<i>Black Scorpion</i>: New Excerpt Black Scorpion: New Excerpt Jon Land Taking down a global human trafficking ring was never gonna be easy. Now Win <i>This</i>!: Unleash the Beast Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Unleash the Beast Sweepstakes Crime HQ Whatever you do, don't feed the beasts! <i>Whiskers of the Lion</i>: New Excerpt Whiskers of the Lion: New Excerpt P.L. Gaus A disappearing act so ingenious, it might be illegal. <i>Marked Fur Murder</i>: New Excerpt Marked Fur Murder: New Excerpt Dixie Lyle This cozy isn't just puzzling, it's electrifying!
From The Blog
April 1, 2015
Ed Gorman's Relentless Western Noir
Edward A. Grainger
March 31, 2015
The Obscure, Peculiar, and Clairvoyant Black Rainbow
Brian Greene
March 30, 2015
Bushwhackers, Desperadoes, and a Damsel in Distress: "Lone Star Fury" by James Reasoner
Edward A. Grainger
March 30, 2015
Arsenic in Your Wine Glass? Naturally!
Crime HQ
March 27, 2015
Like Jurassic Park, with Foreskins
Crime HQ
Wed
Apr 1 2015 4:30pm

Ed Gorman’s Relentless Western Noir

Relentless by Ed Gorman was published in 2003 and has now been rereleased in eBook format through Rough Edges Press.

As a marshal working in Skylar, Colorado, Lane Morgan sees it all and then some. His day has him separating two old timers with medical conditions to keep them from beating each other up, relaying the good news to an old woman that the county assessor is going to reappraise her property, and teaching a tinhorn hell-bent on being a shootist a valuable lesson. He even finds time to debunk the flourishing myths about a lawman’s occupation to the kids at the local school (being the 1890s, this is one of the first generations corrupted by the sensationalism of the dime novels) where his wife Callie is the schoolmarm. Lane Morgan is an honorable lawman trying to do what’s right in the waning days of the Old West. His life, more or less, is one of routine.

That’s about to change.

[Time to saddle up...]

Wed
Apr 1 2015 11:30am
Excerpt

Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn: New Excerpt

Jon Land

Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn by Jon Land picks up five years after Michael Tiranno saved Las Vegas, and now he's tasked with bringing down a international human trafficking organization (available April 7, 2015).

Five years have passed since Michael Tiranno saved the city of Las Vegas from a terrorist attack. And now a new enemy has surfaced in Eastern Europe in the form of an all-powerful organization called Black Scorpion. Once a victim of human trafficking himself, the shadowy group's crazed leader, Vladimir Dracu, has become the mastermind behind the scourge's infestation on a global scale. And now he's set his sights on Michael Tiranno for reasons birthed in a painful secret past that have scarred both men.

Already facing a myriad of problems, Michael once more must rise to the challenge of confronting an all-powerful enemy who is exploiting and ravaging innocents all across the globe and has set nothing less than all of America as its new victim. Black Scorpion has also taken the woman Michael loves hostage: Scarlett Swan, a beautiful archaeologist who was following the dangerous trail of the origins of the ancient relic that both defines and empowers Michael, a discovery that could change history and the perception of mankind's very origins.

With the deck and the odds stacked against him, Michael must come to learn and embrace his true destiny in becoming the Tyrant reborn as a dark knight to triumph over ultimate evil and stop the sting of Black Scorpion from undermining all of the United States and plunging Las Vegas into chaos and anarchy.

[Start reading Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn...]

Wed
Apr 1 2015 8:45am

Girlfriend Stabs Boyfriend Over Chips and Salsa

An Akron, Ohio woman has been charged with stabbing her boyfriend over an argument about chips and salsa, reports ABC News.

Ronnie D. Buckner, 61, told police that he and Phyllis D. Jefferson, 50, were arguing over who was eating all of the salsa when she stabbed him with a pen. She then allegedly walked over to the television and attempted to knock it on the floor, he told police.

As he grabbed the TV to catch it from falling, she walked into the kitchen and grabbed a knife, then cut him in the stomach, police said.

