<i>Only the Dead</i>: New Excerpt Only the Dead: New Excerpt Vidar Sundstol On a strange deer hunt, a Forest Service officer discovers family is its own kind of wilderness... Fresh Meat: <i>Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates</i> by Kathy Aarons Fresh Meat: Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons Terrie Farley Moran Can't stop at one murder either. Fresh Meat: <i>Fall of Night</i> by Jonathan Maberry Fresh Meat: Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry Katherine Tomlinson Parents aren't supposed to eat their children... FM: <i>The Skeleton Takes a Bow</i> by Leigh Perry FM: The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry Terrie Farley Moran Some people keep their skeletons in the closet. Others chose the attic.
From The Blog
September 2, 2014
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
Edward A. Grainger
August 30, 2014
Historical Crime Fiction: Writing the Lives of the Erased
Lyndsay Faye
August 28, 2014
Horns Trailer
Crime HQ
August 27, 2014
Toy Lightsaber Causes Bomb Scare
Teddy Pierson
August 26, 2014
Before Hannibal Lecter, There was Thomas Bishop: Shane Stevens' Forgotten Killer
Chad Eagleton
Sep 2 2014 1:00pm

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

“The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don’t know where I am, how I came to be here. I don’t know how I’m going to get home.”

Those are the terrified words of Christine upon waking at the beginning of the psychological thriller, Before I Go to Sleep. To complicate matters there’s an unknown male lying next to her and Christine’s immediate thought is she has had an illicit affair with a married man, so she immediately moves to the bathroom to collect her wits and discreetly leave. But the man named Ben is used to her dilemma because he is her husband, he says, and they have been married for twenty-two years, and that Christine who has anterograde amnesia experiences such horrors when she wakes up each and every new day.

Ben explains to her that she’d had “a bad accident,” suffering severe brain injuries when she was 29 years old. Most of the time she sees herself as a young adult but occasionally regresses to being a child living with her mom and dad. She is able to retain information during the waking hours but when she goes to sleep most of it goes away. Christine and Ben live in North London where he takes care of them financially and leaves her on her own when he heads out for work. He writes messages on an eraser board with questions like “laundry? walk? (take phone!) tv?” to help her guide through the day. Before he leaves, he patiently explains everything Christine will need for the day as well as giving her a cell phone that looks (due to technological advances since her mishap) like a kid’s toy to her. Ben promises to call and departs for work. A picture is quickly painted of a loving husband who has stuck to his vow of ’til death do us part. His presence is soothing and calibrates Christine’s jittered nerves.

[But he's not the only man in Christine's life...]

Sep 2 2014 10:45am

Breathless: Part 2

In Episode 2 of Breathless on Masterpiece Mystery:

Richard Truscott (Oliver Chris) has gone to visit Margaret (Sarah Parish), as you knew he would.

Jean (Zoe Boyle), the new Mrs. Truscott, is back helping Otto Powell (Jack Davenport) and Charlie Enderbury (Shaun Dingwall) with their moonlight operation, as you might have suspected she would. This time the emphasis really is on “operation,” because the patient at the start of this episode requires hospitalization for internal bleeding after a botched attempt to terminate a pregnancy.

There’s trouble aplenty for everyone associated with the New London Hospital. Plus lots of proof that the 1960s were not pretty, kids.

[But the fashions are fabulous...]

Sep 1 2014 9:00pm

Only the Dead: New Excerpt

Vidar Sundstol

Only the Dead by Vidar Sundstøl, translated from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally, is the second in the Minnestoa Trilogy of crime thrillers, and takes place in the wilderness amid a U.S. Forest Service officer's supicions of his own family 's involvement in a grisly murder (available September 1, 2014).

A Norwegian tourist has been found murdered on the shore of Lake Superior—right where an Ojibwe man may have been killed more than one hundred years earlier. Four months later, the official investigation is supposedly over but still not resolved, and U.S. Forest Service officer Lance Hansen, drawn into the mystery by his grisly discovery of the body, is uncovering clues disturbingly close to home.

His former father-in-law, Willy Dupree, may hold the key to the century-old murder of Swamper Caribou. And his own brother, Andy, might know more than he’s telling—more than he should know—about the recent homicide. The relationship between the brothers takes a dangerous turn as their annual deer hunt becomes a deadly game.


