<i>One of Us</i>: New Excerpt One of Us: New Excerpt Åsne Seierstad Dive into the mind of Anders Breivik, Norway's most infamous killer. <i>The Blondes</i>: New Excerpt The Blondes: New Excerpt Emily Schultz A new disease is targeting blonde women and turning them into killers! <i>Reykjavik Nights</i>: New Excerpt Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt Arnaldur Indridason This prequel takes us, and Inspector Erlendur, back to 1960s Iceland! <i>The M.O.</i>: "Fix Me" The M.O.: "Fix Me" S.W. Lauden You selected it, NOW READ THE WHOLE STORY here!
From The Blog
April 18, 2015
From Page to Screen with McBain's King's Ransom and Kurosawa's High and Low
Brian Greene
April 15, 2015
Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015
Crime HQ
April 14, 2015
True Detective Season 2 Official Teaser Trailer
Crime HQ
April 10, 2015
Strangers on a Train, Or When Sherlock Met Jane
Lyndsay Faye and Ashley Weaver
April 10, 2015
Crime Poetry: "The Morning Of" by Tom Brzezina
Crime HQ
Mon
Apr 20 2015 4:00pm

The Gadgetless and Tired Assassin: James Bond’s Short Stories

Every so often the caretakers of the James Bond movie franchise talk about getting back to author Ian Fleming’s original creation, distancing themselves from the outlandish stunts, gadgets, and cartoonish violence that helped turn 007 into a billion dollar staple but undermined any sense of believability in the series. A reboot featuring Daniel Craig’s stark portrayal in Casino Royale (2006) helped wash away some seriously low points in Bond history. Though I may never be able to completely forget the burned-in-my-brain scene of 007 snowboarding down a mountainside, in 1985’s A View to a Kill, to the playful tune of the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” the recent Casino makeover did much to right the rudder, so to speak, navigating Commander Bond closer to Fleming’s darker waters.

But, let’s dream a bit. What it would really be like if they got back to those Fleming fundamentals. Back to the uncompromising British emissary that  villainess Vesper Lynd describes in Casino Royale (1953) as “something cold and ruthless." The man with the license to kill who soberly reflects in Goldfinger (1959), “it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional—worse, it was a death-watch beetle in the soul.” And though I appreciate the iconic Fleming novels, let me scale even further back to basics where the definitive essence of James Bond — the tired assassin, the man on the edge — lies … in the short stories.

[It's about to get gritty...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:30pm
Excerpt

One of Us: New Excerpt

Åsne Seierstad

One of Us by Åsne Seierstad is a true crime account of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who would go on a terrifying massacre that shook the country to its core (available April 21, 2015).

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside the Norwegian prime minister's office in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the wooded island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of the country's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and its reverberations. How did Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become Europe's most reviled terrorist? How did he accomplish an astonishing one-man murder spree? And how did a famously peaceful and prosperous country cope with the slaughter of so many of its young?

Prologue

She ran.

Up the hill, through the moss. Her wellingtons sank into the wet earth. The forest floor squelched beneath her feet.

She had seen it.

She had seen him fire and a boy fall.

[Continue reading One of Us by Asne Seierstad...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 10:15am

Game of Thrones 5.02: “The House of Black and White”

It’s easy to imagine Game of Thrones as a sprawling game of chess, and “The House of Black and White” moved some major pieces around, but we’re still left trying to figure out who’s on whose team. Arya Stark (Maise Williams) has finally landed in Braavos, but she’s not welcomed in the fashion she assumed. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) continue their mysterious trek away from the Eyrie, which is interrupted by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman), who continue to stumble around guided blindly by luck. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Colster-Waldau) announces to his sister that he’ll head south into Dorne to rescue Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), but not before he picks up Bronn (Jerome Flynn) first. And across the sea, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) inch ever closer to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Imagine if Daenerys headed towards Westeros at the same speed Tyrion’s headed to her! A man can dream.

Many characters might be shuffling around, but some of the biggest movements were a result of stationary characters that saw their statuses rise and fall. After all, chaos is a ladder just waiting to be climbed. And that brings us to this week’s Riser of the Week:

[Now introducing the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch…]

Sun
Apr 19 2015 12:00pm
Original Story

The Blondes: New Excerpt

Emily Schultz

The Blondes by Emily Schultz is a satirical apocalyptic thriller set in modern day NYC where a strange illness turns everyday people into killers; the catch: it only effects blonde women (available April 21, 2015).

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes—whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants—into rabid killers.

One

WOMEN HAVE STUPID DREAMS. We laud each other only to tear each other down. We are not like men; men shake hands with hate between them all the time and have public arguments that are an obvious jostling for power and position. They compete for dominance—if not over money, then over mating. They know this, each and every one. But women are civilized animals. We have something to prove, too, but we’ll swirl our anger with straws in the bottom of our drinks and suck it up, leaving behind a lipstick stain. We’ll comment on your hair or your dress only to land a backhanded compliment, make you feel pathetic and poor, too fat or too thin, too young or too old, unsophisticated, unqualified, unwanted. For women, power comes by subtle degrees. I could write a thesis on such women—and I nearly did.