Jefferson fled the scene but authorities later found and arrested  her. Buckner was taken to the local hospital, where his injuries were not deemed life-threatening.

If you were wondering: no, this is not an April Fools' Day post...

Tue
Mar 31 2015 3:00pm

Now Win This!: Unleash the Beast Sweepstakes

It’s all about survival of the fittest, and if you want to make it out alive, you’ll heed caution to these seven wild books!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins March 31, 2015, at 3:00 pm ET, and ends April 14, 2015, 2:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Hear me roar!]

Tue
Mar 31 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

Whiskers of the Lion: New Excerpt

P.L. Gaus

Whiskers of the Lion by P.L. Gaus is the 9th Amish County Mystery, and this time an Amish woman in mortal danger attempts an ingenious disappearing act (available March 31, 2015).

After Fannie Helmuth's unwitting actions make her the target of a murderous drug ring, the young Amish woman hides in plain sight among America's scattered Amish communities. But confrontation looms in Holmes County, Ohio, when her traveling companion is caught and murdered by a cartel that won't stop at a single killing.

Sheriff Bruce Robertson is charged with finding the elusive Fannie and getting her into protective custody so she can testify in federal court. Playing out his struggle in dreams of a deadly lion, the sheriff finds himself torn between upholding the legal system he represents and the beliefs of the people he is sworn to protect.

1

Wednesday, August 17
4:50 a.m.

Stan Armbruster had been a Holmes County deputy sheriff long enough to know that even the best day could skip sideways on you like a ricochet. With the instincts of all patrol officers, he had ridden his entire career knowing that the positive could flip to the negative with the single bark of a gun. A bark as arresting and irreversible as the clang of a bell.

[Continue reading Whiskers of the Lion...]

Tue
Mar 31 2015 9:00am

The Obscure, Peculiar, and Clairvoyant Black Rainbow

I first watched the 1989 film Black Rainbow a few years ago, and I took an interest in the movie for three reasons: 1. It was directed by Mike Hodges. Hodges is the auteur behind what are, to me, two superbly-made films: 1971’s Get Carter and 1998’s Croupier. I’m up for seeing anything the guy directed. 2. It stars Rosanna Arquette. I have a soft spot for her, and not just because I think she’s pretty. I like her acting, particularly in John Sayles’ 1983 title Baby, It’s You and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (1985). If she’s in a movie, I’m curious about it. 3. The film’s obscurity. You almost never hear or read anything about Black Rainbow, even in quarters where you might expect it to come under discussion. I’ve read lengthy overviews of Hodges’s career, that don’t even mention the film. It only got a limited theatrical run at the time of its release and doesn’t appear to have scored any notable rave reviews or awards nominations, but still... it’s a film directed by a living legend and that has a big-name star (two, actually, as Jason Robards plays another lead role). So I wanted to know why is it so forgotten despite all of that, and despite its having been released on DVD in 2004 and on VHS before that.

[I'm always down to try and solve a good mystery...]

Mon
Mar 30 2015 2:30pm

Bushwhackers, Desperadoes, and a Damsel in Distress: “Lone Star Fury” by James Reasoner

I have been reading James Reasoner Westerns since long before I knew I was reading James Reasoner Westerns. A prolific and in-demand author since the 1970s, he has written under a number of pseudonyms and house-names for series titles including the Trailsman (as Jon Sharpe) and Longarm (as Tabor Evans). He’s also adept at crime fiction and adventure—he penned Hard Case Crime’s debut Gabriel Hunt novel, Hunt at the Well of Eternity—but this Spur Award nominee, with 200 or more books to his name, is widely revered for his Western tales like “Lone Star Fury,” where he is writing as Jackson Cole. This story actually heralds from earlier in the author’s career—going back near twenty years when it was originally published in Classic Pulp Fiction Stories (No. 2, July, 1995)—and is fortunately available again as an ebook.

