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Publisher's Summary

Perfection can be a fatal endeavor.

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.  

©Lifetime Terri Lynn Zaleski (P)2018 Terri Lynn Zaleski

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 09-01-18

Awesome Story, Awesome Narration!

I read the book before I listened to it, and both are excellent, but I loved the audio more. Mike Alger brings to life the various characters, and conveys the emotions so well. I loved the twists in this book, and never saw some of them coming! Lauren Carr definitely weaves an awesome mystery. I like how the path is not obvious, nor are all characters what they seem. The disappearance of Murphy was very unexpected and pivotal. Jessica did an amazing job of holding it together. I love how the author is able to add some great humor into the book as well. I think this is my favorite of the Thorny Rose Mystery books to date. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. This book is a standalone listen and a continuation of the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another win for Lauren Carr

Another Win for Lauren Carr. Murder by Perfection was a great read. In is book 3 in the Thorny Rose Mystery Series. Which is a spin off of her Mac Faraday series. Mac's daughter Jessica and her husband Murphy Thornton are the stars of this series. I have to admit Lauren Carr always fills her books with so much going on you never have a chance to get bored and every book is different and never gets stale. I also love how her books are clean reads. I mean this book has murder, kidnapping, a sex kitten, but it is not graphic or filled with sexual content or even strong language.



In the book Murphy and Jessica feel like they are loosing touch with each other and decide on a weekly date night to get closer together. This is a great idea. My husband and I do this every Thursday night and have for 12 years now.



There are a couple of mysteries in this book. One morning Murphy is out running and hears a gun shot. He finds Ross Caldwell slumped in his car. Murphy of course call the police and is immediately stuck in the investigation to find out who killed him.



Anther mystery in the book is Natalie Stepford. She runs a couples gourmet cooking class. When she ends up dead, they all must figure out why. While investigation Murphy ends up missing. In order to find Murphy they must find out all of Natalie's dirty little secrets.



If you like, multifaceted mysteries and Lauren Carr this is a must read. I actually listened to the audiobook. Mike Alger does an awesome job with the narration as he has done with so many of Lauren's other books I have listened to. Between Lauren's writing skills and Mike's narration there is never a blah moment in the book.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story and narrator

I have listened to a bunch of audio books from this author. This author has a really good narrator who does great audio work. Therefore, I really like "listening" to books from this author versus "reading" them myself. This is my favorite series from Lauren Carr. It features couple Murphy and Jessica. They keep things entertaining but at the same time, they are very relatable. Murphy may be high ranking in the NCIS but when it comes to Jessica; he will fight "rush hour" traffic to get pizza for dinner.

Murphy runs into Commander Ross Caldwell. He has not seen him in a while. Caldwell says that he has some very important information. Murphy stumbles upon Caldwell's dead body the next day. He was murdered. What is Natalie Stepford's connection to Caldwell? Before Murphy and Jessica can figure it out; Natalie is murdered. Things are really heating up in the kitchen.

I enjoyed this book. It had a really good storyline with some twists. There were many characters introduced in the story but I had no troubles keeping them straight. One person that put a smile on my face is Boris. Boris is Murphy's boss. He had a tough exterior but he would say things out of the blue at times that had me smiling and laughing a few times. Murphy and Jessica #togetherforever.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great murder/mystery/thriller!

Murder by Perfection was a great thriller with sex, drugs, black market organ transplants, secret lives, kidnapping, crazy guys, an elite US Navy team, and family pulling together to solve the murder. Toss all that together with a plot that twists and turns and you have a great mystery/thriller!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dawn H
  • Baxter Springs, KS
  • 10-10-18

Great addition to the series

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 have read several books by Lauren Carr including Kill and Run  and A Fine Year for Murder in which Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are the main characters so I was looking forward to listening to this book. Thorny Rose Mysteries contain some of the same characters as the  Mac Faraday Mysteries. Mac Faraday is Jessica’s father so reading these mysteries are like a continuation of those. They all fit together and are fun to read.

