<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
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
August 22, 2014
Checking into The Knick 1.03: "The Busy Flea"
Joe Brosnan
Aug 22 2014 8:45am

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Kids Reenact Emmy-Nominated TV Shows

Do you love Mad Men, True Detective, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones? Well, you might just love them even more when you see Kids Reenact Emmy-Nominated TV Shows. The Emmys air this Monday, do you have a favorite show that you're rooting for—or worse, one that was snubbed? Does this video make you excited about your shows again?

Aug 21 2014 8:00pm

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards: Who Will Win? (Updated)

Author's Note: I've updated the post to include the winners. Some predictions went well! Some, not so much. I'll be reacting in the comments, so join me there as we complain about everyone who was wronged!

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air this upcoming Monday, August 25, and I’m here to try and figure out who exactly will be leaving the Nokia Theater with some new mantelpiece material.

I feel it’s important to note that I have not seen every television series and miniseries that was nominated. If you feel I’m ignoring a nominee that will win, please direct your scorn to the comments, and I’ll be happy to discuss. As I’m sure my friends will attest, I can talk about this stuff  forever.

So let’s get started.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees: Claire Danes (Homeland), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife).

[Jump to see who will win...]

Aug 21 2014 11:15am

To Die Fur: New Excerpt

Dixie Lyle

To Die Fur by Dixie Lyle is the 2nd cozy in the Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot Mystery Series that mixes ghosts, spirits, shapeshifters, and of course, animals (available August 26, 2014).

Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster is back. With trusted companions Whiskey and Tango, she’s on the prowl for a brand-new predator…

Deirdre has her hands full, as usual. Working as a Jill-of-all-trades for a zany billionaire like Zelda Zoransky means the daily grind is closer to a juggling act, and this week is no exception—especially when her side job is directing spiritual traffic in Zelda’s pet cemetery. With ZZ hosting a party for some of the world’s wealthiest animal collectors and a rare albino liger named Augustus in residence at the private zoo, Foxtrot is ready for trouble to take a big bite out of her schedule…

She doesn’t have to wait long. The half-ton big cat is dead, and there’s a houseful of colorful suspects, each one wackier than the next. But if they were all bidding to buy him, who would want Augustus dead? With the help of Tango’s feline telepathy and Whiskey the canine shapeshifter, Foxtrot learns that there’s much more to Augustus than meets the eye. Now they just have to sniff out a killer before any more fur flies…

Chapter One

Lots of people talked to their animals. Mine talked back.

[Continue reading To Die Fur by Dixie Lyle...]

Aug 21 2014 9:15am

What Am I Bid for Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai?

Johnny Depp as Charlie MortdecaiMuch has been written, and will be written about Johnny Depp starring as Whitey Bulger in the upcoming film Black Mass. Before that, however, there’s this: Johnny Depp as “amoral art dealer” Charlie Mortdecai in Mortdecai, what appears to be a weird romp based on the weirdly rompish “cult classic” “hilarious and dark-humored crime thrillers” (I quote the book jacket text) by the late British art dealer-turned-author Kyril Bonfiglioli.

The movie is loosely drawn from The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, a novel started by Bonfiglioli and finished after his death by Craig Brown. A stolen painting and a cache of Nazi loot are involved.

In the first Mortdecai novel, Don’t Point That Thing at Me, published in 1972, Mortdecai describes himself as: “in the prime of life, if that tells you anything, of barely average height, of sadly over-average weight and... possessed of the intriguing remains of rather flashy good looks.” What do you think? Does that sound like Johnny Depp?

Paul Bettany plays Mortdecai’s manservant Jock Strapp (yes, I know) and, sadly, we must endure Gwyneth Paltrow “doing” an English accent, but at least there’s Ewan McGregor as Inspector Martland.

The movie is set for release in February. Take a look at the trailer. Are you in or are you out?