Two men waited in the stygian shadows of the alley, cocked revolvers in their hands. Across the broad, dusty, tumbleweed-littered street, two more men stood in similar concealment, guns in hand, murder in their hearts.

Into this cauldron of death in the ghost town of Palminter rides Texas Ranger Jim Hatfield, sometimes referred to as the Lone Wolf. What brought him to this desolate, and deadly, locale in the western part of Texas? A message seemingly from the great beyond: a former flame named Sally Conway, whom Hatfield believed had died five years before in a horse accident, sends for his help.

[Who can deny a summons from the grave?]

Mon
Mar 30 2015 12:30pm
Excerpt

Marked Fur Murder: New Excerpt

Dixie Lyle

Marked Fur Murder by Dixie LyleMarked Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle is the 3rd paranormal cozy in the Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot mystery about Deidre “Foxtrot” Lancaster, the amateur sleuth with who solves crime with her animal companaions Whiskey and Tango (available March 31, 2015).

When zillionairess Zelda Zoransky decides to throw one of her famous parties—with a guest list as colorful and diverse as her private zoo—it's up to Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster, assistant extraordinaire, to pull the whole thing off. But even with the help of her telepathic cat Tango and ectoplasmic pooch Whiskey, it's one killer assignment. Especially when she finds a corpse in the pool…

The victim is the sister of Deirdre's boyfriend, Ben. The cause of death appears to be a plugged-in hair dryer that fell in the water. Ben, however, insists that a few volts couldn't have killed Ann. Like him, she's a descendent of the Cowichan tribe who, according to legend, has a way with lightning. One of the guests must have marked her for murder! But when the suspects include a Russian pet psychic, a schizophrenic writer, and a random rock star, it's more than puzzling to Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot. It's electrifying…

Chapter One

You can’t kill a Thunderbird with lightning.

[Continue reading Marked Fur Murder!]

Mon
Mar 30 2015 8:45am

Arsenic in Your Wine Glass? Naturally!

A recent California lawsuit claims a score of brands of wines produced there, contain high levels of arsenic. According to San Francisco's CBS affilate

So far there is no theory on why this might be happening but Hicks’ [Kevin Hicks, founder of Denver lab BeverageGrades] tests showed an interesting pattern. “The lower the price of wine on a per-liter basis, the higher the amount of arsenic,” he said.

Hicks’ list of low-priced, high-arsenic wines includes Trader Joe’s famous Two-Buck Chuck White Zinfandel which tested at three times the limit. A bottle of Menage a Trois Moscato was four times the limit and a Franzia Blush had five time the EPA limit for drinking water.

We cheapskates and lushes at HQ were near-frothing, until we read this from Alder Yarrow of Vinography:

Arsenic is a naturally occurring compound that is found in the cellular structures of many foods we eat (fruits, vegetables, shellfish and meats) and in all the water we consume in trace amounts. Newsflash: most wines will ALL likely have very small traces of arsenic in them.

Arsenic also happens to be one of the essential minerals our bodies require for health, not unlike selenium, which is another metal that is quite toxic in high doses, but which is found in most multi-vitamins...

Apple juice and pear juice contain up to two or three times as much arsenic as drinking water as a matter of course. The Food and Drug Administration has known this for years. In fact the acceptable threshold for traces of arsenic in juice is much higher than it is for water, a fact that the FDA explains by simply saying that people don't drink as much juice as they do water.

So, the arsenic levels look pretty high until you compare them to, say, your kid's juice box. Snopes has a nice round-up of coverage, including the note that the lab's press release about their arsenic testing services was concurrent with the media splash of the lawsuit. Why, that's the kind of thing that could make a suspicious-minded person doubt the purity of their public-spiritedness.

What's the world come to when an unexpected amount of arsenic in your wine doesn't mean someone's out to kill you?!
Sun
Mar 29 2015 4:00pm
Excerpt

A Ghostly Grave: New Excerpt

Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes is the second in the Ghostly Southern Mystery series about a young undertaker, Emma Lee Raines, who can see the ghosts of murdered people (available March 31, 2015).

This excerpt is reprinted by arrangement with Witness. All rights reserved.

