<i>The Blondes</i>: New Excerpt The Blondes: New Excerpt Emily Schultz A new disease is targeting blonde women and turning them into killers! <i>Reykjavik Nights</i>: New Excerpt Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt Arnaldur Indridason This prequel takes us, and Inspector Erlendur, back to 1960s Iceland! <i>The M.O.</i>: "Fix Me" The M.O.: "Fix Me" S.W. Lauden You selected it, NOW READ THE WHOLE STORY here! Now Win <i>This</i>!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes Crime HQ Sit back, sip your tea, and enter for a chance to win!
From The Blog
April 18, 2015
From Page to Screen with McBain's King's Ransom and Kurosawa's High and Low
Brian Greene
April 15, 2015
Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015
Crime HQ
April 14, 2015
True Detective Season 2 Official Teaser Trailer
Crime HQ
April 10, 2015
Strangers on a Train, Or When Sherlock Met Jane
Lyndsay Faye and Ashley Weaver
April 10, 2015
Crime Poetry: "The Morning Of" by Tom Brzezina
Crime HQ
Fri
Apr 10 2015 2:00pm

Strangers on a Train, Or When Sherlock Met Jane

In this most devoutly-to-be-wished encounter between two of fiction’s greatest detectives, the role of Miss Jane Marple is elaborated by Ashley Weaver, that of Mr. Sherlock Holmes by Lyndsay Faye. This is the first of a group of posts commemorating the 70th anniversary of Mystery Writers of America, an organization whose members have contributed this exclusive content for the celebratory delight of other crime fans.

 

Miss Jane Marple stood in the doorway of the dining car, adjusting herself for a moment to the movement of the train before following the kindly attendant to the only remaining seat. She would be dining with a stranger and had hoped for a bit of good conversation to pass the time. However, her first glance at the gentleman seated at her table was not encouraging. He did not look as though he would enjoy sharing a friendly meal. In fact, he did not look as though he enjoyed eating at all. Practically skin and bones, poor thing.

“Good evening,” she said, taking the seat across from him.

 

Mr. Sherlock Holmes’s steely eyes flicked upwards as a woman with hair snowy as goose down and a flushed, wrinkled face approached in the wake of the train attendant who obviously was fighting an internal war between genuine love of his two—no, three—daughters and a long-held fascination with wagering large sums on cockfighting. Though the dining car was entirely full, the detective had held hopes of dining (or failing to dine, as he intended, in favor of sipping a good brandy and marshalling his thoughts) alone; his mission to track the fugitive jewelry thief Aloysius Fawkesberry was at the behest of the Prime Minister himself.

The elderly lady sat and greeted him, smiling. Holmes bit back a sigh, wondering whether he would be asked to put out his cigarette.

“Good evening.”  His voice was cool but not uncourteous. “A gardener, I see by the speck of loam under your right forefinger, and by the woolen thread on your sleeve a knitter to boot.”

[The life unexamined is hardly worthwhile...]

Fri
Apr 10 2015 9:45am

Crime Poetry: “The Morning Of” by Tom Brzezina

April is National Poetry Month, which for us, always means a tip o' the fedora to the crime poetry blog, The Five-Two, from which we're pleased to share this  evocatively sparse verse:

 

The Morning Of” by Tom Brzezina

On the morning before the morning of,
tension knotted the muscles between
my shoulder blades.

In the afternoon before the morning of,
the dark blue van was still parked across
the street.

On the night before the morning of,
I sat up in my bed, a loaded
shotgun in my lap.

On the morning of, I heard the back
door creak open, then careful
footsteps in the hall.

In the afternoon of the morning of,
I was lying on a slab in a jail cell,
and he was dead.

In the evening of the morning of,
I mouthed off to the guard, and he
overreacted.

On the night of the morning of,
I was in a hospital bed, handcuffed to
the railing.

On the morning after the morning of,
I was still handcuffed to the railing,
but my lawyer had good news.

That evening, I sat in front of my
television, eating Kung Pao chicken,
contemplating the absurdity of life.

