<i>The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy</i>: An Online-Exclusive Excerpt The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: An Online-Exclusive Excerpt Jacopo della Quercia Comment for a chance to win! <i>A Colder War</i>: A New Excerpt A Colder War: A New Excerpt Charles Cumming MI6 agent Tom Kell returns hoping to rid the Western intelligence of a murderous mole. <i>City of Ghosts</i>: A New Excerpt City of Ghosts: A New Excerpt Kelli Stanley From San Francisco to Reno, Miranda's journey includes murder, Nazis and her troubled past. <i>Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs</i>: A New Excerpt Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs: A New Excerpt Diane Kelly IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is head over heels...in trouble.
From The Blog
July 29, 2014
New Trailer for Nightcrawler: The City Shines Brightest at Night
Joe Brosnan
July 28, 2014
Tourist Trap: Mexico's Super-Creepy Island of the Dolls
Crime HQ
July 27, 2014
The Movies of 1944: Laura
Jake Hinkson
July 25, 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing: First Trailer for The Imitation Game
Joe Brosnan
July 24, 2014
Erotic, Gothic, Belgian Vampires: Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Brian Greene
Wed
Jul 30 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: An Online-Exclusive Excerpt

Jacopo della Quercia

This is an online-exclusive  bonus, an early glimpse into the clandestine characters in Jacopo della Quercia's The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, a historical-fiction, steampunk, sci-fi, comedy-noir mashup that features a globetrotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln (available August 5, 2014).

This historical thriller is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. The book follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, readers will find themselves swept into a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century. Fascinating technologies will be harnessed, dark secrets revealed, true villains exposed, and some of the most famous figures in history will take the stage.

“Knock, Knock”

Technically, it was illegal even for a man like John Wilkie to have a counterfeit $5 bill framed on the wall of his office.

[Continue reading this online-exclusive chapter from Jacopo della Quercia...]

Wed
Jul 30 2014 8:45am

Man Robs Restaurant and Returns for Lunch the Same Day

Here at Criminal Element we are not normally in the business of giving advice to the bad guys, but a man in Costa Mesa, California might want to rethink his love for the popular El Pollo Loco chain. So here is our advice… After you burglarize a place, it’s probably best to not return for some grub a few hours later. Or at the very least least, change your darn clothes first.

Authorities report that the man was caught on a surveillance camera breaking in to the restaurant and making a mess of the place as he searched for loot. He didn’t find any, so he must have thought to himself that it would be cool if he came back for some lunch — while wearing the same super-bright green shirt and a neon hat featuring the beloved “Animal” from the Muppets.

Daniel Lee Warn photo from Costa Mesa Police DepartmentThat’s an easy outfit to remember, right? The manager who had seen the surveillance footage earlier made the connection in a split-second. He quickly called the cops to report that, as a police statement explained, “a subject matching the description of the suspect seen on the store video was back at the restaurant, in line to order food.”

The cops showed up and arrested the man right in the restaurant. He’s also suspected of a number of other commercial burglaries in the area.

Tue
Jul 29 2014 4:45pm

Longmire Days in Pictures: Boy Howdy, Do They Love Walt in Wyoming!

For the third straight summer, Buffalo, Wyoming magically transformed (with the help of one hard-working Chamber of Commerce and an incredible team of volunteers) into Durant, the Absaroka County seat, and the characters of Craig Johnson’s fictional crime series came to life as thousands of fans converged on the town of about 4,600. This is, of course, the annual Longmire Days, which occurred July 18-20, 2014.

And for the second year, many of the stars of the A&E television show based on Johnson’s series also attended and took part in the festivities. That included: Robert Taylor (Walt Longmire), Katee Sackhoff (Vic Moretti), Adam Bartley (The Ferg), Cassidy Freeman (Cady Longmire), Zahn McClarnon (Mathias), and Louanne Stephens (Ruby).

