worthy yet adorable and refreshing as well. This is a series but you may read as a standalone. I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in a day.

Who this book is for:

If you are a fan of Mysteries/Cozy Mysteries
If you like a bit of romance with your Mysteries
If you like quirky but lovable characters
This review was originally posted on Cindy’s Book Stacks
Profile Image for Ruth Hill.
1,115 reviews639 followers
February 28, 2020
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

First of all, this is a thriller. While there are no bedroom scenes or what I would call vulgar language or graphic violence, the book would not be considered truly family friendly. I wasn't offended by anything in the book. It tries to present a realistic picture of a very involved conspiracy Travis dark and full of twists and turns. If you like thrillers, this book should be a great fit for you.

I was quite impressed with the tale the author wove. I adored the dog, and the characters were rarely who they appeared to be on the surface. This us acfast-paced story and I commend the author for putting a cast list in the front of the book. It can be hard to keep everyone straight and this is an excellent tool for doing just that.

This is the first book I have ever read by this author and there is no doubt age possesses stellar story-telling skills. Sometimes I found myself not as invested in the characters as I would have liked to have been, but perhaps it is because this is book #4. Regardless, this book is story-driven and for a thriller, it probably makes sense for that to be the central focus.
Profile Image for Marilyn Wilson.
Author 3 books53 followers
January 23, 2020
The Nutcracker Conspiracy - book #4 in author Lauren Carr's Thorny Rose Mystery series - offers a wild and complicated ride. It is a political thriller full of head spinning twists and turns. Intriguing clues are offered along the way to guide you, but the complicated plot is one that will keep you guessing until the final chapter.

The book opens with a scene from the past. The US president and first lady, along with the vice president and his wife, are at a performance of The Nutcracker. During intermission, the Vice President's wife is shot during an attempt on the president's life. At least that's the official story. Immediately conspiracy theories arise, fueled by the sheer number of deaths that occur over time to those whose life touched this event in any way. Was the man accused of the crime and killed in the process really trying to kill the president or was the person shot the true target? Was the cabinet was trying to remove the president from office?

Elite Phantom Murphy Thorton and his wife, Forensics Psychology student (and daughter of Mac Faraday) Jessica Faraday-Thornton, initially bought the official line. Case closed. Then a friend's husband brags he has intimate knowledge of a conspiracy, as well as a manuscript written by another author investigating the event. One who died mysteriously. The couple was at first skeptical. That was until this man becomes victim 13.

What follows is a complicated, fast paced, exciting story that follows the key characters as they try to find answers to the many questions that arise. Are there corrupt people in key government jobs? Was the killing what it appeared to be or was there something else going on behind the scenes? Are there moles inside the government and what is their goal? What is the secret research project focused on at Cox Industries? Who has orchestrated all these deaths and how did they manage to make them all look like accidents or suicides?

The only way you'll get the answer to these questions and more is to get your copy and dive in. And be prepared - it'll be a hard one to put down.
Profile Image for Cassidy.
Author 11 books191 followers
February 12, 2020
Another well written cozy thriller featuring the Thorntons and the Faradays. Why do I call it a cozy thriller? It has all the elements of page-turning thriller – an intricate plot, tension, action, and such – with the antics of several quirky canines, including a kleptomaniac and a TV remote hog, providing a light, humorous touch not typically found in thrillers or hard-boiled mysteries.The author did a great job of creating an intricate story, with interesting twists and subplots. A very enjoyable read.
FTC Disclosure: I received an Advance Review Copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of this review.
Profile Image for BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books).
1,380 reviews102 followers
June 4, 2020
What I Loved:
One of the things I love about Lauren Carr’s books is her animals. She creates these animal characters that have a personality that you connect with! The Nutcracker Conspiracy did not disappoint me one bit with the animals woven into the story!

How I Felt:
The plot was so much fun. It’s a police procedural story, so I got lots of great details from the investigator’s perspective. The conspiracy really went back in time to pull all the details together, which made the fact-finding portion of the book really interesting. It also has that fun, humorous side that makes it feel lighthearted. Lauren Carr finds a great balance between the suspense and humor.

The characters in The Nutcracker Conspiracy were as wonderful as always! I like that Carr incorporates characters that we meet in other stories with the new ones. It just feels like I’m reading about friends. Gnarly, a favorite pup of mine is back again. If you enjoy the four-legged friends in stories, you’ll really get into this book. There’s even a lycanthrope lurking around!

