Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: February, 2017 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: February, 2017 Crime HQ Check out February's offerings! <i>Keys to Nowhere</i>: New Excerpt Keys to Nowhere: New Excerpt Dorothy Hayes The 3rd book in the Carol Rossi Mystery series. <i>Big Trouble</i>: New Excerpt Big Trouble: New Excerpt R.A. Spratt The 3rd book in the Friday Barnes Mysteries series. Review: <i>Salvation in Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb Kristen Houghton Read Kristen Houghton's review!
From The Blog
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
January 5, 2017
Writing About Serious Issues
Terry Shames
Jan 15 2017 10:00am

Keys to Nowhere: New Excerpt

Dorothy Hayes

Keys to Nowhere by Dorothy H. Hayes is the 3rd volume in the Carol Rossi Mystery series.

A Tucson vacation morphs into terror when two teenage girls and their aunt vanish. When the girls’ desperate parents beg their friend and Connecticut investigative journalist Carol Rossi for help, Rossi can’t refuse. She leaves her infant daughter, police detective husband, and treasured farm and animal sanctuary to lead the hunt through the desert. It’s 1985, and Rossi is chasing down a new kind of danger: the serial killer. When the Tucson police aren’t interested in her theories, Rossi acts alone before the killer can strike again.

Chapter One

He knew he looked the part when he stepped into the local diner on Speedway Boulevard. 

The hours of practice before a mirror had paid off. 

He wore the uniform of an Arizona Ranger: black pants and boots. White shirt. The white showed off the American flag patch on the left pocket and the five-point brass sheriff’s star on the right. On each shoulder was a patch with the outline of the state of Arizona and a silhouette of a cowboy on a rearing horse. His holstered firearm finished the picture. 

[Read the full excerpt from Keys to Nowhere...]

Jan 14 2017 10:00am

Discount: The Advocate’s Daughter by Anthony Franze

Lee Child called The Advocate's Daughter, Anthony Franze's debut legal thriller, “smart, sophisticated, suspenseful, and written with real insider authenticity. A winner.”

It's that “insider authenticity” that makes Franze stand out from the pack, as when he's not writing novels, he works as a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm. Every chapter is laced with details that only someone like Franze can provide. And it helps that the story is compelling too.

When Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer, finds out that he's on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, his life seems to be on the brink of wild success. But then his daughter, Abby, goes missing. Soon after, Abby's lifeless body is found in the library of the Supreme Court, and the ensuing media frenzy threatens to erase more than just Sean's career. 

To help celebrate the upcoming publication of Franze's next book, The Outsider, you can now buy the ebook version of The Advocate's Daughter for only $2.99. Get it while you can!

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and Noble Buy at iTunes

Jan 14 2017 10:00am

Big Trouble: New Excerpt

R.A. Spratt

Big Trouble by R.A. SprattBig Trouble by R.A. Spratt is the 3rd book in the Friday Barnes Mysteries series (available January 17, 2017).

Crime hits close to home when Friday Barnes learns her mother has been kidnapped. But her detective work gets put aside when Friday is distracted by other happenings at school: a new VIP student (a Norwegian princess!) has just arrived and a master thief called the Pimpernel is causing chaos across campus. Can super sleuth and girl genius Friday crack the case of her missing mother, reign in a royal brat, and unmask the elusive Pimpernel?

Chapter 1

The Disappearing Doctor

Friday Barnes was running as fast as she could across the Highcrest Academy campus, which admittedly wasn’t too fast because running wasn’t her strong suit. She had just heard the shocking news that her father had turned up and taken over a physics lesson, and she was desperate to get to that classroom to minimize whatever public embarrassment he was undoubtedly causing.

Friday’s best friend, Melanie Pelly, ran with her, and Ian Wainscott came along as well. Ian was either Friday’s arch nemesis or her love interest. Nobody was quite sure which, least of all Ian and Friday. They were inexplicably drawn to each other, but Friday had put Ian’s dad in jail for insurance fraud and it is hard to get past that sort of thing in a relationship. And yet wherever there was a dramatic public confrontation involving Friday, Ian was always there.

[Read the full excerpt from Big Trouble...]

Jan 13 2017 5:30pm

Win the First 10 Agatha Raisin Books!

