Review: <i>Dark Matter</i> by Blake Crouch Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Brian Greene Read Brian Greene's review! <i>The Second Death</i>: New Excerpt The Second Death: New Excerpt Peter Tremayne The 26th book in the Mysteries of Ancient Ireland series. <i>Trials of the Century</i>: New Excerpt Trials of the Century: New Excerpt Aryn Z. Phillips and Mark J. Phillips True crime, justice gone awry, and the media often at its worst. <i>Murder on Brittany Shores</i>: New Excerpt Murder on Brittany Shores: New Excerpt Jean-Luc Bannalec The 2nd Commissaire Dupin mystery.
From The Blog
July 22, 2016
Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—Rat Queens
Angie Barry
July 22, 2016
Man Uses Brain to Get High Like a Zombie
Teddy Pierson
July 21, 2016
10 Essential Giallo Films
Brian Greene
July 21, 2016
One and Done: Vern E. Smith, The Jones Men
Eric Beetner
July 21, 2016
Why We Are Fascinated with Hell, the Devil, and Monsters
Kristen Houghton
Jul 19 2016 10:00am

Night Talk: New Excerpt

George Noory

Night Talk by George NooryA late-night talk-show host fascinated by the paranormal becomes entangled in a deadly conspiracy in Night Talk, from #1 all-night radio host George Noory  (Available July 26, 2016).

Greg Nowell is a voice in the darkness—a late-night talk-show host who tackles controversial subjects, from angels to aliens and government agencies so deep in shadow that the puppet strings they use to exercise control are invisible. His radio show is a world of the paranormal and paranoia, where claims of alien abductions, Big Foot sightings, and a mysterious world government are the norm.

Greg's world explodes when government agents accuse him of having received ultra-secret files from Ethan Shaw, a hacker intent on exposing a secret cabal with tentacles throughout the government. Greg knows nothing about the files. When Shaw is killed and the evidence points to Greg, the radio personality goes on the run, stalked by a demented assassin. As he tries to unravel the deadly secrets the hacker uncovered, Greg is helped by Alyssa Neal, a mysterious woman who says Shaw also dragged her into the boiling cauldron of intrigue.

Greg realizes his paranoia is really “heightened awareness” of strange machinations. He seeks help from callers to his show who don't trust the government, have gone “under the radar,” or are angry and paranoid about the vast gathering of information and invasions of privacy by government agencies.


Los Angeles

“This is Night Talk with the Nighthawk. We’re back on the phones with time for one more call before we sign off. Let’s go to Josh in Grand Junction, Colorado.”

Greg Nowell’s late-night radio talk show ran from ten at night to three in the morning. He had been sitting in front of the microphone for five hours, still going strong but a little tired because the show required a lot of energy and staying constantly on his toes. Tonight’s show had been filled with guests who had spoken about near-death experiences, a psychic who led the police to a child killer and a UFO incident over Stonehenge, followed by “Open Lines,” in which callers from all over the country called in to discuss what troubled or interested them.

[Read the full excerpt from Night Talk ...]

Jul 18 2016 5:00pm

Review: The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson

The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson is the 5th book in the Baker Street Letters series (Available July 19, 2016).

221B Baker Street in England, the former abode of the fictitious Sherlock Holmes, now houses the legal offices for the Heath brothers—Reggie, a barrister; and Nigel, a solicitor. Letters for Mr. Holmes arrive daily from the worldwide fans of the detective who want to believe that not only does Holmes truly exist, but that he is still ensconced in his Baker Street digs, with the faithful Dr. Watson by his side.

The letters, it seems, must be answered. A stipulation in the Heath brothers lease on the Baker Street property is that someone in the office must answer all missives addressed to Mr. Holmes. Usually, a form letter stating that Sherlock Holmes is “retired and keeping bees in Sussex” is sufficient for the true believers who want to know that Holmes is doing well. However, what does one do about a letter that is an official crown summons for jury duty?

