Fresh Meat: <i>Nasty</i> by Bret R. Wright Fresh Meat: Nasty by Bret R. Wright Debbie Meldrum Nate "Nasty" Jepson catches cheating spouses, but a grisly murder leaves him reeling... Now Win <i>This</i>!: Thrillers and Killers Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Thrillers and Killers Sweepstakes Crime HQ Seven thrillers, seven killers, and one winner! <i>Assassin's Game</i>: New Excerpt Assassin's Game: New Excerpt Ward Larsen Does a master assassin ever truly retire? <i>Strange Shores</i>: New Excerpt Strange Shores: New Excerpt Arnaldur Indridason Inspector Erlendur is learning that some secrets should stay buried.
From The Blog
August 26, 2014
Before Hannibal Lecter, There was Thomas Bishop: Shane Stevens' Forgotten Killer
Chad Eagleton
August 22, 2014
Checking into The Knick 1.03: "The Busy Flea"
Joe Brosnan
August 21, 2014
Predicting the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards: Who Will Win?
Joe Brosnan
August 21, 2014
What Am I Bid for Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai?
Leslie Gilbert Elman
August 20, 2014
Lost Classics of Noir: The Baby Doll Murders by James O. Causey
Brian Greene
Wed
Aug 27 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Nasty by Bret R. Wright

Nasty by Bret R. Wright is the first book in the Nasty P.I. series starring Nate, who makes a living by snapping photos of adulterous spouses (available August 28, 2014).

“I’m Ignatius Jepson. I go by Nate. On the street they call me Nasty. Go figure.”

So begins Nasty, the story of Nate Jepson, private investigator and former Navy SEAL. He’s a guy just trying to make a living, deal with some of the terrible things he’s seen—and done—and eat burritos in peace. But then one night while he’s doing his version of meditation on a lonely beach, a stranger with a bag full of beef sticks runs into him, literally. Beef sticks and bullets fly everywhere, and Nate ends up having to deal with a dead body and the fallout of ticking off a gang boss, the cops and almost everyone he knows.

[Is it weird that now I'm hungry?]

Wed
Aug 27 2014 8:45am

Darth Vader’s Lightsaber Causes Bomb Scare

An old plastic lightsaber toy left on the side of the road in Alaska caused a bit of a bomb scare, prompting local police to call in their bomb expert.

Last week, an unidentified resident became very concerned over the object on the side of the road. Rather than call 911, the worried fellow called the Juneau Police Department's business line to report the mystery.

Not taking any chances, a brave member of the Juneau police department with explosive training was dispatched, and quickly realized he was sent to contain Darth Vader's harmless plastic lightsaber.


“It was not explosive in any way,” Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Erann Kalwara confirmed.

Had the lightsaber been real, the bomb specialist likely would have been severely maimed at the very least, as lightsabers can only be safely wielded by those strong with the force.

Tue
Aug 26 2014 4:00pm

Breathless: Part 1

Mad Men with doctors. That must have been the elevator pitch (lift pitch?) for Breathless, the three-part series that started on Masterpiece Mystery on August 24. For all I know the working title was “Harley Men,” scrapped later when it was determined that American audiences would be expecting motorcycles and not Harley Street physicians.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this one...

It’s the Swingin’ Sixties.

Our main character is a dapper, dark-haired charmer named Otto Powell (Jack Davenport), who’s as smooth and impenetrable as the Teflon-coated pans that are about to make life a dream for every modern housewife in the 1960s. Everything always works out for Otto. How does he do it?

Elizabeth (Natasha Little), his wife and mother of 8-year-old Thomas, is icy blond perfection.

His workplace is filled with ambitious men and tempting women; the fiery redhead Jean (Zoe Boyle), and clever, aloof brunette Angela (Catherine Steadman) included.

They’re living the life—cocktails and cigarettes (lots of cigarettes; oh, the irony ’cause they’re doctors!)—but there’s tension beneath the real artificial wood grain laminate surface.

[Stop. No, don’t stop...]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 1:00pm

Now Win This!: Thrillers and Killers Sweepstakes

This sweepstakes features six books and one ebook that will leave you checking your back. Nowhere is safe! Register to enter for a chance to win!

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 August 26, 2014, at 1:00 pm ET, and ends September 9, 2014, 12:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Who goes there?]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Assassin’s Game: New Excerpt

Ward Larsen

Assassin's Game by Ward Larsen is the 2nd international thriller featuring David Slaton, a retired Israeli assassin who is forced back into duty to eliminate a man at the head of the nuclear tinderbox that is Iran (available August 26, 2014).

David Slaton has a good life. He has a new wife and a house in the Virginia suburbs. But he also has a dark past. Slaton is a former kidon, the most lethal Israeli assassin ever created.

