<i>Walleye Junction</i>: New Excerpt Walleye Junction: New Excerpt Karin Salvalaggio The 3rd Macy Greeley Mystery. <i>The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax</i>: New Excerpt The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax: New Excerpt Andrew Cartmel The 1st in the new Vinyl Detective Mystery series! Now Win <i>This</i>!: Pretty Girls Make Graves Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Pretty Girls Make Graves Sweepstakes Crime HQ Heaven knows we'll soon be dust. <i>Vostok</i>: New Excerpt Vostok: New Excerpt Steve Alten A crossover novel uniting two popular series!
From The Blog
May 6, 2016
7 Summer Cocktails to Die For
Carol Miller
May 6, 2016
Police Help Find Drunk Man’s Bag of Weed
Teddy Pierson
May 5, 2016
Pinky Violence
Brian Greene
May 4, 2016
Investigation of a Citizen
Scott Adlerberg
May 3, 2016
Is Your Favorite Mystery Book a TV Series?
Kristen Houghton
May 6 2016 10:00am

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax: New Excerpt

Andrew Cartmel

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel is the 1st in the new Vinyl Detective Mystery series (Available May 10, 2016). 

He is a record collector—a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.

Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording—on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client. 

Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

[Read an excerpt of The Vinyl Detective here...]

May 6 2016 1:00pm

7 Summer Cocktails to Die For

Carol Miller, author of the Moonshine Mystery series—the latest of which, An Old Fashioned Murder, is available now—takes us into the unofficial turn of cocktail season with 7 summer cocktails to die for!

It’s that time again, when political pundits are wringing their hands as to debate strategies and early polling. But, while they’re busy counting delegates, I’m in the garden, anxiously monitoring the first mint leaves, trying to repair the damage caused by Old Man Winter and trampling spring deer.

This is important stuff, after all. Without an ample supply of fresh mint, there are no mint juleps; and mint juleps are the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby, which is, in turn, the unofficial start of cocktail season.

See also: An Old Fashioned Murder: New Excerpt

I live in southwestern Virginia, along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Summer here is downright sultry, and we tend to prefer our beverages on the strong side, most frequently in a rocking chair or on the porch swing. We also like to invite over the neighbors, so all the recipes below are designed as single servings to allow guests a range of freshly-made options, rather than forcing everyone to consume the same gallon bowl of punch, which will quickly become diluted and tepid on the patio. 

When discussing cocktails, there are those who will absolutely insist that a Mint Julep only be served in a sterling silver or pewter julep cup and an Old-Fashioned cannot appear in anything other than—wait for it—an Old-Fashioned glass. My view regarding appropriate barware, however, is that if you’re the one who made the drink, and you’re the one who’s drinking the drink, then you should put it into whatever glass makes you happy and ignore the naysayers. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good philosophy for life, too.

*A note on simple syrup: Simple syrup is readily available in stores, but you can easily make your own. Just boil equal parts sugar and water (e.g., one cup sugar to one cup water) until the sugar is fully dissolved, then cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator.

[Go away winter...cocktail season is here!]

May 6 2016 11:30am

Police Help Find Drunk Man’s Bag of Weed

Have you ever asked a police office to help you find something? Normally when you do, it involves a lost dog or something, right? Well, an Ohio man asked a police officer to help him find a bag of marijuana that he lost on his property.

Dennis Wagner of Alliance, Ohio was reported to be intoxicated and just chilling out on his front porch when he asked the officer for a little help.

Fortunately for us, the incident was captured on a police officer’s body cam. Wagner could be heard telling the officer, “I lost my marijuana somewhere around here.”

Luckily the officer was able to find the lost marijuana, but the officer kept the green stuff for himself, and instead issued Wagner a summons to appear in court. Talk about a double buzzkill!

May 6 2016 11:00am

Discount: The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron

In anticipation of Widowmaker by Paul Doiron (Available June 14, 2016)—the 7th Mike Bowditch Mystery—get the ebook of The Bone Orchard for only $2.99 throughout the month of May!

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of “suicide by cop,” he begins having second thoughts about his decision.

Now Kathy finds herself the target of a government inquiry and outrage from the dead soldier's platoon mates. Soon she finds herself in the sights of a sniper, as well. When the sergeant is shot outside her farmhouse, Mike joins the hunt to find the mysterious man responsible. To do so, the ex-warden must plunge into his friend's secret past―even as a beautiful woman from Mike's own past returns, throwing into jeopardy his tentative romance with wildlife biologist Stacey Stevens.

As Kathy Frost lies on the brink of death and a dangerous shooter stalks the blueberry barrens of central Maine, Bowditch is forced to confront the choices he has made and determine, once and for all, the kind of man he truly is.


