Fresh Meat: <i>One Murder More</i> by Kris Calvin Fresh Meat: One Murder More by Kris Calvin Doreen Sheridan Not all lobbyists are created equal, as Maren Kane proves! <i>Collision</i>: New Excerpt Collision: New Excerpt William S. Cohen You're gonna need to find cover immediately! Fresh Meat: <i>The Storm Murders</i> by John Farrow Fresh Meat: The Storm Murders by John Farrow Kate Lincoln This serial killer's gone international! <i>Independence Day</i>: New Excerpt Independence Day: New Excerpt Ben Coes Dewey Andreas has gone rogue, and the CIA couldn't be luckier.
From The Blog
May 25, 2015
A Commemorative Bouquet of Links for Memorial Day
Crime HQ
May 22, 2015
Cremains of the Day: A Digital Version of a Deceased Self
Crime HQ
May 21, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Running and Gunning through America
Crime HQ
May 20, 2015
Burglar Takes a Nap on Victim’s Couch
Teddy Pierson
May 19, 2015
"An Unexpected Guest": Listen Now!
Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap
May 25 2015 2:00pm

Game of Thrones 5.07: “The Gift”

“The Gift” left many characters of Game of Thrones in generous moods, and while some characters received perfect presents, others were left wishing they’d just gotten cash instead. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) might not yet have use for Sam's dragonglass dagger, but if Chekov has anything to say about it, we’ll be glad it's with him. Bronn (Jerome Flynn) received his gift right in the nick of time – visually and literally. Both Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) offered gifts to important and dangerous women, but time will tell how they’re received.

Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) plea to Theon (Alfie Allen) for help in lighting a candle in the broken tower ended with a flayed ally – a gift Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) was all too eager to give. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) also found eagerness to be met with disgust when she suggested that Stannis (Stephen Dillane) sacrifice his daughter, Shireen (Kerry Ingram), to the flames to aid his war effort.

But perhaps the greatest gift of this episode was given to the fans, and it was courtesy of the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), who followed up his slow burn on Olenna with a raging fire aimed straight at Cersei (Lena Headey). Don’t you hate it when plans backfire?

Now onto this week’s Riser!

[Here he stands…]

May 25 2015 8:45am

A Commemorative Bouquet of Links for Memorial Day

For this Memorial Day, we offer our best wishes, deepest thanks, and a commemorative bouquet of military-related links:


Author Joseph Koenig's personal list of the Best Fiction of World War II.

Afghanistan: My Green Zone Symphony,” is a 4-part feature on his deployment by military veteran Weston Ochs, author of the SEAL Team 666, a paranormal military thriller series which includes Age of Blood.

Karin Salvalaggio writes about understanding war and PTSD through art.

Tom Clancy's Op Center: Into the Fire by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi is a military thriller, stranding a small group of U.S. forces on a small island too close to North Korea.

During WWI, famed mystery author Mary Roberts Rinehart became the first female war correspondent.

Retired Navy Commander Rick Campbell discusses submarine movies vs. real-life service aboard one. His debut The Trident Deception features a nuclear submarine delivered missile launch orders from a rogue organization. Also, reportedly, submarines are now filling with NeRDs.

A Question of Honor by Charles Todd contrasts WWI nurse Bess Crawford's “normal” life with the bleak, failure-filled monotony of trench warfare on the French front.

The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron involves Maine's Mike Bowditch in a veteran's “suicide by cop,” the the dead man's outraged platoon, and military past of Sgt. Kathy Frost, the cop who pulled the trigger.

Tony Hays recounts his favorite mystery series set around the Civil War, the times when today's holiday was still called Decoration Day.

Lash-Up by Larry Bond is a military thriller in which soldier-scientists join an urgent space race.

Vanishing by Gerard Woodward tells the tale of an artist from London's Soho scene turned WWII camouflage painter.

The Last Line, a military thriller by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer with William H. Keith pinches America between destruction by Hezbollah, the Iranian secret service, Mexico's anarchic drug cartels, and a cabal in D.C.

Murder in the Afternoon by Frances Brody is a historical mystery featuring Kate Shackleton, an Englishwoman whose husband has gone missing, presumed dead, in WWI.