Sherlock Holmes, yes the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street, has been issued a summons to appear for jury duty. All well and good except the summons has been issued in the 21st century, when it can rightly be assumed the fictitious Mr. Holmes as well as his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have long been gone.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of The Baker Street Jurors...]

Jul 18 2016 3:00pm

Review: The Branson Beauty by Claire Booth

The Branson Beauty by Claire Booth is the debut book in the Sheriff Hank Worth Mystery series. (Available July 19, 2016).

I watched a comedy sketch from the 1950s that poked fun at the overabundance of television shows about the Old West lawmen. In a side-splitting parody, these keepers of the peace were literally bumping into each other in a ridiculously imagined “what if” scenario. During the Eisenhower era, every channel you tuned into had another Western on the TV…in 1959 alone, twenty-six Westerns aired during primetime.

Our modern equivalent in literature and film may just be the lone sheriff in the small American town, surrounded by bureaucratic dimwits and his (the scales do seem tipped to the testosterone side) is the sole reasoning voice. Names like Walt Longmire, Dan Rhodes, Quinn Colson, Jack Carter, and Harry S. Truman top my list of personal favorites.

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Branson Beauty...]

Jul 18 2016 2:00pm

Have Mercy: Never Too Young to Die (1986)

Let’s travel back in time to 1986—a magical time when blockbuster, over-the-top action movies ruled American cinema. That year saw the release of a number of big action movies, including one about a gun-toting, second-generation super spy out to save Los Angeles from an evil terrorist’s scheme to poison the city’s water supply.

Who do you think would have starred in this movie? Somebody like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, or Chuck Norris?

Nope, the answer—believe it or not—is John Stamos!

[Watch the hair!]

Jul 18 2016 12:00pm

Death at the Day Lily Cafe : New Excerpt

Wendy Sand Eckel

Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand EckelDeath at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel is the 2nd book in the Rosalie Hart Series (Available July 26, 2016).

Rosalie Hart has finally opened  the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor—to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it's not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie's daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.


The Day Lily Café

Join us Thursday for our Grand Opening. Enjoy a complimentary cinnamon muffin with any coffee purchase. Open for breakfast and lunch, 7:00–3:00.

167 people like this.


Annie Hart

Yay Mom!!!!!! I’m so proud.:)

Tony Ricci

Good job, princess, but for crying out loud, stop giving away free stuff

Janice Tilghman

Way to go, Rose Red. Way cool.

[Read the full excerpt from Death at the Day Lily Cafe ...]

Jul 17 2016 10:00pm

The Night Of: “Subtle Beast” Episode Review

The truth can go to hell. Because it can’t help you.

The Night Of wastes very little time but never feels rushed. Another short miniseries in the vein of Show Me a Hero, this time HBO gave them a little more room to breathe—and it helps immeasurably. Based on the BBC series Criminal Justice, it feels fresh and in a world of its own making, somehow unlike all the Law & Orders and CSIs and SVUs that preceded it. 

With the merest of recaps, we are back in the story. The arresting officers give statements, as Naz sits in a holding cell waiting for a bail hearing and his family frantically looks for him. The confusion of the New York City criminal justice system becomes a very unsubtle beast of its own, comprised of thousands of people working in ancient buildings without sunlight. The cinematography has been excellent, and in the second episode, we feel the walls closing in on Naz as the system swallows him whole. I don’t think we see a tree for the entire episode. 

[I think the same could be said for most of New York...]

Jul 15 2016 11:00pm

Outcast 1.06: “From the Shadows it Watches” Episode Review

I don't know about you, but there are few things I enjoy more than a night in with a glass of booze and a stack of movies. 

The VHS tapes Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) has selected for the evening's entertainment, the ones chronicling dozens of past exorcisms, aren't what I'd usually go for. But, to each their own, I guess.

....Has anyone else in this crazy town been at all concerned about the sheer VOLUME of people being possessed in such a small backwoods area??? Just speaking from a law-of-averages viewpoint here, this number seems unusually high to me. If your population is under 10k and you're having dozens of people climbing the walls speaking Latin in reverse, maybe you should think about ringing up the Pope.

Just saying.

[Don't leave me hangin' on the telephone...]

Jul 15 2016 4:30pm

“Booze Hound” Cocktail

If a dog is “man's best friend,” then a stiff cocktail has to be a close second (and they're the 3 best friends that anyone can have).

So, squad up with this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—with a few “Booze Hound” cocktails, inspired by David Rosenfelt's 14th Andy Carpenter Mystery, Outfoxed!

After all, I always thought studying for the bar would be way more fun than it actually is...

[Check out the recipe below!]

Jul 15 2016 3:00pm

Raymond Chandler Is Not Noir: Get Over It

Noir is the punk rock of the book world. It’s a niche genre that has been exploited to the point that the term it is meant to describe has been so watered down as to be unrecognizable and indistinguishable from the mainstream it rebels against.

And, if Noir is punk rock, then Raymond Chandler is The Ramones. One of the firmament. The founding fathers. Except, he’s not. He’s Talking Heads. Playing at the same clubs at the same time, but in actuality, doing something very different. 

Chandler’s novels have been incredibly influential and are some of the most important books of the mid 20th century. They are essential reading for any mystery fan. One thing they are not is noir, yet they are continually lumped into that category. Please, just stop it.

[The Contrarian is right, and you know it...]

Jul 15 2016 2:00pm

Review: Day By Day Armageddon: Ghost Run by J.L. Bourne

Ghost Run by J.L. Bourne is the 4th installment of the Day by Day Armageddon series (Available July 19, 2016).

...The lock flew off; a tiny piece of steel struck me in the forehead, right between my mask and hood, splattering a few droplets of blood down into the fray below.

The undead went beserk.

I jammed my boot down blindly, striking bone and teeth, loosening the creature's bear-trap grip on my foot. Without looking, I threw myself upward, hitting the hatch with the back of my head and spilling light into the darkness below. Resembling strange deep-sea plant life, an ocean of hands reached up in unison to somehow will me back down the ladder and into their arms. One of them emerged from the array of limbs...

I took the shot down the hole, sending the thing back into the sea of waving hands.

Our narrator is Kilroy, a former military commander turned ultimate zompocalypse survivor. It's been over two years since the undead arose and the living fought back with nuclear bombs, reducing much of America—and probably the entire world—into a wasteland that’s both radioactive and teeming with hungry zombies.

[Read Angie Barry's review of Day by Day Armageddon: Ghost Run...]

Jul 15 2016 1:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: Need to Find a Long-Lost Relative

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.

Dear Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,

Recently, I found out that someone whom I had believed to have died, my uncle, is more than likely still alive. The story I had always heard was that he left home at sixteen, joined the Navy, and was never heard from again.

That story is a lie.

I have very good reason to believe that he is still alive and that he left home because he thought he had killed someone. He was always in trouble with the cops. One night, he held up a liquor store and shot the night clerk. He ran scared because he thought he thought the clerk had been killed. However, the man survived and is still living in this area.

That was over 20 years ago. He is my uncle and I would like to contact him. How do I go about finding a good PI to help me with this venture? I have no idea of costs or even who I would contact. Should I try to find him on my own?

Lost Boy

[Read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's advice!]

Jul 15 2016 12:00pm

Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: August, 2016

Discover (or remember to order) your next cozy with a delightfully convenient shopping list of upcoming soft-boiled mysteries! Last month, it was nothing but fireworks with July's releases; this month, beat the heat with August's cool reads! Let us know in the comments how you like it and what you can't wait to read next!

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

Criminal Element's July 2016 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Jul 15 2016 11:00am

Robber Runs into Cop Car After Trying to Rob Bank

This week’s perp derp is an unlucky fella who should have stayed home instead of trying to rob a bank in Long Island, NY on Saturday.

Here is how suspect Prince Conteh’s day unfolded: First, while sticking up a bank, he was confronted by a very stubborn teller who simply refused to give him any money. Nope. None. Notta. The teller even refused to let him behind the counter, and not even the suspect's shiney shotgun that he brandished could change the teller’s mind. How rude, right? 

Next, according to Newsday, police said an extremely frustrated Conteh fled the bank, only to learn he had to swerve his get-away car around an arriving patrol cruiser. However, he failed at this task and crashed into the cruiser before smashing into a pole. D’oh!

After the double-crash, Conteh tried to run away from the scene on foot, but was quickly caught, thanks to local residents.

His unlucky four–peat adventure produced charges of first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree assault. I think he should have just stayed home and watched some cartoons.

Jul 15 2016 10:00am

The Branson Beauty: New Excerpt

Claire Booth

The Branson Beauty by Claire BoothThe Branson Beauty by Claire Booth is the debut book in the Sheriff Hank Worth Mystery series. (Available July 19, 2016).

The Branson Beauty, an old showboat, has crashed in the waters of an Ozark mountain lake just outside the popular tourist destination of Branson, Missouri. More than one hundred people are trapped aboard. Hank Worth is still settling into his new role as county sheriff, and when he responds to the emergency call, he knows he’s in for a long winter day of helping elderly people into rafts and bringing them ashore. He realizes that he’ll face anxiety, arguments, and extra costs for emergency equipment that will stretch the county’s already thin budget to the breaking point.

But he is absolutely not expecting to discover high school track star Mandy Bryson’s body locked inside the Captain’s private dining room. Suddenly, Hank finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation, with the county commissioner breathing down his neck and the threat of an election year ahead of him. And as he wades deeper into the investigation, Hank starts to realize he’s up against a web of small town secrets much darker and more tangled than he could have ever imagined.


His feet crunched on the snow as he stumbled behind the Company Man. The guy had loafers on and still managed to keep his footing as they scrambled down the incline toward the lake. Hank’s heavy-duty snow boots, on the other hand, were not living up to their billing, he thought, as his feet went in opposite directions on a patch of ice.

Finally, he skidded to a stop at the edge of the water. The lake wasn’t a terribly wide one, but it was pretty. It lay like a shard of glass in the middle of the granite Ozark Mountains, its surface that glassy sheen only possible when it’s a degree or two from freezing solid.

[Read the full excerpt from The Branson Beauty...]

Jul 14 2016 4:00pm

Q&A with Ellie Alexander, Author of Caught Bread Handed

We peppered Ellie Alexander, author of Caught Bread Handed, with some questions and she was gracious enough to spice up our blog with some delicious answers about her Bakeshop Mystery series, her recipes, and more!

Torte is the bakeshop owned by the Capshaw family. Are there any real life bakeries that inspired Torte?

Yes! In fact, there are quite a few bakeries that have inspired Torte. The series is set in Ashland, Oregon, which is one of my favorite places. The town is designed with Elizabethan architecture and centers around the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There’s a great artisan coffee shop and bakery on the plaza, Mix, where I imagine Torte would sit because it has a fabulous view of all of the action downtown. I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with professional bakers through writing the series, and my pastry “muse” is Tier Catering. They craft gorgeous, elegant cakes and pastries that are works of art and taste divine. 

[Read the full Q&A here!]

Jul 14 2016 2:30pm

She’s Gonna Make It After All: Queen of the South

In 1970, TV gave us the tale of a spunky, single young woman who moves to the big city and finds career success, friendship, and love, while rising through a cutthroat business and having to navigate the many men in her work and private lives. Her name was Mary, and there’s now a statue of her tossing her cap into the air in downtown Minneapolis.