After decades of work, a brilliant scientist has taken Iran to the threshold of its dream—a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. Mossad must eliminate the man, but with a spy lurking high in its ranks there is only one option: bring back Slaton. The kidon has vowed to never kill again, but when his wife is attacked and forced to flee across Europe, events force his hand.

Slaton plots to assassinate one of the most closely guarded men on earth. Success is improbable. Survival unlikely. Only when he learns the labyrinthine truth does Slaton see one high-stakes chance. A chance for an assassin’s game . . . .

ONE

Three days later

Anton Bloch walked briskly along King George Street, leaning into a stiff wind that had swept in over the course of the morning. In most of the world, autumn winds brought change. Cold fronts to separate leaves from branches, gunmetal gray skies, and the breaking out of mothballed winter gear. In Tel Aviv, the last Friday of September did little more than stir the dust of yet another heat-stricken summer.

[Continue reading Assassin's Game by Ward Larsen...]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 10:30am

Before Hannibal Lecter, There was Thomas Bishop: Shane Stevens’ Forgotten Killer

Credit for the serial killer subgenre usually goes to Thomas Harris. However, two years before Harris introduced us to Hannibal Lecter, Shane Stevens wrote about Thomas Bishop in By Reason of Insanity, a serial killer thriller that predates the term serial killer.

Thomas Bishop’s mother, Sarah, resented him from birth. He robbed her of her figure, her sleep, her free time, and her attempts to keep her husband’s wandering eye focused on her. Harry Owens never really wanted to get married and never much wanted a kid. During an argument, Sarah tries using the idea that Thomas might not be his to wound his male ego but Harry is only too happy to latch on to any excuse to give the young boy nothing other than scorn.

After Harry dies in a failed robbery, Sarah moves outside of town. Bishop spends his formative years in near total isolation with his mother. Subjected to her brutal abuse and torture, he never knows love, comfort, or a touch that isn’t violent.  In this house of horrors, young Thomas comes to share his mother’s growing belief that his real father is The Red Light Bandit.

[It reads like True Crime...]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 8:45am

Is Legally Dead Still Slightly Alive? Ask Miracle Max and the Feds.

A man declared dead by Ohio couldn't get the state to overturn it, despite his appearance in court to dispute the matter. However, the feds say that though he remains legally dead, that's slightly alive enough for federal purposes, especially if those include getting money back from his kin.

Please visit Lowering the Bar to read the crazy details of this weird case, and big ups for the Princess Bride reference, too. Indubitably!

Mon
Aug 25 2014 11:00am

The Strain 1.07: “For Services Rendered”

“For Services Rendered” kicks off on an eerie note: Joan Luss’s husband (who looks remarkably like a Cylon from the Battlestar Galactica reboot) arrives at his country club to find the place abandoned. Largely unfazed, he helps himself to an after-flight martini, which is interrupted by a phone call from nanny Neeva. Worried about Joan’s deteriorating condition, she’s taken the children to her own apartment in Yonkers. Mr. Luss isn’t all that concerned—not even when a distant scream echoes in the night.

You don’t really realize just how scary random noises around empty buildings are until it’s thrown directly in your face. Talk about the shivers.

Ignoring Neeva’s warnings, Luss returns home to find that his gardener is looking decidedly unwell. When Franco springs into attack, and the cabbie falls prey to another vamp, Luss runs for the safety of the house. Only to find that home is no longer safe, when devoted wife Joan emerges covered in blood.

Proving old adages are often correct: lawyers truly are blood-sucking creatures of the night.

[But they're not the only ones around here...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 11:00pm

Checking into The Knick 1.03: “The Busy Flea”

Last week on The Knick, we learned of the dirty secrets being kept by a handful of the main characters. This week, although it was close, none of them came to light just yet. But they will. And soon.

 

We started off “The Busy Flea” with a look into the archaic origins of plastic surgery and the way it was “hidden” in 1900. An old romantic partner of Thackery's turns up wearing the world's worst masquerade mask, which is supposed to disguise her missing nose. We learn that syphilis is responsible for her condition, and when the mask eventually comes off, the only thing I could think was that Voldemort had risen. The woman assures Thackery that she was clean when they were together, and the scene ends with them planning a skin graft for later in the week. 

[And we're just getting started...]

Sun
Aug 24 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Strange Shores: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason is the 9th procedural in the Inspector Erlendur series set amidst the frozen tundra of Iceland (available August 26, 2014).

A young woman disappears from the frozen fjords of Iceland. In her wake, this woman has left a tempest of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for the missing woman but also for his long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snowstorm when they were children has coloured his entire life. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realizes that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.

1

He no longer feels cold: instead, a curious heat is spreading through his veins. He had thought there was no warmth left in his body but now it is flooding into his limbs, bringing a sudden flush to his face.

[Continue reading Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason...]

Sat
Aug 23 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Freezer: New Excerpt

Timothy S. Johnston

The Freezer by Timothy S. Johnston is the second interstellar sci-fi thriller in The Tanner Sequence series (available August 25, 2014).

CCF homicide investigator Kyle Tanner and his girlfriend are on their way to Pluto, en route to a new life together. Just one little death to check out in the asteroid belt first. But when you're as tangled up in conspiracy as Tanner is, a few hours on a case can change your life. Or end it.

The mystery is a strange one—one man dead, a cryptic message his dying breath. Still, Tanner's ready to wrap it up until another gruesome murder shakes him to his core. The discovery of a microscopic bomb near his own heart offers the first faint clue, but the clock is ticking. He has four days….

A desperate search for answers takes Tanner to The Freezer, an isolated facility on one of Jupiter's moons. With anti-CCF dissidents targeting the facility, a team of scientists conducting experiments the military would rather remain hidden, and a mysterious man in white hunting him on the ice, Tanner will have to choose his allies carefully. Putting his faith in the wrong person will leave him bleeding out in seconds.

Prologue

2402 AD

I left Mars on a Tuesday in a jumpship bound for Ceres, and I didn’t know it at the time but by Saturday I would be dead.

[Continue reading The Freezer by Timothy S. Johnston...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 10:00am
Excerpt

Summer of the Dead: New Excerpt

Julia Keller

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller is the 3rd mystery in the Bell Elkins series about the County prosecutor after she's returned to her Appalachian hometown in West Virginia (available August 26, 2014).

High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia—but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley—who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.

In Summer of the Dead, the third Julia Keller mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown, we also meet Lindy Crabtree—a coal miner's daughter with dark secrets of her own, secrets that threaten to explode into even more violence.

Acker's Gap is a place of loveliness and brutality, of isolation and fierce attachments—a place where the dead rub shoulders with the living and demand their due.

Chapter One

The flat-roofed shack was situated along a country road sunk deep in summer darkness, the kind of darkness that comes after a day of brash sunlight and thus seems more intense and deliberate than ordinary nightfall. The lights in the small tavern made it look, by odd contrast with that shadow-blackened road, like a living thing, shimmying and caterwauling and ready to leap up and lurch away, leaving behind a shallow hole and the sullen stink of piss.

[Continue reading Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 8:45am

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Kids Reenact Emmy-Nominated TV Shows

Do you love Mad Men, True Detective, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones? Well, you might just love them even more when you see Kids Reenact Emmy-Nominated TV Shows. The Emmys air this Monday, do you have a favorite show that you're rooting for—or worse, one that was snubbed? Does this video make you excited about your shows again?

Thu
Aug 21 2014 8:00pm

Predicting the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards: Who Will Win?

Author's Note: I've updated the post to include the winners. Some predictions went well! Some, not so much. I'll be reacting in the comments, so join me there as we complain about everyone who was wronged!

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air this upcoming Monday, August 25, and I’m here to try and figure out who exactly will be leaving the Nokia Theater with some new mantelpiece material.

I feel it’s important to note that I have not seen every television series and miniseries that was nominated. If you feel I’m ignoring a nominee that will win, please direct your scorn to the comments, and I’ll be happy to discuss. As I’m sure my friends will attest, I can talk about this stuff  forever.

So let’s get started.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees: Claire Danes (Homeland), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife).

[Jump to see who will win...]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 11:15am
Excerpt

To Die Fur: New Excerpt

Dixie Lyle

To Die Fur by Dixie Lyle is the 2nd cozy in the Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot Mystery Series that mixes ghosts, spirits, shapeshifters, and of course, animals (available August 26, 2014).

Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster is back. With trusted companions Whiskey and Tango, she’s on the prowl for a brand-new predator…

Deirdre has her hands full, as usual. Working as a Jill-of-all-trades for a zany billionaire like Zelda Zoransky means the daily grind is closer to a juggling act, and this week is no exception—especially when her side job is directing spiritual traffic in Zelda’s pet cemetery. With ZZ hosting a party for some of the world’s wealthiest animal collectors and a rare albino liger named Augustus in residence at the private zoo, Foxtrot is ready for trouble to take a big bite out of her schedule…

She doesn’t have to wait long. The half-ton big cat is dead, and there’s a houseful of colorful suspects, each one wackier than the next. But if they were all bidding to buy him, who would want Augustus dead? With the help of Tango’s feline telepathy and Whiskey the canine shapeshifter, Foxtrot learns that there’s much more to Augustus than meets the eye. Now they just have to sniff out a killer before any more fur flies…

Chapter One

Lots of people talked to their animals. Mine talked back.

