Discount: <i>Still Missing</i> by Chevy Stevens Discount: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through February! <i>The Lioness Is the Hunter</i>: New Excerpt The Lioness Is the Hunter: New Excerpt Loren D. Estleman The 26th book in the Amos Walker series. Review: <i>Till Death</i> by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review: Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review! <i>Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal</i>: New Excerpt Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal: New Excerpt Mike Mignola and Tom Sniegoski
From The Blog
February 21, 2017
Page to Screen: Mildred Pierce
Brian Greene
February 20, 2017
Happy President's Day to the Most Famous Lawyer/Thriller-Writer In History (It’s Not Who You Think)
Barry Lancet and Anthony Franze
February 16, 2017
Page to Screen: The Birds: du Maurier & Hitchcock
Scott Adlerberg
February 14, 2017
Ladies First: Groundbreaking Women in Crime Fiction
kristen lepionka
February 14, 2017
Celebrate Valentine's Day with These Criminal Couples
Dave Richards
Fri
Feb 17 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Beautiful Broken Girls: New Excerpt

Kim Savage

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim SavageBeautiful Broken Girls is a stunning release from Kim Savage, the author of the critically acclaimed After the Woods (available February 21, 2017).

Remember the places you touched me.

Ben touched seven parts of Mira Cillo: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. It was the last one that broke her. After Mira's death, she sends Ben on a quest to find notes she left him in the seven places where they touched—notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry lake. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched by a bad coach years ago. But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, involving a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie. 

PART 1

Palm

AUGUST 2016

Mira’s letter arrived seven days after she died.

Mira. Was. Alive.

The idea hit Ben like a punch to the throat. It grew into a vibrating, ludicrous shiver of hope that he’d seen another girl’s body in Kyle’s photo. A different beauty with long arms and gold-flecked eyes and a perfectly straight back, another girl had fallen alongside Francesca. Not Mira.

[Read an excerpt from Beautiful Broken Girls...]

Thu
Feb 16 2017 4:00pm

Page to Screen: The Birds: du Maurier & Hitchcock

Daphne du Maurier published her story “The Birds” in her 1952 collection called The Apple Tree. Several years later, Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the story, and in 1963 he released it as a film with a script by novelist Evan Hunter.

Hitchcock had already filmed two du Maurier works, Jamaica Inn in 1939 and Rebecca in 1940. Jamaica Inn—starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara—did not succeed as a film, turning a brooding, atmospheric historical tale into something comedic and silly. Hitchcock himself disliked it, and it’s now considered one of his worst films.

Daphne du Maurier (who did not work on the screen adaptions from her books and stories) had such antipathy for the Jamaica Inn, she thought about withholding the sale of the film rights to Rebecca. Of course, she did end up allowing Rebecca to be made into a film, and this Hitchcock production went well, turning a big profit and winning an Academy Award for Best Picture.

[And the award goes to...]

Thu
Feb 16 2017 3:00pm

Discount: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny is the 2007 Agatha Award winner for Best Novel and the 2nd entry in her bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery series. Now through the month of February, get a digital copy for only $2.99!

Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.

No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?

With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.

Read Angie Barry's review of A Fatal Grace!

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Books a Million Buy at iTunes

Thu
Feb 16 2017 1:00pm

Review: Snowed In with Murder by Auralee Wallace

Snowed In with Murder by Auralee WallaceSnowed In with Murder by Auralee Wallace is the 3rd book in the Otter Lake Mystery series.

Take a classic mystery opening (a group of connected people with a murderer in their midst), add an isolated setting (an island in New Hampshire), swirl in a frightening nor’easter, and top it off with an estranged romantic couple, and you have Snowed in with Murder.

I haven’t read Auralee Wallace’s two earlier Otter Island mysteries, but it’s not difficult to catch up. Off-and-on islander Erica Bloom has come home to see if she can fan the embers of her cooled-off romance with Sheriff Grady Forrester. Erica is sure that grilled steaks and glowing flames in an intimate island setting will pave the way for reconciliation with Sheriff Grady. What could go wrong?