 

Visit The Five-Two to hear the poet read his work and learn more about its inspiration. And check the schedule, because all month long, crime-loving sites will be hosting and discussing crime poems. Admit it, if you'd known Kung Pao chicken was involved, you'd have gotten cultured long ago!

Thu
Apr 9 2015 3:00pm

Book 1 with Sheriff Dan Rhodes: Too Late to Die by Bill Crider

Many readers develop a deep affinity for a continuing detective or mystery series beyond well-sculpted plots, fast action, and wisecracks, that is, if they are going to stick with it for the long read. I know I do. An emotional hook, so to speak, that I can identify with in the main and supporting characters. In The Crime of Our Lives, Lawrence Block says: “We make our way through a series of books because we want to enjoy the company of a favorite character in a new situation.” Examples for me include Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, who epitomizes that code of honor he wears on his sleeve, in part, by his devotion to Susan and Hawk. With Ross Macdonald’s world-weary protagonist Lew Archer, I’m there for his sermonizing against the ills of humanity and the solutions he offers. Heck, even a career criminal like Richard Stark’s Parker gets my thumbs-up for his outsider stance and honorable dedication to the job at hand. My warmth for Bill Crider’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes is quite simple: he is a good man.

Sheriff Dan Rhodes is the kind of man I want for a neighbor and best friend. He’s a doting father to his daughter, Kathy and in this first novel, Too Late to Die, he’s still a husband grieving his late wife. As sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas, (near eight thousand residents, give or take), he keeps plugging forward to carry out the job he was hired to do. And, like in most municipalities, the community is rife with shortsighted bureaucrats that Sheriff Rhodes must wade through, politely cutting down to size if need be, just to persevere.He doesn’t take himself too seriously and lets the air out of other civil servants who think they are high and mighty. Like Archer and Spenser, Rhodes is a continuing rush of fresh air in a genre that can copy itself into almost-irrelevance.

[The times, they are a'changing...]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 10:45am

The Americans 3.11: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”

Phew! For the first time in weeks, nobody on The Americans was lit on fire, no one was stuffed into a suitcase, no little old ladies were killed, and no teenage girls lost their innocence. And you know what? I’m fine with that. The audience needed a break after the emotional wringer it’s been put through this season. With only two episodes left, and the eye of the storm on its way, it was a good time to breathe deeply and mentally prepare for the question Gabriel (Frank Langella) asked Philip (Matthew Rhys) last night, “Can you handle whatever might be coming at you next?”

Not that I would call “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov” a light-hearted romp through the park (the title is a play on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich). Characters spend much of the hour struggling to digest the tumultuous events of the last few weeks, events that have placed many of them, like Ivan Denisovich, in their own private “gulags.” Paige (Holly Taylor) has emerged from her daze to go on the attack, demanding answers from her parents about their deception; Anton Baklanov (Michael Aronov), seduced by Nina’s charms (Annet Mahendru), opens up about the pain he feels for his son in America; Philip continues to stew over Gabriel’s treatment of him and his family; and Martha (Alison Wright) must contend with Walter Taffet (Jefferson Mays), the man with a “mind like a computer.”

[Which is a big step above a “mind like a mail robot”...]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Medium Dead by Paula Paul

Medium Dead by Paula Paul is the 4th installment in her Victorian-era cozy series about Doctor Alexandra Gladstone (available April 14, 2015).

I'll admit to having never heard of Paula Paul before picking up this charming installment of her Doctor Alexandra Gladstone series. It seems almost impossible to think that I’d never before encountered these tales of a plucky female doctor in Victorian England solving mysteries as she confronts social prejudices, as that kind of thing is squarely in my wheelhouse. Better late than never I suppose!

In this latest book, Alexandra is forced into uncomfortable encounters with nobility, primarily in the form of the spoiled mother of her neighbor and erstwhile suitor, William Forsyth, as the death of a local medium draws attention to secret visitors at William's seat at Montmarsh.