M.C. Beaton has been writing Agatha Raisin books for 25 years now, and it's taken that long for the popular book series to come to the screen. The new Agatha Raisin show, starring Ashley Jensen of Ugly Betty fame, premieres on 11 public television stations this month, and has been airing on the Acorn platform available through Apple TV and Amazon. 

Beaton (also known under her real name, Marion Chesney) loves the casting of Jensen even though she's a lot younger than Agatha in the books. “Finding an exact match for Agatha as described in the book would be very difficult,” says Beaton. “You need someone with comedy timing, and yet who’s a good actress. She manages to do both. Ashley is in my opinion as good as it gets.”

To celebrate the new series, we're giving away the first 10 Agatha Raisin books in the series—most of which were converted into episodes for the series. 

Enter below to win!

Birth Month
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  1. ELIGIBILITY: The Agatha Raisin Series Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is open only to persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are a legal resident of the 50 United States, District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are 18 years of age or older and of the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which he or she resides. We are sorry for the geographic restrictions, unfortunately it is required for various legal reasons. Persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are an employee of Criminal Element (“Sponsor”) or any of Sponsor's Affiliates (as defined in Section 5), and members of the immediate family or household (whether or not related) of any such employee, are not eligible. Eligibility determinations will be made by Sponsor in its discretion and will be final and binding. U.S. law governs this Sweepstakes. Void in Quebec and where prohibited by law.
  2. HOW TO ENTER: The entry period for the Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on Friday, January 13, 2017 and continues through 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, February 2, 2017 (the “Entry Period”). No purchase is necessary. Any entrant who is under 18 years of age or otherwise under the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which the entrant resides (a “Minor”) must obtain permission to enter from his or her parent or legal guardian, and the agreement of the parent or legal guardian to these Official Rules, prior to entry. To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Entry Period, entrants must access, complete and submit the Sweepstakes entry form (which will require entrant to submit his or her e-mail address and such other information as Sponsor may require), found in entrant's Facebook newsfeed or alternatively by visiting Sponsor's website located at (the “Website”) and following the on screen entry instructions. The Facebook entry form may be pre-filled with information provided by the Facebook platform. There is a limit of one entry per person and per email address. All entries must be completed and received by Sponsor prior to the conclusion of the Entry Period. Entry times will be determined using Sponsor's computer, which will be the official clock for the Sweepstakes. Normal time rates, if any, charged by the entrant's Internet or mobile service provider will apply. All entries are subject to verification at any time. Proof of submission does not constitute proof of entry. Sponsor will have the right, in its discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility in a form acceptable to Sponsor (including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification). Failure to provide such proof to the satisfaction of Sponsor in a timely manner may result in disqualification.
  3. WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: Following the conclusion of the Entry Period,

One (1) potential Grand Prize winner(s) will be selected in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor or its agent from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received. The potential winner will be notified by e-mail (sent to the e-mail address provided by the entrant when entering), or using other contact information provided by the potential winner, in Sponsor's discretion. If the initial notification requires a response, the potential winner must respond to Sponsor's initial notification attempt within 72 hours. The potential winner is subject to verification of eligibility and may, in Sponsor's discretion, be required to complete, sign and return to Sponsor an Affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability or an Affirmation of Eligibility/Release of Liability, as determined by Sponsor, and, if legally permissible, a Publicity Release, collectively, a “Declaration and Release” for residents of Canada) and any other documentation provided by Sponsor in connection with verification of the potential winner's eligibility and confirmation of the releases and grant of rights set forth herein (as applicable, “Winner Verification Documents”), within seven days of attempted delivery of same. The potential winner if a U.S. resident may also in Sponsor's discretion be required to complete and return to Sponsor an IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same. If the potential winner is a Minor, Sponsor will have the right to request that the potential winner's parent or legal guardian sign the Winner Verification Documents on behalf of the winner, or to award the prize directly in the name of the winner's parent or legal guardian, who in such event will be required to sign the Winner Verification Documents and/or, if a U.S. resident, an IRS Form W-9. If the potential winner is a Canadian resident, he or she will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid to be administered via telephone, email or another manner determined by Sponsor in its discretion at a pre-arranged mutually convenient time. If the potential winner cannot be reached or does not respond within 72 hours of the initial notification attempt or fails to complete, sign, and return any required Winner Verification Documents or, if a U.S. resident, IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same, or in the case of a Canadian selected entrant, fails to correctly answer the mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid, or if the potential winner does not otherwise comply with these Official Rules and/or cannot accept the prize as awarded for any reason, then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may, at Sponsor's discretion, be selected from among the remaining eligible entries as specified in these Official Rules (in which case the foregoing provisions will apply to such newly-selected entrant).