To start with, Erica’s mother is nowhere to be found on the island. Instead, the island lodge is teeming with strangers—strangers who seem to have their own camera crew. Ordinarily, the lodge is shut down for the season in the fall, so this is highly unusual. Something else that is highly unusual (or perhaps not in New Hampshire): the weather. Erica is surprised—but not too surprised—by the darkening forecast.

[Read Janet Webb's review of Snowed In with Murder...]

Thu
Feb 16 2017 12:00pm

Forensics: Where Science Meets Faith

An apt description of forensic evidence:

“…This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study it, and understand it, can diminish its value.” Kirk, P.L. (1953) Crime Investigation (retrieved from http://www.forensicmag.com/article/2011/12/digital-forensics-cyber-exchange-principle)

You might look at the date of this quote and think: 1953 sounds about right because most of us don’t remember a time when forensic evidence wasn’t part of some big, splashy trial. But in reality, this was a wish list of what the crime investigation community hoped forensic science could achieve. 

The first state appellate court decision to uphold the admission of DNA evidence was in 1988 (Andrews v. Florida). That was nearly 30 years ago, but the interesting part of the forensics story is that police officers, detectives, and crime scene technicians began collecting, storing, and preserving this type of evidence long before 1988. They did this before they had the tests, databases, and data to make that evidence useful. 

I call this the very definition of faith. And this is why I love forensic science. 

[And so do we!]

Thu
Feb 16 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

The Murder of Willie Lincoln: New Excerpt

Burt Solomon

The Murder of Willie Lincoln is an exciting historical fiction debut by award-winning political journalist and Washington insider Burt Solomon (available February 21, 2017).

Washington City, 1862: The United States lies in tatters, and there seems no end to the war. Abraham Lincoln, the legitimate President of the United States, is using all his will to keep his beloved land together. But Lincoln’s will and soul are tested when tragedy strikes the White House as Willie Lincoln, the love and shining light in the president’s heart, is taken by typhoid fever.

But was this really the cause of his death? A message arrives, suggesting otherwise. Lincoln asks John Hay, his trusted aide—and almost a son—to investigate Willie’s death. Some see Hay as a gadfly—adventurous, incisive, lusty, reflective, skeptical, even cynical—but he loves the president and so seeks the truth behind the boy’s death.

And so, as we follow Hay in his investigation, we are shown the loftiest and lowest corners of Washington City, from the president’s office and the gentleman’s dining room at Willard’s Hotel to the alley hovels, wartime hospitals, and the dome-less Capitol’s vermin-infested subbasement. We see the unfamiliar sides of a grief-stricken president, his hellcat of a wife, and their two surviving and suffering sons, and Hay matches wits with such luminaries as General McClellan, William Seward, and the indomitable detective Allan Pinkerton.

What Hay discovers has the potential of not only destroying Lincoln, but a nation.

[Read an excerpt from The Murder of Willie Lincoln...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 5:15pm

Cooking the Books: Pop Goes the Murder by Kristi Abbott

The 2nd book in Kristi Abbott’s A Popcorn Shop Mystery series is a sassy delight. Set in Grand Lake—a resort town on the banks of Lake Erie, Ohio—Pop Goes the Murder features our heroine, Rebecca Anderson, and her poodle, Sprocket. Grand Lake was where Rebecca grew up, but she fled small-town life as soon as she could and married celebrity chef Antoine Belanger. Alas, the marriage was not to last.

So Rebecca came home to open POPS, a gourmet popcorn shop and cafe that serves the only decent coffee in town. Her sister, Haley, married Rebecca’s best friend while she was away and gave birth to Rebecca’s first nephew, and Rebecca is getting to know her family, old and new, all over again. Add to this a budding romance with the town’s only good lawyer, Garrett, and Rebecca is beginning to relish small-town life.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 4:30pm

The Authors From The Witch Who Came in From the Cold Talk Crime Fiction

The Witch Who Came in From the Cold is the fantasy-espionage thriller from Serial Box. This serial is collaboratively written and available in text and audio via SerialBox.com, their iOS app, and all major ebook retailers. Lead by foreign-affairs expert Lindsay Smith (Sekret) and Urban Fantasy-pioneer Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead), this season’s author team is rounded out by Cassandra Rose Clark (Our Lady of the Ice), Ian Tregillis (The Milkweed Triptych), and Nebula-nominated Fran Wilde (Updraft).

