<i>Trail of Echoes</i>: New Excerpt Trail of Echoes: New Excerpt Rachel Howzell Hall The latest Elouise Norton mystery novel from Rachel Howzell Hall. Now Win <i>This</i>!: True Crime Thursday Sweepstakes Now Win This!: True Crime Thursday Sweepstakes Crime HQ Register to win 8 true crime tales! Review: <i>The Silent Dead</i> by Tetsuya Honda Review: The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review of this Japanese police procedural! <i>The Underdogs</i>: New Excerpt The Underdogs: New Excerpt Sara Hammel In the tradition of The Westing Game comes this debut mystery.
From The Blog
May 27, 2016
Page to Screen: Comics I'd Love to See on My TV—Lackadaisy Cats
Angie Barry
May 26, 2016
Mood, Music, & Mysteries
Kristen Houghton
May 25, 2016
Nate Heller & Mike Hammer
Max Allan Collins
May 25, 2016
An Interview with Louise Penny
Crime HQ
May 25, 2016
Under Burning Skies: Best of 21st-Century Western Movies
David Cranmer
May 24 2016 12:00pm

The Top 10 Castle Episodes of All-Time

Castle ended this month, after eight seasons on the air, amid a swirl of controversy. The show chose not to renew Stania Katic’s contract, and plans for Season 9 included Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) as the lead, with no Kate Beckett, despite the fact the show was based on the relationship between the characters. 

Despite all this, however it got there, the series finale contained a happily ever after.

The controversy of its ending distracted from the fact that Castle had an excellent run. The quality remained high, up until it’s last two seasons, despite the fact Castle and Beckett first got together at the end of Season 4—putting a lie to the adage that once characters get together, the show falls apart. More of my choices for top ten episodes are in Season 5 than any other season.

What really seemed to spell doom for the show, instead, was a switch in showrunners after Season 6, when creators Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller stopped helming the show. That quality drop was clear when I began making my list, and no episodes past Season 6 made the cut—though one from Season 7 is an honorable mention.

So, here, in sequential order, are my picks for the best ten episodes of the series, with a few honorable mentions at the end. 

[See which episodes made the list!]

May 24 2016 11:00am

CrimeHClue Murder Mystery Game: Pick the Location

Let’s play a game.

Don’t worry, there’ll be no human body puzzle parts and all the violence will be fictional and happen off screen (plus, we won’t drag this out with 7+ sequels).

The game is CrimeHClue. And YOU the reader will choose the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the murder in our Tuesday’s Lineup, here at CrimeHQ. We’ll hide the results, and once the cards are set, we’ll hide the answers to the clues throughout our social media channels for a lucky winner to win a prize!

*One more week to vote for the clues! Next Tuesday, we'll tally the votes and post the final instructions for how to win! Make sure you're following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—that's your first clue!

So, let’s get to it!

Where will the murder take place?


survey solution


Make sure to vote for the murderer and murder weapon, too!

May 24 2016 10:00am

Wedding Bel Blues: New Excerpt

Maggie McConnon

Wedding Bel Blues by Maggie McConnonWedding Bel Blues is the first book in the new Bel McGrath Mysteries Series (Available May 31, 2016).

Are they tying the knot?

Belfast McGrath has spent the last fifteen years avoiding her big, bustling, brash Irish family. But when her five-star culinary career goes up in flames, she retreats to Foster’s Landing—where she’s immediately tapped as her cousin Caleigh’s maid-of-honor. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster...especially when Bel learns that the wedding preparations included Caleigh having one last one-night stand.

Or the noose?

When Caleigh’s lover plunges from the second-floor balcony during the reception, Bel can’t help but think his death was no accident. Soon Detective Kevin Hanson, who just happens to be Bel’s long-ago love, arrives on the scene—looking hotter than ever. Heartbreak and homicide hardly help Bel to feel more at home, but if she is going to make a new beginning for herself, including putting the past behind her, she must first steer clear of a cold-hearted killer.


It never bothered me when Caleigh McHugh, my first cousin on my mother’s side, insulted me when we were teenagers. We had been competing with each other since we were kids, and today, her wedding day, was no exception.

Because I was pretty sure that my IQ was higher than hers and since I come from a family that has always valued brains over beauty—well, most of the time—her insults didn’t really hurt. “You look plushy in that dress, Bel,” Caleigh said, giving me the once-over, making sure she looked better than I did.

[Read more of Wedding Bel Blues..]

May 23 2016 3:00pm

Wallander 4.03: “The Troubled Man” Episode Review

Early morning. Håkan von Enke (Terrence Hardiman) begins his day as he always does, winding the Mora clock in the front hall of his beautiful historic home. Taking the same walk. Thinking the same thoughts. Just as he described to Kurt Wallander in Episode 2: “A Lesson in Love.”

