<i>Time of Departure</i>: New Excerpt Time of Departure: New Excerpt Douglas Schofield Mystery, romance, and a bit of Sci-Fi. Don't mind if I do. <i>Ornaments of Death</i>: New Excerpt Ornaments of Death: New Excerpt Jane K. Cleland Josie Prescott is at it again! <i>The Red Storm</i>: New Excerpt The Red Storm: New Excerpt Grant Bywaters The debut novel by a former private investigator. <i>Riot Most Uncouth</i>: New Excerpt Riot Most Uncouth: New Excerpt Daniel Friedman The first in a new series featuring Lord Byron.
From The Blog
November 30, 2015
Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson by Juan F. Thompson
Brian Greene
November 29, 2015
Troubled Waters Ahead: 7 Great Cruise Ship Mysteries
Crime HQ
November 26, 2015
Pirate of the Sky: An Unsolved Thanksgiving Mystery
Crime HQ
November 24, 2015
The ZINNG: "You Like Me! You Really Like Me!"
Crime HQ
November 23, 2015
Set Sail with Steve Berry!
Crime HQ
Nov 30 2015 4:15pm

Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson by Juan F. Thompson

For anyone who has an impression of the kind of lifestyle Hunter S. Thompson led, the notion of him being somebody’s father can be disconcerting. The drugs, the guns…I don’t recall any Gonzo parenting sections in the guides I’ve read about best practices in raising children. Juan F. Thompson, who was born in 1964 and is the only child of HST, both confirms the suspicions most of us would have about his famous dad’s parenting ways, and shows us sides of HST that many will find surprising.

[Buy the ticket, take the ride...]

Nov 30 2015 1:30pm

Jessica Jones Review: Season 1, Episodes 5-7

Welcome back to my recaps of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Last time, I took a look at the show’s initial four episodes and analyzed, evaluated, and shared a comic fan’s insight into the characters and events.

In part 2, I’ll do the same with Episode 5 “AKA the Sandwich Saved Me,” Episode 6 “AKA You’re a Winner!”, and Episode 7 “AKA Top Shelf Perverts.”

See also: Episodes 1-4

The more I watch this show, the more I become convinced that it’s about choices—the choices a person makes, the choices others make for them, and how they handle the consequences of both. That’s a recipe for some potent and powerful drama, and it lead to some fantastic scenes. So, let’s dive in and take a specific look at the characters, some of their pivotal choices, and more.

[What choice will you make...]

Nov 29 2015 12:00pm

Troubled Waters Ahead: 7 Great Cruise Ship Mysteries

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – St. Augustine

Some people venture aboard a cruise ship looking for rest and relaxation. Others look for excitement and excursions. And then there’s the cocktail and casino seekers. When it comes to vacationing on the seven seas, there are many different ways to enjoy yourself. But what no one prepares for is murder! Take a look at these seven mysteries and see if you can unlock the truth to these seafaring secrets that offer a unique twist to the classic locked-room murder!

And if you suddenly find yourself wishing you were sitting starboard, margarita in one hand, book in the other, check out this exclusive offer from Minotaur books where you can set sail along the Mediterranean with New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry! For more information, click here

[Cruise around the world with these 7 nautical mysteries...]

Nov 28 2015 12:00pm

Time of Departure: New Excerpt

Douglas Schofield

Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield is an tortuous crime thriller with a strong female lead that mixes mystery, romance, and a bit of Sci-Fi (Available December 1, 2015).

Florida state prosecutor Claire Talbot is as tough as they come, and not everyone loves her for it. Newly promoted Felony Division Chief, Claire has about as many jealous detractors as she does supporters. Some colleagues are openly skeptical about her youth, her abilities, and even her gender. When a highway project construction crew unearths two skeletons in a common grave, Claire reopens an investigation into a string of abductions that took place before she was born. While researching the file, she meets retired cop Marc Hastings, who once worked on the case. He maneuvers his way into the investigation-and into Claire's life. Marc has an uncanny familiarity with Claire's habits, and she begins to realize that not all is as it seems. The detective urges Claire on, mysteriously convinced that only she can solve the case. Together, they unearth more graves. But then, disaster strikes ... and Claire finally discovers what Hastings knew all along. It's a secret almost too shocking for a sane mind to grasp. The key to the killings may lie deep in Claire's own past. But what if Claire's past lies in her future?



My new corner office wasn’t much different from my last one—battleship gray walls, faux-wood furniture, patternless nylon carpet—but at least it was brighter. It had been empty for almost a month, yet I was still picking up whiffs of the previous owner’s cologne. It was one of those vintage brands—Bay Rum, maybe, or Bacchus. I couldn’t tell. My talents didn’t extend to discriminating between specific brands, just between out of date and up to date. All I knew was that I’d have to figure out a way to eliminate the lingering odor. I didn’t look forward to putting in fifteen-hour days under the olfactory pall of Roy Wells’s ghost.