We asked the authors to tell us a little about how they got into crime fiction and what really stuck out for them as their favorite aspect of the genre. Read their answers below, and then make sure to sign in and comment at the bottom for your chance to win the entire 1st season of The Witch Who Came in From the Cold!

[Read the authors' answers below!]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 3:30pm

Roux the Day by Linda Wiken: A Visual Guide

GIFnotes: Giving you the basic plot summary of an upcoming book with the help of the Graphics Interchange Format.

This week, casino night on a cruise ship turns deadly! Take a visual tour of Linda Wiken's 2nd Dinner Club Mystery, Roux the Day, with GIFnotes!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: February 14, 2017

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

This was a great week for international mystery and thriller fans! Charles Cumming released the 3rd installment in the Thomas Kell espionage series; Icelandic bestselling author Yrsa Sigurdardottir debuts a new spine-tingling thriller; and Ausma Zehanat Khan continues her Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Series with her third and most gripping mystery yet. See what else to read this week:

[See this week's Top 5...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 11:30am
Excerpt

The Undesired: New Excerpt

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is a chilling Icelandic thriller that might make you want to sleep with the light on after reading.

Aldis hates her job working in a juvenile detention center in rural Iceland. The boys are difficult, the owners are unpleasant, and there are mysterious noises at night. And then two of the boys go astray...

Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the center. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?

Chapter 1

Ódinn Hafsteinsson missed the heft of a hammer in his hand, missed taking aim, raining down blows on a four-inch galvanised nail. As a student he’d never sat a minute longer over his studies than necessary, and after graduating he had quickly given up on his first position at an engineering firm because it had condemned him to spending his days hunched in front of a computer screen. Instead, he’d found his vocation preparing quotes for his brother’s contracting company. This too should have been an indoor job but he managed to wangle it so that he got his hands dirty on as many site visits as possible. It had been a dream job. Yet now here he was, a desk jockey once more, pale, bored and lethargic after three months’ incarceration in an office. And today was one of the bad ones: a gale raging outside, all the windows closed and a heaviness in his head that only intensified when he was summoned to see his boss.

[Read the full excerpt from The Undesired...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 11:00am
Excerpt

Under the Knife: Audio Excerpt

Kelly Parsons

Under the Knife by Kelly Parsons is a heart-pounding medical thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats up to the very last page.

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney is highly intelligent but shy and emotionally fragile. When his beloved wife Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife.

But first he will systematically destroy her life. He will take what is precious to her just as she did to him. Aided by a mysterious man, Finney uses advanced medical technology to ruin Rita’s reputation and bring her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to her to former lover, Dr. Spencer Cameron, for help. Together they must fight to uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him before it’s too late.

[Listen to an audio excerpt from Under the Knife...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

The English Agent: New Excerpt

Phillip DePoy

The English Agent by Phillip DePoy The English Agent by Phillip DePoy is the 2nd book in the Christopher Marlowe historical mystery series (available February 21, 2017).

In 1583, young Christopher Marlowe—student, brawler, rakehell, and would-be playwright—has had a dreadful evening. The first performance of his play in the corner of a very disreputable Cambridge bar is a humiliating flop, and then he’s attacked on the streets while in the company of Thomas Kyd. So when Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, sends for him, Marlowe is only too happy to go.

The assignment is go to Holland, where England’s ally, William the Silent, is the target of a Spanish assassination plot—a plot that is only the first step in the latest attempt to usurp the throne of England.