THE ACTORS

Friday, July 18th kicked off with an autograph session featuring Craig and all the actors, except Cassidy Freeman. (Editor’s Note: These are the very signatories to the poster in the comments sweepstakes below!) Fans from far and wide began lining up outside the old Clear Creek Elementary School before 7 a.m., when Craig Johnson pulled into the lot in the replica sheriff’s Bronco. The signing wouldn’t start until 9 a.m., but in the meantime, souvenirs were sold, people took pictures with the Bronco and chatted with fellow fans, and volunteers mingled throughout the crowd letting everyone know what to expect. There was an excitement in the early morning Durant air.

[And that was only the beginning...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 2:15pm

Longmire 3.09: “Counting Coup” Down to the Finale

The penultimate episode of the season started with a bang and barely came up for air as writer Sarah Nicole Jones scrawled another corker of a show that had me satisfied almost to the end.

Editor's Note: We feel free to put episode spoilers in after the jump, but at this point in the season, it's become almost all spoilers, so there's nothing left!

[Read on if you dare...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

A Colder War: A New Excerpt

Charles Cumming

A Colder War by Charles Cumming is the 2nd espionage thriller featuring MI6 agent Tom Kell who must piece together a series of international crimes all resulting in the deaths of newly recruited agents (available August 5, 2014).

A top-ranking Iranian military official is blown up while trying to defect to the West. An investigative journalist is arrested and imprisoned for writing an article critical of the Turkish government. An Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated on the streets of Tehran. These three incidents, seemingly unrelated, have one crucial link. Each of the three had been recently recruited by Western intelligence, before being removed or killed.

Then Paul Wallinger, MI6’s most senior agent in Turkey, dies in a puzzling plane crash. Fearing the worst, MI6 bypasses the usual protocol and brings disgraced agent Tom Kell in from the cold to investigate. Kell soon discovers what Wallinger had already begun to suspect—that there’s a mole somewhere in the Western intelligence, a traitor who has been systematically sabotaging scores of joint intelligence operations in the Middle East.

We have an exclusive audio excerpt of Chapter 1. You can continue the story by reading Chapter 2 below.

Chapter 2

Ebru Eldem could not remember the last time she had taken the day off. “A journalist,” her father had once told her, “is always working.” And he was right. Life was a permanent story. Ebru was always sniffing out an angle, always felt that she was on the brink of missing out on a byline. When she spoke to the cobbler who repaired the heels of her shoes in Arnavutkoy, he was a story about dying small businesses in Istanbul. When she chatted to the good-looking stallholder from Konya who sold fruit in her local market, he was an article about agriculture and economic migration within Greater Anatolia. Every number in her phone book—and Ebru reckoned she had better contacts than any other journalist of her age and experience in Istanbul—was a story waiting to open up. All she needed was the energy and the tenacity to unearth it.

[Continue reading A Colder War by Charles Cumming...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 8:45am

New Trailer for Nightcrawler: The City Shines Brightest at Night

In the new trailer for the upcoming film Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, an aspiring journalist who speeds around the the streets of Los Angeles in the middle of the night looking to get to the scene of the crime before anyone else. Gyllenhaal conveys an intensity in this voice-overed trailer, but it's not the same type of intensity he's used in some of his recent films like Prisoners and End of Watch. I found myself suspicious of Gyllenhaal's character, comparing him to Scott Templeton in Season 5 of The Wire. And my suspicions were furthered by the last shot of the trailer, a long take on Gyllenhaal's face as he puts on a creepy smile. Nightcrawler hits theaters October 17.

Mon
Jul 28 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

City of Ghosts: A New Excerpt

Kelli Stanley

City of Ghosts by Kelli Stanley is the 3rd historical mystery featuring investigator Miranda Corbie as she travels the United States during the early days of WWII (available August 5, 2014).

June, 1940.

For the United States, war is on the horizon.

For Miranda Corbie, private investigator and erstwhile escort, there are debts to be paid and memories—long-suppressed and willfully forgotten—to be resurrected. Enter the U.S. State Department and the man who helped Miranda get her PI license. A man she owes. A man who asks her to track a chemistry professor here in San Francisco whom he suspects is a spy for the Nazis. Playing along may get Miranda a ticket to Blitz-bombed England and answers about her past…if she survives.