Only this time, von Enke doesn’t come home from his walk. This time, that troubled man disappears without a trace.

Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) is asked to investigate von Enke’s disappearance, in part because he’s a detective, but mainly because Håkan von Enke is the father-in-law of Wallander’s daughter Linda (Jeany Spark), which makes it a family matter. Wallander wants to set Linda’s mind at ease. Plus, he’s curious about the secrets Håkan revealed to him in Episode 2. It was pretty big stuff related to a high-level government cover-up that goes back 30 years. Wallander figures it’s related to Håkan’s disappearance.

Local detective Nils Ytterberg (Simon Chandler, who’s had roles in many of your favorite British mystery series from Midsomer Murders to The Bletchley Circle to Vera) isn’t having much luck finding Håkan. He’s happy for Wallander’s help, and Wallander is happy to be helpful, given that he’s been suspended from duty in Ystad.

For Kurt Wallander has troubles of his own.

[Each man is a half-open door...]

May 23 2016 2:00pm

Game of Thrones 6.05: “The Door”

“The Door” marked the official halfway point of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, and it did so with emphatic exclamation. We’ll get to the somber ending north of The Wall in a bit, but first, I want to give a standing ovation to the wonderful troupe of actors who perfectly summarized the entirety of Season 1. Give me them over the Sand Snakes any day of the week.

At the wall, we watched Sansa (Sophie Turner) first dismiss a submissive Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and then later channel his duplicitous ways in lying to Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) about where she found out about the Blackfish’s rebellion at Riverrun.

In the Dothraki Sea, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) offered Jorah (Iain Glen) a glimpse into a post-friend zone life, but only if he can figure out how to cure his incurable disease. Sounds about right for Jorah.

At the House of Black and White, Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Waif (Faye Marsay) dropped the gloves, much to Arya’s chagrin, and Jaqen H’ghar explains that the Faceless Men were once slaves in Valyria before going on to found the Free City of Braavos. He then sends Arya out with a vial of poison meant for Lady Crane, the actress playing Cersei in a reenactment of The War of the Five Kings. After watching the seemingly clever and decent actress, Arya grows unsure if the woman deserves the Many-Faced God’s gift.

In Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) hold court with Kinvara (Ania Bukstein), a High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. Tyrion, forever a believer in the power of positive press, urges Kinvara to deliver to the commonfolk the powerful story of Daenerys: mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and all that. Varys, on the other hand, is doubtful of the priestess's preachings...at first.

And finally, we dropped our anchors in Pyke to watch Yara (Gemma Whelan), with the help of Theon (Alfie Allen), attempt to take a seat on the Salt Throne. There’s only one problem, and he calls himself the storm.

[He’s definitely a hard and strong riser…]

May 23 2016 12:00pm

Under the Radar: Movies You May Have Missed—The Losers

Who doesn't like a good comic book movie?

(Notice I said good—I would never try to inflict The Green Lantern on you. I love y'all too much for that sort of betrayal, Ryan Reynolds's abs notwithstanding.)

Well, if you're up for another one—and yes, I'm aware we're all hitting that saturation point where we've maybe had too much of a good thing, what with there being roughly ten billion Marvel films and a glut of DC stuff in the tubes coming straight for us—then allow me to lead you down the path least taken.

I'm talking about a lesser known, Vertigo-flavored slice of fried gold that has never been spoken of in the same breath as Batman, Spider-Man, or any of those other Lycra-clad animal-themed superheroes.

I'm here to talk to you about the gloriousness that is The Losers.

Do you like rag-tag bands of not-so-merry men? Are you fond of underdog stories full of madcap hijinks and snarky dialogue? Is it just not a good time unless there are enough spent shell-casings to carpet a drug lord's bedroom?

Have I got the movie for you!

[Are you tired of grimdark comic movies? Introducing!]

May 23 2016 11:00am

Discount: Abandoned Prayers by Gregg Olsen

Abandoned Prayers: An Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession, and Amish Secrets by Gregg Olsen is the true crime account of Eli Stutzman, the son of an Amish Bishop that had haunting secrets. Get the ebook for only $1.99 until Friday 5/27!

On Christmas Eve in 1985, a hunter found a young boy's body along an icy corn field in Nebraska. The residents of Chester, Nebraska buried him as “Little Boy Blue,” unclaimed and unidentified— until a phone call from Ohio two years later led authorities to Eli Stutzman, the boy's father.