Brian Greene discusses The Last Detail (1973), a nomination-grabbing film about Naval seamen cussing their way from Norfolk to Portsmouth before one serves a politically-influenced sentence of 8 years in the brig for stealing forty bucks. The Robert Towne screenplay stars Jack Nicholson and Otis Young as sympathetic armed escorts who'll try to give sad sack Randy Quaid a good time worth remembering before his genuine screw job begins.

Terror Red, by Colonel David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger pits a retired Special Ops colonel and political consultant together against terrorists and worldwide conflagration.

The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller is part of the Laurence Bartram series in which the former infantry officer encounters Europe in the aftermath of the Great War.


We hope you enjoy the holiday with loved ones while remembering those who died in service.

May 24 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: One Murder More by Kris Calvin

One Murder More by Kris Calvin is the debut mystery in the Maren Kane series about a good-hearted lobbyist from Sacremento caught up in a murder investigation (available June 1, 2015).

When you hear the word “lobbyist”, the image that often first comes to mind is of some slick wheeler-dealer in the halls of power, brokering political deals for the highest bidder. You’d hardly think of a — granted, unwitting — crime-solver who happens to also save lives, but that’s exactly who Kris Calvin presents to us as the protagonist of her debut mystery novel, One Murder More.

Maren Kane is pretty much the antithesis of the kind of cynical influence-peddler we’re familiar with from pop culture: principled and determined to do what she believes to be the right thing; she doesn’t let party lines deter her from getting the job done. Granted, One Murder More doesn’t pretend that all lobbyists are like Maren. We certainly run into several whose actions are as distasteful to Maren as they are to the reader, as well as into examples of other political movers and shakers who decorate the halls of power. In fact, one strength of this novel is the insider look into the workings of state government, particularly in Sacramento. The attention to both detail and history really brings the setting alive, as here, where she’s walking with her brother, Noel:

Maren donned her coat and the siblings crossed L Street, passing through the rose garden behind the large, white-domed building that housed California legislators and their staff since the 1860s. Built in the same Roman style as the congressional building in Washington, DC, though on a smaller scale, the designers of California’s capitol building opted to literally guild the lily, setting a gold cupola atop the white dome and capping that with a large copper ball, nearly three feet in diameter, plated in gold coins. Maren once reflected that while Hollywood might be California’s uncontested modern seat of glamour, Sacramento had set the stage by dressing up its legislative quarters years earlier.

[Murder is just down the hall...]

May 23 2015 12:00pm

Collision: New Excerpt

William S. Cohen

Collision by William S. Cohen is a thriller featuring a National Security Advisor caught up in a crime that could very well end humankind (available June 2, 2015).

Sean Falcone, former National Security Adviser to the president of the United States, attacks a gunman during a mass killing at an elite Washington law firm. A second shooter flees with a laptop containing vital information about an asteroid being mined by an American billionaire and his secret Russian partner. The incident plunges Falcone into a Washington mystery involving the White House, NASA, corrupt Senators, an international crime lord . . . and the possible destruction of all humankind.


Cole Perenchio pulled the blue-and-white gym bag from under the seat and stood, tilting his head to avoid the overhead bin. He was six foot seven and as slim at age fifty-six as he had been when, for three years, he was top scorer for the MIT Engineers. He ducked again as he left the Delta aircraft and entered the walkway tube to Reagan National Airport. His only luggage was his gym bag carry-on, so he went directly to the taxi pickup line. When his turn came, he told the driver, “Roaches Run.”

[Continue reading Collision!]

May 22 2015 2:00pm

Leaving Epitaph by Robert J. Randisi

Mary Shaye was in the wrong place at the wrong time—crossing the road in front of Ethan Langer and his band of renegades, who were escaping on horseback after having just robbed the Epitaph town bank. She’s trampled underfoot, sadly, leaving behind a family that includes her three sons named Thomas, Matthew, and James. Her husband, Daniel Shaye, is the sheriff of Epitaph, but was working elsewhere in town when Mary was killed. He, along with his sons, is devastated. They bury their dearest and hold a healthy grudge against the townsfolk, since no one at the scene tried thwarting the gang, thereby ensuring Mary had little chance of survival. Daniel deputizes his sons, against his own better judgement, and goes in search of the thieves. The Shayes are not fooling themselves for a minute when it comes to their true intentions:

The “hunt" was what they were calling it. They did not pretend that it was anything but, because when you hunted, it was understood that you intended to kill your prey.