Through sordid back alleys and art gallery halls, from drag dress nightclubs to a Nazi costume ball, Miranda's journey into fear takes her on the famed City of San Francisco streamliner and to Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World…where she finds herself framed for a murder she never anticipated. Forced to go underground, Miranda soldiers on alone, determined to find the truth about a murder, a Nazi spy, and her own troubling past.

But Miranda will have to learn the difference between reality and illusion, from despair to deceit and factual to fake, as she tries to get her life back…and navigates a City of Ghosts.

Chapter One

Miranda watched as the thin arm, pocked and dotted with needle points, snaked under the dirt-gummed bars of the pawnshop.

[Continue reading City of Ghosts by Kelli Stanley...]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 11:00am

The Strain 1.03: “Gone Smooth”

Episode 3, “Gone Smooth”, opens with a truly Extreme Makeover. While sweeping classical music plays in the background, a man who most certainly isn’t a man sets to work affixing a fake nose over the gaping hole in his face. Glues a foam neckpiece over some disturbing folds. Attaches rubber ears and inserts normal dentures over serrated teeth. And adds a layer of healthy flesh tones over his corpse-gray skin. The transformation complete, he adjusts his tailored suit and brushes his shoulders clean with a satisfied smirk.

Of course the man is none other than Herr Eichhorst. Fitting, that a Nazi pretending to be otherwise to the outside world is also a monster pretending to be a man.

At the CDC headquarters, not even the higher ups are sure what happened to the missing bodies. Knowing how inept government agencies can be, they assume that the military has gotten involved and is perhaps mixed up in the cover-up. Not a bad guess, really, except it allows everyone to turn a blind eye to the truth. Thinking the situation out of their hands, Eph’s boss at the center assures him to forget what’s happened. It’s none of their concern any more.

[Well that doesn't seem like the best way to act...]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 9:30am

Poirot: “The Big Four”

The “Big Four” has a particular meaning in this episode of Poirot, but to those of us who love him as played by David Suchet, the “Big Four” can only refer to Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson), the inestimable Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran), and the brilliant Belgian himself. (No offense to George the butler, but how often does he actually leave the flat?)

To my delight, and perhaps to yours, Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Japp—as well as George (David Yelland)—all appear in the opening minutes of this episode.

To my horror, and perhaps to yours, they all were preparing to attend Poirot’s funeral.

Pourriez-vous répéter, s'il vous plaît,” you say.

I repeat: Oui, mes amis, Poirot’s funeral.

A few seconds later we are transported to a date four weeks earlier to learn how an affair so tragique could have occurred.

[It is news so devastating as to be unthinkable...]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 8:45am

Tourist Trap: Mexico’s Super-Creepy Island of the Dolls

The island perches among canals south of Mexico City, and didn't start out moth-eaten, mold-covered, and terrifying... probably.

The story goes that the island’s only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a drowned child in the canal some 50 years ago. He was haunted by her death, so when he saw a doll floating by in the canal soon after, he hung it in a tree to please the girl. He hoped to both appease her tortured soul and protect the island from further evil.

But now, he's passed on—by drowing in the same canal *shudder*—and the hundreds and hundres of well-intentioned tributes hung, tied, and nailed in the trees have become, um, scary enough to attract tourists. Read more about it and see many more photos at WebUrbanist.

Sun
Jul 27 2014 12:00pm

The Movies of 1944: Laura

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of film noir’s landmark year, we’re looking at the six key films of 1944: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, When Strangers Marry, and The Woman In the Window. The first film we looked at Billy Wilder’s adaptation of James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity. Today we look at Otto Preminger’s film of Vera Caspary’s Laura.

[Let's go take a look...]

Fri
Jul 25 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs: A New Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs by Diane Kelly is the 7th romantic mystery in the Tara Holloway series featuring the IRS Special Agent (available July 29, 2014).

HE’S ONE OF AMERICA’S BRIGHTEST STARS.