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Books a Million Buy at Barnes and Noble Buy at iTunes

May 6 2016 10:00am

Walleye Junction: New Excerpt

Karin Salvalaggio

Walleye Junction by Karin Salvalaggio is the 3rd installment of the Macy Greeley Mystery series (Available May 10, 2016).

When outspoken radio talk show host Philip Long is kidnapped and murdered, Detective Macy Greeley leaves her young son in the care of her mother and heads up to remote Walleye Junction, Montana to take charge of the investigation. It is initially believed that Long’s murder is the result of a controversial radio show he’s done on the rise of far right militias in the state. Within days the two kidnappers are found dead following a massive heroin overdose, and the authorities are hopeful the investigation is finished. But there are too many discrepancies for Macy to settle for obvious answers. The kidnapper’s bodies have been moved, their son is on the run and a series of anonymous emails point investigators toward the murky world of prescription painkiller abuse. Macy soon finds herself immersed in small town intrigues as she races to find who’s really responsible for Philip Long’s murder.

Meanwhile, Philip Long’s daughter Emma is dealing with her own problems. It’s been twelve years since she left Walleye Junction after her best friend died from a drug overdose. Emma finds that little in Walleye Junction has changed in her absence. She is also becoming increasingly uneasy as the familiar surroundings stir up memories that are best forgotten.

[Read an excerpt of Walleye Junction here...]

May 5 2016 4:30pm

Pinky Violence

Two disclaimers to open this post on the Pinky Violence film genre:

  1. I haven’t seen every movie that could be classified within the category. Depending on which list you’re looking at, I’ve watched between a half and two-thirds of the titles. I’ve also read several articles and one book on the subject, and have viewed trailers for most of the films I haven’t seen. So, while I’m not ready to call myself a Pinky Violence authority, I feel comfortable writing this rundown.
  2. In my Five Essential Pinky Violence films list below, I excluded relevant titles that star Meiko Kaji, since I have already written an appreciation of her acting that includes write-ups on some of the applicable movies in which she played. But, for the record, if I were considering those films, I would feel compelled to make the list a top 10, and among those singled out would certainly be Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss (1970), Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (1970), and Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972). 

See also: Meiko Kaji: An Appreciation of a Female Badass

So what is a Pinky Violence film? I’m not sure who first dubbed the collection of movies as such, but I can tell you what unites the titles: softcore sexuality, hard-edged violence, tough girls, and Japan.

Think of Russ Meyer’s cinematic vision being mashed up with Quentin Tarantino’s and then channeled through the mindsets of Japanese filmmakers creating sexy and savage bad-girl celluloid stories and you’ll have an idea of what’s at hand here. Pinky Violence films have certainly been an influence on Tarantino’s work. I don’t know if Meyer ever watched these movies, but if he did, my guess is that he would have appreciated them.

[It's pink. It's violent. And it's definitely badass...]

May 5 2016 1:30pm

The Lost Girls: New Excerpt

John Glatt

This week's edition of True Crime Thursday is the first two chapters of The Lost Girls by John Glatt—the chilling account of the three Cleveland women that were kidnapped and imprisoned in a basement for a decade by Ariel Castro.

They were held in brutal captivity—and managed to make it out alive.
“This is their story.”

The Lost Girls are Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus—three innocent young women who were kidnapped, imprisoned, and repeatedly molested and beaten in a Cleveland home basement for over a decade by a depraved man named Ariel Castro. Their incredible escape, in May 2013, made headlines all over the world.

In this up-close-and-personal account—including exclusive interviews with Castro's family members, secret girlfriend, neighbors, and others—veteran investigative journalist John Glatt reveals what it was like as Michelle, Amanda, and Gina DeJesus waited, bound and chained, to be found.

[Read an excerpt from The Lost Girls here...]

May 5 2016 1:00pm

Now Win This!: Pretty Girls Make Graves Sweepstakes

Give in to lust, give up to lust, register to win these 9 titles because heaven knows we'll soon be dust.

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 May 5, 2016, at 1:00 pm ET, and ends May 19, 2016, 12:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Register to win 9 great titles!]

May 5 2016 11:00am

Psycho Gets the Andy Warhol Treatment

What have you done, mother!?

Is there a more iconic scene than the shower stabbing in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)? Is there a more iconic art piece that Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe silkscreen prints? Seems only natural to combine the two and make the ultimate icon!

Well, that’s just what UncleGertrudes has done. Measuring 12” x 12” on 65# cover weight stock kraft paper, this pop art is the perfect way to appear hip but still display your inner (and, I guess…outer?) psycho.

Because, after all, we go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?