I listened to the audio version of this book through Audible, narrated by Mike Alger. I really enjoyed his narration. I found him to be easy to listen to, and he did a great job with the voices and cadence of the story!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I loved the mystery, and I did NOT expect the killer to be who it was! It had some great twists, but also had that lighter, humorous side that I so enjoy.

Content Warning:
This book contains some light sexual content that is referenced but is not described. There is some light swearing, nothing in the “F” family. There is some description of the murder, so there is some blood.

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy for readers that enjoy a mystery with some twists and turns and some amazing characters!

This is the fourth book in the series Thorny Rose Mysteries, however, I do feel that it can be read as a stand-alone. I had not read the other boos in this series, and it did not impact my enjoyment of this book at all!

I was provided an advanced listening copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

My full review of this book will post to my blog on 6/8/20. All of my book reviews are available at https://shejustlovesbooks.com/all-boo...
Profile Image for Lelia Taylor.
872 reviews16 followers
June 15, 2020
4.5 stars

Unlike most of Lauren Carr’s books, The Nutcracker Conspiracy features one body after another after another and it’s no wonder that Dean Conway believes a conspiracy is tying so many of these deaths together. It all started with an attempt on the President’s life that actually claimed two other lives and it’s only natural to think that such an assassination attempt must have involved one federal agency or another, maybe more than one. Murphy Thornton didn’t pay much attention to Dean’s theory, that is, until Dean himself was blown up by a bomb.

Since Dean’s wife, Amy, is a close friend of Jessica’s, the latter is drawn into Murphy’s investigation when Amy is pegged as a prime suspect in the bombing. With a little help from Jessica’s brother, Tristan, and Nigel, the Thorntons’ very efficient AI butler, not to mention even more family members and friends, Murphy and Jessica start down a very complex trail of clues, theories, motives and potential perpetrators that lead them to a multitude of puzzle pieces. Putting the puzzle together kept me listening into the night hours while the couple worked as hard as they ever have to catch the killer…or maybe more than one.

As it happens, Jessica’s dad’s dog, Gnarly, is visiting—he needed to get out of town for a while till the furor dies down—and he’s settled right in with the other two dogs, Newman and Spencer. Newman is perfectly happy with the visitor as long as Gnarly doesn’t mess with his TV remote and Spencer seems to have a bit of a crush on the German Shepherd but Gnarly is more interested in continuing his life of minor crimes and misdemeanours, a habit that doesn’t fit well with his position as elected mayor of the town of Spencer. You can imagine, I’m sure, the chuckles and outright guffaws that ensue when these pups are on the page.

Mike Alger continues his stellar performance as narrator of so many of Ms. Carr’s books and he really has become one of my favorite readers; Mr. Alger has a way with words and vocal personalizations, not to mention a clear sense of mood and pacing. Between his narration and Ms. Carr’s deviously tangled plot and vivid characters, a listener/reader won’t be the least bit disappointed in this latest Thorny Rose adventure.
Profile Image for Meagan Myhren-Bennett.
Author 12 books22 followers
June 18, 2020
The Nutcracker Conspiracy
A Thorny Rose Mystery #4
By Lauren Carr
Read by Mike Algers

When Jessica Faraday's best friend finds herself suspect number one in her husband's murder, Jessica is determined to prove Amy's innocence. There is just one problem Amy looks good for the murder of Dean. Just days before at a wedding Dean told Murphy Thornton that he was about to publish a book based on the Nutcracker Conspiracy - a conspiracy in which 12 people had so far died to keep hidden.

When Dean is killed Murphy, Jessica, and Tristan find themselves digging into an assassination attempt that occurred 3 years ago. Could Dean's death be tied to his research into the thwarted attempt on the President's life?

The deeper they dig the more questions they have. And when the Nutcracker Conspiracy has links to a case that Murphy is currently involved in at work he realizes something even more sinister is at work.