So maybe it goes without saying that IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is star-struck? She’s head over heels…in trouble.

Easy’s getting harder every day for Tara. A tax-evading pet groomer managed to buzz off a big chunk of her hair…just in time for her date strictly-business meeting with country-music heartthrob Brazos Rivers. Of course Tara shouldn’t care—she’s devoted to Special Agent Nick Pratt, after all—but Rivers does know how to steal a woman’s heart with a song…

Chapter One

Groomed

At two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon in early February I spent a full minute pulling forward and back, forward and back, trying to maneuver my plain white government sedan into a space at the curb. I could put a bullet into a bull’s-eye at three hundred yards, but I’d never mastered the art of parallel parking.

[Continue reading Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs by Diane Kelly...]

Fri
Jul 25 2014 8:45am

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing: First Trailer for The Imitation Game

No, this is not a still for BBC's Sherlock. This is an image from the upcoming Oscar's hopeful The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and Charles Dance.

Set during WWII, Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the man famously known for breaking the enigma code and allowing the Allied Forces to thwart Germany. Knightley plays fell0w code-breaker and possible love interest Joan Clarke. And Charles Dance, fresh off his remarkable run as Game of Throne's Tywin Lannister plays Commander Denniston, an apparent antagonist with no patience for the slow art of codebreaking.

The Imitation Game will hit theaters November 21, 2014, right in time for Oscar season. Could this be the next The King's Speech, or will it go the way of J. Edgar?

Thu
Jul 24 2014 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran

Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran is the first book in the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mystery series (available August 5, 2014).

I picked up Well Read, Then Dead having read several of Terrie Farley Moran’s short crime stories and curious about how she would handle the longer format. Immediately, I was drawn into the world of Sassy Cabot and Bridget Mayfield and their bookstore and bakery, Read ’Em and Eat in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. I went to Florida [mumble] years ago, but I’ve never been to Fort Myers Beach, but this book definitely made me want to visit!

It’s not just the scenery one wants to visit reading Ms. Moran’s book. Her characters are amusing and lively, described clearly without overly many tedious details. Take Judge Harcroft, who spends his mornings at the Read ’Em and Eat and being, well, somewhat annoying, especially to the Books Before Breakfast Club.

[Can't we just read in peace?!]

Thu
Jul 24 2014 11:00am

Erotic, Gothic, Belgian Vampires: Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Atmosphere is such an important aspect of movies. I’ve never attempted to make a film, so I can’t intelligently discuss the techniques involved in pulling off this vital part of the endeavor, but I know quality cinematic atmosphere when it crosses my path. If someone asked me to explain what I mean by this facet of movies, I might either try to describe it verbally, or I might just sit them down and have them watch the 1971 erotic/gothic vampire film Daughters of Darkness.

The spellbinding atmosphere in the movie is there from the opening scene and is strong enough to keep a hold over a bewitched viewer throughout the duration of the story. It’s there in the mesmerizing speaking voice of Delphine Seyrig, who plays an ageless and exotic Hungarian countess who also happens to be a lesbian vampire who feeds off the blood of young girls. The mood is present in the striking physical beauty of Valerie (played by Danielle Ouimet), a young Swiss woman who is unlucky enough to, while on her honeymoon, wind up staying at the same hotel where the Countess decides to stop. It’s in the stormy soul of Stefan (John Karlen), Valerie’s new husband, a blue-blooded Englishman who’s a nice enough guy most of the time but who is prone to sudden and inexplicable violent outbursts and who is drawn to the Countess in a love/hate sort of way. And the atmosphere exists in the personality and look of Ilona, the Countess’s personal secretary and co-drinker of young female blood: Ilona is a moody/sexy Goth girl who is constantly both on the brink of suicidal despair yet ready to seduce somebody.

[Watch out!]

Thu
Jul 24 2014 8:45am

Call the Grammar Police: Committing Word Crimes with Weird Al

“Weird Al” Yankovic is known for his puns and parody. For his latest album release, Weird Al released a music video a day including the above song—“Word Crimes.” It's based on the controversial song, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and might help you get a better grade in grammar class...or remind you that you have to commit murder for those who commit word crimes in your presence. Listen with caution, and prepare to call the grammar police!

