Review: <i>Glory In Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Glory In Death by J.D. Robb Ardi Alspach Read Ardi Alspach's review! <i>The Reek of Red Herrings</i>: New Excerpt The Reek of Red Herrings: New Excerpt Catriona McPherson The 5th book in the Dandy Gilver series. Review: <i>Naked In Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Naked In Death by J.D. Robb Ardi Alspach Read Ardi Alspach's review! <i>Curried Away</i>: New Excerpt Curried Away: New Excerpt Gail Oust The 4th book in the Spice Shop Mystery series.
From The Blog
December 8, 2016
Point Blank (1967): The Only Neo-Noir that Matters
Peter Foy
December 7, 2016
Sweet/Vicious: A Socially Relvant Crime Fan's Cocktail
Dave Richards
December 6, 2016
Interview: Duane Swierczynski talks The Black Hood and comiXology
Crime HQ and Duane Swierczynski
December 2, 2016
A Divided Spy Writing Contest
Crime HQ
December 2, 2016
5 Current Crime Comics You Should Be Reading
Dave Richards
Mon
Dec 5 2016 5:00pm

Westworld Season Finale, 1.10: “The Bicameral Mind” Episode Review

The Westworld creators have certainly kept their cards close to their vests, keeping us guessing for most of the season while adding plenty of teaser tidbits along the way that, when all put in place, cause you look back and say, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.” It was all right in front of us the entire time, just like Dolores’s (Evan Rachel Wood) answer in her own search (Did you find what you were looking for?).

The use of flashbacks serves as a critical tool for the show, and the entire season is basically three-quarters backstory with one-quarter “present” thrown in. But it’s not until the man in black (Ed Harris) reveals himself as William that this aspect becomes clear, and we realize that everything we watched of William (Jimmi Simpson), Logan (Ben Barnes), and Dolores was all in the past … some thirty-five years ago (according to Ford’s account). I was wondering, in the moment, how the man in black knew so well the story of William as he was retelling it to Dolores.

[From white hat to black...]

Mon
Dec 5 2016 4:00pm

The Walking Dead Power Rankings 7.07: “Sing Me a Song”

Finally an episode that remembered different storylines can be featured in the same hour and a half. While we thankfully returned to the world of competent storytelling, we were still met with a pretty weak episode. You'd think after introducing a brutal new villain and two new societies, we could get some sense of variety. Nope—Daryl's gonna Daryl, Negan's gonna Negan, Jesus's gonna ninja, and everything remains the same.

With shows that follow the weekly format, the audience usually forgets the filler episodes with time, remembering only the crazy scenes rather than the 8 hours of setup it took to get there. So, TWD ... I'ma let you finish—but you better bring your A-game next week or people just might not return after the break.

Ach, who are we kidding? What the hell else are we going to watch?

[See who's “Walking Tall” and who's been “Eaten Alive” this week...]

Mon
Dec 5 2016 1:00pm

Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals opens with a credits sequence that may very well go down as the most visceral and unexpected of the year. It’s a sequence that showcases obese naked women dancing and performing strange acts of jubilation, all while a dramatic orchestral score plays. It’s imagery that’s morose and comical at the same time, and at the end, it’s revealed to be a video piece for an art opening that protagonist Susan is curating. This opening certainly gains the viewer’s undivided attention with ease, but like Nocturnal Animals itself, the opening is duplicitous eye candy and confused towards its own artistry.

Yet, it also is a fitting setup for the film’s plot. Susan (Amy Adams) is a gallery operator in Los Angeles who dresses in elegance and modern art, which also seems to mask her unsatisfying marriage and financial woes. Susan, however, soon receives a surprising gift from her ex-husband Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal). Tony has written a novel that is going to be published, but he’s sent his manuscript to Susan as well as dedicated the book to her.

[Aww, how sweet...]

Mon
Dec 5 2016 12:00pm

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency 1.07: “Weaponized Soul” Episode Review

We’re almost to the finish line, and things are wrapping up nicely—but there are still some unanswered questions for the finale to fill in. This week’s review contains a lot of spoilers, but they’re impossible to avoid. So make sure to catch up before reading this … you’ve been warned.   

When we left off last episode, Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) was assuring us he’d solved the case while he and Todd (Elijah Wood) put their hands on the Unlimited Energy Device and pulled the lever before we cut to the credits. At the opening of this episode, we see that the time machine indeed works. It zaps you back in time, but you remain in the same location as when you started. So Dirk and Todd are still in the Animal Transfer Unit at the zoo, but they’ve been transported back to the point when the bad guys stole Lydia, hooked her up to the soul switching machine, and swapped her out for the Corgi.

[Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey stuff...]

Mon
Dec 5 2016 11:00am

Read an Excerpt of Echoes In Death by J.D. Robb!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th In Death novel, Echoes In Death (Available February 7, 2017), CrimeHQ is going to be embarking on quite a journey, reviewing every Eve Dallas novel in publication! Beginning Thursday, December 8th with Naked In Death, we will be reviewing the entire series chronologically!

Before we kick things off, head over to Entertainment Weekly to read the entire 1st chapter online!

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman―dazed, naked, and bloody―suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?


Head over to EW and read the exclusive 1st chapter!


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Amazon

Mon
Dec 5 2016 10:00am
Excerpt

Above the Paw: New Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Above the Paw by Diane KellyAbove the Paw by Diane Kelly is the 5th book in the Paw Enforcement series (Available December 6, 2016).

When a rash of college students falls seriously ill after ingesting Molly, a “club drug” also known as ecstasy, Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit are tasked with tracking down the dealers. Going undercover at the university leads Megan closer and closer to infiltrating the drug trafficking ring. But when the investigation implicates her former partner and workplace nemesis, Officer Derek Mackey, Megan’s powers of discernment are put to the test. 

Thwarted when the Feds seize control of the investigation and frustrated by the lack of attention the DEA is putting into the case, Megan continues her own unofficial investigation with Brigit’s help. But when the trail leads them in an unexpected and dangerous direction, Megan and Brigit find their own lives at risk. Can the K-9 team take down those in power? Or are some criminals simply above the law―and paw?

ONE

BUSINESS, BUT NOT AS USUAL

The Dealer

“Things aren’t looking too good for you, are they?”

God, how he’d love to wipe that smirk off the prick’s face. Instead, the Dealer offered a shrug. “I’m not worried.”

The prick snorted, clearly not buying it. “You should be.”

[Read the full excerpt from Above the Paw...]

Sun
Dec 4 2016 10:56am
Excerpt

Onslaught: New Excerpt

David Poyer

Onslaught by David Poyer is the 16th Dan Lenson novel, which unfolds an utterly convincing scenario of how a global war with China could unfold (Available December 6, 2016).

As the United States’ computer, satellite, and financial networks are ravaged by coordinated cyberwar attacks, China and its Associated Powers begin to roll up and intimidate American allies, launching invasions of India, Taiwan, South Korea, and Okinawa. USS Savo Island, captained by Lenson, is one of the few forces left to stop them. But with a crew under attack from an unknown assailant aboard their own ship, and rapidly running out of ordnance against waves of enemy missiles and torpedoes, can Dan and his scratch-team task force hold the line? Or will the U.S. lose the Pacific—and perhaps much more—to an aggressive and expansionist new People’s Empire?

1

The East China Sea

THE tiny, pale, crab-like animal had hatched only hours before. It scurried about a world it barely sensed. Tendrils of weed. Cool water, seething with microscopic prey. And arching above, a scatter of stars. The crab clambered here and there, fearful and greedy, grasping and eating. With only the faintest stirrings of thought.

Until it dimly felt some distant change. A high-pitched vibration, trilling through the translucent sea. It peered nearsightedly around, then returned to its instinctive seeking.

[Read the full excerpt from Onslaught: The War With China—The Opening Battle...]

Sat
Dec 3 2016 11:00am
Excerpt

Trigger Yappy: New Excerpt

Diana Orgain

Trigger Yappy: A Mystery by Diana OrgainTrigger Yappy by Diana Orgain is the 2nd book in the Roundup Crew series (Available December 6, 2016).

Although still not quite a dog lover, Maggie Patterson meets with her new group of dog-loving friends for “Yappy Hour” every Friday night in the sleepy seaside town of Pacific Cove, CA. Both she and her sister Rachel have put the past murderous summer behind them, with Rachel even securing a headline feature for the Wine & Bark in the famous Doggie Day magazine. But when her sister comes down with a case of salmonella poisoning, Maggie is left to run the business in her absence. Even worse, Maggie overhears an argument between her friend Yolanda and Bonnie, who runs the Chic Chickie shop. Then poor Bonnie turns up dead.