One fun note is that Gnarly is visiting while Mac and Archie are overseas. Yes, that Gnarly and he is his full of trouble thieving self. He also helps out in more than one instance so he adds a light note throughout. For fans of Lauren Carr's Chris Matheson series, he makes a guest appearance.
Get ready for a mystery with more turns than a winding road as the truth is searched out. Murder, espionage, and treason what more could you want? Maybe a little revenge on an ex-girlfriend? Yes, Tristan has a little bit of mental revenge on his with a little help with his technical skills.
This is not a cozy mystery or a gentle read and is most definitely in the PG category for violence and suggestive scenes. But if your taste in books runs towards mystery, suspense, and murder you will devour this book! There are suspects aplenty and a few characters that one just can't help disliking. The narration is well presented by Mike Alger. There is no drag and it progresses at a good pace for the reading, good for a long commute or just eye-resting listening enjoyment.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Angela Thompson.
386 reviews9 followers
February 10, 2020
Lauren Carr offers readers mysteries and characters to love. As with most of the author's novels, readers are faced with multiple murders and mysterious events--and a number of mini-plots and side stories that keep the story moving well and add to the twists and turns. The author has a knack for giving every character (canine, feline and human) a distinct personality that series readers come to love and expect with each novel. The Nutcracker Conspiracy builds on the relationships and characters from the author's current series as well others--and pulls readers into that mystery-solving "family" of connected characters. With humor and sarcasm--fun characters and a well-developed storyline--this is another entertaining, engaging mystery.

Stand-Alone--but, better as a series. As I have said before, while the novels of The Thorny Rose Mystery series are stand-alone--there really are a lot of characters to organize and a lot of history circling them. While you can certainly read this novel alone--I really think it is best to read the complete series and build an understanding of the characters and their relationships to see more of the humor and depth in some of the scenes.

Would I recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr? I love these mysteries. They are not overly complex or difficult to read. They are fun to read. So--if you are a fan of cozy mysteries--but, like something a little less cute and a little more grownup--with a few more twists and turns--this series is quick to read and enjoyable. I love the characters and I love their stories. This book was a little more predictable earlier on than some from the series--but it is still a fun mystery with great characters that I will continue to follow through more of the author's novels as I am sure that we haven't seen the last of any of them! I would certainly recommend this novel along with the other books of this series (as well as Carr's other novels).

I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher for use in a blog review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kristine Hall.
819 reviews43 followers
June 22, 2020
AUDIO BOOK REVIEW. I’ve read (with my ears) a number of books from the different mystery series by Lauren Carr, and there are things I can count on, every time: a huge cast of characters, a number of plots and subplots with red flags and red herrings, non-stop action, a high body count, and animal antics to amuse readers. Most importantly, being immersed in one of Carr’s books is always time well-spent.

THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY is no different. It’s the fourth in the Thorny Rose Mysteries (the second for me; I also read book three, Murder by Perfection) with a perfect possible governmental conspiracy plot – and a lot of side stories – to keep readers engaged and on their toes. The first scene in this book is a little different from other books and caught my attention; were we going to have a touch of the supernatural in the story? This piece and the concluding scene, when the paranormal incident is revisited, are fabulous bookends to the story, and that’s all I will say about that.

“No, the pizza guy did not deliver to the wrong house…Gnarly mugged him!”

As I mentioned, there is always a huge cast of characters, but in each book, readers get to better know the regulars. This time, we’re getting to know Tristan and his sister Jessica, and they are as different as night and day and a hoot. Many of the characters are crossover characters from other Carr mysteries. For readers who are familiar with all the series books and characters, this is an especially fun treat, but it can be a little confusing about who is married to/related to whom and from which series they come. Since my favorite series is the Chris Matheson Cold Cases, I was thrilled that Chris and his feisty mom, Doris (and Sterling, their dog!) were along for the ride in THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY. But my favorite cameo, hands down, is Gnarly, the German shepherd who is not only a food thief but a scene stealer and manipulator of humans. He provides much needed clever comic relief when the storyline gets complicated – and complicated it gets.

Typically, readers are required to suspend their disbelief a time or two, and that’s okay, but THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY pushed it a bit too far for me around a major plot point and related detail. I just couldn’t accept the conclusion. Nonetheless, as the seemingly wild, unrelated threads of the story begin to untangle, Carr works her magic and masterfully weaves them together with all loose ends tied. Another thing I enjoy with Carr’s books is that readers can count on all questions being answered for a satisfying conclusion, and this time, we get an epilogue that is a massive loose-end tier-upper.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Mike Alger has narrated every book of Carr’s that I’ve listened to (and may be her only narrator), and he just keeps getting better. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the early books, but in THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY, he has upped his game by adding lots more accents than just the usual variations on male/female (and the female voices are much improved). Pacing was great, and I didn’t notice any odd pronunciations like I have in the past. The technical aspect is improved as well, and I didn’t notice any glitches or hitches or background noises. Well-done!

Thank you to the author and iRead Book Tours for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. This full review and more special features on Hall Ways Blog.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,744 reviews35 followers
June 20, 2020
Note: Even though this is book 4 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.

