Now Win <i>This</i>!: Global Getaway Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Global Getaway Sweepstakes Crime HQ Pack your bags and get ready to getaway with these 8 books! <i>Your Next Breath</i>: New Excerpt Your Next Breath: New Excerpt Iris Johansen Nothing will get between Catherine and her son. Not this time... Fresh Meat: <i>Day Shift</i> by Charlaine Harris Fresh Meat: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris Leigh Neely There's no such thing as normal in Midnight, Texas. <i>The Memory Painter</i>: New Excerpt The Memory Painter: New Excerpt Gwendolyn Womack What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?
From The Blog
April 26, 2015
Orson Welles at 100: Citizen Kane (1941)
Jake Hinkson
April 24, 2015
Man Executes Computer Gangster Style
Teddy Pierson
April 23, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Criminal Element's Bizarre Beginnings
Crime HQ
April 22, 2015
Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!
Crime HQ
April 18, 2015
From Page to Screen with McBain's King's Ransom and Kurosawa's High and Low
Brian Greene
Tue
Apr 28 2015 9:00am

Sherlock Holmes and the Killer Bees: A Taste for Honey

From Robert Downey Jr.’s period, pulp-action hero to Benedict Cumberbatch’s autism-spectrum, modern genius to Hugh Laurie’s narcissistic Dr. House to Vincent D’Onofrio’s troubled Detective Robert Goren, we’ve seen nearly every conceivable iteration of the Great Detective. What may surprise you, however, is that the first serious, novel-length Holmes pastiche would also later start the killer bee genre of horror films.

In 1941, Gerald Heard published A Taste For Honey under the name H. F. Heard. This short novel introduces us to Sidney Silchester, a resident of a quiet, English village and a reclusive bachelor with a particular fondness for honey. Silchester regularly purchases his sweet treat from the squabbling Heregroves. When Mrs. Heregrove is stung to death and her husband is ordered to destroy his hives, Silchester eyes his dwindling supply with concern, unsure of where he can obtain more. Shortly after, while walking around the village one day, he chances upon a small notice poking through a hedge:

“The Proprietor has at present a certain amount of surplus honey of which he would be willing to dispose.”

Silchester thinks it’s his lucky day. Happily, he continues down the lane and meets with a man who calls himself Mr. Mycroft. His excitement is short-lived however when the old beekeeper explains that Mrs. Heregrove’s death was murder and not an accident. Mr. Heregrove, he explains, has trained his bees to kill!

[Don't leave yet. It's better than it sounds!]

Mon
Apr 27 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Your Next Breath: New Excerpt

Iris Johansen

Your Next Breath by Iris Johansen is the fourth thriller in the Catherine Ling series where the CIA operative attempts to put her life back together after finally reuniting with her young son (available April 28, 2015).

Catherine Ling created a brand-new life for herself, far from her rough beginnings on the streets of Hong Kong. But someone has followed her trail...and is playing a deadly game with her, striking closer to her heart with each blow. First, there's the death of the former prostitute who helped Catherine when she was still a child. Next, the CIA operative who had known her ever since she was pulled into the agency at the age of fourteen. And now Luke is in the killer's sights.

Luke is Catherine's only son. Kidnapped when he was only two years old, Catherine devoted nine years of her life to finding him-and she will not lose him again. Can Catherine, who has made countless enemies throughout her life, protect the ones she loves the most-including Eve Duncan, whose forensic skills were instrumental in freeing Luke-without putting her own life at risk? All she knows is that she will die trying...if the killer doesn't get to her first.

Chapter 1
Boskar, Russia

The woman’s throat had been slashed.

[Continue reading Your Next Breath by Iris Johansen!]