[Continue reading The Blondes by Emily Schultz...]

Sat
Apr 18 2015 12:00pm

From Page to Screen with Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom and Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low

I’ve been a fan of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 suspense film High and Low since I saw it years ago. I just watched it again after my first read of the 87th Precinct novel it’s based on: Ed McBain’s 1959 procedural King’s Ransom - the 10th installment of the highly-celebrated series penned by Evan Hunter under the McBain pseudonym. The Wikipedia page for High and Low states that is it “loosely based” on the McBain book; but while there are certainly differences between the film and the book, I’d say that statement is a stretch, as the two versions of the story are very similar in some essential ways. In any case, both are worthy examples of works done in their respective media, and it was interesting for me to look closely at what happened when a masterfully-written crime novel got channeled through the vision of a brilliant film director.

Before I delve into the storyline of King’s Ransom and High and Low, I have to confess that I’m going to commit a spoiler where the movie is concerned. There’s just no way for me to comment on the similarities and differences between novel and film without doing that. But what I’m spoiling is something that happens only about halfway into the film.

[Don't let that stop you!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 3:00pm

Letter from Lyon: At 2015’s Quais du Polar

The Quais Du Polar is the largest crime fiction festival in France, and that’s saying a lot, because the French love crime fiction. Sure, mysteries (and to a lesser extent, noir) are big in the U.S., but crime fiction in France is a cultural phenomenon reaching back decades. The French, god love them, are obsessed with all things criminal. The Quais Du Polar festival is headquartered in the magnificent Palais du Commerce in Lyon, where, for three days, over a hundred authors sit signing books for an estimated 70,000 fans and readers. It’s like Comic-Con for noir geeks.

[Bring on the Gallic geekery!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason is a prequel set in the 1960s about the up-and-coming Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson (available April 21,2015).

The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband … And an unexplained death.

When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch, no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city.

1

There was a green anorak in the water. When prodded, it stirred, turned a slow half circle and sank from view. The boys fished at it with their poles until it floated up to the surface again, then recoiled in horror when they saw what lay beneath.

The three friends lived on Hvassaleiti, in the residential blocks lined up along busy Miklabraut all the way down to the expanse of waste-ground known as Kringlumýri. To the north the waste-ground was overgrown with nettles and angelica; to the south lay a large area of open diggings, deep gashes in the earth, where the inhabitants of Reykjavík had excavated peat by the ton to heat their houses during the First World War when fuel was in short supply. They had drained and laid tracks across the marshy ground before embarking on the largest scale peat extraction in the history of the city. Hundreds of men had been employed in cutting, drying and transporting it to the city in wagons.

[Continue reading Reykjavik Nights now!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 8:45am

The M.O.’s Long Gone Selection: “Fix Me”

We're proud to present “Fix Me” by S.W. Lauden, the first crime fiction selection for The M.O.!

This submission received the most votes from our fantastic shortlist, and while the theme was Long Gone, we're sure you'll enjoy this very-short story here and now!

 

I can't stop pedaling. That's the thing about fixed gear bikes. If the fixie is moving, my legs are moving. Which is a good thing right now, because this muscle car has been chasing me for miles. He's belching smoke and kicking up dirt just like a charging bull.

Somebody has murder on their mind.

I can feel the heat rising up from his engine every time he gains on me. It's a chilling reminder that I'm totally exposed except for a helmet, hoodie, bike bag and shorts. One wrong move away from becoming another stain on the sun-bleached streets of L.A.
 
And for what? I pass by that bar almost every night. It's full of day drinkers until sunset when the hipsters arrive, drawn like moths to the cheap poetry of its shabby interior. Tonight, this guy sped from the parking lot without even looking. I had to swerve wide and slalom through oncoming traffic to avoid getting killed.
 
He was squinting to make sense of the road when I caught up to him at the red light. My legs were pumping as I blew by, kicking his passenger door without slowing down. The loud bang snapped him from his stupor, and he swiveled his head in shock. His engine sputtered and growled when the light turned green. We were off to the races.

My best friend Sam died this way, run down by an angry drunk.

[And now...the rest of the story]

Thu
Apr 16 2015 3:00pm

Orson Welles at 100: Orson Welles’s Last Movie

May 6th, 2015 will mark the 100th birthday of the late Orson Welles. To commemorate the birth of the great filmmaker, we’ll be looking back at many of his greatest cinematic accomplishments — movies like Citizen Kane, The Lady From Shanghai, The Trial, and Chimes At Midnight. First though, let’s pull a real Orson Welles move and start at the end, with his last great movie project, the ill-fated The Other Side of the Wind.