Eli Stutzman, the son of an Amish bishop, was by all appearances a dedicated farmer and family man in the country's strictest religious sect. But behind his quiet façade was a man involved with pornography, sadomasochism, and drugs. After the suspicious death of his pregnant wife, Stutzman took his preschool-age son, Danny, and hit the road on a sexual odyssey ending with his conviction for murder. But the mystery of Eli Stutzman and the fate of his son didn't end on the barren Nebraska plains. It was just beginning…


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and Noble Buy at iTunes

May 23 2016 10:00am

A Game for All the Family: New Excerpt

Sophie Hannah

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah is a standalone thriller by this New York Times bestselling author, where a woman is pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, and must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life (Available May 24, 2016).

You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.

You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.

You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.

Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .

This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.

[Read an excerpt of A Game for All the Family here...]

May 22 2016 11:00am

Jane Doe January: New Excerpt

Emily Winslow

Jane Doe January by Emily Winslow is a compelling, real-life crime mystery and gripping memoir of the cold case prosecution of a serial rapist, told by one of his victims. (Available May 24, 2016).

In 1992, college student Emily Winslow was raped off-campus by a stranger. In 2013, the man was identified by a DNA match in the FBI’s CODIS database of criminal DNA. This excerpt from Emily’s memoir of the cold-case prosecution that resulted, Jane Doe January (her fourth book after three detective novels), describes her journey back to Pittsburgh to testify in the preliminary hearing to establish the charges against him. 

The preliminary hearing is not set in Pittsburgh’s historic courthouse near my hotel. Instead it takes place a few blocks away, in the municipal court, a run-down building awkwardly shaped to look like a police badge from above.

Bill, the original detective from my case, has walked me there. We’ve been instructed to meet the other detectives, Dan and Aprill, in front of the “broken elevators.” They’re easy to find once we’re through the oversensitive metal detector and past the chipper, already-bored security lady; there are no working elevators to trick us.

[Read more of Jane Doe January here...]

May 20 2016 4:30pm

“Rocks-&-Rye Bones” Cocktail

What do you do when a baby is dropped off at your door? I wipe the sweat from my brow, remember that it's a fictional situation, and enjoy another cocktail!

So, put the book down for a quick minute and join us for Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel!

This week, make a nice “Rocks-&-Rye Bones” cocktail—inspired by the 12th Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines, Rock-a-Bye Bones!

[Check out the recipe below!]

May 20 2016 3:00pm

Alfred Hitchcock Is Not as Great as You Think

Alfred Hitchcock is brilliant. He made some absolutely amazing films. Certified classics—make no mistake. But is he as great as you, and the rest of the film snob world, think he is?

Here’s the thing: Hitchcock did one thing, and he did it very well (mostly). But, that’s just it. He only did ONE THING. Many directors in the classic period or so-called “golden age” of Hollywood were genre-hopping craftsmen, who were equally at home with a thriller, a comedy, a western, or even the occasional musical.

Hitchcock made everything from suspense to thriller. It’s like that bartender in The Blues Brothers. “We got both kinds—Country and Western.” Not much of a choice there, is it?

[Was Alfred Hitchcock really a genius?]

May 20 2016 12:30pm

Dear Professor Moriarty: Advice for a Harvard Man

This week's guest columnist is Professor Moriarty, who denies any knowledge of what happened to Prince Harry's missing puppy, though offering a large reward for finding the creature might be wise. 

Dear Professor Moriarty,

I'm a junior at Harvard who just got engaged to a beautiful pre-med whose parents are loaded. A dream, right? 

Here's the nightmare part: her brother. I live in one of their condos (yeah, they have three) and couldn't afford tuition, room, and board without this help. Her only brother, who she adores, is my roommate. Mostly, he amuses himself by tormenting me. Nair in my shampoo bottle, waking me up with an airhorn at 3 a.m. every morning and squirting Crazy Glue into the keyholes of my car—yeah, that's an average week.

It's ruining my life. Do I drop out of Harvard and break off the engagement to a great woman, or sit quietly and endure another two years of living hell?

Harvard Man Living with a Maniac

[Read Professor Moriarty's advice!]

May 17 2016 12:30pm
Original Story

“Down to Zero” by Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran

“Down to Zero” by Jon McGoran is a new ecological thriller short story featuring Detective Doyle Carrick! This exclusive serialization on CrimeHQ will break the story into 4 parts throughout the rest of this week. Be sure to check back each day for more, or if you can't wait, scroll to the bottom and buy a copy for your e-reader for only 99 cents!

When a beekeeper removing hives from an inner city warehouse is greeted with gunfire, Detective Doyle Carrick is called in to help aging mentor Jack Conroy catch the shooters. Although a previous case involving genetically modified bees has made Doyle the closest thing to a bee expert the Philly PD has, it’s a subject he wants nothing to do with. But Doyle owes Jack plenty of favors. Soon, the pair are clashing with foreign agents, corporate security agents, and lowlife thugs while tracking the mysterious bees across the city. As they work to figure out why these bees are worth killing over before the shooters can strike again, Doyle finds himself racing against a clock he could never have imagined.