May 5 2016 10:00am

Vostok: New Excerpt

Steve Alten

Vostok by Steve Alten is the sequel to The Loch and the prequel to MEG: Nightstalkers in this crossover novel uniting two of Alten's most popular series (Out now!)

East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than fifteen million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct—and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.

[Read an excerpt from Vostok here...]

May 4 2016 3:00pm

Fresh Meat: Sent to the Devil by Laura Lebow

Sent to the Devil by Laura Lebow is the 2nd Lorenzo Da Ponte historical mystery.

“You! What do you want with me?”

“You know what I want you to do,” the man hissed...

“No!” He tried to shout, but his voice was merely a croak. “No! I will not!”

The old man saw a blurred motion, and then pain seared his neck. An owl hooted in the distance as blood spattered over the stone steps.

“I am dying!” he cried. But he could not hear his own voice, only a loud gurgling, and after a few moments, nothing...

Spring, 1788. Austria is on the brink of war with the Ottoman Empire and already soldiers are dying of disease in the camps along the front. The exiled Venetian Lorenzo Da Ponte—Royal Librettist for the Emperor—is hard at work revising his lyrics for Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni.

And a killer stalks the streets of Vienna.

When the murderer attacks Da Ponte's closest friend, a retired priest, the poet finds himself, yet again, unwillingly embroiled in death and madness. Well aware of how prejudiced the police force can be, and how easily victims can be forgotten, Da Ponte agrees to assist a nobleman Richard Benda in tracking down the culprit.

[Read Angie Barry's review of Sent to the Devil here...]

May 4 2016 1:00pm

Investigation of a Citizen

An attractive young woman smiles at a man through her apartment window. Once he’s in her apartment, she embraces him.

“How are you going to kill me this time?” she asks.

“I’m going to slash your throat,” he answers. 

Soon afterwards, we see them in bed, the man out of frame, the woman atop the man, shot from behind so we see her bare back, and when she emits a little gasp, for a second, we don’t know what it means.

Is she feeling genuine pleasure from their sexual act, or is she pretending to be hurt, killed, from what must be their regular erotic ritual?

Already, a minute or two into the story, the viewer is in unsettling, ambiguous territory, and as things proceed, the viewer will come to find that this is a film that keeps you off balance for its entire two-hour running time.

[Read Scott Adlerberg's review of Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion...]

May 4 2016 11:30am

5 New Books to Read this Week: May 3, 2016

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

Check back every Wednesday and see what we're reading for the week!

[See this week's Top 5...]

May 4 2016 11:00am

Billy the Kid Wooden Plaque

Billy the Kid is said to have killed 21 men—one for every year of his life.

The man, the kid, the legend; he was also able to escape capture by killing two guards, despite being shackled at the legs and wrists. He was finally gunned down by Sheriff Pat Garrett, though some say it was a ruse to allow the Kid to evade the law.

Dead or alive, Billy the Kid continues to be one of the most remembered Outlaws of the American Wild West. Own a piece of the legend with this rustic, wooden plaque containing a print of the only known picture of the Kid from wiesbaden49. Measuring 8” x 10” and sealed to protect the wood, this plaque is perfect for any fan of the folklore from the West—and affordable too, at only $25.50!

And, make sure to vote for your favorite Wild West Outlaw here!

May 4 2016 10:00am

Against the Paw: New Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Against the Paw by Diane Kelly is the 4th installment of the Paw Enforcement series (Available now!).

Megan has her sights set on finding a convicted burglar who’s broken his parole, and she has the perfect partner to help sniff him out. Unfortunately, her shepherd-mix Brigit’s dog bowl is already full. A Peeping Tom has been spotted in an affluent Fort Worth neighborhood―and concerned citizens are looking for a few good watchdogs…

To catch the creep, residents start enlisting volunteers to beef up their Neighborhood Watch group. Which is fine with Megan. She needs to focus on catching a burglar who’s still at large. But when the Peeping Tom patrol grows into a virtual vigilante mob, Megan and Brigit have to jump in paws first―before some very angry people take the law into their own hands…

[Read an excerpt from Against the Paw here...]

May 3 2016 2:00pm

Prolonged Parker: Slow Burn by Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn by Ace Atkins is the newest Spenser novel, where Boston PI Spenser faces a hot case and a personal crisis (Available today!).

An assessment of a new Spenser novel requires this reviewer to reveal a bit of my adoration for series creator, Robert B. Parker, and why I was initially hesitant to read the continuations by Ace Atkins. Makes this post four years overdue, since Mr. Parker died in January 2010 and Ace Atkins took over two years later with Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby—a Spenser book a year under the Atkins diet has followed ever since.