Wells had been a reasonably competent prosecutor, but he’d never made me feel very welcome in the Florida Eighth Circuit State Attorney’s Office. Not just because I was another female interloper in what his right-wing mentality firmly believed should have remained a male preserve, but also because I’d been breathing down his professional neck ever since Sam Grayson had hired me. Sam had fifty prosecutors across six counties to choose from, but he’d made me Felony Division Chief two days after my thirty-first birthday. One notable result of that announcement was the thin-lipped silence I now endured whenever I passed a colleague in the hallway.

[Read more of Time of Departure here...]

Nov 27 2015 11:00am

Ornaments of Death: New Excerpt

Jane K. Cleland

Ornaments of Death by Jane K. Cleland is the 10th installment of the Josie Prescott Mysteries Series surrounding a mystery of missing antique collectibles that leads Josie to learn the true meaning of Christmas and family (available December 1, 2015).

Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott's Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott's annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year-Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family-and unexpected dread when he vanishes.

Ian doesn't keep his dinner date with Josie's good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so-if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they've gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can't help wondering if her friend is behind the theft-and Ian's disappearance.

Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas-and the true meaning of family.

Chapter One

I did a slow 360.

When I’d asked Gretchen, Prescott’s office manager, and Eric, our operations manager, to transform our antiques auction venue into a winter wonderland for tomorrow’s holiday party, I’d envisioned a big Christmas tree, some pretty evergreen garlands draped here and there, and a few strings of twinkling lights hanging from the crown molding. I was utterly unprepared for the ethereal vision surrounding me.

I took a tentative step toward one of the billboard-sized photographs that hung from the picture railing on gold metal grommets. A series of them circled the room, covering every inch of wall space. Only the entryway, a nearby window, and the arched foyer that led to the restrooms were unadorned. Each photo aligned seamlessly with its neighbors like pieces of fabric in a well-made garment, creating an uninterrupted view of an idealized hardwood forest, the kind of snowy phantasma Robert Frost wrote about.

[Read more of Ornaments of Death here...]

Nov 26 2015 4:00pm

Pirate of the Sky: An Unsolved Thanksgiving Mystery

While you sit at the dinner table this Thanksgiving trying to solve the mystery of what exactly the canned cranberry sauce is made out of, take time to remember the greatest, unsolved Thanksgiving mystery of all—D.B. Cooper (actually Dan Cooper, if not for a media miscommunication) and the hijacking of Flight 305.

On November 24, 1971, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a man dressed like a businessman and carrying a black case boarded a 30-minute flight to Seattle, WA from Portland International Airport in Oregon. Once the plane was in the sky, the man—who had identified himself as Dan Cooper—handed a flight-attendant a folded note. Assuming it was the businessman’s feeble attempt at flirting, she initially ignored it.

[How dare he...]

Nov 25 2015 10:00am

The Red Storm: New Excerpt

Grant Bywaters

The Red Storm by Grant Bywaters is the debut novel from the former licensed private investigator about WIlliam Fletcher, a black ex-boxer working as a P.I. in New Orleans in the 1930's (Available December 1, 2015). 

Newly-minted private investigator William Fletcher is having trouble finding clientele. He's not the only man out of work, but his past as a former heavyweight contender with a few shady connections-not to mention the color of his skin in race-obsessed New Orleans-isn't helping lure clients to his door. Stuck without any viable alternative, he takes a case from an old criminal acquaintance, Storm. His only client assures him that the job is simple-locate his missing estranged daughter, Zella, no questions asked.

But when Fletcher starts knocking on doors, he sets off a catastrophic chain of events that turn the city into a bloody battleground between two rival syndicates. Then Storm is murdered and Fletcher finds himself caught between the police and dangerous mobsters. With Zella's safety in the balance, the unlikely private detective finds himself with a lot more than he bargained for.

Chapter 1

The first time I met Bill Storm was in New York in the early part of what would become known as the Roaring Twenties. I was broke then, making little money boxing. That night I was in a heavyweight bout against some pugilist Italian named Horace Francisco. The purse had been set at thirty dollars: twenty-five to the winner and five to the loser.

Not satisfied with the money being offered, I told the promoter that I would not even bother suiting up unless he promised to give me a cut of the gate receipts. He refused, and delicately explained to me that if I did not get my “black ass” in the ring, I would not leave the venue alive. I believed him.