This was such a fun story! I have liked all of Carr’s books, but this one was great, one of her better works. I love all of the humor and the pet companions. I especially enjoyed Nigel, the house AI. Tristan is responsible for him and his family makes good use of him. Nigel has a very dry sense of humor that is put to good use in this story.

The mystery was pretty good too. We have more than one victim and more than one motive. It was great seeing how the clues came together for our sleuths. A chunk of the plot revolves around a certain nail polish – Cocktails for Two. I’m not big on makeup but I still liked this plot bit.

Everyone loves the dogs and I love how the dogs are so central to the story. They provide humor, sure, but also backup to our heroes. Then there’s Thor the rabbit – the growling rabbit! Ha! Of course he growls.

Murphy Thornton is the last of an elite military group and sometimes this works for me and sometimes it’s a little over the edge. Maybe because there is so little other military stuff, but it just feels a bit forced, sticking out like a sore thumb. Yet, I really want it to work because I like Murphy and I like all this stuff he does, but sometimes his hunches or contacts or abilities or history is just a little too convenient for the plot, pushing it along.

That said, the plot is fast-paced and fun. I was never bored with the tale. 4.75/5 stars.

The Narration: Mike Alger is a delight to listen to. He’s been narrating Carr’s books for years now and I can’t see anyone else doing them. I especially liked his deep smooth voice for Nigel, the house AI. That was a surprise! He also had this perfectly annoying voice for a lazy husband. His female voices sound feminine and he has unique voices for all the characters. There were no tech issues with the recording. 5/5 stars.
1,554 reviews
February 14, 2020
In author Carr's latest, we are headed back to the Thorny Rose mansion and we get to spend some time with Murphy and Jessica Thornton.

The beginning of the story sets up our mystery, three years previously an assassination attempt was made on the President of the United States. He was ok but the VP's wife did not make it. What really happened that fateful evening has had many conspiracy theorists only guessing. However, Murphy finds out from an annoying acquaintance that there are a lot of bodies that keep piling up or end up missing. Murphy and especially Jessica are thrown into this new mystery, or is it a cover up when Jessica's best friend's husband is killed suspiciously. Wanting to prove her friend innocent, Jessica sets out to find out what is truly going on.

Murphy on the other hand is wrapped up in another string of suspicious deaths that are made to look like suicides but upon closer examination all signs are pointing to murder. What is going on? Espionage, spying, and corruption are all being uncovered in several parts of the government.

As with all of author Carr's books, there is so much more underneath these two mysteries, and what if by some chance everything is linked? Jessica and Murphy soon find out how much danger they really are in.

To lighten the mood, Gnarly and the other canines are present to give us a much needed break from the drama of the human lives. Though Gnarly is up to no good himself. And the part of the dog's marathon of X-Files had me chuckling as that is the current show I am watching.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Teresa.
972 reviews11 followers
June 7, 2020
The Nutcracker Conspiracy is the 4th book in the Thorny Rose Mysteries Series by Lauren Carr. I am a huge fan of Lauren Carr. I love how she keeps all of her characters the same in each book so they feel like old friends. I also love how she connects all of the characters in all of her different series. I like keeping up with old friends in real life and her books let me keep up with all the different characters from all of the different series. Characters from different series show up in all of her books even if it's just a phone call or a shopping trip.

Mike Alger is back to narrate the Audiobook. As usual he does and amazing job of bringing the story and characters to life. I don't know how he does it but he keeps the voice of each character exactly the same from book to book.

I just have to say: Lauren you didn't go there. You killed the Vice President's wife. In a botched attempt to kill the President the 2nd lady is shot and killed, or was he the intended victim. Three Years later the body count is adding up. Murphy Thornton is the main character and of course Gnarly of Lauren's list of characters in this book. Every time I think I figured out this who done it, a new person or a new bit of info pops up and i have to rethink it all over again. I love this about Lauren Carr's books. You do not have the killer pinned down in the first chapter and just learn the details the rest of the book. These books keep you guessing all the way through.

I also love that there is not a ton of graphic sex, foul language, and lots of descriptions that mean nothing to the story. There's enough going on in these books not to have to add filler with with descriptions and steam.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Profile Image for Leila.
558 reviews7 followers
February 12, 2020
I love a good conspiracy mystery and this one was loaded with mystery, murders, cover ups and “who done it”!

Per usual, there was more than one case happening at once – one that initially appears to be linked with the other.