Wed
Jul 23 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and its Most Notorious Killer: A New Excerpt

Marc Songini

Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and its Notorious Killer by Marc Songini is a true account of the historically violent Boston mafia and its reign of terror (available July 29, 2014).

The New England Mafia was a hugely powerful organization that survived by using violence to ruthlessly crush anyone that threatened it, or its lucrative gambling, loansharking, bootlegging and other enterprises. Psychopathic strongman Joseph “The Animal” Barboza was one of the most feared mob enforcers of all time, killing as many as thirty people for business and pleasure.

From information based on newly declassified documents and the use of underworld sources, Boston Mob spans the gutters and alleyways of East Boston, Providence and Charlestown to the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. and Boston’s Beacon Hill. Its players include governors and mayors, and the Mafia Commission of New York City. From the tragic legacy of the Kennedy family to the Winter Hill-Charlestown feud, the fall of the New England Mafia and the rise of Whitey Bulger.

Chapter 1

THE PORTUGEE FROM NEW BEDFORD

 “In New Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers to their daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece.”

—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

[Continue reading Boston Mob by Marc Songini...]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 1:00pm

The Movies of 1944: Double Indemnity

This year film noir turns 70. While there had been some intermittent films leading up to the birth of the classic noir, in 1944 the dahlia bloomed with six key films: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, When Strangers Marry, and The Woman In the Window. In these films you have many of the key figures in noir making some of their first forays into the genre (directors Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, and Robert Siodmak; writers Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, Vera Caspary, Phillip Yordan; actors Robert Mitchum, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Bennett, Dana Andrews—just to name a few). This onslaught of darkness came in the wake of the bleakest days (from the American perspective, anyway) of WWII. The basis of many of these films were older properties but it is the way these films came out—physically darker, psychologically denser, and ultimately more pessimistic—that marks the real birth of film noir. This post kicks off a new series which will explore these six landmark films.

[Up first, Double Indemnity...]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 8:45am

Woman Steals Vibrator by Hiding it in Baby’s Stroller

Let’s be honest, it is certainly one thing to get caught with a smoking gun in your hand, but it is quite another to get caught with a buzzing vibrator in your baby’s stroller.

That’s just what happened to South Carolina resident, Misty Ann Lee, after she attempted to steal a sex toy from the “love section” of a Spencer’s gift shop by hiding it in her child’s stroller. Yes, a baby stroller!

It went down like this: one of Spencer’s employees watched the woman take the item “from the love unit.” She then walked to another section and slipped the device “behind a young child in the stroller,” as reported by the Smoking Gun.

Misty Ann Lee | Photo credit: Smoking GunAfter the woman left the store the employee quickly followed and confronted her. “Lee looked like she didn’t know what she was talking about and then she retrieved the merchandise from the stroller,” according to the official police report.

The suspect attempted to re-enter the store, at which point the Spencer employee called the cops. Lee was charged with shoplifting and then released on a $2,000 bond. The vibrator was safely returned.

Tue
Jul 22 2014 2:00pm

Longmire 3.08: “Harvest” of Resentments

“Harvest” picks up where we left off with Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) receiving care for a flesh wound and Vic looking genuinely drained from her hellish experience as a captive.

When Walt and Vic hugged in the hospital, my wife said to me, “I can see them as a couple,” and I had to finally agree. The relationship happens in Craig Johnson's series of novels from which the show originates, and it seems like it’s time on the TV series. But, like water in a dam rising to the occasion, we are kept waiting again, because Vic’s husband Sean (Michael Mosley) has given her an ultimatum to quit her job in two weeks or they’re done. When Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) broke into Vic’s house in last week's episode, I was thinking, you’re going to be in a world of hurt when she finds out. Sure enough, in this episode, Vic (Katee Sackhoff) tears Branch a new one and lays everything wide open.

[A bumper crop of spoilers and angst ahead!]