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Innocent Little Crimes [Kindle Edition]

C. S. Lakin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Digital List Price: $3.99 US

Six naïve guests plus revenge served cold equals a recipe for disaster…

Lila Carmichael may be a rich and famous comedienne, but she’s hidden her greatest talent from her adoring fans—her ability to simmer, spice and serve a carefully constructed tour de force at a cozy reunion on her private island in the Pacific Northwest.

Six unsuspecting guests have forgotten the innocent little crimes they committed against poor, gullible Lila fifteen years ago in college. All are teetering on the brink of ruin, hoping the famous Lila will come to their rescue. But their desperation plays them right into her hand.

One by one, Lila's guests are figuratively killed off in a vicious parlor game called Wolves. And revenge turns bittersweet when the weekend is over…and one guest is dead for real.

Editorial Reviews:

"Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold in this fast-paced, thrilling story. Lila Carmichael is the Queen of Comedy, a wealthy TV actress with legions of adoring fans, who capitalizes on her less-than-gorgeous looks and snarky sense of humor…But Lila hasn’t forgotten how cruel they were to her when she was a heavy, unhappy preacher’s daughter too naive to know they were using her. And now she’s got them trapped right where she wants them, and she turns them on each other, bringing to light their greed and the dark secrets they’ve been keeping all these years. Before the weekend is over, one of them will end up dead…a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breath the whole way through." — Publishers Weekly

"Take a remote island setting and an ill-fated reunion, throw in a few hot tempers, and a dash of revenge, and you end up with murder...and a puzzle that mystery lovers will relish unraveling. C. S. Lakin delivers readers a real page-turner with "Innocent Little Crimes," an engaging whodunit that pulls readers in from the first page. Who knew reunions could be so deadly?" —Elizabeth Craig, author of Quilt or Innocence

"This psychological thriller is reminiscent of Agatha Christie, the best-selling novelist of all time. The pacing is excellent and keeps you on the edge. Lakin's word pictures are so good you'll think you're watching a movie. This is definitely a novel that needs to be a permanent resident in your collection because you'll want to read it over and over—the greatest compliment any book can ever get." —Ken Farmer, author of Black Eagle Force

"Combine one part Agatha Christie, one part Lord of the Flies and a hefty measure of Roseanne Barr. Blend with strong character development, excellent writing, a solid story and glaze liberally with selfish human nature. Yields one fine serving of Innocent Little Crimes." —Claude Bouchard, bestselling author of Vigilante

"C. S. Lakin's Innocent Little Crimes will make you think twice before attending your next reunion. Most people stay the same year after year... but some don't." —Kirkus MacGowan, author of The Fall of Billy Hutching

Editorial Reviews


"Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold in this fast-paced, thrilling story. Lila Carmichael is the Queen of Comedy, a wealthy TV actress with legions of adoring fans, who capitalizes on her less-than-gorgeous looks and snarky sense of humor. When she invites the former fellow members of her Evergreen State College theater group, the Thespians, to her private island off the coast of Seattle for a mini-reunion, initially they're all thrilled. They all need something from their old friend, whether it be connections or cold hard cash: Della Roman needs money and a Hollywood connection; Dick Ferrol needs a cash bailout to get him out of a shady business deal; his kind, overweight wife Millie needs some excitement; Jonathan Levin needs Lila's influence to save his directing career, and Davis Gregory needs a reminder that he was once a hot actor, not just a dull businessman. At first Lila's guests try to ignore her barbed, acerbic humor, and reminisce over beach volleyball and drinks. But Lila hasn't forgotten how cruel they were to her when she was a heavy, unhappy preacher's daughter too naive to know they were using her. And now she's got them trapped right where she wants them, and she turns them on each other, bringing to light their greed and the dark secrets they've been keeping all these years. Before the weekend is over, one of them will end up dead. This is a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through."
--Publisher's Weekly

About the Author

C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her novel Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction) won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009 (published October 2010). Lakin's Gates of Heaven fantasy series for adults (AMG-Living Ink Publishers) features original full-length fairy tales in traditional style. Already in print are the first books in the series, The Wolf of Tebron. The Map across Time, The Land of Darkness, and The Unraveling of Wentwater, with two more to follow.