There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.

 

Chapter 1

Just think, this all started because of Santa Claus. I took a drink of my large Diet Coke Big Gulp that I had picked up from the Buy and Fly gas station on the way over to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to watch Chicken Teater’s body being
exhumed from his eternal resting place—only he was far from restful.

Damn Santa. I sucked up a mouthful of Diet Coke and swallowed. Damn Santa.

No, I didn’t mean the real jolly guy with the belly shaking like a bowlful of jelly who leaves baby dolls and toy trucks; I meant the plastic light-up ornamental kind that people stick in their front yards during Christmas. The particular plastic Santa I was talking about was the one that had fallen off the roof of Artie’s Deli and Meat just as I happened to walk under it, knocking me flat
out cold.

Santa didn’t give me anything but a bump on the head and the gift of seeing ghosts—let me be more specific—ghosts of people who have been murdered.

[Continue reading A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes]

Sat
Mar 28 2015 12:00pm

Noir’s Goon Squad: Brad Dexter

Brad Dexter has evil eyes. There are a lot of guys who have that whole hollow-on-the-inside steely-eyed-gaze thing going on in classic noir, but no one does it better than Brad Dexter. To catch up with him in some of his classic roles is to stare down the barrel at a man who simply does not care about anything but himself.

He’s probably best known today as one of the gang in The Magnificent Seven —though he once remarked, and not incorrectly, “I’m the one from The Magnificent Seven that no one remembers.” One of the reasons he got lost in the shuffle of the big stars of that film is because he had never been a big star, nor did he go on become a star. He was simply dependable Brad Dexter.

He was born Boris Velijko Milanovich in Goldfield, Nevada, the child of Serbian immigrants. Tall and brawny, in his youth he worked as a meat packer and an amateur boxer. Soon enough, though, he made his way into acting and was pretty much immediately put to work playing a series of heavies. After serving in the Army in World War II, he started making movies billed as “Barry Mitchell” in the Roy Rogers western Heldorado (1946).

[He'd catch on right away...]

Fri
Mar 27 2015 3:00pm
Excerpt

The Stranger She Loved: New Excerpt

The Stranger She Loved by Shanna Hogan is a true crime account of a Mormon doctor's murder of his wife, and the six year struggle to prove it (available March 31, 2015).

In 2007, Dr. Martin MacNeill – a doctor, lawyer, and Mormon bishop – discovered his wife of 30 years dead in the bathtub of their Pleasant Grove, Utah home, her face bearing the scars of a facelift he persuaded her to undergo just a week prior.

At first the death of 50-year-old Michele MacNeill, a former beauty queen and mother of eight, appeared natural. But days after the funeral when Dr. MacNeill moved his much younger mistress into the family home, his children grew suspicious. Conducting their own investigation into their mother's death, the MacNeill's daughters uncovered their father's multiple marital affairs, past criminal record, and falsified college transcripts he used to con his way into medical school.

It would take six long years to solve the mystery of Michele's murder and secure a first-degree murder conviction against the once prominent doctor.

Chapter 1

A stray drop of water fell from the faucet and trickled across her cold, pallid skin.

[Continue reading The Stranger She Loved...]

Fri
Mar 27 2015 12:15pm

Game of Thrones Season 5: A Recap of the Realm – Part One

Game of Thrones returns worldwide for its fifth season on April 12th, and with it comes the dozens of familiar (and sometimes not so familiar) faces, as well as a few newcomers, and it can be pretty damn tough keeping track of who everyone is, what they were last up to, and where they currently reside. In an effort to please R’hollor and to help re-light the wildfire in our brains, I’m here with a Season 5 primer to get you locked, loaded, and ready to go for the premiere. Unless of course you’re Daenerys, in which case you’ll be sitting still for the foreseeable future, ogling at Daario’s firm behind.

This week, we’ll begin in the south with the half-misunderstood and half-crazy (and zero-parts Baratheon) Lannisters, the patient and devious Tyrells, and the venomous and vengeful Martells. Warning: this post is dark and full of spoilers from Seasons 1 through 4 of Game of Thrones, as well as some light speculation and news from Season 5.