Aug 20 2014 12:00pm

The Long Way Home: New Excerpt

Louise Penny

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny is the 10th British procedural in the Chief Inspector Gamache series (available August 26th, 2014).

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. “There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. “There’s power enough in Heaven,” he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, “to cure a sin-sick soul.” And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

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

[Click here to get started!]

Aug 20 2014 11:00am

Lost Classics of Noir: The Baby Doll Murders by James O. Causey

We noir heads love the covers of the classic paperback editions of what we now call pulp fiction. You know, the ones with the deliciously lurid images and the zinging plot teasers. The funny thing about the zingers is that, as often as not, they are misleading in giving an indication of the story’s actual plot, if not outright false. But we don’t care about all of that. We enjoy the catchy phraseology and we know it’s just some words that read well on the book cover and that were put there to hook readers.

The cover of James O. Causey’s 1957 noir novel The Baby Doll Murders is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. A Fawcett Gold Medal title, its face shows a sexy redhead in a negligee, her back turned to a guy who is intently staring at her while he holds a cigarette in his mouth and a cocktail in his hand. And the tagline reads, “She could look like a wistful child and she loved to play games – such as murder, men, and marijuana.”

Now, there is a carrot-topped femme fatale in the story, she does use drugs, and there is a guy who is hooked by her charms. But the truth is that she is only one of about eight main characters in the saga, and the leading man’s attachment to her is only one element of the plot, no more central than the several other subplots that drive the tale. So the main story is really not one of a trouble-making babe who lures a hapless fella into her web of mayhem, as the cover suggests. But who cares? The cover rocks.

[Sex has always been the best seller...]

Aug 19 2014 12:30pm

Legends: Sean Bean Is Legendary But the Writing Isn’t (Yet)

The way Sean Bean’s craggy face commands the screen in the new television crime show, Legends, which premiered on TNT last week, is the show’s best asset.

But the writing needs to level up.

Legends has a ten-episode run on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on TNT. It stars Bean as Martin Odum, a “legendary” FBI undercover agent who creates legends, aka false identifies, and inhabits them with ease. This leads to personality confusion, as when Martin takes on a particularly unhinged legend as a right-wing extremist to infiltrate a group planning a bombing.

But the bombing is only the crime of the week. The pilot teases the real arc of the show: discovering the lost identity hiding under Martin Odum, who apparently is just one more legend. Martin receives several hints about who he really is from a man who is then murdered before he can reveal all, as happens frequently in spy shows.

Editor's Note: There are spoilers for the pilot.

[Uncover the rest...]

Aug 20 2014 8:45am

Trespassing Woman Kicked in Face by Zoo’s Giraffe

One zoo visitor made it a mission to see her favorite animal up close, however, the giraffe did not share her excitement at all.

The woman, Amanda Hall of San Luis Obispo, California climbed over one fence and was nearly over the second fence of the giraffe's enclosure at a Wisconsin zoo when Wally, a 12-foot giraffe, saw her, licked her, and then kicked her square in the face. Ouch!

Fortunately for her, the injuries she suffered from the kick were not life-threatening. Zoo officials told police that Hall was very lucky to not have been more seriously injured. Hall told officers she made the choice to climb into the exhibit because “she loves giraffes,” according to the official report.

She was cited for harassment of zoo animals, which includes a $686 fine.

Aug 19 2014 11:45am

The Equalizer: New Audio Excerpt

Michael Sloan

The Equalizer by Michael Sloan is a thrilling reinvention of the TV series centered on former covert CIA officer Robert McCall (available August 19, 2014).

Michael Sloan, creator of the 1980s TV series, reinvents the story of the mysterious, former covert intelligence officer who helps desperate people who are in need of his unique and deadly skills.

Robert McCall is a former covert operations officer for the CIA who tries to atone for past sins by offering, free of charge, his services as a troubleshooter (often literally), a protector, and an investigator. People in need find him through a newspaper ad: "Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.”