Chapter 1

His cell phone began silently vibrating in his pants pocket. Lance Hansen cautiously took it out and checked the display, but the number was not one he recognized. Just as cautiously he put the phone back. Then he again gripped his rifle with both hands.

It was sprinkling a bit, making a few rippling rings on the surface of the water. His cell was still vibrating. He wondered who could be calling him. At that moment he saw a buck emerge from the woods across the lake. It paused, its body erect and alert. A drop of water was forming at the tip of lance’s nose, but he didn’t want to risk wiping it off. The slightest movement might give him away. He concentrated on standing still, not even shifting his gaze. Through the light rain coming down over the lake, the deer looked like part of the landscape. Someone who was not observant would have had a very hard time noticing that it was standing there at all.

[Continue reading Only the Dead by Vidar Sundstøl]

Aug 31 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons

Death Is Like A Box of Chocolates is the first cozy in the new Chocolate Covered Mystery series written by Kathy Aarons.

When Fulbright Scholar Erica Russell comes home to West Riverdale, Maryland, her former high school classmate, Michelle Serrano, is surprised that Erica isn’t all snooty and stuck up. The two girls become BFFs in a flash and decide to go into business together. Michelle is a chocolatier and Erica has a love of literature, so they open a cozy little shop called Chocolates and Chapters. Doesn’t the name sound inviting? I’ll let Michelle describe it to you.

A homey, welcoming room with books lining the walls, tempting customers to pick one up and read in an overstuffed chair, and the smell of chocolate enticing them to choose from my selection of sinful sweets. Chocolates and Chapters had become an unofficial community center for our little town. Our smattering of mismatched couches and coffee tables now hosted various committee meetings, knitting circles, book clubs and, my least favorite, birthday parties.

[Damn those birthday parties!]

Aug 30 2014 12:00pm

Historical Crime Fiction: Writing the Lives of the Erased

Painting by artist Carole BremaudYou only live once. Right?

Chances are, unless you believe in reincarnation and are also peculiarly in touch with your past lives on this harsh and often beautiful planet, then your experience will be confined to one existence (never discounting the kindly tips you’ll pick up from friends and strangers).

Perhaps you are a 32-year old male Caucasian pickle magnate who is taste-testing the most perfect fermented vegetables ever to be jarred, and is on the cusp of driving all competitors out of the market? I’d like to hear your story. Equally possibly, you are a 57-year old female African American deep-sea submarine pilot, and are on the verge of retiring to your dream cottage in the West Indies? I’d adore that story too.

No matter who you are or how specific your experience, we all share in the deeply human desire to hear stories both foreign to ourselves in situation, and familiar in emotion.

You really felt that way, as a glamorous jewelry broker in the 1920s, doubting that your lover would stay?the modern real estate magnate thinks. Or, You really felt ostracized and hated when you arrived in America in the 1840s as a Catholic? the recent immigrant thinks. In any case, or every case, sharing anecdotes and feelings is valuable. But what of the people who weren’t glamorous, who weren’t posh or predictable—what of the people who never recorded their musings for posterity?

History is written by the victors, we are famously told. But so much of the joy in historical fiction lies in imagining what it would have been like to be that other person. The losing general, the girl who sat in the corner, the lad whose disability defined him, the criminal whose defense was never heard, the mother whose skin tone prevented her leaving a diary.

The erased, to put it simply.

[More about the ignored and excluded...]

Aug 29 2014 11:00pm

Fresh Meat: Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry is the second thriller in the Dead of Night series about a world overrun with zombies (available September 2, 2014).

The road to hell, so they say, is paved with good intentions. Most disaster movies begin with a well-meaning act, or an unintentional act, or even just a mistake. But in Jonathan Maberry’s “Dead of Night” series, the end of the world is set off by an act of pure evil—a prison doctor developing a serum that will allow a prisoner’s consciousness to survive even as his body rots in his grave.

Karma, as they also say, is a bitch, and in this second installment of Maberry’s zombie apocalypse series, the bitch is back.

With a vengeance.

In the first 15 pages, someone readers care about will die, and with that death we realize we’re in George R. R. Martin territory where no one is safe.

[No, not even you!]