Nonetheless, it was a sure shot I’d be making off with most of the purse. I was so confident of the win, if not bored at the competition I was getting, that I did little training or roadwork to prepare for it. With a record of 52 wins, 2 draws, and 50 knockouts—my only three defeats coming from debatable decisions—it was hard to find suitable opponents. It did not matter that most legit rankings had me ranked in the top three of heavyweights; I had the misfortune of having heavy hands. This made promoters and managers of name contenders avoid me because the last thing they wanted to see was their cash cows sprawled out on the canvas.

[Read more of Red Storm here...]

Nov 24 2015 6:30pm

The ZINNG: “You Like Me! You Really Like Me!”

No Sex in the Reading Room – Sometimes, there are no words available to describe the passion and intimacy of a sexual encounter. And in literature, some authors might want to remember that before committing adultery to the page.

Thankfully for us, some authors flounder about like a dying fish when it comes to the erotic word. So, every year, The Literary Review honors the worst scene of sexual description with its Bad Sex in Fiction award. The Guardian has compiled a list of their favorite few excerpts from the list of nominees for all its cringe-worthy goodness.

[Get your ZINNG! on...]

Nov 24 2015 11:00am

Jessica Jones Review: Season 1, Episodes 1-4

Hello! Welcome to my recaps of Marvel's Jessica Jones. I'm Dave Richards and I'll be your sort of guide as we look at the latest offering from Marvel Studios and Netflix—a series adapted and inspired by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos's Marvel Comic series Alias, which ran from 2001-2004 and examined what happens when the world of the hardboiled shamus intersects with the fantastic realm of super powers. That's an especially fascinating combination for me since I love both super heroes and detective stories.

I was originally a fan of the ALIAS comics, and I'm huge fan of the genres it combines, so that love will of course filter into my perspective on Jessica Jones. For this initial recap, I'll be looking at the series’ first four episodes: “AKA Ladies Night,” “AKA Crush Syndrome,” “AKA It's Called Whiskey,” and “AKA 99 Friends.” I'll break down some important plot points and offer insights and observations from my perspective as a lover of both the Private Detective genre and Marvel Comics.

[Let's binge...]

Nov 23 2015 5:00pm

Set Sail with Steve Berry!

Calling all history buffs and travel enthusiasts! 

How would you like to set sail with bestselling author, Steve Berry?

Minotaur books is partnering with Oceania Cruises to bring you this exclusive opportunity to travel the Mediterranean Sea on this Thriller/Mystery Cruise with none other than Steve Berry himself!

Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of ten Cotton Malone novels, and four standalones. He has 20 million books in print, translated into 40 languages.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It's his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009, Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising over one million dollars via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers' workshops, which to date, have been attended by over 2,800 students.  

And now, in accordance with the upcoming release of his new Cotton Malone novel, The 14th Colony (available April 5, 2016), you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the Mediterranean, while Steve and his wife, Elizabeth, take you deep into the research for his books and the history behind some of the ports of call with exclusive talks, shore excursions, private dinners, and cocktail receptions.

In addition to all of the wonderful perks during the cruise, you will receive a free advance review copy of The 14th Colony before you set sail!

The only way to reserve this exclusive offer is by calling toll free 1-800-828-4813. It cannot be reserved through other travel agencies or through Oceania.

For more information about the ship, Steve Berry, and the itinerary, visit:


Nov 23 2015 3:00pm

Something’s Amis: Colonel Sun and its Place in the James Bond Series.

It’s the 1960’s, and as the James Bond franchise is in the midst of exploding onto the scene, the author and creator of 007, Ian Fleming, dies on August 12, 1964. While Goldfinger (1964), the third Bond film drawn from Fleming’s novels about the British secret agent with a license to kill, would be released a month after his death, the eventual billion-dollar film franchise never looked back.

However, despite the success of the films, the thirst of the reading public still needed to be slaked. So, after two posthumous, Fleming-authored books were exhausted, his estate turned to what some considered an unlikely source to carry on Bond’s exploits: Kingsley Amis, writing as Robert Markham. Glidrose Productions (who held the rights to the novels) had the goal of switching out various authors under the “Markham” nom de plume.

[Word is Bond...]

Nov 23 2015 1:00pm

Happy Thanksreading!: Where will you sit at the Minotaur Thanksgiving Feast?

Why talk politics with relatives or nervously count calories this Thanksgiving when several new paperbacks from Minotaur Books are within arm's reach? Read the profiles to figure out where you sit at this table, and we'll provide a hearty recommendation to help you put your sofa time to good use!

[Where will you sit...]