Mon
Apr 27 2015 9:30am

Game of Thrones 5.03 “High Sparrow”

Game of Thrones turned into Game of Tug-O-War this week in “High Sparrow,” and a few unfortunate characters found themselves being pulled in two distinctly different directions. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) turns up at Moat Cailin, a literal crossroads, with two options: return home to Winterfell, marry Ramsay Snow, and stop being a bystander, or continue running, hide away in a tower, and fail to live up to her family's name. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen), as he’s prone to do, tells Sansa exactly what she needs to hear in order for her to do exactly what he wants:

There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family; avenge them.

The terrain on Sansa’s path to revenge was always going to be tough, but adding Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) to the equation erects an obstacle that will be difficult to conquer. Speaking of erect, King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) officially wed Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer), and the new pair celebrated with an immediate consummation. Despite this, Tommen is still seen as a boy, as evidenced by the way both Margaery and Cersei (Lena Headey) try to control him.

Arya (Maisie Williams) may have finally been granted admission to The House of Black and White, but she won’t learn anything until she can shed her identity and become No One. Yet in spite of all of the awfulness being a Stark has brought upon her, she finds herself unable to don a completely new persona.

Between the voyage across the Narrow Sea and now the journey towards Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has experienced the inside of enough boxes for one lifetime, so when he demands to get out and stretch his legs, Varys (Conleth Hill) understandingly obliges – chances of recognition be damned. Perhaps Varys would have been wise to be a bit more cautious, because after a brief trip to the bathroom, Tyrion finds himself not only recognized, but tied up and gagged by none other than the wayward Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). He tells Tyrion he’s taking his new hostage to the queen, but with so many women in charge, we’re left wondering where exactly he’ll be brought.

On to this week’s Riser of the Week!

[smirk smirk…]

Sun
Apr 26 2015 8:00pm

Tales of the Grim Sleeper: 25 Years of Killings and Looking the Other Way

When a serial killer eludes capture for the better part of three decades, it’s usually because of careful preparation, elusive tactics, and near-perfect execution, but that is not the case when it comes to Lonnie Franklin Jr., the subject of HBO’s newest documentary Tales of the Grim Sleeper (premieres tomorrow, April 27, at 9 p.m. EST). In order to fully comprehend how Lonnie’s sexual crimes and murders (which include at least ten women and could be as many as 100) would go uncaught for 25 years, a better understanding of the surrounding factors is needed – something wonderfully flushed out by the documentary’s director Nick Broomfield.

Lonnie lived in South Los Angeles – an area where less than 50% of its population graduates high school, and drug use is so rampant, that the industry employs more people than Xerox, AT&T, and IBM combined. Like many other drug-ridden areas, South L.A is saturated with prostitution, with women of all ages loitering on street corners looking to make a quick buck. For Lonnie, these women's dependence on drugs made them easy targets. He capitalized on their desparation by throwing around the money he acquired from dealing stolen goods. If you ever needed anything – a television, electronics, even a car – all you had to do was ask Lonnie, and he’d have it for you in a few days. Theft is one thing, but murder is a completely different beast, and when Lonnie was finally arrested in 2010, his friends assumed he’d been caught stealing cars. When news came out that he was a serial killer, dubbed “The Grim Sleeper,” Lonnie’s friends simply refused to believe that it was possible, going as far as to harass and insult Broomfield while he was gleaning the neighborhood for bits of information.

[It's not just a river in Egypt...]

Sun
Apr 26 2015 12:00pm

Orson Welles at 100: Citizen Kane (1941)

One approaches Citizen Kane slowly because of the enormous reputation that surrounds it like the vast fields, cages, and lagoons that lead up to Xanadu. Almost no one sees it for the first time without being over-prepared for it. All the plaudits, all the scholarly works, all the pop culture references—they sprawl about the film itself, always threatening to make it into the kind of museum piece Charles Foster Kane would have boxed up in Europe and shipped back to the states, never to see again. Sure, the film has lasted over seventy years, but so what? The relative youth of cinema (only about 114 years) gives us a trivial view of eternity. As Kane's director once said in another of his films, most of our art is destined to fall into the “universal ash.” Citizen Kane may yet become just another forgotten artifact.