I felt this time, there were many more characters, more deaths, more “frame jobs”, more cover ups than previous Lauren Carr reads (I may be slightly obsessed with Lauren’s mysteries) and the depth of the “conspiracy” made the entire mystery all the more enjoyable to figure out.

The Nutcracker Conspiracy focuses on Murphy and Jessica (hence, Thorny Rose Mystery), but of course, we have Tristan and Nigel (who are never far from Murphy and Jessica) as well as my favorite dog Gnarly, and another Lauren Carr character, Chris Matheson. (I love that we get to blend our favorite characters into one mystery! It always makes it so much more enjoyable!)

The Nutcracker Conspiracy, as with all other Lauren Carr mysteries, did not disappoint and is a great “who done it” read that captures your attentions, pulls you into the mystery, and keeps you on your toes the entire read.

There is always more than one case going that appear linked, but at times, are two separate cases – which leave you all the more invested.

Lauren’s writing makes you feel like you are part of the team while investigating and per the usual, I did not figure out the suspects until the book revealed them. (I’m pretty sure I was 100% stumped on the suspects in this book and did not see them coming!)

If you enjoy a good mystery, The Nutcracker Conspiracy is definitely a must grab book!
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,013 reviews21 followers
February 19, 2020
A presidential assassination attempt three years prior took the lives of the vice president’s wife and the assassin. Since then there have been all kinds of conspiracy theories about the true target and who ordered the murder.

Zip to present day which finds Murphy Thornton at a wedding reception with author Dean Conway. Dean is going on and on about his book about the assassination attempt. He tells Murphy about how twelve witnesses have died in the last couple years. How when someone seems to be getting close to the results, they end up dying. Murphy doesn’t think anything about it until he receives a text message from Dean saying “13.” Dean is later found dead.

Murphy jumps into the mystery of spies, stolen secrets, and assassinations. What follows is a twisting, turning ride with lots of red hearings along the way. I was kept on my toes the whole way and was completely wrong with who the killer was, as usual. This is what makes me a huge fan of Lauren Carr’s books.

And of course, there are the animals: Gnarly, Newman, and Spencer. The only thing I can say is lycanthrope. Sprinkled through the story are hilarious canine antics.

I love Lauren Carr’s books and strongly recommend checking them out. You can read them in order to get more from the books or you can read them as a standalone without being completely lost. If you like mysteries, you HAVE to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
5,280 reviews
February 20, 2020
The Nutcracker Conspiracy is the fourth and latest installment to Lauren Carr’s Thorny Rose Mysteries. I have read the previous books in the series and this one does not disappoint. It is by far my favorite of the series. I love how Miss Carr is able to throw in humor in addition to her murder mysteries. I love trying to figure out “who done it” and every time, she throws me off. I hardly every predict how it all ends. That is what is so great about her books. She is so clever coming up with these mysteries.

The Nutcracker Conspiracy catches up the perfect couple and investigative team, Murphy and Jessie. Murphy starts investigating the cold case murder of the Vice President’s wife. Witnesses of the murder have, also, have died mysteriously. Murphy teams up with Dean, a writer, to find out the truth behind these deaths before more become victims. There were so many twists and turns within the pages that I would never had seen coming. Mixed in the suspense, there were some sprinkles of humor that kept me reading. I had no problem to continue reading from front to back in one sitting. It is so very good.

I am giving The Nutcracker Conspiracy a very well deserved five plus stars. I am hoping there will be another release from the Thorny Rose Mysteries in the near future. I am ready to give up these fun characters. I highly recommend this one for readers who enjoy a good suspense filled cozy mystery.

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
Profile Image for IslandRiverScribe.
470 reviews17 followers
February 5, 2020
"Just Saying"

Alternately funny and tense, this latest entry in the Thorny Rose series absolutely abounds with twists and turns. One minute you think that the conspiracy is government-oriented and then the next minute you wonder if it is really corporate espionage. Then it seems as if it's actually both at the same time with the same set of players. Yep, plenty of twists and turns to absorb.

And, as far as the murders are concerned, your mind gets a real workout trying to decide if He, She or They did it or if there are multiple sets of He/She/They involved. Anyway, it's a great reading ride from start to finish.

Now, most of us who have been reading Lauren Carr's four integrated series's from the beginning know to read them in publication order so that the greatest enjoyment of character growth and story arcs can be achieved. And we also have our own ideas, after 20-some books, about Gnarly. Basically, we have been fully indoctrinated into his personality, behavior, appearance and mannerisms. And we have become adept at following his actions on our own personal, mental video screen.