[Who are these mysterious visitors?]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 8:45am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting the Disappearance of Susan Powell in If I Can’t Have You

Normally, a dad taking his two sons camping is not strange, but when it occurs in the middle of a snowstorm on the same night that his wife disappears, strange doesn't even begin to describe it. Susan Powell, a Utah mother, disappeared from her home in December 2009, and the media was instantly drawn to the case, with eyes set firmly upon her husband, Josh. Over the next three years, the case would move from disturbing to downright disgusting, as more and more evidence and suspiscion surrounded Josh. And it only gets worse from there.

You can start If I Can't Have You by Gregg Olson and Rebecca Morris now, by heading over to an excerpt of Chapter 1.

Wed
Apr 8 2015 12:00pm

Justified 6.12: “Collateral”

Talk about an episode hitting the ground running! “Collateral” exploded like a Raylan quick draw!

Editor’s Note: As this series winds down to the finale, just one more episode left after this, there’s no filler! Events take on Shakespearean proportions, so please don’t read further if you don’t know or aren’t ready to be spoiled.

[Don't forget your hat...]

Wed
Apr 8 2015 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Thieves Fall Out by Gore Vidal (writing as Cameron Kay)

Thieves Fall Out by Gore Vidal (writing as Cameron Kay)Thieves Fall Out by Gore Vidal (writing as Cameron Kay) is a pulp novel, rediscovered after sixty years, about a broke American in post-WWII Cairo who gets involved in smuggling, intrigue, and revolution (available April 21, 2015).

This novel comes with comparisons to Casablanca right on the back—oh, it's understandable if you didn't notice that given the steamy front cover image by Glen Orbik. Well, I note that Egypt isn't Morocco, and this action's set post-WWII, but damned if they weren't right!

Dateline: Cairo, the dog days of summer in 1952, on the run-up to what we now know as the 23 July Revolution. If you're well-off or well-connected, there are pale, tiled rooms with gloved servants and cool beverages, places where international opportunists, trying not to sweatstain their gabardines, hide from the day's heat as they pantomime civilization. Outside the well-guarded hotels that cater to corrupt officials and smugglers, beggars swarm and impoverished natives foment revolution against a dissolute king.

After his rise-and-fall in oil wildcatting, then five years in the Army, where he boxed middleweight, Peter Wells finds himself in the capital city, thirty-one and stony broke. His most recent paid work was on a freighter that landed him at the docks of Cairo, resulting finally in a visit the U.S. Consulate:

“The last thing I remember was going into a dive a few blocks from here, about five o'clock yesterday afternoon. French place called Le Couteau Rouge. Next thing I knew, I woke up about an hour ago in a house with some woman I never saw before, Arab woman, asking me for money. Well, I couldn't remember a thing, but I was sure I paid in advance, knowing those places, so I got out fast. Then I found out too late I'd been rolled.”

Mr Case's Puritan face was set in a mask of bleak disgust....“Difficult,” said Mr. Case vaguely. “The Consulate doesn't like this sort of thing.”

“Neither do I.”

[For criminals, desperation's often in the job description...]

Wed
Apr 8 2015 8:42am

Police Find Easter Bunny Stuffed with Meth

When someone receives an Easter Bunny, it's normally filled with  chocolates or other such goodies. How about meth? Well, that is exactly what police in Tulsa County, Oklahoma found over the weekend.

Police officers found two large condoms full of crystal meth, weighing roughly one pound. The easter loving criminals had inserted the drugs into the hole in the bottom of a stuffed bunny that is normally reserved for treats.

According to Fox23, Carolyn Ross, who admitted that she knew the drugs were inside the bunny, has been arrested for the crime. Her job was to send them to someone else for redistribution.

Unfortunately for her, a police dog sniffed out the shameful switcheroo first.

Tue
Apr 7 2015 1:45pm

Justified 6.11: “Fugitive Number One”

This episode was one explosive hour of television with almost every character's future on the line.