Langer pilfers banks mostly across the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona region. He has a brother named Aaron, who also runs a gang, making a friendly rivalry of sorts between the siblings to see who can top the other in money looted. The Shayes blood-streaked trek will eventually cross both groups, with their first stop along the retribution trail being the town of Vernon, where Daniel is acquainted with the local, unethical sheriff named Sam Torrance. When Torrance brazenly lies to Daniel about the Langer gang’s whereabouts, Daniel permits his eldest, Matthew, to do a merciless smack-down of the corrupt lawman. The Shayes get the needed information, but they have to pull the out-of-control and burning-with-hatred young man off the pummeled figure. The results weigh heavily on Daniel:

His boys probably didn't have any idea how tightly strung they were. Matthew had been the first to break, but he could see it in all three of them, just as he knew it was in himself. They were all like bowstrings that were about to snap, and it was his job to keep it from happening.

[Sounds like one tough job...]

May 22 2015 11:00am

Fresh Meat: The Storm Murders by John Farrow

The Storm Murders by John Farrow is the first procedural thriller in a planned trilogy featuring the retired Montreal detective Emile Cinq-Mars (available May 26, 2015).

Who was it that said the colder the climate, the more are the mysteries? Montreal, Canada sits at a latitude south of Paris while those Nordic cities many consider a current hub of crime fiction lie more than fifteen degrees further north. Yet southern Canada generates its share of good reads. Louise Penny and Alan Bradley are just two of the Canadian authors well known south of the border. Playwright and novelist Trevor Ferguson may come less often to mind, possibly because several of his novels appear under nom de plume John Farrow. His latest novel under Farrow’s name, The Storm Murders, is the first in a new trilogy featuring Émile Cinq-Mars, his recently retired Montreal city detective.

There is no mistaking this book for one of its Nordic cousins, however, despite the snow and cold that open the story. Its Canadian sensibility is as much a character within as the weather. Witness this exchange when Cinq-Mars encounters a thief in the jewelry store where he needs to drop off the requisite retirement watch for repair since it’s still under warranty:

“Hi, there,” he said.

“You old fuck, get out of my way,” sneered the thief, a belligerent, unwary lad.

Old. Cinq-Mars hoped the guy didn’t recognize him and therefore wasn’t submitting a comment on his retirement. Standing in the doorway of the slightly subterranean shop, a step up from the miscreant, his six-foot-three-inch frame towered above the imp who stood at a chubby five-seven. He could stare down the immensity of his impressive nose and assume that that would have an intimidating effect upon the man nervously, if defiantly, gazing up at him.

“How’re you doing?” he asked. From his pocket he withdrew a stick of gum—the miscreant flinched—casually unwrapped it, folded the stick in half to more easily drop it into his mouth, and did so. “My name’s Émile Cinq-Mars. What’s yours?”

[This book will have you beating the summer heat...]

May 22 2015 9:45am

Cremains of the Day: A Digital Version of a Deceased Self

In the future, mourners may interact with beloved deceased through virtual reality. Project Elysium is the brainchild of game designers from Australia, and proposes to use a headset like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive as the gateway to a 3-D experience of the beloved who will be “inhabited” by an AI version of themselves. From the Express article:

The team describes the software as “a therapeutic experience aimed to help the people left behind deal with and work through their grief”.

“Virtual sanctuary [is] a service where we work with clients to create 3D models of their deceased loved ones,” the Paranormal Games team added...

"Through the window that we create, people will now have another life raft to hold onto in the ocean of sorrow and loss...

Project Elysium is currently in development as part of the Oculus' Mobile VR Jam 2015, a competition which pits rival virtual reality  projects against one another for a maximum of  $1,020,000 (£660,000) in available prizes.

Read more at the link, and see the build video submitted for the competition. Given the extremely 3-D approach of another recent memory box, is inviting an AI-operated version of the deceased into your brain more or less intimate?