Flashback to the mid-80s as my teen palate began to develop a taste for more sophisticated plots, my love for reading The Hardy Boys naturally led to “grownup” detective novels, and I picked up Valediction (1984). Parker’s Spenser was a revelation—tough-guy gourmet, poet-quoting sleuth, moralizing pugilist—that opened the door to Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, and Ross Macdonald. Around the same time, the Robert Urich Spenser: For Hire (1985-1988) television show hit the airwaves fueling the fandom.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Slow Burn here...]

May 3 2016 1:00pm

Is Your Favorite Mystery Book a TV Series?

You’ve read all the books in your favorite mystery series. The description of the characters and the settings by the author are so good that you can see them in your mind. You’d love to see these books made in a visual medium. Let’s get it going, and, please, let’s get it right! Faithful fans want televised characters and settings to remain faithful to the books.

Every book series from the venerable Sherlock Holmes to the audacious, very modern 1920’s woman Phryne Fisher to almost anything by Agatha Christie has found its way into a televised series. Mystery novels keep their fans turning the pages long into the night; if the mystery is suspenseful and the pace is fast, you begin to look for the next book in the series. If it’s a detective series, there’s always another mystery for your favorite detective to solve in the next book. It makes perfect sense that TV would adapt these detective/mystery books for a series of the same name, since they are highly marketable commodities.

[What's your favorite mystery series?]

May 3 2016 12:00pm

Kill Switch: Audio Excerpt

Jonathan Maberry

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry is the 8th book in the Joe Ledger series. Join military scientist Joe Ledger as he becomes embroiled in an elaborate terrorist plot that involves deadly science and forbidden arcane knowledge in equal measure. What do you do when the power goes off?

Terrorists have acquired a terrible new weapon that can crash the power grid and plunge America into a new dark age. A coordinated attack is planned to shut out all lights and emergency services to ten major cities. Planes will fall, hospitals will go dark, no help will come.

And in that terrible darkness, a dreadful plague will be released. If the lights go off, nothing can stop the bioweapon from killing millions.

At the same time, the intelligence services are being torn apart from within by a plague of betrayal, murder, and suicide. Even the Department of Military Sciences is stumbling in its response to the growing threat.

Time is running out, and Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers. Where can you turn when there’s nobody left to trust?

Joe Ledger faces his deadliest challenge as friends and allies become enemies and all of the lights begin to go out…

[Listen to an audio excerpt of Kill Switch here...]

May 3 2016 11:30am

Who Is Your Favorite Wild West Outlaw?

The (Wicky Wicky Wild, Wicky Wild, Wicky Wicky Wild) Wild West of the mid-to-late 19th century contributes to much of American folklore. Though heroes get remembered, legends never die—and in a lot of cases, the deaths of the most famous Wild West Outlaws are controversial, only adding to the legend themselves. 

While often thought of as enemies of the state, the Outlaws of Old are often remembered fondly as legendary trailblazers. Wherever you stand on them, it's no question that they'll continue to live on. 

So, who's your favorite Wild West Outlaw? Let us know!

[Vote for your favorite Outlaw below...]

May 3 2016 11:00am

Discount: The Prisoner of Hell Gate by Dana I. Wolff

Four decades after Typhoid Mary went to her grave, five curious graduate students struggle to escape alive from the abandoned island that once imprisoned her. Contagion doesn’t die. It just waits. For this week only, get the ebook of The Prisoner of Hell Gate by Dana I. Wolff for only $2.99!

In the Hell Gate section of New York’s East River lie the sad islands where, for centuries, people locked away what they most feared: the contagious, the disfigured, the addicted, the criminally insane.

Here infection slowly consumed the stricken. Here a desperate ship captain ran his doomed steamship aground and watched flames devour 1,500 souls. Here George A. Soper imprisoned the infamous Typhoid Mary after she spread sickness and death in Manhattan’s most privileged quarters.

George’s great-granddaughter, Karalee, and her fellow graduate students in public health know that story. But as they poke in and out of the macabre hospital rooms of abandoned North Brother Island―bantering, taking pictures, recalling history―they are missing something: Hidden evil watches over them―and plots against them.

When death visits Hell Gate, it comes to stay.

As darkness falls, the students find themselves marooned―their casual trespass having unleashed a chain of horrific events beyond anyone’s imagination.

Disease lurks among the eerie ruins where Typhoid Mary once lived and breathed. Ravenous flies swarm puddles of blood. Rot and decay cling to human skin. And spiteful ghosts haunt the living and undead.

Soon five students of history will learn more than they ever wanted to know about New York’s foul underbelly: the meaning of spine-tingling cries down the corridor, of mysterious fires, of disfiguring murder, and of an avenging presence so sinister they’d rather risk their lives than face the terror of one more night.


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Books a Million Buy at Barnes and Noble Buy at iTunes