The movie was going to be Welles’s grand statement on filmmaking. It tells the story of an aging movie director, Jake Hannaford (played by a wily John Huston) who is trying to stage a comeback in a Hollywood that has basically left him behind. The film was autobiographical, of course — though Welles, being Welles, dismissed any overly autobiographical readings of the film. He labored mightily on the project for years — fighting money troubles and the indifference of the establishment. In the end, the film was left unedited. To this day, it remains virtually unseen, even by most movie fanatics.

A new book looks at this fascinating period in the life of the great director. In Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind author Josh Karp has assembled the most detailed account yet of the creation of the doomed project.

[And we have some copies you could win!]

Thu
Apr 16 2015 12:00pm

The Americans 3.12: “I Am Abassin Zadran”

Going into last night’s episode of The Americans, I had mentally prepared myself for all things grisly. The borderline sadistic tenor of Season 3, combined with the fact that many of television’s “luxury brands” use the penultimate episode of a season to stage their climaxes, meant anything short of a Texas cage match between Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) and the Mail Robot was on the table. So after viewing “I Am Abassin Zadran,” I was more than a little surprised to find myself contemplating, of all things, a cup of tea.

But this is The Americans we’re talking about, where even a simple cup of tea is not quite what it seems. Just ask Abassin Zadran’s countrymen who, after accepting an invitation to his late night tea party, found their throats being slit. While Zadran (George Georgiou) is the instrument of death for his fellow Mujahideen, he is also meant to represent Death in the broader sense that he is out there, waiting for everyone. But there are a couple of characters who might be getting the proverbial knock on their hotel room door from Zadran sooner rather than later.

Who exactly might they be?

[Not the Mail Robot! Anyone but the Mail Robot!]

Thu
Apr 16 2015 11:00am

Justified 6.13: Series Finale “The Promise”

Last night’s Jusified series finale, “The Promise,” wrapped up the series both in a deeply satisfying and completely surprising way, and I honestly expected nothing else from this sadly underrated gem of a tv show.

We open this episode directly after the end of the last one; thanks to the BOLO issued for our hero by ADA Vasquez (Rick Gomez), two police officers arrest Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) after he leaves the wounded Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) at the hospital. While in the police car, Raylan overhears that the police dogs have followed the fugitives’ trail to the bridge in Harlan, where they’ve found nothing but an alligator tooth necklace. Aww, it’s like Dewey Crowe is making a cameo appearance from his slurry pit.

Art (Nick Searcy) swoops in to rescue Raylan just before he’s booked by the arresting officer, who gets the sharp edge of Art’s tongue. Raylan lets Art know about Boyd’s flight and Ava’s imminent danger from Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) — as they purportedly drive back to Lexington in Art’s SUV, knowing that Art won’t take him back once he’s explained. And sure enough, once Raylan’s laid out the FUBAR situation, Art asks where they should start looking for Ava (Joelle Carter).

[Better keep running, Ava!]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 5:00pm

Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015

Discover (or remember to order) your next cozy with a delightfully convenient shopping list of upcoming soft-boiled mysteries! We kicked this off last month with April's releases, and now we're setting our sights on May! Let us know in the comments how you like it and what you can't wait to read next!

Criminal Element's May 2015 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 8:46am

Robber Arrested with Dollar Sign Money Bag

Now this is just too classic: Police in Washington state arrested a robbery suspect carrying an actual canvas bag with a printed dollar sign on it.

The man allegedly robbed an Olympia, Washington Subway restaurant and fled the scene with a shopping cart full of other stolen merchandise.

UPI reported:

The man, who employees said fled with a shopping cart, was located near the Grocery Outlet. Police said he was pushing a shopping cart loaded with consumer goods and was carrying $100 cash and a cellphone matching the description of the device taken from the Subway worker.

The suspect, David Lingafelter, 22, was later found behind a dumpster by police with the white canvas bag tied to his pants.

Photo courtesy Olympia Police Department

Tue
Apr 14 2015 3:00pm

Now Win This!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes

Don't sleep on these soft-boiled mysteries! These eight books still pack quite the punch!

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 April 14, 2015, at 3:00 pm ET, and ends April 28, 2015, 2:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Let's see what's on the table...]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Masque of a Murderer: New Excerpt

Susanna Calkins

The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins is the third historical mystery in the Lucy Campion series set in 17th Century London (available April 14, 2015).

SEE ALSO: Join Susanna Calkins for a lesson in 17th century forensics!

Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies' maid in the local magistrate's household, has now found gainful employment as a printer's apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate's daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man's last utterances, but she's unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate's son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man's background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

1

“Let me tell you!” Lucy Campion shouted, trying to make her voice heard against the rising wind. She scrambled onto the overturned barrel outside of Master Aubrey’s printer’s shop. “Of a murder most absurd!”