ONE

1584, CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND

Christopher Marlowe sat at his usual table near the fireplace in The Pickerel public house. By his side: the most irritating mentor with whom God had ever cursed a poet, or so Marlowe was thinking at that moment. Thomas Kyd, dressed in blue frills, the highest London fashion, was fat, drunken, lewd, and smoking. To make matters worse, the noise of the place was maddening. A makeshift stage in a corner of The Pickerel was colorful but, alas, not the liveliest nor even the loudest spot in the public house. In addition to being a place for students to gather, it was the second best brothel in Cambridge. The clientele were ale sodden, rude, and entirely unencumbered by social restraint—and that on an ordinary day. To make matters even worse, the riverside location assured the presence of sailing men, cutpurses, traveling criminals, and general miscreants in addition to the studious young men on their way from better places to a class at the college.

[Read an excerpt from The English Agent...]

Tue
Feb 14 2017 2:30pm

Ladies First: Groundbreaking Women in Crime Fiction

Any mystery lover knows how significant Agatha Christie is to the crime-fiction genre. But she wasn’t the only woman on the scene—nor the first. Women crime writers have always been influential in the world of mysteries, and here are a few who may be less familiar to even a dedicated reader.

If you were investigating the case of the modern crime novel—scouring its pages for prints, swabbing carefully to get a read on its DNA—you might expect the trail of its origins to lead back to the usual suspects: Dupin and Holmes, Poirot and Marple, Spenser and Sam Spade. But this literary genealogy is incomplete without the inclusion of the women (many of them not named Agatha Christie) who helped shape the genre but haven't commanded lasting literary attention. Inspect the list below to find any number of overlooked gems that deserve a second look. 

[Read about crime fiction's women author pioneers!]

Tue
Feb 14 2017 1:00pm

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with These Criminal Couples

Love is an incredibly powerful emotion. So it’s no surprise that it’s a big motivating force in crime fiction. It sends broken criminals and lawmen on quests for redemption, and it can lead upstanding citizens on obsessive, self-destructive journeys. Sometimes, it can even do both. It also creates romantic pairings between some fascinating characters. 

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I’d take a look at some of my favorite couples from crime fiction in several different mediums. I’ll talk a little bit about the pairing, the appeal, and—if it was featured in multiple stories—some good ones to check out. That way you can celebrate in your preferred medium of choice with some tales about the power of love and how it motivates some compelling criminals, antiheroes, and vigilantes.

[Love is in the air...]

Tue
Feb 14 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass, Part VI

Last week, the tension built as the man in black showed up in Mejis. This week, plans are set in motion as we move towards a final showdown. 

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass (1997), the 4th book in The Dark Tower series. When we left Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy the billy-bumbler, they were trapped on the psychotic locomotive, Blaine the Mono, crossing through the feared waste lands. Our ka-tet had narrowly escaped the destruction of Lud that Blaine had decimated with gas—but for what? To become prisoners aboard a train bulleting into a desolate hell populated by fierce beasts, with a guide that’s clearly mad. Yeah, it looks like we are bound to have a helluva lot of fun as we continue our journey to the Dark Tower.

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, plans are set in motion and our ka-tet finds themselves arrested for treason. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part VI of Wizard and Glass: Come, Reap: Chapter 5 “Wizard's Rainbow” – Chapter 7: “Taking the Ball”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[There's gonna be a showdown...]

Tue
Feb 14 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Stolen: New Excerpt

Carey Baldwin

Stolen by Carey Baldwin Stolen by Carey Baldwin is the 5th Cassidy & Spenser Thriller.

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

[Read an excerpt from Stolen...]

Mon
Feb 13 2017 5:30pm

First in Series: Homicide: Life on the Street

In January, 1993, right after airing Super Bowl XXVII, NBC premiered the series Homicide: Life on the Street. I remember watching the first episode then because I had seen the promo spots for it during the game, and it appeared to be an intriguing enough police show to give it a try.

It’s amusing now to think which names I knew from among the creators and original cast and which I didn’t. NBC played up that filmmaker Barry Levinson was a driving force behind the show, and this did impress me. He’d made films I’d liked such as Diner, Tin Men, and The Natural, and as a Baltimore native who’d made good films set in the city, his involvement suggested that the Baltimore-set production might be something other than a conventional cop show.

[And for 7 seasons, that's exactly what it was...]