Aided by a group of sometimes-mysterious contacts (some of whom date back to his spying days), McCall traverses the streets of New York City, visiting justice upon those who prey upon the weak.

In this novel, based on the 1980s television show, and timed to come out shortly before the feature film version starring Denzel Washington, McCall gets pulled into a battle against Russian drug lords and finds himself pitted against his most dangerous foe ever!

[Click here to listen to Chapter 1 of The Equalizer!]

Aug 19 2014 8:45am

The Question You Never Knew You Needed Answered: What if Michael Bay Directed Up?

In case Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't satisfy your Michael Bay craving, we've got you covered in this YouTube video that asks a question you may never have thought of before but are now only realizing you need to know the answer: What if Michael Bay directed Up?

The video features some signature Bay moments, including explosions, Linkin Park music, and more explosions. Watch the trailer below!

Aug 18 2014 5:00pm

The Strain 1.06: “Occultation”

After five episodes of build-up, we’ve finally reached the “Occultation”: the day of the eclipse. And when you’ve got creatures of the night taking New York City by storm, you can bet your sweet bippy that craziness is gonna go down as soon as the moon slides into place…

But before we get to said madness, we first check in with Herr Eichhorst, who has momentarily foregone his human disguise while he nips into a sealed, padded room for an early morning snack. I honestly didn’t think Nazis could get any worse—but Eichhorst sure does delight in his monstrous nature. Sucks to be you, nameless dude chained to the wall.

As Eichhorst is chowing down, Kelly opens the door to find a pair of FBI agents on her porch looking for Eph. Boyfriend Matt has to butt in and snag a federal calling card, and of course he’s got an itchy dialing finger when Eph bursts in moments later, frantic and begging Kelly to get Zach out of the city. (Whatever happened to the whole, “Someday I’m sure we’ll be friends!” sentiment, Matt?)

[Darkness is upon us...]

Aug 17 2014 10:00pm

Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box: Exclusive Excerpt

George Mann

Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box by George MannEnjoy this exclusive excerpt from Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box by George Mann, a historical thriller featuring the Great Detective, teamed again with Dr. Watson, as his talents are summoned to England's defense amid the turmoil of World War I (available August 19, 2014).

Summer, 1915. As zeppelins rain death upon the rooftops of London, eminent members of society begin to behave erratically: a Member of Parliament throws himself naked into the Thames after giving a pro-German speech to the House; a senior military advisor suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger at London Zoo; a famed suffragette suddenly renounces the women's liberation movement and throws herself under a train.

In desperation, an aged Mycroft Holmes sends to Sussex for the help of his brother, Sherlock.



“So, are you going to tell me why you’re here?”

I was once again ensconced in the back of the automobile, bouncing along the King’s Road and feeling decidedly green around the gills. Beside me, Holmes appeared to be faring little better.

“I received a telephone call from my brother yesterday morning, just after breakfast,” he said, resting his head against the seat back and closing his eyes. I wondered if he were trying to imagine he were somewhere else, instead of flying along the road at an unconscionable speed inside a metal box. I certainly was. “He outlined for me his desperate concern regarding the situation in London, the effect the Kaiser’s bombing raids are having upon the morale of the people, even their support for the war.”

“Well, he’s not wrong,” said I. “I’ve felt it myself. The thought of Londoners dying in those dreadful blasts, the burr of the zeppelins drifting overhead – it sometimes feels as if the end times are upon us.”

“You always have had a penchant for melodrama, Watson,” said Holmes, with a chuckle.

“Melodrama!” I returned, with some consternation. “Holmes, the country’s at war! The enemy fly uncontested above the streets of the capital, dropping incendiary weapons upon the rooftops of our people. I hardly think it is melodrama of which I speak.”

[Continue reading Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box by George Mann]

Aug 16 2014 12:00pm

Gun Metal Heart: New Excerpt

Dana Haynes

Gun Metal Heart by Dana Haynes is an international thriller featuring the deadly freelance operative Daria Gibron (available August 19, 2014).

