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Innocent Little Crimes by [Lakin, C. S.]
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Innocent Little Crimes Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Length: 235 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 1935 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Imajin Books; 2nd edition edition (September 9, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 9, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0098PU8U0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,935 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clare Chu on 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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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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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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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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