May 21 2015 1:00pm

True Crime Thursday: Running and Gunning through America

Police are often able to stop criminals before they go on the run, but every once in a while, a few fall through the cracks and a manhunt ensues. Case in point: a South Florida man's bounty has been upped to $12,500 after continuing to elude officers for more than 24 hours, reports NBC Miami. The man, Matthew Pryor, has a pair of outstanding warrants, and fled when two officers showed up to arrest him, but not before first opening fire. The hunt is still ongoing.

If this piques your interest, than you'll definitely want to check out Dead Run by Dan Schultz, a true crime retelling of a murdered lawman and the greatest manhunt of the modern American West. Not everyone is built to last in the wild vastness of America's western planes, but for three desperados from Colorado, the terrain couldn't have been more perfect:

Beyond the real West is the mythical West; the West of movies, books, song and video games; the West of enduring legend. It is the West that leads thousands of people every year to pull off the road and stand at the graves of Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp or Wild Bill Hickok. The West that draws millions of East Coasters and Midwesterners to vacations in the Mountain States, where they stay in accommodations with cowhide-upholstered sofas and elk-antler chandeliers. The West where the receding vibrations of a wild, audacious America still tickle the hair on the back of your neck.

It is real and it is mythical. And one sunny morning in May 1998, near the epicenter of Old West outlaw violence, it happened all over again: the guns; the killing; the posse chase and shootout; the escape into a vast wild country of sagebrush, box canyons and the occasional cowboy on horseback; Native American trackers; a grueling manhunt; and a populist outlaw disappearing into legend.

Such is Four Corners. As it was in 1898. As it remained a hundred years later.

Learn more and read an excerpt of Chapters 1 and 2 from Dead Run by Dan Schultz, an in-depth account of this sensational case, replete with overbearing local sheriffs, Native American trackers, posses on horseback, suspicion of vigilante justice and police cover-ups, and the blunders of the nation’s most exalted crime-fighters pursuing outlaws into territory in which only they could survive.

May 21 2015 10:00am

Cooking the Books with the Crime HQ Test Kitchen

This was the perfect chance to re-launch Cooking the Books with our new CrimeHQ test kitchen staff—or so we thought. We had a bunch of recent, appealing crime-related recipes, but unfortunately, after assigning them, the feedback from our test crooks cooks was a little less constructive than we'd hoped. You'll see what we mean...

After trying The Cozy Cookbook's “Charmed Bacon Lattice Breakfast Pie” by Ellery Adams, here are the testing notes from a Thriller's Disposable Henchman: 

The instructions say Bake until crisp, approximately 25 minutes. Couldn't the timing be more precise? Why, I have this handy ticking clock right next to me, and... [rest illegible and aflame]

From “Cake Pops” by Jenn McKinlay, testing notes from a Town Busybody: 

It should be called “cake popular,” because this recipe makes 30. Who has that many people to give sweets to? Don't get me wrong, I try to stay involved in goings-on in my community, but really, if I dropped dead, I think people would probably just stand around making snide comments and jokes. Here's my version of the recipe for a single cake pop. Tell the author to put it in her next book. You're welcome.


[Dice and Slice with our Advice!]

May 20 2015 4:15pm

Orson Welles at 100: The Third Man (1949)

Joseph Cotten holds a peculiar place in movie history. He was a charismatic and bankable movie star in the forties, and he was a fine actor and an all-around nice guy, but he lived most of his adult life, and will likely live throughout the ages, in the shadow of his friend Orson Welles. Even though Cotten was the bigger star, Welles was somehow the bigger presence. This was never more obvious than in Carol Reed’s The Third Man, a masterpiece of film noir and perhaps the biggest success of either actor’s career.

Based on the novel by Graham Green (who also wrote the screenplay) The Third Man tells the story of an American pulp novelist named Holly Martins (Cotten) who travels to Vienna after WWII to meet up with an old friend named Harry Lime (Welles). Upon arriving, however, Martins discovers that Lime has been killed in a hit and run accident. At the funeral, he meets a beautiful young woman named Anna (played by Alida Valli), the one person who seems truly upset by Lime’s death. He also meets Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) the army official in charge of policing the English section of Vienna. Calloway is not upset by Lime’s death. In fact, he has some gruesome news for Martins: Harry Lime was a criminal—no, worse, Harry Lime was a downright villain.