Daria Gibron, a freelance operative with a long and deadly history, has been slowly recovering from the injuries sustained from her last case. Hiding out in a town in rural Italy, she has been staying as far off the map as she can—until she’s tracked down by an old colleague. Diego had been a bodyguard in Florence, protecting an engineer and her invention, when they were attacked by a highly trained paramilitary group. Diego alone escaped and the White Scorpions, a Serbian mercenary group known for their indiscriminate violence, are now after him. Well, after him and Daria, now that he’s dragged her into the picture.

At the same time, a small group of disgraced CIA agents have been waiting for their chance to exact revenge on the person they blame for their discharge—Daria Gibron. When they learn she’s in contact with Diego, they get the okay from their former bosses to take her out. With several highly trained teams out to get her, a partner withholding critical information, and a missing invention around which everything turns, Daria is in the worst danger of her life. And she couldn’t be having more fun.


Caladri, the Coast of Italy

The quiet man stood in the entrance to the taverna. The regulars didn’t remember seeing him enter. They hadn’t noticed the flash of too harsh, too white sunlight when the door opened. They hadn’t smelled the tang of salt and seaweed invade the tobacco and hashish funk of the bar.

[Continue reading Gun Metal Heart by Dana Haynes...]

Aug 15 2014 11:00pm

Checking into The Knick 1.02: “Mr. Paris Shoes”

Last week, in The Knick’s premiere episode “Method and Madness”, resistance to change was the theme of the episode, and while none of the characters seemed ready to shift their beliefs in Episode 2, we did spend a lot of time learning about their secrets in “Mr. Paris Shoes”. Dr. John Thackery put it best:

There's a life we live within the walls of this hospital and one we live outside of it, and these two lives need not intersect.

I hate to break it to you, John, but I don't think your secrets are safe for long. Four characters had secrets come to light in this episode: Dr. John Thackery, Dr. Algernon Edwards, Herman Barrow, and Sister Harriet (played by Cara Seymour).

[Let's learn their dirty secrets...]

Aug 15 2014 2:00pm

The Movies of 1944: When Strangers Marry

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of film noir’s landmark year, we’re looking at the six key noirs of 1944: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, The Woman In the Window, and When Strangers Marry. Earlier this week we looked at Fritz Lang’s The Woman In the Window. Today we look at William Castle’s When Strangers Marry.

While many scholars peg Double Indemnity as the first fully formed noir in terms of both style and theme, you can see the genre’s style and ethos taking shape in earlier films like Stranger On The Third Floor (1940), I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Street Of Chance (1942). By 1944 you can see all of this coming together in the low-budget mystery-romance When Strangers Marry. The film is an interesting specimen of the emerging noir style, but it is of particular importance because it launched the criminal career of noir’s greatest leading man.

[Everyone has to start somewhere...]

Aug 15 2014 11:00am

Jungle Horses: Exclusive Excerpt

Scott Adlerberg

Jungle Horses by Scott Adlerberg focuses on a London man, who after falling into debt with the wrong people, is forced on a trip to a Caribbean island to study a mysterious breed of horses (available August 19, 2014).

Arthur lives a quiet life in London, wandering from the bar to the racetrack and back again. When his pension check dries up, Arthur decides to win it all back with one last big bet at the bookie. When that falls through, Arthur borrows money and repeats the process, until he's in too deep with a vicious gang of leg-breakers.
The plan to save his skin will take him far from his home, to a place where a very different breed of horse will change his life forever.


Chapter 1

The horses that Arthur saw in his dreams were always running through tropical terrain.  The land was green and the sky deep blue, but this was not the African farm where he'd once bred racing horses.  These were not those sleek thoroughbreds nor were they tame farm horses burdened by saddle, stirrup, and bit.  The horses ran through a lush place, and despite the denseness of the terrain they seemed to run with complete abandon, never stumbling as they tore through bush.  They were jungle horses, immense yet graceful, and somehow he knew as one knows in dreams that none of these majestic creatures had ever been mounted by a man.  How different they were from the horses he'd ridden in his life, and how different too from the London ponies he would bet day after day.  They were unique, he would think in his dreams, and the vision of their bright green jungle would fade, the beautiful horses would disappear, and he would awaken in the hard double bed with the grayness of the ceiling above him.