With evidence pilling up against Yolanda, the Roundup Crew is desperate to find the real killer and convince Maggie to investigate. With the help of charming detective Officer Brad Brooks, Maggie finds that everyone has a motive, even some of her beloved Roundup Crew friends. Maggie must put her new job as a purser on hold while she tracks down a murderer. Will Maggie’s investigation kill her budding romance with Officer Brooks? Sometimes getting to the truth is not for the faint of bark…er…heart. Between running the bar, managing her love life, and solving a murder in time for the editorial spread, things are about to get a little hairy in this laugh-out-loud cozy mystery.

Chapter One

“The wine is smooth, right?” the stubbled face in front of me asked.

At the moment, it was difficult to discern any qualities the wine might have to offer. In a few days, I would report for my very first bookkeeper/purser assignment with Soleado Mexican Riviera Cruise Line. Last night had been my going away party and, regrettably, I’d over indulged. But this morning my sister, Rachel, owner of the Wine and Bark—a wine bar that catered to dog owners and their beloved beasts—had confessed that she had also indulged a bit too much. She wasn’t even able to get out of bed.

She’d begged me to meet Hendrick, the proprietor of Verdant Vines, and select a few varieties to feature at the Wine and Bark. I suppose the feeling of guilt at abandoning my sister and Pacific Cove in favor of the Mexican Riviera was too much to bear, so I’d agreed to meet Hendrick and taste test.

I tapped on the laminated sheet of prices that lay between the wine vendor and myself. “I can’t make any money at these prices.”

[Read the full excerpt from Trigger Yappy...]

Fri
Dec 2 2016 4:30pm

A Divided Spy Writing Contest

Want to be published in a thriller by a bestselling author? St. Martin's Press is sponsoring the Who Can You Trust? writing contest to celebrate the upcoming publication of A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming. The contest details are simple—write up to 1,000 words on how trust (or distrust) has changed your outlook on life in some way. Five winners will receive $250 and their submissions will be published in the paperback and ebook versions of A Divided Spy

Full contest details can be found at ADividedSpy.com

Bonus: Read a 10-chapter excerpt of A Divided Spy here, or listen to an audio excerpt here

 

To learn more or order a copy of A Divided Spy, visit:

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Amazon

Fri
Dec 2 2016 4:00pm

5 Current Crime Comics You Should Be Reading

Superhero comic books are just as popular as the blockbuster films they inspire. So when you enter a comic store, you’re guaranteed to be bombarded with a whole host of titles featuring the adventures of heroes, from mainstream companies like DC Comics and Marvel to independent publishers. Similar to their onscreen counterparts, comics are in the middle of another golden age, with a range of diverse and quality titles. Thanks to the growth of major publishing imprints like DC Comics’ Vertigo line and independent publishers like Image Comics, there are comics for fans of almost every kind of genre—especially crime fiction. 

Of course, crime fiction is a very broad genre that can accompany a number of different stories and tones. So in this article, I’ll give you the low-down on several diverse and current crime comics, giving you a breakdown of the titles, who they’ll appeal to, and how to get caught up with each.

However, before we get into that, I'd like to provide readers who might be new to the world of comics with some tips to help you get caught up and stay current on the great books I’ll be discussing.

First, create yourself a pull list. Most reputable comic shops are happy to keep a pull list of titles for their regular customers. It’s a way of pre-ordering. Essentially, you let your retailer know which comics you’d be interested in buying, and they set aside the new issues of those titles for you when they become available. If, at any point, you decide a title is no longer for you, just let your retailer know and they’ll remove it from your pull list.

Second, immerse yourself in the burgeoning world of digital comics. It's not always easy to snag each new issue and carry them around all day—that's where sites like comiXology come in. Digital comics allow you to download your favorite issues and read them on any of your digital devices. All of the titles I’ll be discussing are available in both single issue and graphic novel form as digital comics via comiXology.

[See what comics you'll be reading next!]

Fri
Dec 2 2016 3:00pm

Review: The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner was meant to be the 2nd book in the Cool & Lam Mystery series but was shelved and subsequently lost for 75 years until Hard Case Crime got their hands on it (Available December 6, 2016).

Outside the mystery and detective community, the name Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1966) is receding into the past. Many that I asked—in my most unscientific of polls—had no idea who he was. On the flip side, however, almost 100% surveyed knew, or at least had heard of, the name Perry Mason—one of Gardner’s most famous creations. Absolutely none outside the genre’s bubble had ever heard of the Cool and Lam series that Gardner wrote under the pseudonym A.A. Fair. 