[Continue reading To Die Fur by Dixie Lyle...]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 9:15am

What Am I Bid for Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai?

Johnny Depp as Charlie MortdecaiMuch has been written, and will be written about Johnny Depp starring as Whitey Bulger in the upcoming film Black Mass. Before that, however, there’s this: Johnny Depp as “amoral art dealer” Charlie Mortdecai in Mortdecai, what appears to be a weird romp based on the weirdly rompish “cult classic” “hilarious and dark-humored crime thrillers” (I quote the book jacket text) by the late British art dealer-turned-author Kyril Bonfiglioli.

The movie is loosely drawn from The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, a novel started by Bonfiglioli and finished after his death by Craig Brown. A stolen painting and a cache of Nazi loot are involved.

In the first Mortdecai novel, Don’t Point That Thing at Me, published in 1972, Mortdecai describes himself as: “in the prime of life, if that tells you anything, of barely average height, of sadly over-average weight and... possessed of the intriguing remains of rather flashy good looks.” What do you think? Does that sound like Johnny Depp?

Paul Bettany plays Mortdecai’s manservant Jock Strapp (yes, I know) and, sadly, we must endure Gwyneth Paltrow “doing” an English accent, but at least there’s Ewan McGregor as Inspector Martland.

The movie is set for release in February. Take a look at the trailer. Are you in or are you out?

Wed
Aug 20 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Long Way Home: New Excerpt

Louise Penny

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny is the 10th British procedural in the Chief Inspector Gamache series (available August 26th, 2014).

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. “There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. “There’s power enough in Heaven,” he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, “to cure a sin-sick soul.” And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

We have an exclusive audio excerpt of Chapter 1. You can continue the story by reading Chapter 2 below.

[Click here to get started!]

Wed
Aug 20 2014 11:00am

Lost Classics of Noir: The Baby Doll Murders by James O. Causey

We noir heads love the covers of the classic paperback editions of what we now call pulp fiction. You know, the ones with the deliciously lurid images and the zinging plot teasers. The funny thing about the zingers is that, as often as not, they are misleading in giving an indication of the story’s actual plot, if not outright false. But we don’t care about all of that. We enjoy the catchy phraseology and we know it’s just some words that read well on the book cover and that were put there to hook readers.

The cover of James O. Causey’s 1957 noir novel The Baby Doll Murders is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. A Fawcett Gold Medal title, its face shows a sexy redhead in a negligee, her back turned to a guy who is intently staring at her while he holds a cigarette in his mouth and a cocktail in his hand. And the tagline reads, “She could look like a wistful child and she loved to play games – such as murder, men, and marijuana.”

Now, there is a carrot-topped femme fatale in the story, she does use drugs, and there is a guy who is hooked by her charms. But the truth is that she is only one of about eight main characters in the saga, and the leading man’s attachment to her is only one element of the plot, no more central than the several other subplots that drive the tale. So the main story is really not one of a trouble-making babe who lures a hapless fella into her web of mayhem, as the cover suggests. But who cares? The cover rocks.

[Sex has always been the best seller...]

Tue
Aug 19 2014 12:30pm

Legends: Sean Bean Is Legendary But the Writing Isn’t (Yet)

The way Sean Bean’s craggy face commands the screen in the new television crime show, Legends, which premiered on TNT last week, is the show’s best asset.

But the writing needs to level up.

Legends has a ten-episode run on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on TNT. It stars Bean as Martin Odum, a “legendary” FBI undercover agent who creates legends, aka false identifies, and inhabits them with ease. This leads to personality confusion, as when Martin takes on a particularly unhinged legend as a right-wing extremist to infiltrate a group planning a bombing.

But the bombing is only the crime of the week. The pilot teases the real arc of the show: discovering the lost identity hiding under Martin Odum, who apparently is just one more legend. Martin receives several hints about who he really is from a man who is then murdered before he can reveal all, as happens frequently in spy shows.

Editor's Note: There are spoilers for the pilot.

[Uncover the rest...]

Wed
Aug 20 2014 8:45am

Trespassing Woman Kicked in Face by Zoo’s Giraffe

One zoo visitor made it a mission to see her favorite animal up close, however, the giraffe did not share her excitement at all.

The woman, Amanda Hall of San Luis Obispo, California climbed over one fence and was nearly over the second fence of the giraffe's enclosure at a Wisconsin zoo when Wally, a 12-foot giraffe, saw her, licked her, and then kicked her square in the face. Ouch!

Fortunately for her, the injuries she suffered from the kick were not life-threatening. Zoo officials told police that Hall was very lucky to not have been more seriously injured. Hall told officers she made the choice to climb into the exhibit because “she loves giraffes,” according to the official report.

She was cited for harassment of zoo animals, which includes a $686 fine.