But for now Kane still lives, and what an amazing film it turns out to be after the fifth, the tenth, the twentieth viewing. I lost count a long time ago how many times I’ve seen this movie—hell, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it projected in a theater—yet more than most other movies it continues to fascinate me. Perhaps more importantly, it continues it entertain me.

[When you boil it down, isn't that what it's all about?]

Sat
Apr 25 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris transports readers back to the dusty town of Midnight, Texas, where all sorts of paranormal happenings occur in this second book in the trilogy (available May 5, 2015).

Midnight, Texas, could be just another dusty spot in the roads outside Dallas except that it’s a place created by Charlaine Harris. That, of course, means nothing is as it seems.

We came to learn about Midnight in the first book of a trilogy, Midnight Crossroad. It’s a small town that looks more deserted than inhabited with a lot of boarded windows and empty buildings. There’s big news in town, however, when an abandoned hotel is set upon by a construction crew with a hard-edged woman heading up the project. Everyone is Midnight is curious, especially about who would possibly want to stay overnight in the little town.

With the exception of Lemuel, the resident vampire, everyone is in town. The cast includes Fiji, the witch and her cantankerous cat, Mr. Snuggly; Manfred, the resident psychic; Joe and Chuy, owners of the antique/nail shop; Bobo, who operates the local pawn shop; Madonna and Teacher Reed with their infant son, Grady, who run the diner; and the Rev, the mysterious clergyman who operates the pet cemetery.

[Talk about an eclectic town...]

Fri
Apr 24 2015 4:15pm

From the Bleeding Heart of Fandom: A Buffy Confab with Dana Cameron, Charlaine Harris, and Toni L. P. Kelner

This fannish confab about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Dana Cameron, Charlaine Harris, and Toni L.P. Kelner, is gleefully offered in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Mystery Writers of America.

 

Did you watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the very beginning?  If not, what lured you in?

Charlaine: I had seen the original movie. (It pales in comparison to the show, but it has its moments.) So I was ready to love the show. My husband liked Buffy just as much as I did, though possibly for different reasons. We both felt that Buffy was a great role model in a lot of ways: she was strong and brave, she spoke her mind, and she tried to do what was right, not what was popular. Though Buffy was pretty, she never traded on that; in fact, no one could be less flirtatious than Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar). I’d never met anyone like her, and I always wanted to! No matter what happened to Buffy Summers, she regained her strength. She would rally! We had her back! Well, us and the Scooby gang.

Toni: Yes and no. I saw the original awful movie, but didn’t get into the TV show until the second or third season, when the ads sucked me in.

Dana: Not until Season 2 or 3; I'd seen the movie and thought it had something. Wasn't sure what. I was flipping past an action scene, paused, and thought “What would make it really cool is if one of them said X (in response to whatever was happening).” And then someone said X!  I knew then it was a totally different kind of show and was hooked. 

[Fave episodes, Scoobies, villains ahead...]

Fri
Apr 24 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

The Memory Painter: New Excerpt

Gwendolyn Womack

The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is thriller about an artist whose vivid dreams are not only his work's inspiration, but also a look into the lives of others (available April 28, 2015).

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?

What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love?

What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills...like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan's shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists' deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

[Start reading The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack!]

Fri
Apr 24 2015 8:45am

Man Executes Computer Gangster Style

Have you ever been so frustrated with your computer that you’ve imagined shooting it? One Colorado man stopped trying CTL + ALT + DELETE and did just that, reports The Gazette.

It seems that Lucas Hinch, 37, took his defenceless computer into an alley, like a classic gangster movie, and shot it until it was no more. The eight bullets he used echoed so loudly that it alerted nearby police who arrived at the scene and arrest him on the spot.

Lt. Jeff Strossner told the press that Hinch “executed” the computer. Hinch said he did not realize he was breaking the law.

I will admit it, this guy lived a dream I have had countless times. Haven't you ever thought about 'killing' your computer?