Nov 22 2015 11:00am

Breaking Bad Rewatch 1.07: “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal”

The comedy that had been cleverly laced within the first 3 episodes of season 1 returns in the finale, albeit with varying success, and the needle that had been pinned to 10 on the plausibility scale for the majority of this run tips to the other end on occasion as the crime drama draws to the end of its first year.

The show opens with Walter (Bryan Cranston) and Skyler (Anna Gunn) attending a public schoolboard meeting over the arrest of Hugo the janitor. For whatever reason, Walt starts diddling Skyler under the table they are seated at, and she allows him, until they are brought back to reality when Walt is called on to list the items stolen from the chemistry stockroom.

The couple later complete the act in their vehicle, in the first row of the school’s side parking lot—one space away from a cop car. When Skyler asks why it was so good, he replies, “Because it’s illegal.”

[Backseat, windows up...]

Nov 21 2015 12:00pm

Breaking Bad Rewatch 1.06: “Crazy Handful of Nothin’ ”

Walter (Bryan Cranston) lays down the law to Jesse (Aaron Paul). He’s the silent partner; Jesse’s the guy on the street.

Just as he says there’ll be no more bloodshed, we get a glimpse of the future Walter, baldheaded, walking down a crowded street full of riffraff, carrying a small bag with blood stains. He resembles Brando’s Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Not just because of the cue-ball dome, but also his thousand-yard stare. Similar to the debut episode, series creator Vince Gilligan teases us by showing fragments of the ending first. Whatever is coming, one thing is for sure, Walt’s not going to stick to his own rules.

[Rules were meant for Breaking...]

Nov 20 2015 3:30pm

Heroes Reborn 1.10: “11:53 to Odessa"

With 3 episodes left in this “event” miniseries, we break for the holiday season being no closer to saving the world than when we began. Tommy is still without his memory or real allies, and Malina is stuck with our mass-murdering psycho, Luke. Okay, he’s reformed now, but I’m with Noah—no reason to trust this dude (though Zachary Levi is at least making me feel his pain).

“11:53 to Odessa” is more about moving pieces into place than pushing the story forward. That’s more than a bit frustrating after all the momentum of the flashback Odessa episodes.

So, where do we stand?

[Let's find out...]

Nov 20 2015 2:00pm

“You’ve Come a Relatively Middling Distance, Baby”: Signs of Shift in Female Fictional Detectives


Make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of Another Margaret by Janice MacDonald, her newest in the Randy Craig Mystery Series!

Back in the 1980’s, I wrote a thesis on parody in the development of detective fiction. My central argument was that the growth of the genre was dependent on the examination and copying of previous elements in antecedent books. New writers paid homage to the writers who had come before. Newer characters were reminiscent of older characters. Dupin’s idiosyncrasies were mirrored by Holmes; Holmes’s bees became Poirot’s vegetable marrows, which in turn grew into Wolfe’s orchids. Hammett’s terseness became Chandler’s similes, which gave birth to all private eyes’ smart mouths. In my studies, one of the things noted across the board was the naming of the female detective, and what resonances and inferences were made by readers as a result. Checking through the lists of new and continuing detectives from thirty years on, things may be changing.

Names such as Kinsey, Sam, Randy, V.I., Hilary, Nikki, Jaime, Micky, Danny, Jo, Fran, Clare, Bo, Sydney, Jordan, Alex, Brodie, Charley, Benny, Jeri, Robin, Casey, Andy, and Bailey abounded in the stories of female private investigators, girl sleuths, talented amateurs, and police procedurals. And don’t forget the sidekicks, like Nancy Drew’s friend George (Don’t wave Trixie Belden’s friend “Honey” Wheeler at me as a counter argument—you’re not the person who named their first daughter Madeleine, now are you?).

[What's the reason for the change?]

Nov 20 2015 10:30am

Breaking Bad Rewatch 1.05: “Gray Matter”

Jesse (Aaron Paul) tries to get a job in sales at a realty company, but he finds his qualifications are only worthy of a human billboard. Angry and discouraged, he walks back to his car when the current dollar-bill clad sign spinner calls out to him. An old friend named Badger (Matt Jones) shares a joint with Jesse in the back alley while chatting about the old days and bemoaning their current situations. Before you can say thanks for the toke, they are joining forces to make some extra bucks by cooking up some crystal.

Badger supplies the pseudoephedrine to get them started and does little else, except dance about, goof around, eat Cheetos, and read a porno mag before passing out. Jesse takes on Walt’s fulcrum position, and he’s given a front row seat to how Walt must have felt working with him. Now dedicated to the illegal craft, he finds out devotion isn’t the only thing it takes to make the clear glass of Walter’s skill and standard. He’s created a subpar product—cloudy ‘crap.’