Editor’s Note: As this series winds down to the finale, just two more hours of storytelling from the end of this episode, there’s no filler, and events take on Shakespearean proportions. Please don’t read any further if you don’t know or aren’t ready to be spoiled.

[Here we go!]

Tue
Apr 7 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

Scent of Murder: New Excerpt

James O. Born

Scent of Murder by James O. Born is a police procedural about Tim Hallett, a detective recently reassigned to a special K-9 unit (available April 7, 2015).

Two years after being tossed from the detective bureau for using questionable tactics while catching a child molester, deputy Tim Hallett's life is finally on track. Assigned to a special K-9 unit with the best partner in the world, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, Hallett has finally learned to balance police work with his family life. But that all changes in the heat of a Florida sugarcane field.

While searching for a kidnapper, Rocky locks onto the scent of a predator unlike anyone has ever seen. Or have they? The more Hallett digs, the closer he comes to his old issues when the case that ended his career as a detective appears to be the key to a series of kidnappings.

When the trail turns to murder, Hallett risks everything to catch the killer, even if it means clearing the child molester who drove him to violence and ruined his career. Along the way, Hallett and his partners learn the true meaning of loyalty and courage as their canine companions take police work to a new level and show that instinct means more than training.

1

Very few cops, including Tim Hallett, ran away from a chance at seeing some excitement. Maybe after a few more years on the job he’d slow down, but he hadn’t become a sheriff’s deputy to let others have all the fun. He looked up for any sign of the helicopter as he maneuvered his Chevy Tahoe down a narrow, pockmarked, shell-rock road wedged between a Florida Water Management District canal and a sugarcane field near Belle Glade.

[Continue reading Scent of Murder now!]

Tue
Apr 7 2015 8:45am

James Bond’s Secret Past: Teaser Trailer for Spectre

After James Bond (Daniel Craig) receives a cryptic message from his past, he embarks on a trail to uncover a sinister organization dubbed Spectre. Slated to hit theaters on November 6th, Spectre will mark the fourth time Daniel Craig has portrayed Ian Fleming's suave spy. Set to join Craig are Christopher Waltz and Monica Bellucci, and the film will be directed by Sam Mendes.

Are you excited for Spectre? What do you think of Daniel Craig's Bond?

Mon
Apr 6 2015 12:30pm
Excerpt

Compulsion: New Excerpt

Allison Brennan

Compulsion by Allison Brennan is the 2nd thriller in the Max Revere series about a NYC reporter convinced that there are more murders hiding up the sleeves of a recently caught serial killer (available April 7, 2015).

Investigative reporter Maxine Revere has a theory: that the five New York City murders for which Adam Bachman is being tried are just part of his killing spree. In probing the disappearance of a retired couple who vanished the prior summer, Max uncovers striking similarities to Bachman's MO and develops a theory that Bachman wasn't working alone.

Max wins a coveted pre-trial interview with the killer, whose disarming composure in the face of her questions is combined with uncomfortable knowledge of Max's own past. She leaves the room convinced, but unable to prove, that Bachman knows exactly what happened to the missing couple. The D.A. wants nothing to jeopardize his case against Bachman and refuses to consider Max's theory. With no physical evidence, Max has to rely on her own wits and investigative prowess to dig deep into Bachman's past. The picture that Max puts together is far darker and more deadly than she ever imagined.

As Max gets closer to the truth, she doesn't realize that she's walking down a road that has been paved just for her. That every step she takes brings her one step closer to a brilliant, methodical sociopath who has been waiting for her to make just one small mistake.

And when she does, he'll be there waiting.

Prologue
Nine Months Ago

Sweat beaded on Adam Bachman’s forehead. He told himself the lights up ahead were just emergency vehicles because of the accident. No one cared about him or this car.

[Continue reading Compulsion by Allison Brennan...]

Mon
Apr 6 2015 9:45am

Video Games: Training for Psychopaths... Maybe Saints?

In Norway, a high school teacher is using video games to teach ethical frameworks, reports Laura Hudson for FiveThirtyEight:

The first time I played the “Walking Dead” video game, I killed an elderly man. It seemed like the right thing to do....

