<i>Presumption of Guilt</i>: New Excerpt Presumption of Guilt: New Excerpt Archer Mayor The 27th book in the Joe Gunther series. Review: <i>Reckless Creed</i> by Alex Kava Review: Reckless Creed by Alex Kava Dirk Robertson Read Dirk Robertson's review! <i>A Deadly Thaw</i>: New Excerpt A Deadly Thaw: New Excerpt Sarah Ward The 2nd book in the Inspector Francis Sadler series. Review: <i>Gunshine State</i> by Andrew Nette Review: Gunshine State by Andrew Nette Scott Adlerberg Read Scott Adlerberg's review!
From The Blog
September 23, 2016
Passionate About Pulp: Revisiting Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Angie Barry
September 22, 2016
Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter: A Lost American Classic
Peter Foy
September 21, 2016
Page to Screen—Rebecca: du Maurier vs. Hitchcock
Angie Barry
September 20, 2016
From Gore to Grave Robbing: The History of Medicine as Inspiration
E.S. Thomson
September 19, 2016
Head Back to School with the Adolescent Assassins of Deadly Class
Dave Richards
Sep 20 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Chapter 3

Though our journey is long, we've kept a steady momentum with a great discussion of Chapter 2! An oracle once told me we'd hold long palaver this week for Chapter 3.

Thank you for joining me on a reread of what Stephen King has called his magnum opus, The Dark Tower series featuring Roland of Gilead, the gunslinger. It’s been 38 years since Roland’s quest began in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and four years since the last Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012). Let’s see if this equal parts Western, mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy epic still packs a punch.

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

The plan is to read a chapter a week, and each Tuesday we will meet 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 is a short chapter but a meaty one, so let's continue our journey with Chapter 3 of The Gunslinger:

CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread

[On the other side we will hold much council and long palaver...]

Sep 20 2016 10:00am

Devil Sent the Rain: New Excerpt

Lisa Turner

Devil Sent the Rain by Lisa Turner sees the return of hardboiled Detective Billy Able in this dark Southern mystery about the murder of a dazzling Memphis socialite—and the scandals revealed in the wake of her death (Available September 27, 2016).

The heart can be an assassin. Detective Billy Able knows that from experience.

Fresh from solving Memphis’ most sensational murder case, Homicide Detective Billy Able and his ambitious new partner Frankie Malone are called to a bizarre crime scene on the outskirts of town. A high society attorney has been murdered while dressed in a wedding gown. Billy is shocked to discover he has a very personal connection to the victim. When the attorney’s death exposes illegal practices at her family’s prestigious law firm, the scandal is enough to rock the southern city’s social world.

In a tale of the remnants of Old South aristocracy and entitlement, twisted by greed and vengeance, Billy must confront the secrets of his own past to have any chance at solving the murder of the girl he once knew. But as he seeks the truth, he’s drawn closer to an embittered killer bent on revenge—and eliminating the threat Billy poses.

[Read an excerpt from Devil Sent the Rain...]

Sep 19 2016 4:30pm

Head Back to School with the Adolescent Assassins of Deadly Class

I haven’t attended school for some time now, but every year, without fail, I start to feel a bit of gnawing anxiety when it becomes clear that summer is over and fall is about to begin. I imagine that anxiety is even greater for kids headed back to high school. But what if there was a high school where tests and peer interactions didn’t just feel like life-and-death matters because of teen angst, they could literally kill you?

That’s part of the premise of Deadly Class—a creator-owned Image Comics series by writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig that transports readers back in time to the ‘80s and takes them to the clandestine halls of Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts, a secret school for teenage assassins.

The series, with its unique blend of slice-of-life-style adolescent angst and explosive violence, is a must for crime fans who enjoy both cinematic action and graphic fiction that explores the physical and emotional consequences of a life of violence. Plus, it’s about to return from a hiatus and a television adaptation is in the works!

So, if you’ve never heard of Deadly Class or have never had the pleasure of reading it, now’s the time to get acquainted. To help you catch up, I recently spoke with Rick Remender to help create this handy primer about the series.