[Too many cooks...]

Nov 19 2015 1:30pm

Breaking Bad Rewatch 1.04: “Cancer Man”

The anticipation of just how much Walter (Bryan Cranston) planned to reveal to Skyler (Anna Gunn) at the end of episode 3 is alleviated at a family barbeque in “Cancer Man.”

The family sits around the table, sharing stories and laughing as if all is well, until Walter’s reminiscing about how he and Skyler met sends her from the table weeping, and leaves the rest of the family—Walter, Jr. (RJ Mitte), Skyler’s sister Marie (Betsy Brandt), and Marie’s husband Hank (Dean Norris)—wondering.

The secret of Walt’s illness comes out. Marie says she’ll use her connections to get him a dream team of doctors. Skyler agrees, but Walt seems less than thrilled.

Skyler makes an appointment that requires a $5K deposit on a $90K bill. Walt laments the cost, arguing the futility of putting much-needed money into a losing battle—it’d only sink the family into debt once he’s inevitably gone. That sends Junior into a tailspin, and he blasts his dad for being too blasé about dying. He scornfully chides him, “Then why don’t you just fucking die, already? Just give up and die.” Walt feels terrible for hurting his son. He agrees to the treatment and tells Skyler he’ll borrow from his retirement for the deposit. Of course, it actually comes from his first blundered meth job.

[Mo' money, mo' problems...]

Nov 19 2015 11:00am

Riot Most Uncouth: New Excerpt

Daniel Friedman

Riot Most Uncouth by Daniel Friedman is the first in a new series featuring the 19-year old Lord Byron, a brazen poet and student with questionable behavior that decides solving a murder is more important than attending class (available December 1, 2015).

1807, Cambridge, England.

A young woman is murdered in a boarding house, and nobody knows what to do about it. The volunteer watchman who patrols the streets of this placid college town has no idea how to investigate a serious crime and the private bounty hunters the girl's family has hired to catch the killer employ methods that are questionable, at best.

What Cambridge needs is a hero, and, in a situation such as this, it's very easy for a gentleman with a romantic disposition to mistake himself for one.

19 year-old Lord Byron, the outlaw poet, is a student at Trinity College, though he can only be described as a “student” in the loosest sense of the word: He rarely attends class and, instead, spends his time day-drinking, making love to faculty wives, and feeding fine cuisine and expensive wine to the bear he keeps as a pet.

Catching a killer seems like a fine diversion, however, and Byron decides that solving the crime must take precedence over other, less-urgent matters such as his failing grades and mounting debts.

Chapter 1

Whilome in Albion’s isle there dwelt a youth,

Who ne in virtue’s ways did take delight;

But spent his days in riot most uncouth,

And vexed with mirth the drowsy ear of Night.

Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight,

Sore given to revel and ungodly glee;

Few earthly things found favour in his sight

Save concubines and carnal companie,

And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, canto 1

A poet must have a keen eye for details and for feelings; for subtext and for innuendo. This same set of skills is also essential if one hopes to have any success at the pursuit and capture of murderers. The 1807 publication of Hours of Idleness, my first collection of verses, cemented my reputation as the greatest poet ever to have lived. It therefore stood to reason that I also was the world’s greatest criminal investigator.

That autumn, I was bored with my studies at Trinity College and feeling quite restless. So I was intrigued and a little annoyed when my butler, Joe Murray, informed me as I enjoyed an otherwise-pleasant champagne breakfast that a young woman named Miss Felicity Whippleby had been butchered in her Cambridge rooms. She was said to have been a quiet and well-mannered girl, and nobody could fathom what she might have done to bring such a fate upon herself.

Murder was a rare thing in Cambridge, and mystery was unheard of. I had no doubt Felicity Whippleby’s name would soon be upon the lips of every local gossip and rumormonger, people whose time would have been better spent talking about me. I resolved to put my first-rate intellect to work capturing her killer. Such a diversion would burnish my notoriety and provide a good excuse to avoid attending classes. Anyway, Cambridge was large enough to support the misdeeds of only one villain. I would not be upstaged on my own territory by a knife-wielding interloper.

[Read more of Riot Most Uncouth here...]

Nov 18 2015 4:08pm

The ZINNG: 10 Commandments for Crime Fiction

Stolen from Mount Sinai – Crime fiction has seen its fair share of variety in style and content throughout its long history, but just like any specific genre, a general archetype is often established.

Over at Sydney Morning Herald, Jane Sullivan shows us that certain pivotal authors, such as Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler, actually produced lists of their own formal rules for crime fiction.

[Get ZINNGed...]