I like Lauren Carr’s writing style. It’s easy to follow and she doesn’t get bogged down with lengthy descriptions. The dialogue is especially enjoyable. There are quite a few characters in this book, as in the other Thorny Rose Mysteries but they’re easy to keep track of because I know so many of them from previous books. If I were a new reader, I'd probably have to keep a list of them in order to not get confused.

Murphy and Jessica have only been married about a year but now that she's in school, they're having a rough time trying to find together time. When Murphy is picking up pizza for dinner one night, he runs into an old buddy and they decide to meet the next morning because his friend wants to talk to him about something. Just as Murphy gets to the park, his friend is shot and killed. Suddenly, he and Jessica are embroiled in mystery and murder. And then Murphy disappears. Will they find him in time?

The narrator does a good job narrating the story.  He has a good voice for narrating and does a good job with clarity and pace.

Murder by Perfection is a page turner and is another fine whodunit that will keep you guessing and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery. It will also stand alone without reading the previous books, but I suggest reading the books in order.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Murder by Perfection

Murder by Perfection is the first introduction for me to Lauren Carr’s writing. And it is, also, the third installment from the Thorny Rose Mysteries series. I feel this book can be read as a stand alone as I did not feel as though I was missing any information that may have been addressed in the previous books
In Murder by Perfection, I was introduced to a cute couple, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday, who struggle to find time together and far away from work responsibilities. Just when they finally make plansfor a night on the town alone, work gets in the way one more time. Their night on the town tunrns in to a couple’s gourmet cooking class with Natalie Stepford. Situations quickly take a turn when Natalie is dead and Murphy disappears. I found the plot to be fast paced and at times some laugh out loud humor. The suspense and mystery made me want to know what was going to happen next and guessing the unpredictable “who done it” question. There are some twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the excitement, action, and adventure involved.
I am giving Murder by Perfection a well deserved five plus stars. I would love to go back and read the previous books from the Thorny Rose Mysteries series. As well as, any other books written by Lauren Carr. I will definitely be looking for more by her in the future.
I highly recommend Murder by Perfection.
I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Carr is a master at writing mysteries!

MURDER BY PERFECTION is the third book in the Thorny Rose Mysteries, but it’s my first book in the series. The book does stand alone, but I suspect I would have been able to better keep up if I had read any of the prior books. But who am I kidding? Author Lauren Carr is a master at writing multiple story lines, including a giant cast of characters, and so much murder and mayhem that it’s nearly impossible to solve the mysteries. I tried! I failed! Ha!

Speaking of the characters -- with so many characters, I had to take notes to keep track of them -- not ideal when listening to an audio book, and I found that I had to frequently re-play sections when I wasn’t paying close attention. I might have fared better if I’d have been reading with my eyes instead of my ears; however, the characters are richly described and most have some aspect to their personality to make each memorable. And OH! There are characters to love and loathe and everything in between, and some of them have juicy secrets. There’s some seriously great drama going on.

I fear that jumping into the series with MURDER BY PERFECTION may mean some spoilers when (not if) I go back and start with book one. Even so, that’s a risk I am willing to take because I like these characters and the intricate webs Carr weaves within the story. MURDER BY PERFECTION kept teasing me along and guessing with who did what, to whom, and why!

ABOUT THE NARRATION: I first heard Mike Alger when he narrated one of Lauren Carr’s other books, Ice, and I thought his narration was perfect. In MURDER BY PERFECTION, I am not as big a fan. Though some of the male characters were excellent, some were not. And females – particularly when emotional – sounded silly, bordering on laughable. Alger’s pacing and delivery were great, but then around three hours in, he slowed down, so I had to speed-up the audio to 1.25x. I didn’t like the echo-effect that was used for scenes when a character was thinking. It felt cheesy, and then there were some timing issues where the narrator talked-over an echo sequence and words were clipped. I know how good Alger can perform, so seeing his name as narrator won’t deter me from giving him another try.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome series!

loved it all Laurens works are super great reads.
Check put all of them. I love all the characters and how they crossover in rhe series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful