Review: <i>Fantasy in Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb Meghan Harker Read Meghan Harker's review! <i>A Death at the Yoga Cafe</i>: New Excerpt A Death at the Yoga Cafe: New Excerpt Michelle Kelly The 2nd book in the Keeley Carpenter series. Review: <i>Kindred in Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb Dirk Robertson Read Dirk Robertson's review! The Dark Tower: <i>Wizard and Glass</i>, Part II The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass, Part II David Cranmer Join the discussion!
From The Blog
January 17, 2017
2017 Left Coast Crime "Lefty" Awards Nominations
Crime HQ
January 14, 2017
Discount: The Advocate's Daughter by Anthony Franze
Crime HQ
January 13, 2017
5 Gateway Marvel Comics for Crime Fiction Fans
Dave Richards
January 10, 2017
Into the Woods and Off the Grid: Three Profiles
Erica Ferencik
January 9, 2017
Historical Novels: Fact vs. Fiction
Nicola Cornick
Wed
Jan 18 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole by Rebecca Adler

A music festival has come to the small town of Broken Boot, Texas, and while it’s certainly good business for our heroine Josie Callahan’s family’s restaurant, she’s still a little leery of musicians after her unhappy breakup with her musician former fiancé. Her best friend, Patti Perez, however, is not of the once-bitten, twice-shy inclination, as she’s only too happy to start things up again with her ex-boyfriend, the music festival’s headliner, Jeff Clark.

Hoping to get a scoop to jumpstart her own stalling career as a reporter, Josie heads over to Patti’s house the night after Jeff sleeps over to try to get an exclusive interview. What she gets instead is the discovery of Jeff’s corpse in the living room, face down in a bowl of guacamole.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Wed
Jan 18 2017 3:00pm

Bookman Dead Style by Paige Shelton: A Visual Guide

GIFnotes: Giving you the basic plot summary of an upcoming book with the help of the Graphics Interchange Format.

This week, a movie star is typecast as a killer in the 2nd Dangerous Type Mystery from Paige Shelton, Bookman Dead Style. Take a visual tour with GIFnotes!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Wed
Jan 18 2017 2:00pm

A Driving Tour of Midwestern Mysteries

With so many mysteries set in big cities, Kristen Lepionka spreads the love to the Midwest, outlining some of the best mysteries in the region! Read her exclusive guest post, and make sure to sign in and comment for a chance to win her debut novel, The Last Place You Look!

To a detective character from a big city like New York or Los Angeles, the Midwest might look like one big flyover zone. But to plenty of mystery writers (myself included), the Midwest looks like home—and a good setting for a crime novel. We have plenty of cynicism to counteract that apple-cheeked, earnest idea of Midwestern values, and wild imaginations besides. Here is a selection of mysteries set in each of the ten states that officially comprise the Midwest, at least according to the census bureau. The geographic region, that is, not the mysteries. I don’t know if the census bureau likes mysteries, but I hope they do.

[Take the tour!]

Wed
Jan 18 2017 1:00pm

Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Meghan Harker reviews #30, Fantasy in Death.

Sometimes, escapism is all we’ve got. Departure from reality—immersing yourself in another world, in another self—can be a coping mechanism for dealing with the scary things in reality. It’s a chance to regroup. Sometimes, it’s exploring a different side of yourself. For Bart Minnock, turning his love of gaming into a ground-breaking, multi-million dollar business is a dream come true. But his fantasy derails when he’s found dead, locked in his holo-room, decapitated, and with no sign of foul play.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has her work cut out for her. No one appears to have any problems with the victim, but people don’t lose their heads over nothing, and Eve’s convinced the whole setup is more than just a game.

[Read Meghan Harker's review of Fantasy in Death...]

Wed
Jan 18 2017 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: January 17, 2017

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

This week, we get new thrillers from Gregg Hurwitz, Heather Graham and Jon Land, and James Patterson and Candice Fox. See what else the week brought for books!

[See this week's Top 5...]

Wed
Jan 18 2017 10:05am
Excerpt

A Death at the Yoga Cafe: New Excerpt

Michelle Kelly

A Death at the Yoga Cafe by Michelle KellyA Death at the Yoga Cafe by Michelle Kelly is book #2 in the Keeley Carpenter series (available January 31, 2017).

Keeley Carpenter has found her center. After returning to Befrey, the traditional English village she called home ten years ago, she’s opened her dream yoga café, which doubles as both a yoga studio and a delicious vegetarian café. Even better, Keeley is dating handsome Detective Ben Taylor, and things are beginning to look serious.

Too bad things never seem to run smoothly for long. Eager to get involved with the local community, Keeley sets up a booth at the annual Belfrey Arts Festival, along with her nemesis, fellow small business owner Raquel. Preparing herself to play nice, she’s shocked when Raquel’s boyfriend, Town Mayor Gerald, is found dead after a public spat. Despite Ben’s strict warnings to stay out of it, Keeley isn’t going to let an innocent woman take the blame for the murder—even if it is glamorous, spoiled Raquel.

Now Keeley must balance a precarious murder investigation with the demands of her growing business and now-strained relationship. But when the killer takes a personal interest in Keeley, can she find the culprit before she gets bent out of shape?

[Read an excerpt from A Death at the Yoga Cafe...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 4:00pm

Who Is Your Favorite Fictional President?

This week, the United States of America will inaugurate its 45th president. While here at CrimeHQ we don’t like to talk politics, we thought this might be a good opportunity to vote for your favorite fictional president! 

So cast your ballot, and let the world know which fictional president you’d want as your Commander in Chief!

[Vote for your favorite fictional president below!]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 3:30pm

Unworthy: Exploring the Mythology of Lucifer, Episode 2.11: “Stewardess Interruptus”

The Lucifer hiatus has ended, and we can finally get back to our favorite devil. This episode is pretty low-key when it comes to the mythology, but we still have an opportunity to explore the episode’s theme of worthiness. Specifically, we’ll look at where humanity fits in with angels, demons, and the divine.

For a while, Mum has been nursing a chip on her shoulder regarding humanity, eager to destroy the whole lot of them and blaming them for the disruption of her family. And now, even when she’s found that there are some things enjoyable about them (sex and Italian espressos), she continues to demean them.

[These are a few of my favorite things...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 3:00pm

Charley Davidson’s Crime-Solving Tips (Supernatural Abilities Required)

In celebration of Darynda Jones's newest Charley Davidson mystery, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (available January 24, 2017), we sat down with Charley herself and asked her for some crime-solving advice. Fair warning: some supernatural abilities are required. 

A lot of people think that because I’m a private investigator who also happens to be the grim reaper, solving cases must be insanely easy. They could not be more wrong. It’s one thing to know whodunit. It’s another to prove it.

But I thought, for the sake of education, I’d break down my normal procedure when solving a crime. Some of my resources might not be as easily accessible to you as they are to me, but hopefully this will help in a general grand-scheme kind of way.

1. First, I drink coffee. A lot of coffee. Then, I get all the info I can from the person/people who hired me. I ask them everything I can think of. Sometimes people have more information than they think they do, and ferreting out that info is part of the job. (Also, as the grim reaper, I can tell when someone is lying or if they feel guilty. This lets me assess their part, if any, in the crime. It’s amazing how many people will hire a PI when they are guilty just to make it look like they are concerned and willing to do whatever it takes to solve said crime.)

[You might just want to make an entire pot...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 1:00pm

Review: Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Dirk Robertson reviews #29, Kindred in Death.

Eve and Roarke have just made love and are having a bit of breakfast in bed when they’re joined by the cat, who waited a respectful length of time before joining them. What is there not like about that? Peaceful, relaxed, and fulfilled—gentle things going on as they think about getting ready for a quick jaunt to the Cayman Islands to check out the possible purchase of a villa. 

But reality has another agenda as a communicator summons her to pick up and read the display. It’s from Whitney. Now she is no longer Roarke’s lover, pet afficiando, and person who was about to jet off to the Caymans—she is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, and it is time for another case. 

Instead of boarding a plane for the sun, she has to go to 541 Central Park South. A victim awaits her: Deena Macmasters, sixteen, found dead by her parents when they came back from a weekend trip. It doesn’t get any worse. Parents should never have to bury their children under any circumstances. 

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of Kindred in Death...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 12:30pm

2017 Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Awards Nominations

The 2017 Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Awards nominations are up! 