Thu
Apr 23 2015 1:00pm

The Americans 3.13: Season Finale “March 8, 1983”

The Season 3 finale of The Americans was a surprisingly low-key affair. Of the myriad confrontations we’d been bracing ourselves for, none really materialized in any significant way. I think I understand what the creators, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields (also the episode’s co-writers), were trying to accomplish by concluding the season with such a quiet, reflective episode. In one respect, they were declaring what their show is not. It is not one of those other Washington D.C. based shows, constantly throwing outrageous plot twists and cliffhangers at you (cough cough, Scandal, ahem Homeland, looking at you, House of Cards). Instead, we are a character driven show about family, honesty, identity, and loyalty. If there were any doubts about this before, Season 3 definitively answered those questions. Weisberg and Fields have crafted a tense, melancholy show utterly unique to itself, all while providing a slew of memorable, often cringe-inducing scenes.

By that measure, last night’s episode, “March 9, 1983,” was a success. It was another well-acted, emotional, soul searching hour of television. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just another episode. This was the finale, the supposed culmination of carefully and intensely plotted storylines that appeared destined for head-on collisions. Yet Weisberg and Field chose to either neglect these heavily foreshadowed conflicts, or, in one glaring instance, conclude it in a tepid, unsatisfying way. The result was a finale that left me wondering whether I’d made a mistake about this being the last episode of the season or if there was actually one more airing next week. I’m pretty sure that’s not the best reaction one should have to a season finale, even one that was as well made as this one.

[If they'd like to provide another episode, I won't stop them...]

Thu
Apr 23 2015 11:00am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Criminal Element’s Bizarre Beginnings

As you may have seen, yesterday marked the four year anniversary for Criminal Element, and we're continuing the celebration for this True Crime Thursday by looking back at four of our first posts on the subject! (Call it our very first True Crime-Throwback Thursday, if you will!)

First, join Elyse Dinh-McCrillis as she takes us through her attempt to solve her own hit-and-run case!

Then skeeve out with Joseph Finder as he recounts what was going through his mind when he willingly chose to be buried alive. Why? For research of course!

Up next is Dr. Lewis Preschel, who takes us through a quick history of  fingerprints and how two doctors, three lords, and twin criminals would change the world of forensic sciences forever.

And finally, what's a little true crime without some conspiracy? Let Tony Hays tell you why lone-gunman conspiracies fail to win him over, especially when it comes to James Earl Ray's alleged assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And for all our true crime, proving how much stranger truth can be than fiction, bookmark it!

Thu
Apr 23 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Day of the Destroyers: Exclusive Excerpt

Gary Phillips

Read an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1 of Day of the Destroyers, a linked-prose anthology starring Jimmie Flint, Agent X-11 (available April 28, 2015). Comment to enter for a chance to win a signed copy!

Based on a real historical event during the Roosevelt administration! Guest starring pulp heroes The Green Lama, The Phantom Detective, and The Black Bat! Day of the Destroyers is an all-original, linked-prose anthology; each story is part of a larger arc wherein Jimmie Flint, Secret Agent X-11 of the Intelligence Service Command, battles to prevent the seditionist Medusa Council from engineering a bloody coup overthrowing our democracy. Written by pulp fictioneers Ron Fortier, Adam Lance Garcia, Gary Phillips, Paul Bishop, Jeri Westerson, Eric Fein, Tommy Hancock, Aaron Shaps, and Joe Gentile.

THE ZYBRISKI REPORT

Abraham Zybriski fell on all fours, doing his best to make his way over the sand dune.  He got up and kept ascending.  It was a cold, moonless night in California’s Mohave Desert, though the sand had retained some of the heat of the day.  The temperature had crested 110 degrees then, now it was in the low forties.  He swallowed but his mouth and throat were dry.  He was tired and alone, but he kept going. 