SEE ALSO: Is Graham Greene the greatest thriller writer ever?

The exact details of Lime’s crimes, and the events that unfold as Martins begins to look into the curious events surrounding his friend’s death are one of the pleasures of the film, so I’ll avoid getting too specific about plot points. In way, though, the chief pleasure of the film isn’t the story at all but the milieu and the magnificent direction of Carol Reed. The Third Man is, simply put, one of the most beautiful films ever made. Reed shoots at slanted angles, rarely going for a conventional shot when he can visually approximate the unsettled nature of Cotten’s descent into the European criminal underworld. His main collaborator is cinematographer Robert Krasker, whose work here is not just beautiful, it is a flawless use of the medium of black and white film. There may be no better argument for the superior artistry of black and white than this movie.

[Simply put, go watch this now!]

May 20 2015 10:30am

Independence Day: New Excerpt

Ben Coes

Independence Day by Ben Coes is the 5th thriller featuring Dewey Andreas, a former Delta agent who's currently on the sideline after two previous botched jobs (available May 26, 2015).

Dewey Andreas, former Delta and newly recruited intelligence agent, is sidelined after screwing up his last two operations. Still drowning in grief after the tragic murder of his fiancé, Dewey has seemingly lost his focus, his edge, and the confidence of his superiors.

A high level Russian hacker, known only as Cloud, is believed to be routing large amounts of money to various Al Qaeda terror cells, and the mission is to capture and render harmless Cloud. At the same time, a back-up team is sent after the only known associate of Cloud, a ballerina believed to be his girlfriend. Unwilling to sit out the mission as ordered, Dewey defies his superiors, and goes rogue, surreptitiously following and tracking the two teams. What should be a pair of simple snatch and grab operations, goes horribly wrong—both teams are ambushed and wiped out. Only through the unexpected intervention of Dewey does the ballerina survive.

On the run, with no back-up, Cloud's girlfriend reveals a shocking secret—a plot so audacious and deadly that their masterminds behind it would risk anything and kill anybody to prevent its exposure. It's a plot that, in less than three days, will completely remake the world's political landscape and put at risk every single person in the Western world. With only three days left, Dewey Andreas must unravel and stop this plot or see everything destroyed. A plot that goes live on July 4th—Independence Day.

[Continue on the the excerpt of Independence Day by Ben Coes...]

May 20 2015 8:45am

Burglar Takes a Nap on Victim’s Couch

A sleepy Florida man has been charged with breaking into a home and then taking a nap on the living room couch.

Sarasota police were called to a house after a victim claimed she woke up and found a stranger sleeping on her couch in the living room, according to ABC News.

The homeowner asked who he was and why he was sleeping on her couch, which prompted the intruder to apologize and quickly flee the scene.

Police believe the man was able to get into the house by walking through an unlocked sliding glass door in the back of the house. He apparently made off with the victim’s personal checks, credit and debit cards, and driver’s license.

The suspect, Timothy Bontrager, 29, was caught shortly after the incident and is now being held at the Sarasota County jail on $25,000 bond.

May 19 2015 2:00pm

Pinnacle Event: New Audio Excerpt

Richard Clarke

Pinnacle Event by Richard A. Clarke is a thriller where amidst the 2016 presidential election, news of five nuclear weapons recently bought on the black market leads the US to believe it will be targeted (available May 19, 2015).

With the 2016 presidential election just weeks away, five simultaneous murders on three continents lead to an investigation revealing the recent black-market sale of five nuclear weapons. But who bought them? And what is their intended target?

Washington fears the bombs are timed to explode in major American cities before the election. They call on intelligence expert Ray Bowman to prevent the attack. With the help of a Mossad agent and a female South African intelligence officer, he follows a trail across the world to track down the missing nukes. Along the way, he discovers that the people who now control the bombs intend to do something much more devastating than expected, something that will make nuking a few cities look like a mild attack.

[Get listening, before it's too late...]

May 19 2015 1:15pm
Original Story

“An Unexpected Guest”: Listen Now!

Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap

We're thrilled to have “An Unexpected Guest” to share in audio format! This short story is a collision of fan-favorite universes, courtesy of their respective authors, Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap, and in commemoration of Mystery Writers of America's 70th anniversary. If you'd like to read the text version of what happens when one of Digger's deadly operatives, Boxers, is sent on assigment to Meg Langslow's hometown, the usually-charming Caerphilly, it's posted here.

But clicking above, you'll hear this story read by Basil Sands, an award-winning narrator working from Sandman Production Studios “nestled between the foot of the coastal Chugach Mountains and the northern limits of the Pacific Ocean in Anchorage Alaska.” A thriller writer himself, he voices the Jonathan Grave series as well as many other audiobooks. We thank him for lending his talents in this unique cause!


Copyright © 2015 Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap

Donna Andrews has won the Agatha, Anthony, and Barry Awards, a Romantic Times award for best first novel, and two Lefty and two Toby Bromberg Awards for funniest mystery. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Private Investigators and Security Association. Andrews lives in Reston, Virginia.

New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter John Gilstrap is the author of novels in the long-running Jonathan Grave thriller series, standalone thrillers including Nathan's Run and Scott Free, and the true story Six Minutes to Freedom, which he co-authored.

May 19 2015 11:15am

Fresh Meat: Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall

Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall is the 2nd police procedural in the Detective Elouise Norton series set in Los Angeles where a deadly house fire looks a lot like murder (available May 19, 2015).

The luscious and wise cracking Detective Elouise Norton is in a personal quandary when this LAPD police procedural Skies of Ash opens. She’s trying to solve the murder of a mother, Juliet Chatman, as well as her daughter and son, nine and thirteen, who died in a fire in their home. But meanwhile, the detective is haunted with doubts about her husband and is carrying surveillance equipment to spy on him.

Her husband, Greg, is a serial adulterer, caught and forgiven at least three times by Lou, as Elouise is called by her friends. Despite all her suspicions, she’s still dreaming of having a child with him. It makes you wonder what else is going on in Lou’s personal life that she’s still clinging to this loser. An example of their relationship is demonstrated in the following sad conversation about decorating their Christmas tree:

“Maybe we can decorate the tree tonight,” I suggested. 

“Probably have to work late,” Greg said. “You can start, though.”

 I froze—who decorates a tree alone...

[We know who we won't be rooting for...]

May 19 2015 9:00am

The Scarlet Gospels: A New Excerpt

Clive Barker

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker concludes the Hellraiser horror series in the collision of tattooed paranormal detective Harry D'Amour with the Cenobite known as Pinhead (available May 19, 2015).

The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with bated breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by this epic, visionary tale. 


Book 1
Chapter 1

Two decades ago, Harry D’Amour had turned twenty-three in New Orleans, drunk as a lord on Bourbon Street. Now here he was in the same city that had taken terrible wounds from hurricanes and human greed but had somehow survived them all, its taste for celebration unscathed. Harry was drinking in the same bar on the same street, twenty-four years later. There was music being played by a jazz quintet led, believe it or not, by the same trumpet player and vocalist, one Mississippi Moses, and there were still one-night love affairs happening on the little dance floor just as there had been almost a quarter of a century before. 

Harry had danced then with a beautiful girl who claimed to be Mississippi’s daughter. While she and Harry danced, she told him that if they wanted to do something “bad tonight”—Harry remembered perfectly the way she’d smiled as she said “bad”—then she had a place where they could play. They’d gone up to a little room above the bar where her papa’s music could be heard loud and clear coming up from below. That little fact should have warned Harry that this was a family affair and that men who have daughters can also have sons.

[Continue reading The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker]

May 18 2015 5:00pm

Fresh Meat: Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton is a standalone mystery about a mother who, three years after her two young children disappeared, is plotting revenge (available May 19, 2015).

Little Black Lies may sound like the title of cozy mystery, but don’t let the title of this amazing book fool you. There’s very little that’s cozy about Sharon Bolton’s devastating story of death, guilt, and grief. It is also about moving on—or at least trying to—after a tragedy.

It’s been almost three years since Catrin Quinn lost her two young sons, and so much more, in a terrible accident. To the outside world, she seems to be coping. She goes to work and checks on the condition of the marine life near her hometown in the Falkland Islands and interacts with coworkers, neighbors, and family. But her losses haunt her. During the day, any person or place can bring it all back. At night, alone at home with her dog, there’s nothing to distract her from her grief and guilt. And plans for revenge.

[Someone has it coming...]

May 18 2015 4:00pm

Fresh Meat: Bone to be Wild by Carolyn Haines

Bone to be Wild by Carolyn Haines is the 15th cozy mystery in the Sarah Booth Delaney series where the Mississippi private detective must investigate threats made against a famous blues band (available May 19, 2015).

You can’t think of the blues without dames like Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Booth Delaney. Never heard of Sarah Booth? Then poor you. She’s the hottest private investigator in Zinnia, Mississippi, and right now, maybe the saddest. Sarah Booth doesn’t sing the blues, but she’s experiencing them. Her fiancé has returned to California with family problems, and Sarah Booth’s heart is broken, just like her engagement.

Sarah Booth runs Delaney Investigations along with her best friend Tinkie Bellcase Richmond. If there’s a mystery to be solved in Zinnia, these two are usually on the case. They often work closely with Coleman Peters, the sheriff of Sunflower County, and have a host of Zinnia residents who generally help the poke around too. But perhaps the secret weapon that keeps Sarah Booth going is her resident ghost, Jitty, who can morph herself into any one of the famous blues singers. Her songs are often appropriate to whatever situation Sarah Booth is facing.

[Beats paying for Spotify...]

May 18 2015 1:15pm

Game of Thrones 5.06: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Game of Thrones has always been up front about the type of show it is – happy endings are nowhere to be found. “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” the sixth episode of Season 5, continues this mantra right up to the very end, leaving me with such a feeling of revulsion that I needed some time to cool down before tuning into the Mad Men series finale. (Takes a gulp of Coke...)

The episode’s title is derived from the words of House Martell and are representative of the Martells refusal to bend the knee when the Targaryens conquered Westeros atop their dragons many years ago. However, in this episode, it seems no one was able to live up to these words.

Arya (Maisie Williams) continues to struggle with shedding her identity. In order to fully become No One, Arya must learn to lie convincingly, but her inability to do so leaves her bloody. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jorah (Iain Glen) wander blindly into a menacing gang of pirates — led by Lost’s Mr. Eko, Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje! Thankfully, and due to a little bit of luck and a whole lot of Tyrion, the pirates are going to fast-track the duo's trip to Meereen in hopes of cashing in on Jorah by forcing him to enter the newly-reopened fighting pits.

Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) returns for a bout with Cersei (Lena Headey), armed with all the wit and sarcasm we’ve missed, but it was Cersei who had the last laugh, as Olenna watched both Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones) get dragged off by the Faith Militant after a farce of an inquest.

Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) waltz into Dorne’s Water Gardens and right up to Princess Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) in an attempt to bring her back to King’s Landing. But the Sand Snakes, who clearly inherited their father’s love for a good monologue, arrive at the same time, looking to kill Myrcella as payback for Oberyn’s death. A sluggish battle ensues, briefly, before Areo Hotah (DeObia Oparei) shows up and ends it, but not before Bronn is slashed by one of the Sand Snake’s blades. We all know how much Oberyn loved to poison his weapons, so I’m afraid that Bronn may have just been dealt his final blow. Hopefully he can fit in a few more insults before his time ends.

In the second episode of Game of Thrones, Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) direwolf, Lady, is killed. Since then, it’s been one slow, torturous trip to hell for her, and her circle of allies has all but shriveled up. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) wastes no time in reneging on his promise to Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) to not hurt Sansa, as he not only rapes her on their wedding night, but also forces Reek (Alfie Allen) to watch. This is hardly the first time that we’ve seen Sansa violated, but this is the first time where I have faith that she’ll get stronger. Sansa may have been forced to bow, and forced to bend, but she’ll no longer remain broken. Stay resilient, Sansa. The North remembers.

[Onto this week’s riser…]

May 18 2015 9:30am

For the Person Who Has Everything... Or Knows Where to Steal It

This Lockpick School In A Box “gives you everything you need to learn this valuable art... [including] five lock cylinders, which are numbered and get progressively more difficult as you move from 1-5, as well as four picks, a tension tool, and an instructional book.”

Hat tip: Uncrate. And once you've mastered that, try the practice handcuffs!