The Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +), 388 pages
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: January 30, 2020
Tour dates: June 8 to Jun 26, 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!
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:
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REVIEW by LAWonder10:
This delightfully, spell-binding book is one of the best books written by very talented author, Lauren Carr.
The Secret Service were needed to attend Operation Nutcracker, to protect the President and Vice President while they attended a production at the theater. Some of the best plans do not turn out as meticulously planned, or prepared for following events.
The Faradays and the Thorntons combine forces in this new 'Thorny Rose Mystery" novel. Murphy Thornton and his loving wife Jessica, plus her parents, are caught up into the "problems" of Jessica's good friend and her husband, Dean's, issues. Murphy is stuck talking with Dean since they were seated at the same table at the reception and their wives are busy elsewhere, since Jessica is a part of the bridal party.
Dean is, "supposedly" writing a book which was passed to him by a female friend of his, recently "missing". He tries to convince Murphy it is genuine, by the cryptic mention of the "13". Murphy and Jessica try to disregard it, but with both of their "law" backgrounds, plus, the Faraday's background, some of the information is top secret and in no way should Dean have some of the information.. They become more convinced, as people on the list begin being eliminated or "missing". Of course the fun, humorous antics of the dogs are included and always a delight.
This is an action packed, fast moving, "hold onto your seat" book from the first page to the last. As the story progresses, the suspense increases. It keeps the reader/listener guessing until the very end.
The narrator Mike Alger does an excellent job with voce fluctuations and emphasis. He is very consistent and precise with his creation of the various "voices".
This earns a Five Stars rating.
This audible book was gifted me with no given expectations for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Audiobooks: The Readers Have Ears By Lauren Carr
Fourteen years ago, my first book, A Small Case of Murder, came out. That wasn’t so long ago. Believe me! Fourteen years is not that long ago—not when you compare it to when the dinosaurs were lazily grazing in Yellowstone National Park.
Anyway, back to what we want to talk about …
At that time, one of my friends instantly asked when my book would be available in audio. My eyes glazed over and I stammered out, “Eventually.”
This friend only listened to her books in audio. She had a long commute to work and that was when she would listen to her books. She would go through a couple books a week.
Not long after that, I discovered that another friend only did audiobooks. She loved to read, but couldn’t due to extremely bad eyesight. While she wasn’t legally blind, her eyesight was so poor that the only way she could enjoy a book was if it was available in audio.
Yet, back then, audiobooks were available on cassette or compact discs. I considered myself lucky when a traditional audiobook publisher picked up my first three books to be produced in audio (compact disc and digital download)—until I started receiving my royalty checks. I was lucky if I made over two hundred dollars a year! I would take a few copies of the compact discs to book events—only to have them gather dust. Eventually, I tossed them into the back of my closet, where they still rest.
Yesterday, Murder by Perfection became available in audiobook on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I’ve already got a list of audiobook reviewers and readers anxiously waiting to listen to it.
Over the years, an increasing number of readers have been requesting that I make my books available in audiobook. As a publisher and business person, I was hesitant about investing anything into making my own book available in audiobook. Based on past experience, I didn’t see much of a market for them. Those CDs from my first three books are still piled up in the back of my closet.
Then, Amazon suggested I make my books available through their company ACX. They also pointed out that Audible, a very successful audiobook dealer fell under their umbrella. Audible is the leading seller of audiobooks.
By going through ACX, I would essentially be self-publishing my own books—thus, keeping all of my rights. Over the years, I had seen on my royalty statements how many thousands of dollars my other audio publisher had been making annually on the sales of my books. So, keeping my rights was quite appealing to me. However, knowing that the market was slow, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money into the venture. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest any at all.
With ACX, authors have a choice of options for having their books produced:
1. Share your royalties with the narrator/audio producer. This costs the author nothing, because the audio producer invests the time and expense into producing the book. In exchange, the author agrees to split their royalties for the book’s sales fifty-fifty with the producer. If the book ends up being a flop, then the producer loses out on their investment in the project. However, if the book ends up making thousands of dollars a month in audiobook sales, then the author could end up wondering about what could have been.