Tyrion Lannister

[We begin with the Imp!]

Fri
Mar 27 2015 9:00am

Like Jurassic Park, with Foreskins

Last year, we covered the strange and controversial artistic history of the Holy Foreskin, supposedly given to a pope by Charlemagne, which became a relic of veneration, being the only part of Jesus's corpus he left behind on earth.

Well, according to David Farley, who wrote a book about it in addition to an article for Slate, there's a small town in Italy that's claimed to have it since 1557, with attached miracles as proof. And even as the Church was cracking down on its more vocal members, threatening excommunication for even mentioning it, Calcata quietly hosted an annual procession allowing pilgrims to adore the relic. But in 1983, crime reared its ugly head as the item was reported stolen from a shoebox in the priest's house.

There is now a U.S. company called Foregen, reports Arikia Millikan in Motherboard last month, which aims to use an extra-cellular matrix along with stem cells to allow unhappy circumcised men to regrow working tissue “much like a salamander is able to re-grow a limb.” That article also delves into cultural, social, and health issues behind the practice of circumcision, blah, blah, blah. But if the real relic could be found, and its cells scientifically used to regrow it on a grand, functional scale, it's obvious what we're looking at, right? Holy Jurassic Foreskin Park!

Leading axolotl image via i09.

Thu
Mar 26 2015 10:00pm

Schmucks with Underwoods: Why Writers Make the Best Book Characters

Writers have always been the most interesting people I meet, and they almost all tend to be passionate readers as well. They're also impulsive and vibrant and twisty and unpredictable and curious and generally enjoyable to talk to and to get into adventures with.

Reading and writing have always gone hand-in-hand with me. I was such an avid reader that eventually I had to start writing my own stories to fill in the gaps of what was out there for me. The first writer I ever knew was my Uncle John Merkel. He was the coolest person I had ever known in my life. While my main circle of adults was made up of boring, responsible, church-going normal folks, my uncle was wild. He read comic books and played video games and watched Star Trek and had a great office with a home computer(!) where he wrote stories. I so desperately wanted to be like him. He's also the one who got me hooked on reading popular fiction, first with science fiction and fantasy, and then crime fiction. So writers as characters have fascinated me even more.

While I think writers make great characters and provide readers with some behind-the-scenes access to the creative process and sometimes even the inspiration for the book their reading, I think writing is a pretty boring thing to write about. Writers must have adventures and get in trouble and express their personalities. So here are my five favorite books with writers as characters and why I love them so much.

Misery by Stephen King – This is one of the first books about a writer I really remember making an impact on me. Part of that is because this is also the first adult book I really remember being challenged on by my local librarian. As a little kid, it didn't take me long to move from the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Bobsey Twins stuff to the dreamy magical land of the adult shelves. I was given virtually free reign in that section, but when I brought up this paperback with that lurid cover of a man in a wheelchair and a shadow of an ax-wielding woman, the librarian asked me if I was really sure I wanted to read it. I was, and it was the fastest I've ever read a book. And it scared me. Still scares me. This should also serve as a place holder for praise for all of Stephen King's books about writers. More than anyone, he has built a career about exploring the life and struggles of a writer through fiction.

[More schmucks to come!]

Thu
Mar 26 2015 10:15am

The Americans 3.09: “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Lois Smith as Betty, Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

Almost every episode in the third season of The Americans has featured at least one scene that is excruciatingly painful for the viewer to watch. These cringe-inducing scenes, from the disposing of Analise’s body, to Philip’s dental work, to Nina’s betrayal of Evi, to last week’s necklacing, have become hallmarks of the series. But even given the high bar they’ve set for themselves in this regard, last night’s meeting between Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Betty (Lois Smith), an elderly bookkeeper who “picked a bad time” to pay the bills, was stunning. When a series can cause a grizzled curmudgeon like myself to yell, “That’s it, I hate you, Americans!” during an episode, you know they’ve hit close to the bone.