In addition to her mysteries and fantasy series, she has written the first book in a young adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers. Her contemporary mystery Innocent Little Crimes made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher's Weekly review, which stated her book was "a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through."

She recently completed Intended for Harm, an epic family sage that is a contemporary take-off on the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph and is developing a swashbuckling dog memoir in the style of Moby Dick entitled A Dog after God's Own Heart. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband Lee, a gigantic lab named Coaltrane, and three persnickety cats. You can connect with her on twitter: @cslakin and @livewritethrive. Or visit her author page on Facebook:

Product Details

  • File Size: 1892 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Imajin Books; 2nd edition edition (September 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0098PU8U0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,823 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hair-raising Page-turner! March 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A cross between Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" and William Golding's "The Lord fo the Flies," Ms. Lakin's story is a chilling account of what happens when you bully the wrong person.

The setting: A remote island in the Puget Sound. A brewing storm on the horizon. Five desperate and venial schoolmates, each with their secret sins and back-luck stories, converge on Lila Carmichael's funhouse mansion for a reunion of their Thespian club.

They eat, drink, cast aspersions and pretend to enjoy themselves until a parlor game orchestrated by Lila goes gruesome. Written before the hit TV series Survivor, Ms.Lakin nevertheless presents a highly disturbing account as former friends gang up and turn on each other to ensure their own survival.

After tearing each individual to pieces in the most humiliating manner, Lila Carmichael, like Satan the Devil, then entices the victims with promises to fulfill their ultimate desires if they'd only deliver up one of their own, the chosen sacrifice.

What follows is human nature at it's lowest and most degrading as the story draws to its tragic conclusion.

The story slowed down after the secret was spilled. Unfortunately, we were treated to longish backstory as Lila narrates to her assistant while the victims are tearing up the island.

The ending was sad and pathetic. The moral of the story? If you're cruel to someone, look over your shoulder, and don't ever accept an invitation to a mansion on a remote island.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Tale Told Well October 26, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Lila Carmichael has made it big (think Oprah-big) in television comedy. Her particular brand of comedy is rough, edgy, and often obscene. At the pinnacle of commercial success, she sends invitations for a weekend to her island getaway in the San Juan Islands near Seatlle to a group of old college friends, the group she worked with in the university's theater.

It will be a weekend of reminiscences and revenge. And that's the heart of "Innocent Little Crimes."

For different reasons, all of the main characters are desperate enough to believe that Lila will be their lifeline and salvation. They, and Lila, are painted in extremely negative terms - it almost reaches the point where the reader wants revenge to wreaked upon the all, throw them over the cliff, and let's go home. Two of the minor characters - the fiancé of Lila's leading man in college and Lila's gay assistant - provide the only relief from a cast of really rotten people.

As the story progresses, the reader learns what is motivating Lila, and what happened on the night that the university acting group staged William Inge's "Picnic" that led years later to Lila's revenge. (I need to note that the novel contains a few graphic scenes and strong language.)