Now, here’s my confession: I’ve read plenty of Perry Mason but not one Cool and Lam book—until the latest Hard Case Crime landed in my hands. I knew the series was, at one point, hip enough for Frank Sinatra to play the part of Donald Lam on radio’s U.S. Steel Hour of Mystery, but that bit of knowledge was the closest I’d gotten to the duo.

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Knife Slipped...]

Fri
Dec 2 2016 1:00pm

Review: In Sunlight or In Shadow, Edited by Lawrence Block

In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, edited by Lawrence Block, is a newly-commissioned anthology of seventeen superbly-crafted stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper (Available December 6, 2016).

Edward Hopper is probably the first—and possibly the only—famous visual artist you’ll think of when discussing noir. His Nighthawks encapsulates the essence of the genre—gloomy, alienated, down on your luck. So how come no one thought of an anthology based on Edward Hopper’s paintings before?

It took Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Lawrence Block to take the call, and a herd of the best writers around came running when asked if they would like to contribute. Stephen King. Joyce Carol Oates. Michael Connolly. Lee Child. Megan Abbott. Craig Ferguson…? Trust me, he can write. There’s not a bad story in the bunch, and I’m not even talking about a forgettable one. And, there’s quite a bit of range, which is difficult with a themed anthology—I should know, I’ve edited three of them. 

[Read Thomas Pluck's review of In Sunlight or In Shadow...]

Fri
Dec 2 2016 11:00am

Fleeing Robber to Police: He Went Thatta Way!

A man was arrested over the weekend after attempting to rob a Family Dollar store and pretending to be the 4th member of the Three Stooges.

According to UPI, the suspect—Sean Torres, 29—had a shirt wrapped around his head when he strolled into the Family Dollar and demanded money from the store clerk. When the clerk did not comply to Torres's demands, he threatened to shoot up the joint, but then ran away without any money.

A police chopper was dispatched and spotted Torres at the edge of a nearby pond in an effort to get away from police on the ground. However, as they closed in on Torres, deputies said the man tried to hide by submerging himself. The chopper had no problems still seeing him.

Here is the funny part: When the police on the ground caught up to Torres, he tried explaining that he was 'just fishing' and that his fishing pole was sunk in the water.” He also went on to say, “the guy who did it went that way."

Torres realized his plan was a washout an surrendered, saying he didn't want to be bit by a police dog. Smart guy!

The ordeal was not over. Torres, while in the back of the cop car, he repeatedly screamed and thrashed himself around, kicking the doors, and ultimately damaging the car. Torres was booked on armed robbery and criminal mischief charges.

Check out the video of the chase:

Fri
Dec 2 2016 10:00am
Excerpt

Brazen: New Excerpt

Loren D. Estleman

Brazen by Loren D. EstlemanBrazen by Loren D. Estleman is the 5th book in the Valentino Mystery series (Available December 6, 2016).

A killer is reenacting the deaths of Hollywood's blond bombshells, and Valentino must stop him before it's too late in Loren D. Estleman's Brazen.

UCLA film archivist and sometime film detective Valentino doesn’t take friend and former actress Beata Limerick very seriously when she tells him that she quit acting because of the curse on blond actresses. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Thelma Todd, Sharon Tate… they all had more fun, but none of them made it out of the business alive, and according to Limerick, she wasn’t taking any chances. But when Valentino finds Beata’s body staged the way Monroe was found, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” playing on repeat; he knows Limerick's death was no accident.

Police detective Ray Padilla doesn’t quite suspect Valentino is the killer, but he can’t let him off that easy. After all, the film archivist seems to be involved in more than his share of intrigue and death, which makes him a prime suspect. But Valentino is also a walking encyclopedia of Hollywood knowledge. When another washed-up actress is killed, the crime scene a copy of Thelma Todd’s last moments, Padilla enlists Valentino’s help in catching a serial killer of doomed blondes before he can strike again.

1

KYLE BROADHEAD LOOPED a giant rubber band on the toe of his wingtip, aimed his leg at a picture of the director of the UCLA board of regents shaking his hand, drew the band taut, and let go. It zinged through the air of his office and struck the protective glass a tremendous whack, but failed to crack it.

“Plexiglas.” He snorted. “I might have guessed. The cheap so-and-so.”

“Why hang it at all, if you dislike him so much?” Valentino asked.

“I need the target practice.”

[Read the full excerpt from Brazen...]