  1. PRIZE:

One (1) Grand Prize(s) will be offered. The Grand Prize consists of one (1) trade paperback The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $19.99), one (1) trade paperback The Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $18.99), one (1) trade paperback The Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $21.99), one (1) trade paperback The Walkers of Dembley by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $18.99), one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $18.99), one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $16.99), one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $17.99), one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $16.99), one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $17.99), and one (1) trade paperback Agatha Raisin and the Faries of Fryfam by M.C. Beaton (ARV: $18.99). The approximate retail value (“ARV”) of the Grand Prize is $187.90 USD.  
Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the Prize: $187.90. Approximate retail value of all prizes: $187.90 br/> The exact value will depend on where the winner resides and market conditions at the time of prize fulfillment.
All prize details that are not expressly specified in these Official Rules will be determined by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize will be awarded if properly claimed. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of the right to receive the prize is permitted, except in the discretion of Sponsor, which has the right to substitute the prize or any component of the prize with a prize or prize component of equal or greater value selected by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize consists only of the item(s) expressly specified in these Official Rules. All expenses or costs associated with the acceptance or use of the prize or any component of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. The prize is awarded “as is” and without any warranty, except as required by law. In no event will more than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules be awarded. All federal, state and local taxes on the value of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. For U.S. residents, an IRS form 1099 will be issued if required by law.