Aug 29 2014 8:45am

Rosewater: Jon Stewart’s Directorial Debut

Last summer, Jon Stewart took a three month hiatus from his nightly The Daily Show gig to travel to the Middle East. The result of his hiatus is Rosewater, a film that marks his first time as director and is adapted from Maziar Bahari's memior Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival. Bahari was famously captured, interrogated, and tortured in an Iranian prison on the charges of being an American spy. Oddly enough, it was Bahari's satirical bit on The Daily Show that led to his arrest.
You can watch the trailer for Rosewater below. It hits theaters November 7th.

Aug 29 2014 11:00am

Batman at 25: Tim Burton’s Caped Crusader

Ah, 1989. It was a simpler time. Your faithful correspondent was 14 years old—amply pimpled, brazenly bemulleted, and already a devoted movie geek. The best thing that happened to me that year was that Lethal Weapon 2 came out. This was back when one could devote himself unequivocally to the hero worship of Mel Gibson. Like I said, it was a simpler time. Lethal Weapon 2 was a big hit that summer, as was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which gave us the perfect ending to the career of the good Dr. Jones. (Again, I repeat, simpler time.) But these two monster hits were not the big news that year because 1989 was the year of Batman.

Looking back, it’s easy to see now that Tim Burton’s Batman wasn’t simply the biggest hit of that year (grossing 411 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of 35 million, which, adjusted for inflation, might well make Batman the most successful comic book movie in history); it was also the most influential. While Richard Donner’s Superman had legitimized the comic book movie as potential blockbuster material back in 1978, that franchise had been mismanaged by producers who didn’t appreciate the delicate combination of grandeur and humor Donner had brought to the material. By 1989, when producers Peter Gruber and Jon Peters brought the Dark Knight to the screen, the comic book movie was still a gamble.

[But did it ever pay off...]

Aug 28 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry

The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry is the second humorous cozy mystery int he Family Skeleton series about a seemingly normal family with a literal skeleton, not in the closet, but in the attic (available September 2, 2014).

Life has gotten a bit easier for Georgia Thackery, adjunct professor and single mom. When she first agreed to house sit for her parents, she struggled to prevent her teenaged daughter, Madison from finding out about the real skeleton in the family. His name is Sid and he lives in the attic. He and Georgia have been friends since he rescued her from tragedy when she was a small child. But when this story opens, the family is well settled in the house and Madison and Sid have become great friends. Less stress for Georgia until Madison wants to bring Sid’s skull to school to star as Yorick in the school production of  Hamlet, and Sid is dying (pun intended) to get out of the house, so he wants to play the part.

[It's really the only part he can play...]

Aug 27 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Nasty by Bret R. Wright

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

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

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

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

Aug 28 2014 8:45am

The Devil You Know: Horns Trailer

If everyone thinks you're a monster...do you become one? After the death of his girlfriend (of which he is found guilty in the eyes of the public), Ignatius “Ig” Perrish wakes up one morning to find himself with horns and diabolic powers. Mostly being able to instantly know someone's darkest secret, and making people do awful things. Daniel Radcliffe takes on the role, and while Horns is supernatural, it's a long way off from his Harry Potter roots.

What do you think of the trailer?

Aug 27 2014 8:45am

Darth Vader’s Lightsaber Causes Bomb Scare

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 26 2014 4:00pm

Breathless: Part 1

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

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

It’s the Swingin’ Sixties.

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

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

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

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

[Stop. No, don’t stop...]

Aug 26 2014 1:00pm

Now Win This!: Thrillers and Killers Sweepstakes

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

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins August 26, 2014, at 1:00 pm ET, and ends September 9, 2014, 12:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Who goes there?]

Aug 26 2014 12:00pm

Assassin’s Game: New Excerpt

Ward Larsen

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

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

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

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


Three days later

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

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

Aug 26 2014 10:30am

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

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

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

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

[It reads like True Crime...]

Aug 26 2014 8:45am

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

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

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

Aug 25 2014 11:00am

The Strain 1.07: “For Services Rendered”

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 22 2014 11:00pm

Checking into The Knick 1.03: “The Busy Flea”

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


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

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

Aug 24 2014 12:00pm

Strange Shores: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

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

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


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

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