Joshua Thornton Mysteries


Fans of Lauren Carr Mysteries, who have followed Lauren's mysteries from the beginning most likely recall that Joshua Thornton was not always half of Lovers in Crime. He started out as Lauren's chief protagonist in her debut novel, A Small Case of Murder, which was named finalist for the the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the mystery category).

Even though the Joshua Thornton Mysteries (A Small Case of Murderand A Reunion to Die For) have received critical acclaim from reviewers, readers should be aware that Lauren wrote them many years ago--at a different time in her life. They are heavier and contain a different tone with less humor than her newer books.

For those fan who would like to read Joshua's story--before Cameron Gates crashed into his life--here they are:

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Everyone in the small town is convinced that the new chief of detectives will surely end the crime wave. After all, Seth Williams made headlines uncovering the evidence needed to solve a triple homicide. Joshua is not so sure when the detective almost gets an innocent woman killed.


Suddenly, Gail’s murder reveals that years before she had named Joshua as the father of her baby. Such news could ruin his reputation and political career.

Now, Joshua finds his name at the top of the list of suspects.

In this Lovers in Crime Mystery, spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, when her body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to Cameron’s lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was found in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

In her new series, Lauren Carr teams up her first literary detective with a new and exciting partner. Homicide Detective Cameron Gates has a spunky personality that’s a perfect complement to Joshua Thornton’s logical and responsible nature.

“Readers of my first series kept asking when I would bring back Joshua Thornton,” Carr explained. “However, they are going to find that single father Joshua Thornton is not in the same place since we left him in A Reunion to Die For. His children are grown. He’s more independent, and he’s ready for some romance and adventure. That’s where Cameron Gates comes in.”

With that, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates strike out to explore the mysteries of both murder and love!  

Click here to read an excerpt of Dead on Ice.

The Lovers in Crime Mysteries


Love & Murder Collide in Killer in the Band!



An amazing novel full of suspense and with an ending that you never see coming....Killer In The Band is well written, the plot line is incredible and leaves you guessing to the very last minute and is intense the whole way through. It builds up quickly but never disappoints you at all. This is one excellent mystery suspense home library addition! - Review by The Working Mommy Journal  


Overall, a brilliantly woven mystery thriller, with a clearly surprising climax. Review by The Readers' Muse. 


And all through this spell-binding story, there runs an undercurrent.  The themes of love, loss, acceptance and hope are subtly woven in. -  Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn


Killer In The Band is well written, the plot is amazing. It kept me guessing. There's a lot of intense moments as well as twist and turns and kept me turning the pages. Review by Books Dreams, Life.  


I like that the characters are all flawed in some way just like "real" people and that they try to overcome those flaws as the story progresses. My favorite characters, however, are the animals. From Gulliver the horse who opens stalls to Charley the rooster who attacks almost everyone, they bring humor to an otherwise suspenseful story.  Review by Bound4Escape.

"If you're looking for a mystery with an abundance of comedy, Dead on Ice will more than meet your expectations. I've come to expect great characters and intricate plotting from Lauren Carr, and "Dead on Ice" is up to her lofty standards." - David Kinchen, Huntingon Post

"Carr sends us off on a highly enticing adventure as we attempt to figure out the truth behind not only Cherry Picken’s identity, but also her murder. There are so many intriguing characters in this novel that the finger pointing really never ceases, not until Carr reveals the truth, which floored me. This is a great murder mystery novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think all adult readers will enjoy it as well." Reviewer: Shana Benedict, ABookVacation


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Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime). It features Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and his new love, Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates. 

While they love each other passionately, the newly-wed couple do have adjustments to make—like Joshua’s grown daughter Tracy, who returns home from college for the summer and makes no secret about her hurt feelings over her father’s elopement. Of course, there is also Irving, Cameron’s twenty-five pound Maine Coon cat, who does not like the human male who has stolen his woman’s affections.

Believing that differences is nothing more than spice sprinkled on their new marriage, the Lovers in Crime plunge into investigating Dolly’s viciously brutal murder. Who would want to murder such a sweet old lady? Is it possible that one of Dolly’s girls knew a long-buried secret that some believed was worth killing to keep from being revealed?