Later, some unnerving statistics appeared on the screen: how my choices compared to everyone else who had played the game. I saw a long, red bar of discord stretch out next to my decision to kill Larry. Over 68 percent of players had disagreed and refused to take his life. I gulped. Until that moment, I’d felt certain I made the right decision. Now I wasn’t so sure....

The data doesn’t just influence players, it’s also an important tool that allows developers to tailor the game as they’re making it. In every episode, there are decision points designed as narrative barometers, opportunities to gauge how the audience feels — and whether they’re having the reactions Telltale [Games] hoped for.

Read more about how the role playing aspect of inhabiting different perspectives and the complex moral dilemmas of deciding who to kill or to let kill introduces relational ethics, consequential ethics, and the ethics of duty and virtue. What do you think about using video games as ethical training grounds?

Sun
Apr 5 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

A Scourge of Vipers: New Excerpt

Bruce DeSilva

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva is the 4th investigative thriller in the Liam Mulligan series about a Rhode Island journalist out to stop corruption from taking over his state (available April 7, 2015).

To solve Rhode Island's budget crisis, the state's colorful governor, Attila the Nun, wants to legalize sports gambling; but her plan has unexpected consequences. Organized crime, professional sports leagues, and others who have a lot to lose—or gain—if gambling is made legal flood the state with money to buy the votes of state legislators.

Liam Mulligan, investigative reporter for The Providence Dispatch, wants to investigate, but his bottom-feeding corporate bosses at the dying newspaper have no interest in serious reporting. So Mulligan goes rogue, digging into the story on his own time. When a powerful state legislator turns up dead, an out-of-state bag man gets shot, and his cash-stuffed briefcase goes missing, Mulligan finds himself the target of shadowy forces who seek to derail his investigation by destroying his career, his reputation, and perhaps even his life.

1

A snake—that’s what Mario Zerilli had called me. And now, just an hour later, something was slithering across my cracked kitchen linoleum. It was three feet long with lemon racing stripes twisting the length of its brown body. I watched it slide past the wheezing fridge and veer toward the kitchen table where my bare feet rested on the floor.

[Continue reading A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva...]

Sat
Apr 4 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Pride V. Prejudice: New Excerpt

Joan Hess

Pride V. Prejudice by Joan Hess is the 20th cozy mystery featuring amateur sleuth and bookseller Claire Malloy, and this time, after being publicly embarassed by a prosecutor, she takes a case into her own hands (available April 7, 2015).

Claire Malloy, for as long as she can remember, has been the local bookseller and owner of the Book Depot and the widowed mother of teenage Caron, who frequently speaks in ALL CAPS. But her life has changed dramatically in recent years. Claire has married her longtime beau, Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen. Still the owner of the Book Depot, Claire has passed the day-to-day running of it on to her very efficient employees. With Caron inching ever closer to college, there's but one thing that remains steadfastly unchanged—Claire's astonishing ability to attract, find, or even just randomly stumble across trouble.

Summoned for jury duty, the prosecutor on a murder case, harboring a grudge against her husband, decides to humiliate Claire and dismiss her. Having done so in spectacular enough fashion to make the local news, Claire decides that revenge will be the next dish she serves. She hunts down the defendant in the case, a woman accused of murdering her husband, and offers to help prove her innocence. And not just because Claire wants to humiliate the prosecutor. There are only two problems. One—the defendant is looking guiltier by the minute. And two—the worst day imaginable has finally come: Claire's dreaded new mother-in-law is coming to visit and life in prison is starting to look good.

1

“You have a better chance of getting on the space shuttle than you have of getting on a jury.” Luanne’s pronouncement was accompanied by a noticeably snooty smile. She was looking sleek and tan after her annual safari to the beach, but that did not excuse her attitude. Had she not been my best friend, I might have been a wee bit annoyed.

[Continue reading Pride V. Prejudice by Joan Hess...]