The Lefty Awards are fan-based, chosen by registered members of the Left Coast Crime convention. Nominations for awards to be presented at each annual convention are made by people registered for that convention and also the immediately prior convention. 

The 27th annual LCC convention, Left Coast Crime 2017, “Honolulu Havoc,” will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

Check out the nominations below:

[See what books have been nominated for a 2017 Lefty Award...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass, Part II

Last week, we began Wizard and Glass by defeating Blaine the Mono and ending up in some when's Topeka, Kansas. This week, we begin Roland's backstory in Mejis and meet the beautiful Susan Delgado

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass (1997), the 4th book in The Dark Tower series. When we left Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy the billy-bumbler, they were trapped on the psychotic locomotive, Blaine the Mono, crossing through the feared waste lands. Our ka-tet had narrowly escaped the destruction of Lud that Blaine had decimated with gas—but for what? To become prisoners aboard a train bulleting into a desolate hell populated by fierce beasts, with a guide that’s clearly mad. Yeah, it looks like we are bound to have a helluva lot of fun as we continue our journey to the Dark Tower.

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we begin Roland's backstory in Mejis and finally meet the beautiful Susan Delgado. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part II of Wizard and Glass: Susan: Chapter 1 “Beneath the Kissing Moon” – Chapter 4 “Long After Moonset”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Introducing the beautiful Susan Delgado...]

Tue
Jan 17 2017 11:00am

Cozy Case Files Sampler

We here at Criminal Element love cozies. They provide laughter and mirth—sleuths drawn with such heart and conviction that you feel like they're your friends, and plot twists that take your brain in a different direction with each read. 

So we're excited to see the first edition of Cozy Case Files, a free sampler of cozies from Minotaur/St. Martin's. They're issuing the sampler three times a year, and it will include a few chapters from every cozy they publish within a four month period. 

It's a great way to discover new authors. Like the homey Scottish bookshop in Paige Shelton's novels? You might also make the bakeshop in Ellie Alexander's mysteries home. Do you relish immersing yourself in Frances Brody's early 20th-century Britain? You may also love the elegant Lady Montfort and her formidable housekeeper Mrs. Jackson in the Tessa Arlen novels. 

The sampler can be obtained for free via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play. Learn more below:

Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at AmazonBuy at Google Play

Tue
Jan 17 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Requiem for a Mezzo: New Excerpt

Carola Dunn

Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn is the 3rd book in the Daisy Dalrymple series, now beautifully reprinted in paperback! (Available January 31, 2017)

England, 1923: The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple attends a performance of Verdi’s Requiem with Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. The tickets were a gift from Muriel Westlea, Daisy’s neighbor and the sister of Bettina Westlea, who will be singing the mezzo role. What should be a pleasant afternoon is disrupted when, during the performance, Bettina falls dead on stage―poisoned with cyanide. While it’s quickly determined that Bettina’s on-stage prop glass of liqueur was laced with the deadly poison, discovering the person responsible will not be an easy task. 

Bettina was neither well liked nor well behaved, and many of her colleagues, associates, and even her family had good reason to want her dead. Daisy, determined to help DCI Fletcher whether he wants help or not, decides to do some investigating on her own. But with so many suspects and so few clues, the murderer may well go free...

1

As Daisy reached a second time for the gleaming brass knocker, the dark green front door opened.

“Oh, it’s you, Daisy. Do come in,” invited Muriel Westlea, an apologetic smile on her thin, perpetually worried face. A faded woman in her early thirties, she was drably dressed in a brown spotted challis well past its prime. “I’m sorry you had to wait, but it’s our parlourmaid’s day off. You haven’t even got a coat.”

“It’s all right, I only live next door after all, and it’s a simply spiffing day. The daffodils are about to burst into bloom. I adore spring.”

[Read the full excerpt of Requiem for a Mezzo...]

Mon
Jan 16 2017 4:30pm

Review: A Puzzle to Be Named Later by Parnell Hall

A Puzzle to Be Named Later by Parnell HallA Puzzle to Be Named Later by Parnell Hall is the 18th book in the Puzzle Lady Mystery series (available January 17, 2017).