[Continue reading Jungle Horses by Scott Adlerberg...]

Aug 15 2014 9:00am

Not Dead Yet: Melbourne Edition

A Melbourne hospital recently mass-mailed 200 death certificates for live, recently discharged patients to their family doctors. According to the Times of India, it was an “inadvertent change to the templates the hospital sends to doctors once a patient has been discharged...” Yawn. Or, that could be a cover story for the fact that Melbourne's actually full of zombies, the walking dead, mwa ha ha! We know which scenario we prefer.

Aug 14 2014 1:00pm

First in Series: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson is the first modern western in the Walt Longmire series about a Wyoming sheriff. Registered commenters below will be entered for a chance to win an advanced reader's copy of Craig Johnson's upcoming collection of Walt Longmire short stories, Wait for Signs!

The first novel in the enormously popular Longmire series, The Cold Dish (2004) by Craig Johnson, gave me the vibe that I’ve known the main characters all my reading life and I’m enjoying, say, the twenty-fifth installment in the series, not the debut. All superior mystery and crime series, or at least the ones I prefer, make you feel at home—immediately relaxed. Longmire #1 succeeds in this respect and still offers a fresh voice in a genre that has gotten drier and drier since Ross Macdonald went to the great fedora bar in the sky.

So what’s eating Sheriff Walt Longmire in book one? For starters, a lot. His wife Martha died a few years before, and he struggles daily with the loss. The open emotional wound is deep and he suspects there’s no closure to be found. Added to this heartbreak is the widening estrangement with his beloved grown daughter, Cady, as they each deal with their continuing grief.

[Don't forget to comment for a chance to win!]

Aug 14 2014 11:00am

Don’t Look Back: New Excerpt

Gregg Hurwitz

Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz finds recently single Eve Hardaway adventuring through southern Mexico when she gets into some deadly trouble (available August 19, 2014)

Eve Hardaway, newly single mother of one, is on a trip she’s long dreamed of—a rafting and hiking tour through the jungles and mountains of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. Eve wanders off the trail, to a house in the distance with a menacing man in the yard beyond it, throwing machetes at a human-shaped target. Disturbed by the sight, Eve moves quickly and quietly back to her group, taking care to avoid being seen. As she creeps along, she finds a broken digital camera, marked with the name Teresa Hamilton. Later that night, in a rarely used tourist cabin, she finds a discarded prescription bottle—also with the name Teresa Hamilton. From the camera’s memory card, Eve discovers Teresa Hamilton took a photo of that same menacing looking man in the woods. Teresa Hamilton has since disappeared.

Now the man in the woods is after whoever was snooping around his house. With a violent past and deadly mission, he will do anything to avoid being discovered.  A major storm wipes out the roads and all communication with the outside world. Now the tour group is trapped in the jungle with a dangerous predator with a secret to protect. With her only resource her determination to live, Eve must fight a dangerous foe and survive against incredible odds—if she's to make it back home alive.

Chapter 1

“How many…?” Her mouth was dry. “How many times?”

[Continue reading Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz...]

Aug 14 2014 8:45am

Frontrunners Emerge for True Detective Season 2

As soon as True Detective Season 1 ended, rumors have been flying about who would star in Season 2. With filming to begin in the near future, frontrunners have emerged in the race. Rather than feature two leads like last season, Season 2 is set to star four leads: three cops and one antagonist.

The three actors tied to the cop roles are Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), and Colin Farrell. And the actor in talks to play the antagonist is Vince Vaughn.

Season 2 will be set in California and is rumored to return in January 2015.

What do you think of these rumors? Can these actors match Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey?