<i>Trail of Echoes</i>: New Excerpt Trail of Echoes: New Excerpt Rachel Howzell Hall The latest Elouise Norton mystery novel from Rachel Howzell Hall. Now Win <i>This</i>!: True Crime Thursday Sweepstakes Now Win This!: True Crime Thursday Sweepstakes Crime HQ Register to win 8 true crime tales! Review: <i>The Silent Dead</i> by Tetsuya Honda Review: The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review of this Japanese police procedural! <i>The Underdogs</i>: New Excerpt The Underdogs: New Excerpt Sara Hammel In the tradition of The Westing Game comes this debut mystery.
From The Blog
May 26, 2016
Mood, Music, & Mysteries
Kristen Houghton
May 25, 2016
Nate Heller & Mike Hammer
Max Allan Collins
May 25, 2016
An Interview with Louise Penny
Crime HQ
May 25, 2016
Under Burning Skies: Best of 21st-Century Western Movies
David Cranmer
May 24, 2016
Antiheroes: Top 5 Reasons a Little Bad Feels So Good
Guy Bergstrom
May 23 2016 10:00am

A Game for All the Family: New Excerpt

Sophie Hannah

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah is a standalone thriller by this New York Times bestselling author, where a woman is pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, and must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life (Available May 24, 2016).

You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.

You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.

You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.

Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .

This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.

[Read an excerpt of A Game for All the Family here...]

May 22 2016 11:00am

Jane Doe January: New Excerpt

Emily Winslow

Jane Doe January by Emily Winslow is a compelling, real-life crime mystery and gripping memoir of the cold case prosecution of a serial rapist, told by one of his victims. (Available May 24, 2016).

In 1992, college student Emily Winslow was raped off-campus by a stranger. In 2013, the man was identified by a DNA match in the FBI’s CODIS database of criminal DNA. This excerpt from Emily’s memoir of the cold-case prosecution that resulted, Jane Doe January (her fourth book after three detective novels), describes her journey back to Pittsburgh to testify in the preliminary hearing to establish the charges against him. 

The preliminary hearing is not set in Pittsburgh’s historic courthouse near my hotel. Instead it takes place a few blocks away, in the municipal court, a run-down building awkwardly shaped to look like a police badge from above.

Bill, the original detective from my case, has walked me there. We’ve been instructed to meet the other detectives, Dan and Aprill, in front of the “broken elevators.” They’re easy to find once we’re through the oversensitive metal detector and past the chipper, already-bored security lady; there are no working elevators to trick us.

[Read more of Jane Doe January here...]

May 20 2016 4:30pm

“Rocks-&-Rye Bones” Cocktail

What do you do when a baby is dropped off at your door? I wipe the sweat from my brow, remember that it's a fictional situation, and enjoy another cocktail!

So, put the book down for a quick minute and join us for Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel!

This week, make a nice “Rocks-&-Rye Bones” cocktail—inspired by the 12th Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines, Rock-a-Bye Bones!

[Check out the recipe below!]

May 20 2016 3:00pm

Alfred Hitchcock Is Not as Great as You Think

Alfred Hitchcock is brilliant. He made some absolutely amazing films. Certified classics—make no mistake. But is he as great as you, and the rest of the film snob world, think he is?

Here’s the thing: Hitchcock did one thing, and he did it very well (mostly). But, that’s just it. He only did ONE THING. Many directors in the classic period or so-called “golden age” of Hollywood were genre-hopping craftsmen, who were equally at home with a thriller, a comedy, a western, or even the occasional musical.

Hitchcock made everything from suspense to thriller. It’s like that bartender in The Blues Brothers. “We got both kinds—Country and Western.” Not much of a choice there, is it?

[Was Alfred Hitchcock really a genius?]

May 20 2016 12:30pm

Dear Professor Moriarty: Advice for a Harvard Man

This week's guest columnist is Professor Moriarty, who denies any knowledge of what happened to Prince Harry's missing puppy, though offering a large reward for finding the creature might be wise. 

Dear Professor Moriarty,

I'm a junior at Harvard who just got engaged to a beautiful pre-med whose parents are loaded. A dream, right? 

Here's the nightmare part: her brother. I live in one of their condos (yeah, they have three) and couldn't afford tuition, room, and board without this help. Her only brother, who she adores, is my roommate. Mostly, he amuses himself by tormenting me. Nair in my shampoo bottle, waking me up with an airhorn at 3 a.m. every morning and squirting Crazy Glue into the keyholes of my car—yeah, that's an average week.

It's ruining my life. Do I drop out of Harvard and break off the engagement to a great woman, or sit quietly and endure another two years of living hell?

Harvard Man Living with a Maniac

[Read Professor Moriarty's advice!]

May 17 2016 12:30pm
Original Story

“Down to Zero” by Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran

“Down to Zero” by Jon McGoran is a new ecological thriller short story featuring Detective Doyle Carrick! This exclusive serialization on CrimeHQ will break the story into 4 parts throughout the rest of this week. Be sure to check back each day for more, or if you can't wait, scroll to the bottom and buy a copy for your e-reader for only 99 cents!

When a beekeeper removing hives from an inner city warehouse is greeted with gunfire, Detective Doyle Carrick is called in to help aging mentor Jack Conroy catch the shooters. Although a previous case involving genetically modified bees has made Doyle the closest thing to a bee expert the Philly PD has, it’s a subject he wants nothing to do with. But Doyle owes Jack plenty of favors. Soon, the pair are clashing with foreign agents, corporate security agents, and lowlife thugs while tracking the mysterious bees across the city. As they work to figure out why these bees are worth killing over before the shooters can strike again, Doyle finds himself racing against a clock he could never have imagined.

[Read Jon McGoran's “Down to Zero” below...]

May 20 2016 11:00am

Robbers Holds up Carwash with an Emtpy Bag of Chips

Sometimes you need to rob a joint at the tail end of the munchies. It appears that is what happened with this week's case. California Police reported that a man attempted to holdup a carwash with an empty bag of potato chips.

Accounting to the SF Gate, the police say that the man entered KaCees World of Water and dropped the potato chip bag on the counter and told the cashier to fill it up with money. The man also threatened the cashier that he had a gun and that he gestured it was located within the empty  bag of chips. However, the cashier noticed that it contained only a piece of cardboard and yelled over a co-worker for some help.

When the would-be robber realized his plan was not working, he quickly jumped into his car and fled. Police are still looking for the suspect and the empty bag of chips. I suggest they try every vending machine in the state.

May 20 2016 10:00am

The 100 Year Miracle: New Excerpt

Ashley Ream

The 100 Year Miracle by Ashley ReamThe 100 Year Miracle is the latest novel by author Ashley Ream (Available May 24, 2016).

Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, a scientist studying the 100-Year Miracle and the tiny sea creatures that create it, knows a secret about the phenomenon that inspired the region’s myths and folklore: the rare green water may contain a power that could save Rachel's own life (and change the world). When Rachel connects with Harry and Tilda, a divorced couple cohabiting once again as Harry enters the last stages of a debilitating disease, Harry is pulled into Rachel's obsession and hope as they both grasp at this once-in-a-lifetime chance to save themselves.

But the Miracle does things to people. Strange and mysterious things. And as these things begin to happen, Rachel has only six days to uncover and control the Miracle's secrets before the waters go dark for another hundred years.


The First Day of the Miracle

The Department of Fish and Wildlife had cordoned off the beach, wrapping the small half-moon bay in yellow caution tape. The mayor and the governor in separate press conferences—because even for this they could not share—had warned people to stay out of the water. They feared islanders and tourists would gather up so many of the glowing Artemia lucis into glass jars to wonder at like fireflies that the breeding activity would be compromised, killing the species forever. This fear was not, in Dr. Bell’s opinion, unfounded.

[Read the full excerpt of The 100 Year Miracle ]

May 19 2016 3:30pm

The Armchair Detective: International Crime Fiction

Everyone tends to read about the familiar; I’m never as contented as when I am curled up with an English country-house murder mystery, for example. But, challenging yourself to trying something new could open up—literally—a whole new world.

Just think about the places you could travel via mystery! From the remote stretches of the Arctic to the tip of South Africa, there are crime-solvers poised to bring you into their space, their world, their culture.