A lot of other important developments went down in “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?,” a playful title with deeper resonance, but I’ll save those comments for later. There’s just too much to get into regarding the conversation between Elizabeth and Betty. Elizabeth encounters the aging widower when the Jennings attempt to bug the mail robot (the clear breakout star of Season 3) after it is sent for repairs following Agent Gaad’s (Richard Thomas) senseless act violence. Betty is working late at the factory because that’s when she feels “most in tune” with her deceased husband, Gil, the company’s founder.

[Awww. An oh no!]

Thu
Mar 26 2015 8:45am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness

Lucie Blackman left home with her sights set on Tokyo and her mind set on money, but what awaited her was worse than she ever imagined. Working as a hostess in a seedy Roppongi night club, it wouldn't be long before Lucie went missing, with only a strange message left by a mysterious stranger serving as the lone clue, until months later when her severed limbs were found outside the house of a wealthy real estate magnate (No, not Robert Durst.) . But Lucie was far from a reckless girl, as author Richard Lloyd Parry expresses through a great deal of research in People Who Eat Darkness.

Lloyd Parry, the Asia editor and Tokyo bureau chief of The Times (London), spent 10 years researching Lucie's case, interviewing and gaining access to a wide array of people connected to Lucie, including family, friends, lawyers, and police. The result is a compelling and immersive look into not just Lucie, but her family, friends, and killer.

For more information, check out our Fresh Meat review or read an excerpt over at FSG Originals!

Wed
Mar 25 2015 10:45am

Justified 6.10: “Trust”

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder, Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy, Justin Welborn as Carl

Raise your hand if you were expecting that ending? Anyone? Anyone? But before we get there, a lot of other things happened in “Trust,”Episode 6.10 of Justified.

First of all, we open with Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) very angry and yelling at Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) about the fact that Boyd (Walton Goggins) nearly blew her up at the pizza parlor. Wynn tells Katherine up front that he’s the one who gave Boyd the idea that Avery (Sam Elliott) was planning to move his money — and he speaks loudly and clearly for the benefit of Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Tim (Jacob Pitts) who are listening in on this conversation. After he finishes with Katherine, Wynn makes a plea to stop being a CI, but he’s not getting out of this hole so easily: Raylan says they’re giving Wynn a chance to make up for Boyd’s screw-up in not getting arrested while stealing Avery’s money.

[That's pretty fair when you think about it...]

Wed
Mar 25 2015 8:45am

Woman Assaults Neighbor with Poop

A Boca Raton, Florida woman landed herself in a stinky situation after being arrested for smearing dog poop on her neighbor’s face, according to The Huffington Post.

Amy Goldberg, 57, confronted her neighbor about her dog pooping on her lawn all the time. Allegedly Goldberg asked for the dog to stop using her lawn as a restroom, and when it didn’t, that is when the poop hit the fan — I mean, the face.

Goldberg now stands accused of smearing dog poop in her neighbors face, on her arms, and her clothes. She has been charged with battery on a person 65-years or older.

Tue
Mar 24 2015 3:00pm
Excerpt

The Patriot Threat: New Audio Excerpt

Steve Berry

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry is the 11th Cotton Malone political thriller where a North Korean operative obtains files that could ruin the United States (available March 31, 2015).

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is why Americans pay income taxes. But what if there were problems associated with that amendment? Secrets that call into question decades of tax collecting? In fact, there is a surprising truth to this hidden possibility.

Cotton Malone, once a member of an elite intelligence division within the Justice Department known as the Magellan Billet, is now retired and owns an old bookshop in Denmark. But when his former-boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks him to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files—the kind that could bring the United States to its knees—Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.

With appearances by Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, a curious painting that still hangs in the National Gallery of Art, and some eye-opening revelations from the $1 bill, this riveting, non-stop adventure is trademark Steve Berry—90% historical fact, 10% exciting speculation—a provocative thriller posing a dangerous question: What if the Federal income tax is illegal?

[Listen to the prologue of Steve Berry's The Patriot Threat...]