[Continue reading Day of the Destroyers now!]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Grave Consequences: New Excerpt

David Thurlo and Aimee Thurlo

Grave Consequences by David and Aimee Thurlo is the 2nd mystery featuring retired Special Forces operative Charlie Henry, who now resides in Albuquerque working as a pawn broker (available April 28, 2015).

Charlie Henry, former Special Forces operative and newly minted pawnbroker, thinks that he's finally turned a corner and the calm, quiet life he's always wanted is just ahead. But life never really works out that way.

A young Navajo man comes into Charlie's shop, FOB Pawn, claiming that his girlfriend mistakenly pawned a beautiful family heirloom, a turquoise necklace that she desperately needs back. When he's unable to produce any proof of this tale, Charlie is immediately suspicious and sticks by the golden pawnbroker rule: No claim ticket, no exchange. Then the young man returns with reinforcements—and guns—making it abundantly clear that there's more to this story than a family treasure.

This necklace quickly becomes the focus of a case where everyone lies, and every question seems to answer with gunfire. With the help of his semi-estranged brother, Alfred, a tribal cop working undercover, Charlie quickly finds out that the pendant was the work of a Navajo silversmith who was recently murdered. And, in an act so taboo in Navajo culture as to be unthinkable, his grave dug up and this piece of jewelry removed. With multiple parties vying to get their hands on the necklace—for what ill-gotten gains, no one knows—it's up to Charlie and his comrades-in-arms to help find out who's really telling the truth, and uncover the mysteries that this heirloom holds.

[Start reading Grave Consequences now!]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs

Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs is a historical young adult novel about a fifteen year old girl whose budding curiosity crosses paths with a young man her father is hiding from authorities (available April 30, 2015).

Anne Dudley is a fifteen year old who has very little experience when it comes to trouble – that’s more her sister Sarah’s issue. Raised as a Puritan, Anne knows it is wicked to lie, cheat, steal, and lust after men. Still, she is caught in a world that is anything but Godly and pure. Her religion prohibits the reading of certain books, like William Shakespeare. And, on the other side of things, King Charles I is demanding taxes and limiting her family’s freedom because of their religion.

When Anne discovers her father is hiding a Puritan fugitive from the King’s justice, she finds herself learning how to lie. She sneaks the man, John Holland, food. During their midnight meetings, she discovers that perhaps she feels more than just duty towards him. However, as she gets to know John and becomes better at telling lies, she starts to wonder if she isn’t being lied to.

Anne of the Fens is based on the historical life of a girl who would grow up to become America’s premiere female poet Anne Bradstreet, who is an ancestor of author Gretchen Gibbs – and the passion for her predecessor in life and letters is clear in Gibbs’ novel. It’s a story set against the dark, threatening landscape of pre-English Civil War, when men and women were hanged or burned alive for their religious beliefs.

[Harsh doesn't even scratch the surface...]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 9:45am

Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!

Flowers and fruit are what's traditional, so for the site's 4th anniversary, we can't imagine anything nicer than rotting watermelon skulls, via artist Dimitri Tsykalov, who we've featured before with his amazing meat gun, and who has much more coolness at his site.

Our very first post at CriminalElement, squeaking in under the wire on the evening of April 22, 2011, was an excerpt from the Edgar-winning The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin. Then, we loaded in plenty more, so that we had thirty posts by the end of the first week. As of today, we've shared over 700 posts on new releases as Fresh Meat, almost 600 posts on TV Crime, hundreds of Sweepstakes (not all at the same time), and almost 900 of these pithy little items we call Morning Coffee. We couldn't have—and wouldn't have—done it without you, the fellow crime fans who visit, comment, and write for us!

Thanks to you all!

(And by the way, if you're planning early for our 5th anniversary, the traditional gift is wood. We think this carved skull-pture by artist Anthony Santella would look perfect at HQ. Just sayin'.)

Tue
Apr 21 2015 2:00pm

A Case of Place: What TV’s American Horror Story Taught Me About My New Orleans

This post, about how a scenery-chewing TV series rekindled one New Orleans crime author's love for his own city, is offered for your delight and in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Mystery Writers of America.