The story is believable, but it is heavy. The reader knows from the beginning that one person is going to die, and Lakin keeps the guessing lively as to which one deserves it the most.
It is a dark tale.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Past Recalled - The Future Revenged April 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a psychological thriller, with a storyline evocative of an earlier Agatha Christie or Ruth Rendell style crime and suspense book but played out in a modern setting. The plot becomes evident quickly from the beginning. The main protagonist Lila Carmichael has become a mega-TV comedy star and hugely influential money-machine through the tough, uncompromising path of provocative and dingy stand-up comedy. But she is flawed; nasty, unattractive, fat and hailing from a harsh family background of strict religious fanaticism - all the ingredients of simmering resentment, unhappiness and a hidden hatred of those in her early life, whose bullying betrayals forced her into a lifestyle which deep-down she never wanted. The perceived miscreants are five of her former College theatre and stagecraft course friends, invited after 15 years of all having gone their own idiosyncratic ways, for a weekend getaway reunion, on her island retreat. On arrival they are embroiled in a series of reflective deeds and a self-destructive and demeaning "game", the principal focus of Lila's revenge tactic, resulting in the inevitable catastrophic climax and resultant backlash.
What I like most inside any gripping novel so as to read to the end and enjoy, is effective interplay between well developed characters, plus lots of conflict, tension and good pace. In this respect the author C S Lakin succeeds entirely and she structures her prose and dialogue very well. I loved the way the richness and depth of the key players was portrayed and the balanced presentation of beautifully descriptive locale settings and exchanges between past flashbacks and the present lifestyles of the individuals, brilliantly incorporating their moods, foibles and unsavoury bullying characteristics.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok April 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The story was well written, which garners it three stars even though I didn't like it. Perhaps if Lila's story was presented before the others we might have felt her revenge was justified. As it is, it just felt like someone who made it big clinging to childish grudges. If you're someone who enjoys tales of revenge, "getting even" or are harboring a grudge for the past 15 years this book may speak to you. I personally prefer people learning and growing via their pain rather than putting the energy into making people miserable. Yes, we've all been hurt; but the overkill shown by Lila makes her evil rather than sympathetic.

Perhaps the author was trying to show the life-long negative effects of a strict religious upbringing? (Lila's father = over-zealous religious fervor.) She describes the way it can stop children from learning how to interact with others. The growing up part of the story is poignant. It shows how anything good can be taken too far; just as the rest of the story shows how bad things can get when we cling to the pain of wrongs done to us long after they should be just memories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
This one kept me turning pages. The story starts off with a mystery and the writing keeps you guessing all the way through as to who ends up not making it off the island. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Shaideylady
4.0 out of 5 stars Innocent Little Crimes
I enjoyed this book very much. Our actions mean so much as this book shows, we should be more respective of others.
Published 14 months ago by Snow
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not finish
I do not k know why I got this book, but I just could not get into it. Seemed very strange and all over the place with no continuity.
Published 15 months ago by Cary Sue
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense?
This book had a lot of things going on, you had to keep up with everything and all the people in the story.
Published 15 months ago by mkmcafo
4.0 out of 5 stars This book makes you think.
The title pulled me in anticipo crimes yes this is a very good book this happens to people every day more than we realize and I've been in this place before ,wanting to take... Read more
Published 16 months ago by g
5.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler alert! Why did he have to die?
C.S.Lakin is a great story teller. I follow her on Twitter and on FB. When I saw a promotion for Innocent Little Crimes, I had to download it immediately. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Lilian Surkova
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read
A riveting story. Interesting characters. Lessons learned by the seemingly unreachable. Makes you think and appreciate the life you have. Be careful what you wish for.
Published 21 months ago by Monica
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of over the top
Nice to be so rich you can afford to do these things to people. It was OK, I didn't hate it, but wouldn't reccomend it.
Published 21 months ago by Cathy Waldron
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Devil's Island...
What happens when six unsuspecting people (five involved people actually and one fiancee added on) are brought to a outlandish island in the middle of the San Juan Islands for a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Cheryl Stout
2.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Depressing
This book had a well-developed plot, but I didn't like any of the characters and I found the whole thing depressing. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Lillian Ammann (Lillie)
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More About the Author

C. S. Lakin is an award-winning novelist, writing instructor, and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lakin's award-winning blog for writers: provides deep writing instruction and posts on industry trends. Her site features her critique services. She teaches workshops and critiques at writing conferences and workshops around the country.

The first six books in her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, are out in print and ebook, allegorical fairy tales drawing from classic tales we all read in our childhood.

Lakin's relational drama/mystery, Someone to Blame, won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel award, released October 2010. Her other suspense/mysteries are Innocent Little Crimes (top 100 in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest), A Thin Film of Lies, and Conundrum. And sci-fi enthusiasts will love Time Sniffers: a wild young adult romance that will entangle you in time!

She also publishes writing craft books in the series The Writer's Toolbox, which help novelists learn how to write great books!

Follow her on Twitter: @cslakin and @livewritethrive and like her Facebook Author Page:


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