Therefore, you might need to be prepared to apologize to anyone around you for your reaction to the scene when Jessica puts Gnarly - and Nigel - into timeout. You won't see the scene coming; Lauren Carr does not telegraph its impending occurrence at all. But it could well be one of the funniest scenes she has ever written. "Just saying!"
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,485 reviews16 followers
June 10, 2020
I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read The Nutcracker Conspiracy in January and was happy to listen to it as well since it’s my favorite Lauren Carr book so far. I like her humor, and I usually smile or giggle several times when reading one of her books, but The Nutcracker Conspiracy made me actually laugh out loud several times (gotta love Mac’s dog, Gnarly). While there was humor, there was plenty of mystery and drama with several twists.

The book starts with an assassination attempt of the president gone wrong. According to the Nutcracker Conspiracy, several people wanted the president dead so the vice president could take over and the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies were in on it. But the vice president’s wife is the one who ends up dead. When 12 other people end up dead, several supposedly in accidents, it looks like maybe the Nutcracker Conspiracy is true…or is there more to it? Murphy ends up investigating the deaths and what a ride!

When I first start listening to one of Lauren Carr’s audiobooks, it’s like listening to an old friend. Mike Alger has narrated many of her books, he does a great job, and I know his voice the minute I hear it.

I definitely recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy. It does stand alone but I got more out of it having read previous books in this series and other series in which the characters cross over.
Profile Image for Stanley McShane.
Author 9 books38 followers
June 15, 2020
Love all the characters in Ms Carr’s Thorny Rose Mystery Series that include canine characters as well as strong protagonists. Particularly love Gnarly (a German Shepherd) and the others, always sure to provide lively entertainment.

An assassination attempt of the president went awry several years ago, but since then, more than twelve other people have ended up dead in what was supposed to look like suicide or accidents. But no one believes in coincidence and coincidence doesn’t apply here particularly after Dean Conway started spouting off about a book he was going to publish that was going to explode the story wide open--he called it the Nutcracker Conspiracy. But then he was blown up. (That’ll shut him up!)

A compelling and complex well-plotted suspense mystery. A clever twisty narrative full of misinformation nuggets. How wide did the whole conspiracy theory reach? Washington DC? The FBI, CIA? Stolen documents and spies. Sensitive research projects in the hands of China?

The Nutcracker Conspiracy is standalone worthy. Murphy and his wife Jessica Faraday, wrap up another twisty intrigue and then surprise, surprise! Gotcha! I received a complimentary audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review. Mike Algar, narrator, does a heroic effort covering all the characters. Recommended! 4.5/5

See my full review at https://rosepointpublishing.com/2020/...
Profile Image for Mason.
Author 1 book21 followers
June 25, 2020
Narrator Mike Alger does a great job bringing the characters to life by giving a unique voice to each one. His steady pace and distinct tones add depth to this already intriguing story. His mannerisms add to the personalities of the characters making them more realistic to the listeners.

The story is a wonderful mixture of humor, suspense, mystery, and a touch of romance wrapped around a conspiracy plot. The characters are quirky and likeable. The author skillfully weaves canines as major characters making readers/listeners believe their participation in this fascinating story.

There are several leads of thought going on throughout the tale, but it’s easy to follow all and not be lost along the way. While this is the fourth installment in the series, the story stands on its own. If you’re new to the series as I was, it will make you want to follow up on the previous stories just for the fun of it to find out where all the various characters come from.

The Nutcracker Conspiracy will hold your attention with zany characters, unexpected twists, and a tantalizing mystery to solve.

I was proved an audio copy of this book, but the thoughts are completely my own and not influenced by the gift.
147 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2020
The Nutcracker Conspiracy held my attention, keeping me flipping the pages through midnight. With a twist of mystery, romance, and thriller, readers of all genres will be sure to enjoy this book. There are no more words then to say, it is truly a masterpiece! The violent action along with the intense turns and cliffhangers bring a chilling addiction. A young, stubborn Lieutenant is out there searching for the truth to uncover what may be the government’s top situation. His beautiful, talented wife is also looking to help her friend, who is getting framed for a murder. What else is more breathtaking than this?
I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author’s writing style is nothing like I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been lucky enough to read the rest of series, but, hey, it’s time to consider that! I also loved how the author chose Washington as the setting. That’s where most of the problems take place in reality... Anyway, the characters were realistic and amusing to see through. A handful of readers could relate! Other than that, adored the action. No book is good enough without action. I can tell you that much.
All in all, a haunting, interesting read. I highly recommend it!
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