[Read Jon McGoran's “Down to Zero” below...]

May 20 2016 11:00am

Robbers Holds up Carwash with an Emtpy Bag of Chips

Sometimes you need to rob a joint at the tail end of the munchies. It appears that is what happened with this week's case. California Police reported that a man attempted to holdup a carwash with an empty bag of potato chips.

Accounting to the SF Gate, the police say that the man entered KaCees World of Water and dropped the potato chip bag on the counter and told the cashier to fill it up with money. The man also threatened the cashier that he had a gun and that he gestured it was located within the empty  bag of chips. However, the cashier noticed that it contained only a piece of cardboard and yelled over a co-worker for some help.

When the would-be robber realized his plan was not working, he quickly jumped into his car and fled. Police are still looking for the suspect and the empty bag of chips. I suggest they try every vending machine in the state.

May 20 2016 10:00am

The 100 Year Miracle: New Excerpt

Ashley Ream

The 100 Year Miracle by Ashley ReamThe 100 Year Miracle is the latest novel by author Ashley Ream (Available May 24, 2016).

Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, a scientist studying the 100-Year Miracle and the tiny sea creatures that create it, knows a secret about the phenomenon that inspired the region’s myths and folklore: the rare green water may contain a power that could save Rachel's own life (and change the world). When Rachel connects with Harry and Tilda, a divorced couple cohabiting once again as Harry enters the last stages of a debilitating disease, Harry is pulled into Rachel's obsession and hope as they both grasp at this once-in-a-lifetime chance to save themselves.

But the Miracle does things to people. Strange and mysterious things. And as these things begin to happen, Rachel has only six days to uncover and control the Miracle's secrets before the waters go dark for another hundred years.


The First Day of the Miracle

The Department of Fish and Wildlife had cordoned off the beach, wrapping the small half-moon bay in yellow caution tape. The mayor and the governor in separate press conferences—because even for this they could not share—had warned people to stay out of the water. They feared islanders and tourists would gather up so many of the glowing Artemia lucis into glass jars to wonder at like fireflies that the breeding activity would be compromised, killing the species forever. This fear was not, in Dr. Bell’s opinion, unfounded.

[Read the full excerpt of The 100 Year Miracle ]

May 19 2016 3:30pm

The Armchair Detective: International Crime Fiction

Everyone tends to read about the familiar; I’m never as contented as when I am curled up with an English country-house murder mystery, for example. But, challenging yourself to trying something new could open up—literally—a whole new world.

Just think about the places you could travel via mystery! From the remote stretches of the Arctic to the tip of South Africa, there are crime-solvers poised to bring you into their space, their world, their culture.

Let’s just take a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite places. I’ve made the choice here to select writers native to or at least longtime residents of the places in which their books are situated. Instead of literary tourism (which we’ll look at in another article), I’ve chosen writers you will often be reading in translation.

[Take a trip around the literary world of crime/mystery fiction!]

May 19 2016 1:30pm

Boar Island: Audio Excerpt

Nevada Barr

Boar Island by Nevada Barr is the 19th book in the Anna Pigeon series, where the National Park Service Ranger has to deal with the cyber-bullying and stalking of teenager Elizabeth.

Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—-her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs—-and find the person behind the harassment—-the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.

But the move east doesn't solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren't alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.

[Listen to an audio excerpt of Boar Island here...]

May 19 2016 12:00pm

Q&A with James Renner, Author of True Crime Addict

Read this exclusive Q&A with James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, has been obsessed with missing people since he was a child. After learning about the disappearance of Maura Murray, he put his investigative journalism skills to task and began studying the case. He set up a blog to track his process and hoped to grow a community that could share his passion and help find out what happened on that day in 2004. After years of research, Renner has written a book about his search for Maura Murray.

Well, we had some questions of our own! James was nice enough to sit down with CrimeHQ and provide some great answers about the book, society's current obsession with true crime, and a few lighter questions about his personal life.

[See what James has to say in this exclusive Q&A!]

May 18 2016 4:00pm

Headline Hunting: How Real-Life News Can Inspire the Next Thriller

Read this exclusive guest post from Ward Larsen, author of Assassin's Silence, about how everyday headlines can turn into the next thriller, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

How did you come up with that?

It’s the most common question authors are asked: Where do you get your ideas? Others might answer differently, but for me, there is one clear answer: I get them from the real world.

It is often said that there’s nothing stranger than the truth, and as a thriller writer, I hold to a corollary of that idea—there is nothing more thrilling than the truth. We live in a world where fanatical terrorists create videos of beheadings and corruption is the norm in certain quarters of the world. Not a day goes by without a headline that lends itself to a story.

[It's a crazy world we live in...]