Thu
Dec 1 2016 4:30pm

Review: Don’t Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier

Don't Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier is the 3rd Commandant Martin Servaz novel (Available December 6, 2016).

Great writing is like great baking. The ingredients have to be spot on, properly prepared, and well thought out. They have to be mixed together just right so that the interplay between them becomes a perfect juxtaposition rather than a jumbled mess. When done well, the final product is a heavenly treat that leaves you craving more—and Bernard Minier pens an excellent recipe for a terrific thriller in Don’t Turn Out the Lights.

This book is seriously good. I’ve never been much of a fan of dream sequences in books or surreal layers overlapping the narrative, but this has changed my mind. Big time. Like a cake that’s to die for, Don’t Turn Out The Lights is a delight of many layers, each with its own distinct flavor. The dream sequences keep you guessing about what is real and what is not in the most delicious fashion, and the violence is served up just as it should be—sparse, cold, and dry, leaving a nasty taste in your mouth.

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of Don't Turn Out the Lights...]

Thu
Dec 1 2016 3:00pm

Holiday Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List

December is upon us, and with it comes all the joys and wonders (and murder) of the holiday season! While we normally compile a list of all of the upcoming soft-boiled mysteries for the month (see December's titles!), we decided to put together a list of all of the winter/holiday-themed cozies we could find. Know of any other great holiday cozies? Let us know in the comments!

Like this shopping list? Sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay in touch with all our cozy content!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Thu
Dec 1 2016 1:00pm

The 1830 True Murder Behind Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

A brutal crime in Salem, Massachusetts inspired author Edgar Allan Poe to write his famous psychological murder mystery, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” On the evening of April 6, 1830, the murder of 82-year-old Captain Joseph White, a wealthy retired shipmaster and trader, shocked the residents of the small town of Salem. 

White lived in a distinguished landmark house in Salem with Benjamin White, a distant relative and house handyman; Lydia Kimball, a domestic servant; and Mary Beckford, his housekeeper niece. Mrs. Beckford’s daughter, also named Mary, lived a short distance away in the town of Wenham and was married to Captain White's grandnephew, Joseph J. Knapp. 

[Whodunnit?]

Thu
Dec 1 2016 12:00pm

Watch the Trailer for HBO’s New True Crime Documentary: Beware the Slenderman

What drives two twelve-year-old girls to stab a mutual friend nineteen times and leave her for dead? What could possibly fill young and innocent minds with such cold blood and carnage? 

HBO’s new documentary Beware the Slenderman (debuting January 23, 2017) explores the very real case of a near-fatal stabbing attack in the small town of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Reportedly, two twelve-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her nineteen times. The two claim that they had been forced to commit this act of extreme violence by a fictional internet monster called Slenderman—a tall, thin, pale, man-like creature with no face that is typically portrayed stalking, abducting, and torturing people, particularly children. They reportedly believe that this monster was going to harm them and their families if they did not do its dark bidding—that only by murdering someone could they be free from his wrath. 

Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, Beware the Slenderman features “heart-wrenching access to the girls’ families,” and “plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their actions, exploring how the dark corners of the Internet can influence society’s most impressionable young consumers of the media.” 

[Watch the chilling trailer below...]

Thu
Dec 1 2016 10:00am
Excerpt

The Gentleman from Japan: New Excerpt

James Church

The Gentleman from Japan by James ChurchThe Gentleman from Japan by James Church is the 6th book in the Inspector O series (Available December 6, 2016).

Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this “dumpling maker” is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Either the machine must be disabled while still in the factory, or the transportation route must be discovered so the equipment can be intercepted before it reaches its destination. An old friend recruits Inspector O to assist in the complex operation designed to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the “dumpling” machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea. A flurry of murders puts the focus on the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, where O’s nephew Major Bing is the Chief of State Security. Bing has his own problems dealing with a corrupt local mayor who is out for his head, coping with a new deputy who cannot be trusted, and figuring out why a Chinese gangster he’s worked for years to chase away has suddenly returned.

Chapter One

By the time the sun had set on Thursday, there were seven corpses in four of the city’s ragged collection of restaurants, cafés, tea shops, “bakeries,” and illegal lunch stands. Four eateries, seven bodies. It goes without saying that couldn’t be good for business. The mayor would be calling, probably after one of his big dinner parties. The police had quietly sent me the guest list. They weren’t supposed to, but they knew I was interested in seeing who kept company with the mayor. None of the names on the list rang bells.

[Read the full excerpt from The Gentleman from Japan...]