  1. RELEASE AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: By entering the Sweepstakes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and anyone who succeeds to entrant's rights and responsibilities including without limitation entrant's heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors, assigns, agents, and attorneys, and with respect to minors entrant's parents and legal guardians (collectively the “Entrant Parties”) releases Sponsor, each of Sponsor's Affiliates, the licensees and licensors other than Entrant Parties including authors of each of the foregoing, all other companies involved in the development or operation of the Sweepstakes, Facebook, the successors and assigns of each of the foregoing and the directors, officers, employees and agents of each of the foregoing (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims and causes of action of any kind that the Entrant Parties ever had, now has or might in the future have arising out of or relating to the Sweepstakes, participation in the Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component thereof or any use of the entrant's name as permitted pursuant to these Official Rules, including without limitation any and all claims and causes of action: (a) relating to any personal injury, death or property damage or loss sustained by any entrant or any other person, (b) based upon any allegation of violation of the right of privacy or publicity, misappropriation, defamation, or violation of any other personal or proprietary right, (c) based upon any allegation of infringement of copyright, trademark, trade dress, patent, trade secrets, moral rights or any intellectual property right, or (d) or based upon any allegation of a violation of the laws, rules or regulations relating to personal information and data security. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees not to assert any such claim or cause of action against any of the Released Parties. Each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties assumes the risk of, and all liability for, any injury, loss or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this Sweepstakes, the use of the Website, or the provision, acceptance or use of any prize or any component of any prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Sweepstakes or in the announcement of the prize. The Released Parties are not responsible for, and will not have any liability in connection with, late, lost, delayed, illegible, damaged, corrupted or incomplete entries, incorrect or inaccurate capture of, damage to, or loss of entries or entry information, or any other human, mechanical or technical error of any kind relating to the operation of the Website, communications or attempted communications with any entrant or Entrant Parties, the submission, collection, storage and/or processing of entries or the administration of the Sweepstakes. The term “Affiliate of Sponsor means any entity that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with Sponsor. The term “control” means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of management and policies of an entity, or the ownership, directly or indirectly, of more than fifty percent (50%) of the equity interests of the entity.
  2. GENERAL RULES: Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to modify these Official Rules (including without limitation by adjusting any of the dates and/or timeframes stipulated in these Official Rules) and to cancel, modify or suspend this Sweepstakes at any time in its discretion, including without limitation if a virus, bug, technical problem, entrant fraud or misconduct, or other cause beyond the control of the Sponsor corrupts the administration, integrity, security or proper operation of the Sweepstakes or if for any other reason Sponsor is not able to conduct the Sweepstakes as planned (including without limitation in the event the Sweepstakes is interfered with by any fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or of public enemy, communications failure, riot or civil disturbance, war (declared or undeclared), terrorist threat or activity, federal, state, provincial, territorial or local law, order or regulation or court order) or in the event of any change to the terms governing the use of Facebook or the application or interpretation of such terms. In the event of termination of the Sweepstakes, a notice will be posted on the Website or Sponsor's Facebook page and a random drawing will be conducted to award the prize from among all eligible entries received prior to the time of termination. Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify or prohibit from participating in the Sweepstakes any individual who, in Sponsor's discretion, Sponsor determines or believes (i) has tampered with the entry process or has undermined the legitimate operation of the Website or the Sweepstakes by cheating, hacking, deception or other unfair practices, (ii) has engaged in conduct that annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other entrant or any representative of Sponsor or (iii) has attempted or intends to attempt any of the foregoing. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SWEEPSTAKES OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR HAS THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS' FEES) FROM ANY PERSON INVOLVED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. The use of agents or automated devices, programs or methods to submit entries is prohibited and Sponsor has the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entry that it believes may have been submitted using such an agent or automated device, program or method. In the event of a dispute regarding who submitted an entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” means the person who is assigned an email address by an internet provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institute, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. An entrant may be required to provide proof (in a form acceptable to Sponsor, including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification) that he or she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the entry in question. All federal, state, provincial, territorial and local laws and regulations apply. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be verified or returned. By participating in this Sweepstakes, entrants on behalf of themselves, and to the extent permitted by law on behalf of the Entrant Parties agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. These Official Rules may not be reprinted or republished in any way without the prior written consent of Sponsor.
  3. DISPUTES: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees that, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (a) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Sweepstakes, or the provision, acceptance and/or use of any prize or prize component, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (Note: Some jurisdictions do not allow restricting access to class actions. This provision will not apply to you if you live in such a jurisdiction); (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys' fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant or Entrant Party be permitted to obtain any award for, and each entrant and Entrant Party hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, special, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of the entrants, Entrant Parties and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York in the United States of America without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Sweepstakes or relating to these Official Rules shall be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in New York County in the State of New York, waiving any right to trial by jury, and each entrant and Entrant Party consents to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these rules or the Sweepstakes. In the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and any Sweepstakes information provided elsewhere (including but not limited in advertising or marketing materials), these Official Rules shall prevail.
  4. USE OF INFORMATION: Please review the Sponsor's Privacy Notice at By entering the sweepstakes, entrant hereby agrees to Sponsor's collection and use of their personal information in accordance with such Notice, including the use of entrant's personal information to send email updates about Criminal Element, and other information from Sponsor and its related companies.
  5. WINNER NAME AND RULES REQUESTS: For the name(s) of the winner(s), which will be available two weeks after the conclusion of the Entry Period, or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Agatha Raisin Series Sweepstakes, Criminal Element, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010. Winner name requests must be received by Sponsor within six months after the conclusion of the Entry Period.
  6. SPONSOR: Criminal Element, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010. The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Jan 13 2017 4:30pm

“The Nowhere Manhattan” Cocktail

When all you know is a lifetime of killing, you deserve a stiff drink!

And damn if this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—isn't just what the doctor ordered. Try “The Nowhere Manhattan” cocktail, inspired by Gregg Hurwitz's 2nd Evan Smoak thriller, The Nowhere Man!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Jan 13 2017 4:00pm

5 Gateway Marvel Comics for Crime Fiction Fans

Crime fiction is usually set in a gritty, grounded world where protagonists are often forced to engage in morally murky decisions. Superhero stories often go in a different direction, featuring brightly clad characters with fantastic powers locked in a struggle of good versus evil. Factor that in with the fact that many of the superhero comics published by the big two publishers—Marvel and DC—have decades of long, complicated continuity attached to them, and it can be quite easy to decide superheroes are not for you. But, you may be doing yourself a disservice with that decision.

That's because what makes the shared universes that Marvel and DC Comics characters inhabit so interesting and fun is the diversity of elements that exist side by side. Plus, the Marvel Universe has prided itself on being “The world outside your window.” It's a place where the problems of our world collide with the fantastic elements of imagination and genre fiction. Over the years, a character like Spider-Man has battled costumed supervillains, mob bosses, vampires, and even threats from outer space while trying to balance things like having a personal life and making ends meet. 

[See what comics you should be reading!]

Jan 13 2017 1:00pm

Review: Salvation 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, Kristen Houghton reviews #27, Salvation in Death.