Cora Felton—the self-ascribed “Puzzle Lady”—anonymously writes a column on puzzles for a member of her family and makes a habit of solving mysteries using crossword puzzles to throw up crime clues that help her along the way. If crosswords are your thing, then there is plenty in this mystery to keep you occupied and keenly interested in the clues as they unfold. If Sudoku is your puzzle of choice, then you will not be disappointed as this logic-based number puzzle is cleverly worked into the plot and development of events as one murder follows another. 

The first murder follows the arrival of a pitching marvel—currently in the distinguished employ of the New York Yankees—in Bakerhaven, Cora’s hometown. The victim meets their demise in the sauna at the end of a rock. Sharp, to the point, and messy.

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of A Puzzle to Be Named Later...]

Mon
Jan 16 2017 3:00pm

Review: The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

The Nowhere Man by Gregg HurwitzThe Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz is the 2nd book in the Evan Smoak series (available January 17, 2017).

Once known only by the designation “Orphan X,” Evan Smoak escaped the shadow world he was trained for and now uses his skills pro bono as a near-legendary figure dubbed “The Nowhere Man.” He’s part John Wick, part Nikita, part the Equalizer, and unless you’re the one who called that encrypted phone number on his business card—1-855-2-NOWHERE—you do not want to see Evan coming. 

Hector noticed movement in the shadows and stood, revolver quickly in hand. For a time, it seemed, he kept rising.

Standing just past the semicircle of pushed-together desks, Evan looked up at him. A FUCK YOU tattoo on the front of Hector’s neck indicated that nuance was not the man’s strong suit.

Hector said, “I don’t know who you are or why you’re here, but I’m gonna give you five seconds to leave before I aerate your torso.” For emphasis he kicked one of the monitors off the desk, which went to pieces at Evan’s feet, sparking impressively.

[Read Katherine Tomlinson's review of The Nowhere Man...]

Mon
Jan 16 2017 1:00pm

Review: Promises in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Amber Keller reviews #28, Promises in Death.

In a more solemn entry in the series, book number 28, Promises in Death, sees a fellow cop at the New York Police and Security Department murdered.

Now, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no stranger to death, or even death that hits close to home, but when it’s one of her own, it changes the game. Amaryllis Coltraine—a recent transfer to the department from Atlanta, Georgia—falls victim to homicide. Her death shakes up the force, and seeing that she is the girlfriend of Dallas’s good friend and fellow co-worker, the Chief Medical Examiner Morris, she makes it her mission to find out who killed her.

The investigation does not come easy, and Dallas struggles to fit the pieces together. Along the way, we have the added benefit of classic scenes involving Dallas and Roarke to carry us through this tragedy as she figures out the killer. Their interactions are always a favorite for me, as they bring a necessary element out of Dallas. She seems so hard-assed and hellbent on solving crimes that it can be easy to forget there’s a loving side to her, as well. We learn more about Dallas during her times with Roarke than we do watching her at her job, which she’s brilliant at. Also, their relationship is truly one for the records. The love they have for each other seems to be endless, and Roarke’s support and even participation in Dallas’s job goes above and beyond.

[Read Amber Keller's review of Promises in Death...]

Mon
Jan 16 2017 12:00pm

Trailer: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick is back, and it looks like he’s about kill a lot of people. Keanu Reeves returns as legendary hitman John Wick, who is forced back out of retirement when a former associate plots to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. 

If the trailer is any indication, Director Chad Stahelski has upped his game with the action in this sequel. Also starring John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan, and Laurence Fishburne, John Wick: Chapter 2 opens in theaters on February 10th. Check out the official TV spot trailer below!

[Watch the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 below!]

Mon
Jan 16 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: New Excerpt

Darynda Jones

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, the latest installment of Darynda Jones’s New York Times bestselling paranormal series (available January 24, 2017).

typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.

Now, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, will Charley be able to defeat the ultimate evil and find a way to have her happily ever after after all?

1

Lord, help me be the sort of person my psychiatrist medicates me to be.

—T-Shirt

I lay on a psychiatrist’s couch, a couch I’d named Alexander Skarsgård the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondered if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.

She crossed her legs—the psychiatrist, not the kid, who was male—and gave me her most practiced smile. “And that’s why you’re here?”

[Read the full excerpt of Eleventh Grave in Moonlight...]