[Continue reading The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins...]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 10:45am

Gotham 1.19: “Beasts of Prey”

Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) in the “Beasts of Prey” episode of GOTHAM.

This weekend, I was binge-watching a great superhero noir series set in a corrupt city where the only justice to be had was by skirting the edges of the law. The show also featured a magnetic, compelling villain with a plan for full control.

But enough about Daredevil.

In fairness to Gotham,  part of the reason Daredevil is so much better is that it’s only 13 episodes, creating a tight focus, doesn’t have network restrictions on subject matter, and doesn’t have the network interference which might be part of Gotham’s largest flaw: the lack of focus.

Gotham is so diffuse that none of its stories end up being compelling, especially when the characters stumble into things rather than being proactive. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed Fish’s escape from DollMaker Island most this week: Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) not only has a goal, to escape, but a smart plan to accomplish it. Bonus: she even rescues the people she said she would rescue, while making sure she leaves dead enemies behind. Not to mention being able to play the Dollmaker for a fool and fly a helicopter after taking a bullet.

[There's only one Fish in Gotham's sea...]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 8:45am

True Detective Season 2 Official Teaser Trailer

Time might be a flat circle, but make sure you draw it on your calendar on June 21st, because that's when True Detective Season 2 will begin. We've already discussed how Season 2 will not be set in Louisiana, but rather out west in California and will star Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn, as well as Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams. Get ready for the premiere with HBO's official teaser trailer!

Mon
Apr 13 2015 4:45pm

Under the Radar: Genre Movies You May Have Missed — The Faculty

Start with The Breakfast Club formula—a preppy popular girl, a jock, the burn-out/bad boy, the new girl, the geek, the goth—and throw in the body horror of parasitic aliens. Stir in plenty of knowing sci-fi riffs and you’ve got The Faculty, a little film with cult classic cred.

Herrington High is your typical small town Midwestern school: perpetually strapped for cash, with a bunch of teachers who are almost as apathetic as their students, and notable only for its championship football team. But one night, after a disappointing budget meeting, the principal (Bebe Neuwirth) has an unsavory encounter with the coach (Robert Patrick), and things take a turn for the bloody.

In a single day, the faculty starts behaving strangely. Soon, the students are following suit. By Friday night the only people unaffected are a small group of misfits.

[Misfits gotta stick together...]

Mon
Apr 13 2015 3:15pm
Excerpt

Lurid & Cute: New Excerpt

Adam Thirlwell

Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell is about a neurotic narrator who wakes up one morning in a seedy motel next to a woman who isn't his wife, and the chaotic path that ensues (available April 14, 2015).

The narrator wakes confused in a seedy hotel room. He has had the good education, and also the good job. Together with his wife and dog, he lives at home with his parents. But then the lurid overtakes him-a chain of events that feels to those inside it narcotic and neurotic, like one long and terrible descent: complete with lies, deceit, and chicanery, and including, in escalating order, one orgy, one brothel, and a series of firearms disputes.

Lurid & Cute balances the complexity of an interior world-our hero's apparently innocent obsessions with food, old movies, and all the gaudy, shoddy building blocks of pop culture-with a picaresque plot. This is the story of a woebegone and global generation. And our hero, the sweetest narrator in world literature, also may well be the most fearsome.

[Start reading Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell!]

Mon
Apr 13 2015 10:00am

Game of Thrones 5.01: Season Premiere “Wars to Come”

Game of Thrones kicked off its fifth season by doing something it had never done before – showing a flashback. “Wars to Come” did a wonderful job of setting the table for our season-long feast, moving characters around and readying everyone for the plots that will unfold over the next nine episodes.

The aptly titled premiere showed us how quickly a war’s outlook can change. In King’s Landing, Tywin’s death has left a clear target on the backs of the remaining Lannisters. In Meereen, the now unemployed slavers are fighting back against Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), leaving bodies in their wake. And up at the Wall, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) believes the recently vanquished wildlings are the soldiers he needs to retake the North. Together, the Lannisters, Stannis, and Daenerys serve as the three pillars in which the war for the Iron Throne is supported, but some of the game’s best players lurk in the shadows. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) have descended from the Vale and deposited Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli) with Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart), and are now free to continue their plotting while making sure to stay far away from Cersei (Lena Headey). Also avoiding Cersei are Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill), who may have just reached Pentos but have their sights set on reaching Meereen. Finally, Loras (Finn Jones) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) also sought refuge from Cersei, though not out of fear, as Margaery’s ominous use of “perhaps” makes me wonder what she has planned for her mother-in-law.

The one character not shying away from Cersei is Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon), who hasn’t been seen since the Battle of the Blackwater. More on Lancel, and what he represents in a bit. But now, let’s get to the rankings!

[Only those on top can truly fall…]