Now, we have another story of another spunky, single young woman who moves to the big city and finds career success, friendship, and love, while rising through a cutthroat business and navigating the many men in her work and private lives. This time, her name is Teresa, the city is Dallas, and I sincerely doubt she’ll ever get a statue. The business is drug trafficking, not TV news (wait—there’s a difference?), and while they’re both brunettes, Teresa is the anti-Mary.

Queen of the South is a USA Network original series, based loosely on the successful telenovela La Reina del Sur, which, in turn, was based on the bestselling novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. At heart, it’s a Horatio Alger story for the 21st Century, with a much higher body count.

[Read more about Queen of the South...]

Jul 14 2016 1:00pm

Pokémon Go Leads to a Shocking Discovery

Gotta catch ‘em all.

Unfortunately for some, with the new augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, people have been catching some pretty shocking things other than their little 3D Poké friends. Shayla Wiggins, a 19-year-old in Riverton, Wyoming, went for a walk to “get a Pokémon from a natural water resource.” After hopping a fence and walking along the shore, she noticed something floating in the distance.

“I was walking towards the bridge along the shore when I saw something in the water, Ms. Wiggins said. “I had to take a second look and I realized it was a body.”

While no foul play is suspected, a dead man was probably not what the teen was Seaking.

Jul 14 2016 12:00pm

An Artistic Debut: Reviewing SoHo Sins by Richard Vine

SoHo Sins by Richard Vine is an intriguing debut novel about the underworld of the New York art scene (Available July 19, 2016).

“You can’t deal successfully in art if you dwell on where the money comes from and how it gets made. I concern myself with my clients’ tastes and credit ratings, not their ethics.” —Jackson Wyeth

Nothing like an admixture of art plus murder for a mystery-fused suspense tale. A classic example is Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey, where a vain man's portrait ages as he stays youthful and in a final fit of indignation, he stabs at his degenerate likeness with horrific repercussions. The film The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) catches Humphrey Bogart, as Geoffrey Carroll, painting images of his wives before planning their deaths. (There's just something, dare I say, creepy when the camera zooms in on the canvas of these human creations and that otherworld of color, seeming to hold court against mankind's devious nature, enacting lustful revenge.) 

Richard Vine, in SoHo Sins, mines another vein of the murderous side in the art world, where dealers and wealthy collectors acquire Rembrandt’s and Picasso’s like the rest of us buy bubblegum. Similar to Grey and Carroll, the SoHo characters have cultivated an extravagant, enclosed nook all their own, surrounded by Pollack’s and Kandinsky’s, while lounging in Wassily chairs in front of modernist cube-shaped tables.

[Read David Cranmer's review of SoHo Sins...]

Jul 14 2016 10:00am

Night and Day: New Excerpt

Iris Johansen

Night and Day by Iris Johansen is volume 21 of the Eve Duncan series (Available July 19, 2016).

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan risked it all to protect Cara Delaney from the enemies who want her dead. The journey has led them from California to a remote mountain in the Scottish highlands—and earned Eve the distinction of becoming their next target. When, despite all precautions, Cara is taken, Eve must hunt down the very people who want to kill her in order to save the young girl. At a time in her life when she has more at stake than ever before, she unhesitatingly puts it all on the line in a pulse-pounding mission of rescue and survival.



“I don’t like to lose, Eve. I did very well, but I don’t like partial victories.”

The woman’s voice drifted back from the cockpit of the helicopter to where Cara was lying in the rear.

So hard, Cara thought dazedly through the thickness of the chloroform clouding her mind. The woman’s voice was so hard and full of venom, and it was all aimed at Eve. Cara had heard that voice before as she had floated in and out of consciousness during the last minutes after Eve had come and talked to her, comforted her as she lay in the woods. The woman’s voice had been hard and ugly then, too. But Cara couldn’t remember exactly what she had said.

[Read the full excerpt from Night and Day...]