Hector Ortiz had been a good man. He had lived for a hundred and sixteen years, and his large family and many friends were gathered for his funeral mass. At St. Cristóbal’s Church, the priest officiated with the dignity and respect Señor Ortiz deserved.

But while Father Flores is performing the Rite of Communion at the mass, he suddenly and unexpectedly dies on the altar. This is no death related to natural causes; it is a murder. Someone has spiked the communion wine with poison, causing the priest to die in front of a church filled with mourners. 

Miguel was officiating the funeral mass, and was taking Communion. He drank, and he seemed, almost immediately, to seize. His body shook, and he gasped for air. And he collapsed.” López spoke with the faintest of accents, an exotic sheen over rough wood.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of Salvation in Death...]

Jan 13 2017 12:00pm

Review: Fickle by Peter Manus

Fickle by Peter Manus is a twisting noir mystery that Booklist calls, “An incredibly daring novel and a complete success.” (Available January 17, 2017)

A blogger who goes by I.G. Fickel (yes, that’s how she spells it) tells her followers that she has witnessed a man commit suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming train. At first, the followers assume she is either alluding to a noir classic or may be starting a new story they will work on together. After all, that’s what the blog is for.

Fickel convinces them this is not fiction and posts that she was interviewed by two police detectives. The followers try to give her advice, tell her to get a lawyer, and warn her to stay out of the investigation. Fickel dismisses the idea as she knows she is innocent.

The friendlier of the two detectives shows up at her office. Fickel uses descriptive aliases for all the players in this case. The rules of her blog state that no one can use their real name or anything that will identify them in real life.

[Read Debbie Meldrum's review of Fickle...]

Jan 13 2017 11:01am

Man Spends 3 Days in Jail for Kitty Litter

This week, the tables are turned in the world of perp derp. Police mistook some poor guys's cat litter for meth during a traffic stop.

According to WSB-TV, Ross LeBeau was pulled over when he made a right-hand turn without stopping in Houston, Texas. During the stop, LeBeau admitted he was carrying a small amount of marijuana. His honesty prompted the officers to search his car, which resulted in a much larger find: 252 grams of meth—or so they thought.

The truth is, LeBeau didn’t have any meth at all. Further testing of the substance at the their local Institute of Forensic Science revealed that it was merely your every day kitty litter.

To make matters worse, at the time of arrest, the police boasted that this was yet “another example how a routine traffic stop turned into a significant narcotics arrest in our community and may have kept our children and loved ones free from being introduced to drugs.”

How the hell did the police drop this big of a ball? Really lousy police work coupled with bad field testing technology. But come on now, it was kitty litter!

Unfortunately for Lebeau, he spent three long days in jail despite explaining over and over that it was his father who filled up a sock with the kitty litter in his car to keep the windows from becoming foggy—a trick he learned on the site

Jan 13 2017 10:00am

A Puzzle to Be Named Later: New Excerpt

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).

The Puzzle Lady couldn’t be happier. Matt Greystone, the rookie sensation who just signed a huge contract with the Yankees after coming to the team as the player to be named later in a trade with the Diamondbacks, winning seventeen games as a starting pitcher, was coming to town to rehab from an arm injury. A diehard Yankee fan, Cora was delighted when Matt invited her to a weekend pool party.

On the plus side, she got to meet Derek Jeter.

On the minus side, she had to solve a puzzle (that was also named later), and a couple of the guests got killed.

Solving murders is right up the Puzzle Lady’s alley. Unfortunately, someone has broken into the house of a local psychiatrist and rifled her patient files, and Chief Harper wants Cora to solve that, too.

Cora already knows who broke into the house.

She did!

Chapter 1

Cora Felton could hardly contain herself. She beamed like the cat who swallowed the cream, batted her cornflower blue eyes. “Matt Greystone,” she purred.

[Read the full excerpt from A Puzzle to Be Named Later...]

Jan 12 2017 5:00pm

5 Cold Cases Finally Solved

There's no such thing as the perfect crime.

Sure, some cases go unsolved. But these 5 cold cases prove that you should never give up hope. Advancements in technology, guilty consciences—you never know what might finally crack the case!

[Check out these 5 solved cold cases!]

Jan 12 2017 3:00pm

Q&A with Kristen Orlando, Author of You Don’t Know My Name

Read this exclusive Q&A with Kristen Orlando, author of You Don't Know My Name, and make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of her debut YA thriller!