When it was announced that American Horror Story was setting its third season in New Orleans, and it was going to be about witches—well, I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. The only thing more stereotypical than New Orleans witches/voodoo is vampires, and television shows haven’t been kind to New Orleans in the past, outside of Tremé. Another recent attempt, K-Ville (an abbreviation of Katrinaville), had been roundly mocked by everyone local—the Times-Picayune itself had a running gag about one of its more egregious mistakes (there’s no such thing as a gumbo party, y’all). There was an attempt to turn the much hated (locally) film The Big Easy into an equally hated series that lasted two seasons, and even Larry Hagman tried, post-Dallas, with a show called Orleans.

Given the uneven storytelling of the second season of American Horror Story, I didn’t hold out much hope for Coven. Yet as I watched, I found myself caught up, once again, in the spell of New Orleans.

[Laissez les bons temps rouler…]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 12:30pm
Excerpt

A June of Ordinary Murders: New Excerpt

Conor Brady

A June of Ordinary Murders is the debut Victorian Era historical mystery by Conor Brady about a Dublin detective who begins piecing together a connection from string of suspicious deaths (available April 21, 2015).

In the 1880s the Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two distinct categories. Political crimes were classed as “special,” whereas theft, robbery and even murder, no matter how terrible, were known as “ordinary.”

Dublin, June 1887: The city swelters in a long summer heat wave, the criminal underworld simmers, and with it, the threat of nationalist violence is growing. Meanwhile, the Castle administration hopes the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee will pass peacefully. Then, the mutilated bodies of a man and a child are discovered in Phoenix Park and Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Cynical and tired, Swallow is a man living on past successes in need of a win. With the Land War at its height, the priority is to contain special crime, and these murders appear to be ordinary—and thus of lesser priority. But when the evidence suggests high-level involvement, and the body count increases, Swallow must navigate the treacherous waters of foolish superiors, political directives, and frayed tempers to solve the case, find the true murderer, and deliver justice.

Friday June 17th, 1887

One

The place where the bodies of the adult and the child were found was cool and shadowed before the sun burned off the morning mist.

It was on wooded ground that sloped down towards the river with a view across the city towards the mountains. Swallow knew it well. When the muttering constable with sleep in his eyes and clutching the crime report dragged himself up to the detective office from the Lower Yard of Dublin Castle, he could see it in his mind’s eye.

This was where the boundary wall of the Phoenix Park met the granite pillars of the Chapelizod Gate, and where beech and pine trees formed a small, dense copse close by.

At this point, the trees are trained by the wind that funnels along the valley of the River Liffey towards Dublin Bay, inclining them eastward as if permanently pointing the way to the city. Outside the wall the ground falls away towards the river with the open fields and the village of Chapelizod beyond.

It was here, just inside the boundary wall of the park, that a keeper found the two bodies on the third morning of the extraordinary heatwave that settled on the island of Ireland in the third week of June, 1887.

[Continue Reading A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady...]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 11:00am

Gotham 1.20: “Under the Knife”

It finally happened. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) finally conduct an actual police investigation, though I’m still having trouble buying the premise. Their target is the serial killer with the secret bondage room, ala Christian Grey, who’s looking for the perfect woman, i.e. a woman who does anything he tells her to do.

In other events, the young Bat and Cat attend a ball and banter, Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) takes his first step into villainy, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) returns worried about a job (she has a job?) with a new twist that’s only vaguely more interesting than the blank slate she’s been previously, and Oswald’s mother is menaced by Maroni (David Zayas).

Oh, and Gotham puts Morena Baccarin in a bathtub for no particular reason other than it seemed to want a T & A scene.

[I'm sure that got your attention...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 4:00pm

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

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

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

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

Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:30pm
Excerpt

One of Us: New Excerpt

Åsne Seierstad

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

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

Prologue

She ran.

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

She had seen it.

She had seen him fire and a boy fall.

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