Fri
Apr 3 2015 1:00pm

Game of Thrones Season 5: A Recap of the Realm – Part Two

Game of Thrones returns worldwide for its fifth season on April 12th, and with it comes the dozens of familiar (and sometimes not so familiar) faces, as well as a few newcomers, and it can be pretty damn tough keeping track of who everyone is, what they were last up to, and where they currently reside. In an effort to please R’hollor and to help re-light the wildfire in our brains, I’m here with a Season 5 primer to get you locked, loaded, and ready to go for the premiere. Unless of course you’re Gendry, in which case you’re still rowing in circles around Dragonstone.

This week, we’ll pick up in the north and cover those currently at or beyond the Wall. Warning: this post is dark and full of spoilers from Seasons 1 through 4 of Game of Thrones, as well as some light speculation and news from Season 5.

Jon Snow

[Let's begin with the Bastard...]

Fri
Apr 3 2015 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Falling in Love by Donna Leon

Falling in Love by Donna Leon is the 24th mystery in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series set in Venice (available April 7, 2015).

The mystery in Falling in Love, the 24th in Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series, is centered on diva soprano Flavia Petrelli, last seen in 1996's Acqua Alta, and before that in Leon’s first Brunetti mystery, Death at La Fenice in 1992. She has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. As adulation pours forth from the audience at Flavia’s final bow, the “first rose, long-stemmed and yellow as the sun, fell just in front of her. Her foot pulled back from it involuntarily, as if she were afraid of doing it an injury or it her.”

Yellow roses have been raining down on Petrelli’s curtain calls since her last performance of Nozze two months earlier. But here in Venice is the first time the soprano has been showered with them in her dressing room. She then finds them at the door to her apartment and is overwhelmed by a rush of fear.

She’d known fear in the past, but there had been a logic in what she feared: she’d know what it was about. These flowers made no sense: they should have been a compliment to her talent, sent in appreciation of a good performance. Instead, she felt in them menace and something even stronger than that, something approaching madness.

Flavia’s twisted admirer has been sending flowers to her in London, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and now, in Venice, where the stalker’s actions have taken a terrifying turn.

[You do know what fan is short for...]

Fri
Apr 3 2015 9:30am

Announcing The M.O.’s “Long Gone” Story!

Thanks for a great election turnout! We're delighted to announce that the story we'll be publishing in its entirety is...

“Fix Me” by S.W. Lauden

All the stories were terrific, and any would have made a fantastic debut for our new, themed short fiction program. Thanks to all who shared submissions with us, even if the breadth and quality of stories did make it awful work to narrow down the shortlist.

Give us a couple of weeks to get the selected story a dynamite cover, to format it for downloading if and as you choose, and meet back here on Friday, April 17th to read the whole thing at last!

Thu
Apr 2 2015 11:45am

The Americans 3.10: “Stingers”

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings; Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings; & Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings.

In last night’s “Stingers,” The Americans continued its pattern of structuring its episodes around one extended, intimate, difficult-to-watch scene. Though sometimes harrowing due to the infliction of physical pain, more often than not it is some form of emotional trauma that causes the viewer to look away. Last night’s featured scene promised to be the most trying yet, as it’s the one we’ve been dreading all season, the moment when Paige (Holly Taylor) finally learns the truth about the family business.

And yet, of all the distressing confrontations we’ve had to endure, this one was surprisingly painless. Part of the reason is because we’ve had to witness some pretty awful stuff lately, so anything short of euthanizing an old lady would come as a relief. But there were a couple of other factors at play that also lessened the impact of the Big Reveal. First, the writers have been loudly signaling this eventuality (even again in last night’s episode, when Paige asks her parents, “Are you trying to turn me into a travel agent?") that we were more than prepared for it, even if it was Paige and not Elizabeth (Keri Russell) that broached the topic. The audience has been bracing for this conversation since the swimming lesson flashback in Episode 1. With that long of a wind-up, it’s only natural that we would feel a bit of a let down.

[It took a bit too long t get here...]