Kristen Orlando's debut You Don't Know My Name is a captivating and page-turning YA thriller that follows 17-year-old trained assassin Reagan Elizabeth Hillis as she struggles to choose between a life she was born into and a love she can't turn away from. Ms. Orlando was kind enough to answer some of CrimeHQ's questions about her new teenage assassin, her favorite crime/mystery novels, and her debut novel!

Tell us about some of your favorite crime and mystery series, both YA and adult.

I love a good mystery, and I’m a huge fan of all things Sara Shepard. I think she’s an absolutely amazing plotter, and I have always really enjoyed her books—especially the Pretty Little Liars series. I also absolutely love Gillian Flynn. I cannot put down her books. I tore my way through Gone Girl, but I think Sharp Objects may be my absolute favorite. Her plots are so twisty-turny, and she’s just a fantastic writer.

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Jan 12 2017 2:00pm

Review: This Is Not Over by Holly Brown

This Is Not Over by Holly Brown follows a seemingly innocuous and soberingly real situation as it escalates to a shocking climax (available January 17, 2017).

Meet Dawn: Thirty years old, struggling financially, working on her bachelor’s degree, working to live up to her in-law’s expectations, and unsure if she wants a baby. She enjoys vacations in beautiful destinations like Santa Monica and regularly rents getaway homes for several days to feel like a new, hopeful person. 

Meet Miranda: Sixty years old, in a bloodless marriage, and supporting her addict son while trying to get him into rehab. She volunteers, cooks dinners, and cares for her aging mother. She also owns a getaway home, which she rents out to people looking to be free from their real life for a little while. 

After Dawn finishes renting Miranda’s home, she expects to have her security deposit returned. But Miranda returns only half of the deposit, claiming that Dawn and her husband left a “stain” on the bed sheets. Irritated, Dawn puts up a negative review on the rental website. Miranda sends angry texts. Each woman, convinced she is in the right, raises the stakes with each internet encounter. As their livelihoods become more and more threatened, it’s a question of which one will take it one step too far. 

[Read Jenny Maloney's review of This Is Not Over...]

Jan 12 2017 1:00pm

Review: Strangers 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, Jenny Maloney reviews #26, Strangers in Death.

Thomas Anders—wealthy businessman and family man—is found tied up and strangled with black velvet ropes in his Park Avenue apartment. His general popularity and the salaciousness of his murder combine to create a perfect storm of a public relations nightmare for Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Dallas throws the tricky work of controlling the press to her partner, Detective Delia Peabody, tossing the less experienced detective into the deep end of media interviews while Dallas handles the strange details of the case itself.

And the details are, indeed, strange. At first, it seems like something kinky gone wrong, considering the—ahem—position the body was found in: naked, tied to the bed, and surrounded by naughty adult toys. Nothing, however, is what it seems in Dallas’s world. By all accounts, Thomas Anders was a loving husband in a good marriage. No one seems to want to do him harm. 

Plus, for such a seemingly intimate crime, there are hallmarks of an organized personality behind it. Nothing is ever easy.

[Read Jenny Maloney's review of Strangers in Death...]

Jan 12 2017 12:00pm

Review: An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames is the 6th book in the Samuel Craddock Mystery series.

For first time readers of Terry Shames’s Samuel Craddock series, of which I’m one, An Unsettling Crime For Samuel Craddock seems an optimal time to jump on board. Described as a prequel, we join Craddock in the 1980s as the newly appointed Chief of Police of tiny Jarrett Creek, Texas: population 3,000. He’s tested by fire—literally and figuratively—in his first year with the murders of five young people on the outskirts of town.

As soon as I opened the door the smell hits me. The smell of burning creosote is strongest, but there’s another smell underneath that turns my stomach. Burned flesh. Somebody didn’t make it out alive.

Besides the house being torched, some of the deceased had also been shot to death prior. On the scene is John Sutherland, a racist state patrolman who belittles Craddock’s youth and inexperience and attempts to assert his authority at every turn. Craddock stands his ground, pointing out that it happened in the city limits and is part of his dominion, though, he later admits, it has nothing to do with his office. He reaches out to Albert Lamond, the self-appointed leader of the black community who is understandably leery of working with law enforcement. Also on the scene are the far more welcoming Texas Rangers, who offer their assistance in any way possible—a mini life raft, of sorts, for a man who is in way over his head and bemoaning the fact a little too late that this job will be a mite more involved than locking up the occasional drunk.