2. Hire an audio producer to produce your book. This option means the author hires the narrator/producer on contract (and pay!) to produce the book. With this option, the author gets to keep all of the royalties for their audio sales. So, if your book makes a million bucks in royalties, it’s all yours! The downside of this option is that you have to pay out a lot of money up front—money that it could take a while to earn back. We are talking thousands of dollars. A friend of mine found a narrator she liked, who refused to work for shared royalties. (Many established narrators won’t share royalties. More about this later on.) He would only work on contract with the cost starting at $5000.
3. Narrate and Produce the Book Yourself. This is not as easy as it sounds. The author has to make sure there is no background noise and the final product does have to pass ACX’s quality control regulations. As the author, I have proofed some of my audio books, thinking they were perfect—only to have ACX pick up a flaw that I had not noticed. Once I read an interview with John Grisham in which he said one of his biggest regrets was narrating one of his books for audio. He thought the end product was awful. As with anything—I prefer to leave it up to the pros. (Since I hate my voice, narrating and producing the book myself is not an option!)
I opted to share the royalties and let the producers take the financial risk.
As I had mentioned previously, many high-quality narrators refuse to work for royalty share. There’s a reason for that.
When I opened my books for auditions to find a narrator, I immediately found Dan Lawson—first audition, first day! His audition was exactly what I was looking for to set the tone for the Mac Faraday mysteries. He was an Audible Approved Narrator, which means Audible endorsed his work! Within a matter of days, we had struck a deal for royalty share for two books: The Murders at Astaire Castle and Blast from the Past.
I found out later that his agent (I had no idea he had an agent!) had thrown a fit upon learning about our deal for royalty share. The reason: most narrators and audio producers don’t make back the money invested in producing audiobooks through royalties. After a few months, sales will level out and the narrator will only make a few dollars a month.
Having worked as a book publisher, I can see exactly what Dan’s agent was talking about. Many authors have difficulty in promoting their own books. Authors who don’t invest time or money in promoting their books in print and e-book, are not likely to invest what they need in the audiobook version.
So, if you are an author whose sales in print and ebook are less than impressive, and you are wondering if you’ll hit the jackpot by having your book produced in audio, then my guess is no, you won’t. As with book sales in print and ebook, the author needs to work their tail off to promote their book in order to enjoy good sales—in any format.
I have been blessed in finding four excellent audiobook producers who have helped me to bring my whole backlist to audiobook fans—a base that I have seen grow steadily over the last few years.
I have discovered that for many readers, who have been unable to enjoy reading in print or ebook format for whatever reasons—whether it be lifestyle or medical disability—are discovering audiobooks and returning to reading (listening) to enjoy their favorite books.
For example, my sister listens to my books during her commute to work. With her busy lifestyle that is the only time she can read my books. So I gave them to her in digital format and she listens to them through her SUV’s speakers.
Since my books have been coming out in Audible, I have found that I am enjoying audiobooks more and more. Many book enthusiasts, like myself, will read books in both e-book and audio. For just a few bucks more, readers can include the audio version of a book with their ebook purchase.
As the leader of a book club, I dictated the rule that we would only read books that were available in audiobook download. After spending the whole day writing on my laptop, my eyes will be tired. So, I’ll switch to the audio version of whatever book I am currently reading to listen to a great book until I fall asleep. With Whispersync, my tablet will pick up my ebook in audio where I have left off in reading.
I believe that the audiobook market is where the e-book market was about eight years ago. When my books first came out in e-book, it was a big deal for me to sell any. Now, the lion’s book of my books sales are in e-book, but I see a gradual increase in sales in audiobooks. Currently, I make more in monthly royalties for my audiobook sales than I do for my print books. Note, that is after splitting my royalties with the producers!
Here's the way I look at it: If it weren’t for my readers, I would not be living my dream of being a mystery writer. My readers want my mysteries to be in all formats: e-book, print, and audiobooks. Even if fans of one format are a smaller number than another—they are still my fans and deserve the reading experience they enjoy the most!
Meet the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, the Thorny Rose, and now the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—almost thirty titles across five 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 ~ Books on Audible
$50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY
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