Let’s just take a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite places. I’ve made the choice here to select writers native to or at least longtime residents of the places in which their books are situated. Instead of literary tourism (which we’ll look at in another article), I’ve chosen writers you will often be reading in translation.

[Take a trip around the literary world of crime/mystery fiction!]

May 19 2016 1:30pm

Boar Island: Audio Excerpt

Nevada Barr

Boar Island by Nevada Barr is the 19th book in the Anna Pigeon series, where the National Park Service Ranger has to deal with the cyber-bullying and stalking of teenager Elizabeth.

Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—-her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs—-and find the person behind the harassment—-the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.

But the move east doesn't solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren't alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.

[Listen to an audio excerpt of Boar Island here...]

May 19 2016 12:00pm

Q&A with James Renner, Author of True Crime Addict

Read this exclusive Q&A with James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, has been obsessed with missing people since he was a child. After learning about the disappearance of Maura Murray, he put his investigative journalism skills to task and began studying the case. He set up a blog to track his process and hoped to grow a community that could share his passion and help find out what happened on that day in 2004. After years of research, Renner has written a book about his search for Maura Murray.

Well, we had some questions of our own! James was nice enough to sit down with CrimeHQ and provide some great answers about the book, society's current obsession with true crime, and a few lighter questions about his personal life.

[See what James has to say in this exclusive Q&A!]

May 18 2016 4:00pm

Headline Hunting: How Real-Life News Can Inspire the Next Thriller

Read this exclusive guest post from Ward Larsen, author of Assassin's Silence, about how everyday headlines can turn into the next thriller, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

How did you come up with that?

It’s the most common question authors are asked: Where do you get your ideas? Others might answer differently, but for me, there is one clear answer: I get them from the real world.

It is often said that there’s nothing stranger than the truth, and as a thriller writer, I hold to a corollary of that idea—there is nothing more thrilling than the truth. We live in a world where fanatical terrorists create videos of beheadings and corruption is the norm in certain quarters of the world. Not a day goes by without a headline that lends itself to a story.

[It's a crazy world we live in...]

May 19 2016 10:00am

True Crime Addict: New Excerpt

James Renner

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James RennerJames Renner's True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person's case of Maura Murray (availableMay 24, 2015).

When an eleven year old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighborhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession leads James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD. In 2011, James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovers numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura, but also finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being. As his quest to find Maura deepens, the case starts taking a toll on his personal life, which begins to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the All-American girl who went missing and James's own equally complicated true crime addiction.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The day my lawsuit against my former newspaper was settled, I drove out to the Lodge, the nudie bar on State Route 14. This was in 2009. For the last six years I had worked as a reporter. Not the sort of reporter you see in movies. I wasn’t a beat reporter for some important daily paper. I wrote for the alt-weeklies, those free papers you find in bars and record stores and comic shops. There were two in Northeast Ohio, The Free Times and Cleveland Scene, before they merged in 2008. When I started out, a feature story paid $2,500. When I was fired six years later, the same story paid $300. Desperate times for a gonzo journalist.

[Read the full excerpt of True Crime Addict...]

May 18 2016 2:30pm

Q&A with Marla Cooper, Author of Terror in Taffeta

We had some fun asking Marla Cooper, author of Terror in Taffeta, questions about planning fictional literary weddings, her character Kelsey McKenna, and how to get blood uh, cranberry juice—Cran-Apple—out of a wedding dress.

What's the best way to get blood out of a wedding dress? (We're asking for a friend.)

I hate to have to tell you this, but that stain isn't going anywhere. Your “friend” is clearly going to have to burn the dress before it's taken into evidence, then buy a replacement dress and tell everyone she indulged in one too many menu tastings. Then, she should eat a bunch of cupcakes just to make sure her alibi holds. But, seriously…burn the evidence—er, I mean, dress.

[Read more from Marla Cooper here...]

May 18 2016 11:30am

5 New Books to Read this Week: May 17, 2016

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!

Check back every Wednesday and see what we're reading for the week!