Click here to read an excerpt of Real Murder.

A Small Case of Murder 

"A Small Case of Murder is a GRAND case of murder. Following a style, reminiscent of that of Lisa Scottoline, and David Rosenfelt, Lauren Carr in her debut novel A Small Case of Murder, delivers a powerful and strong detective- legal thriller that has all the makings of a Hollywood movie." New Mystery Reader

"Carr weaves an extraordinary story that is gripping and crafted at the highest level to entertain the reader with its touch familial centerpiece amidst evil and chaos." Midwest Book Reviews


A Small Case of Murder is set in the quaint West Virginia town of Chester, where everyone knows everyone, and there is never a secret that someone doesn’t know. In such an intimate town, how many suspicious deaths can be left unquestioned?

Following his wife’s death, Joshua Thornton leaves a promising career in the U. S. Navy’s JAG division to move across country with his five children into his ancestral home. While clearing out the attic they find a letter written to their grandmother postmarked 34 years ago. 

In the letter Lulu Jefferson wrote “…Remember that dead body we found in the Bosley barn?...I saw him today…I went to talk to the reverend and there was his picture on the wall.” What dead body? His interest piqued, Joshua asks about Lulu and finds that in 1970 she died on the same day that she penned the letter implicating the pastor in an unreported murder. There is much more to this story than a 34-year-old letter. It’s a 34-year-old mystery! 

Today, a double murder has the whole town under a microscope. The state attorney general appoints Joshua special prosecutor to solve the crimes. In a small town where gossip flies as swiftly as a spring breeze it is impossible to know who to trust. Asking simple questions about events long ago could prove to be deadly for Joshua and his family. 

Summer has arrived! The Thorntons expected it to be a summer of change and change it does, but not in the way Joshua had expected.

Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua Thornton Jr. (J.J.) has graduated  at the top of his class from law school and is returning home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to the Thornton’s shock and dismay, J.J. decides to move in with Suellen Russell, a lovely widow twice his age.

The May/December romance, bonded by a love for music, between the symphony conductor and young musical prodigy had bloomed many years earlier. 

The move brings long buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. When a brutal killer strikes, the father and son must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the crosshairs of a murderer. 


Click here to read an excerpt of Killer in the Band.

Solving the Mysteries of Love and Murder

When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

In Real Murder, internationally best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr dives deeper into Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates’ romantic relationship. “The difference between this series and my Mac Faraday mysteries,” Lauren explains, “is that the Lovers in Crime are a couple. While the mystery is the main ingredient, and is always in the forefront, Joshua and Cameron’s romance, and new marriage, is also a key ingredient.”

"Expertly crafted characters and a seamless plotline grace the pages of Lauren Carr’s latest mystery novel, Real Murder, a whodunit featuring Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates from the riveting Lovers in Crime series; lovers of all things mystery will not want to miss this gem." Review: Shana Benedict, ABookVacation

"If you love mystery and history, and the interesting characters of small towns, you will be intrigued by this work. The oeuvre just keeps getting better. Carr has a particular way with infusing loving and trusting personalities into her character’s making them friends instead of just cardboard cutouts." Review by TicToc Book Reviews and General Observations

"Real Murder was sure a heck of a mystery. Bring in the history of the crimes and the different kinds of characters that will either help or break the case made it all more thrilling." Review by Ki, Doing Some Reading

A Reunion to Die For 

“I’m writing a book about Tricia.” 

…“Tricia?” As soon as the question slipped from his lips, Joshua recalled. “Tricia Wheeler.”

“Of course…It’s about time someone investigated it.”

Prosecutor Joshua Thornton becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Gail Reynolds in this second installment of the Joshua Thornton Mysteries. Gail returns to Chester to investigate a classmate’s death, only to spark a murder spree in which she becomes one of the victims.

Lauren Carr

Best-Selling Mystery Author 

Mac Faraday Mysteries, Lovers in Crime Mysteries, The Thorny Rose Mysteries 

How Well Do You Want to Know Your Neighbors?