Read an excerpt from An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock!

[Read David Cranmer's review of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock...]

Jan 12 2017 11:00am

The X-Files Origins Series: 2 Audio Excerpts

Kami Garcia and Jonathan Maberry

How did Dana Scully become a skeptic? How did Fox Mulder become a believer? This week's Sounds of Suspense offers a double-feature of the new X-Files Origins audiobooks from Jonathan Maberry and Kami Garcia. 

In the spring of 1979, seventeen-year-old Fox Mulder has bigger problems than applying for college. Five years ago, his younger sister disap­peared from their home and was never heard from again. Mulder blames himself, and his mother blames his father, who has retreated into his top-secret work for the State Depart­ment. In Fox’s senior year, his dad has moved him to Washington, DC―away from his friends on Martha’s Vineyard. 

While Mulder doesn’t mind the fresh start and not being known as “that kid with the missing sister,” he’s still obsessed with finding Samantha. So when a local boy turns up dead and another child is abducted, Mulder can’t stop himself from getting involved. Could there be a link to his sister’s case? As he uncovers the truth, Mulder and his friends find themselves on the trail of a serial killer. 

Sucked into a world where conspiracies, the occult, and madness overlap, Fox Mulder starts to believe.

In the spring of 1979, fifteen-year-old Dana Scully has bigger problems than being the new girl in school. Dana has always had dreams. Sometimes they’ve even come true. Until now, she tried to write this off as coincidence. But ever since her father’s military career moved the family across the country to Craiger, Maryland, the dreams have been more like visions. Vivid, disturbing, and haunted by a shadowy figure who may be an angel . . . or the devil.

When a classmate who recently died in a car accident appears before Dana, her wounds look anything but accidental. Compelled by a force she can’t name, Dana uncovers even more suspicious deaths―and must face the danger­ous knowledge that evil is real.

But when a betrayal of faith makes her question everything, she begins to put her faith in being a skeptic.

[Listen to an audio excerpt from both X-Files Origins stories!]

Jan 12 2017 10:00am

The Nowhere Man: New Excerpt

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).

Spoken about only in whispers, the Nowhere Man can only be reached by the truly desperate, he can —He will do anything to save them.

Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man.

Taken from a group home at twelve, Evan was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man.

But his new life is interrupted when a surprise attack comes from an unlikely angle and Evan is caught unaware. Captured, drugged, and spirited off to a remote location, he finds himself heavily guarded and cut off from everything he knows. His captors think they have him trapped and helpless in a virtual cage but they don’t know who they’re dealing with—or that they’ve trapped themselves inside that cage with one of the deadliest and most resourceful men on earth.


What He Needs to Know

A naked selfie.

It starts with that.

Hector Contrell sends a seventeen-year-old kid to troll middle schools in East L.A. The kid, improbably named Addison, makes for fine bait. Seedily handsome, starter mustache, pop-star cheekbones, dirty blond hair flipped just so. He wears a hoodie and rides a skateboard, the better to look like he’s fifteen. He says he’s a pro skater with a contract. He says he’s a rapper with a deal at a major label. He’s really a pot-smoking dropout who lives in a rented garage with his older brother and his friends, spends his nights playing Call of Duty and hitting a green glass water bong named Fat Boy.

[Read the full excerpt from The Nowhere Man...]

Jan 11 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy

This 3rd installment of the Greek to Me Mystery series sees our heroine, Georgie Nikolopatos, coming to terms with all the turmoil of the past books. With her mostly amicable divorce finalizing and her daughter returning soon to Bonaparte Bay, on the US-Canadian border, from the sunnier climes of Greece, Georgie is looking forward to hosting a nice Greek-influenced Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel she runs for her mother-in-law. All she needs is for the contractor to finish a long overdue renovation of the restrooms. Her plans, however, are put in serious jeopardy when the body of her divorce lawyer is found amidst the demolition.

When the no-good son of her beloved cook is arrested for the murder, Georgie reluctantly finds herself drawn to investigate, especially when other crimes—violent or otherwise—start breaking out around her. Worse, ugly surprises having to do with the events of the first two books show up when least expected. Soon, Georgie needs to put her life on the line not only to expose a network of ruthless criminals, but also to save the lives of those she loves.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]