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

May 18 2016 10:00am

Seven Days Dead: New Excerpt

John Farrow

Seven Days Dead (Storm Murders Trilogy Series #2) by John Farrow Seven Days Dead continues the Emile Cinq-Mars series of crime novels (available May 24, 2015).

During an epic storm in the Gulf of Maine a lone woman races—first by car, then by a life-threatening sea crossing—to the island of Grand Manan. Her father is dying—will she make it in time?

Others also venture out into the maelstrom that night, including a mysterious band of men and women who gather on Seven Days Work, the sheer cliff that overlooks the wild sea. A housekeeper, a pastor, and a strange recluse are also wandering about out in the tempest. Who else risks being out in the turbulent black night? And how many murder victims will be revealed at the break of dawn?

Such questions will engage retired Montreal detective Émile Cinq-Mars. He and his wife seek shelter from the same storm as they make their way to the island for a rare summer vacation from both his police work and her horse stable. With a mounting death toll, a lengthy list of suspects, and a murder in the deep past that somehow affects the present, Cinq-Mars is drawn into uncovering ancient secrets that have led to murder. When the villainy turns against him, another race ensues, this time to solve the crimes before his visit to the island ends in tragedy.


Time and tide wait for no man and no woman.

And here, she reminds herself again, the tide is swift.

All day, waves kicked up across the Gulf of Maine, out to the Atlantic and into the Bay of Fundy, a waterway shaped like the opening jaws of a shark. Winds staggered ships. Surprised by a whole gale expected to track south but veering north instead, fishermen yearn for safe harbor, the family table, a lover’s nudge. Yet no boat attempts landfall tonight, the tempest too wicked against these craggy shores, the combination a treachery.

Boats wait this one out at sea.

[Read the full excerpt of Seven Days Dead ...]

May 17 2016 4:00pm

Richard Stark and Parker: Thick as Thieves

“When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.”

-Richard Stark, Firebreak

When a book has an opening line like the one shown above, you’re compelled to rip through the rest of the novel straightaway, as if it were the most delicious hamburger you’ve ever tasted.

The prolific Donald E. Westlake is beloved by many for his breezy, comic crime capers, and deservedly so. Like many workmanlike mystery writers who rose to prominence in the 60s—Lawrence Block and Evan Hunter among them—Westlake wrote under many house names and pseudonyms. Richard Stark is Westlake’s most important pseudonym, because Richard Stark gave birth to master thief Parker.

[An even greater House Stark...]

May 17 2016 11:30am

CrimeHClue Murder Mystery Game: Pick the Murder Weapon

Let’s play a game.

Don’t worry, there’ll be no human body puzzle parts and all the violence will be fictional and happen off screen (plus, we won’t drag this out with 7+ sequels).

The game is CrimeHClue. And YOU the reader will choose the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the murder in our Tuesday’s Lineup over the next three weeks, here at CrimeHQ. We’ll hide the results, and once the cards are set, we’ll hide the answers to the clues throughout our social media channels for a lucky winner to win a prize!

*Full instructions for how to win will be provided on the third and final poll. Voting is not necessary and does not increase your chances to win.

So, let’s get to it!

What will the murder weapon be:

survey service


Make sure to vote for the murderer, too!

May 17 2016 10:00am

Morgue: New Excerpt

Vincent DiMaio and Ron Franscell

Morgue: A Life in Death by Vincent DiMaio, Ron FranscellMorgue: A Life in Death by Vincent DiMaio and Ron Franscell delves in the world of forensic science by exploring the many cases of the famed Dr. Vincent DiMaio (Available May 17, 2016).

In this clear-eyed, gritty, and enthralling narrative, Dr. Vincent Di Maio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made Di Maio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book spans 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies, and Di Maio's eventual rise into the pantheon of forensic scientists. One of the country's most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.


A Death In Black and White

I don’t know what’s in a human heart.

I have seen more than my share of hearts, held them in my hands. Some were young and strong; some were worn-out, shabby, choked. Many had leaked away an entire life through neat little holes caused by bullets or knives. Some had been stopped by poison or fright. A few had exploded into a thousand tiny bits or were shredded in some grotesque trauma. All of them were dead.

[Continue reading Morgue by Vincent DiMaio, Ron Franscell...]