[Where sleeping in class is a little more...permanent.]

Sep 19 2016 3:30pm

Review: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains by Sharon BoltonDaisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton features a convicted serial killer that insists he's innocent and a notorious defense attorney that eventually takes the case (Available September 20, 2016).

Daisy in Chains is as sharp, tight, and uncompromising a read as you will find anywhere. With this thriller, Sharon Bolton has demonstrated that she is well on her way to the very top of the crime writing genre. The plot, characters, twists, and turns are of premier quality—every section of the book is like a master class in gripping story-telling.

Maggie Rose is a top-class defense attorney and writer. She is well-known for getting convictions overturned. Tough, thoughtful, and highly intelligent, she sees things other people miss or pass off as trivial.

Hamish Wolfe is very good looking, fit, and smart. However, he is also as endearing as that dirty ring of scum you find inside your bath when the water leaves. A convicted serial killer, Wolfe is languishing in a maximum-security prison when he reaches out to Maggie to visit, support his case, and write his story.

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of Daisy in Chains...]

Sep 19 2016 2:00pm

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a deliciously creepy horror novel that has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion (Available September 20, 2016).

In May of last year, Hachette Book Group announced the launch of a new children’s imprint, JIMMY Patterson Books, as a part of thriller master James Patterson’s initiatives to encourage kids to become life-long readers. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is both the first novel Mr. Patterson acquired and the first YA novel for the imprint—and it does not disappoint.

When we first meet Audrey Rose Wadsworth, she’s in the midst of slicing open a corpse in her uncle’s laboratory. It’s August of 1888, and this is not an activity that women of that age are normally engaged in—especially when they are only 17 and have yet to come out to society. This is the perfect introduction, however, to the bright young protagonist and her very independent and fearless ways. I love how Maniscalco uses strong visual imagery throughout to further highlight that fearlessness as well:

[Read Ardi Alspach's review of Stalking Jack the Ripper...]

Sep 19 2016 1:00pm

Agatha Raisin 1.07: “Witch of Wyckhadden” Episode Review

This episode has a mysterious start, and—spoiler alert—it’s the best episode of the season so far. We start with Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen) in the back of a cab. She’s on the phone with Gemma, explaining that she’s not running away—she just has a family crisis. The taxi drives past a woman in a caravan who notices the car and proceeds to flip over a tarot card. 

When Agatha gets out of the cab at her destination, it’s a beautiful castle. Things get even more mysterious when we see she’s wearing a red wig. Lest you think she’s just changed her hair color, she adjusts the wig on her head, showing us she’s clearly in disguise.

There is a haunted house-type atmosphere as Agatha checks in with the creepy hotel manager Claude Martin (Peter De Jersey). She explains she’s there for a four-day visit and has booked a spa retreat. Creepy hotel manager explains that she has actually booked the S.P.A. retreat, which is the Special Paranormal Activity package. Agatha is not pleased. 

[Read Kerry Hammond's review of “The Witch of Wyckhaddon”...]

Sep 19 2016 11:00am

Life Without Limits: Explore the World of Westworld with J.J. Abrams & Crew

October 2nd is almost upon us, and with it comes the anticipated premiere of Westworld on HBO. Blending a not-too-distant future with a reimagined past, this science-fiction-meets-Western deals with all sorts of philosophical trappings—including the dawn of consciousness, the evolution of sin, artificial intelligence, free will and agency—in a world where every human desire can be fulfilled.

Based on the Michael Crichton novel and subsequent film, Westworld’s stellar cast includes: Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Simon Quarterman, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth and Clifton Collins, Jr.

Watch a new 30-second trailer as well as an invitation to the set of Westworld—where J.J. Abrams and other producers invite you to explore the person you really are and to imagine a life without limits in this world: 

[Watch the videos below!]

Sep 19 2016 10:00am

Deadly Legacy: New Excerpt

Daniella Bernett

Deadly Legacy by Daniella Bernett is the sequel to Lead Me Into Danger and the 2nd book in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series (Available September 24, 2016).

A month after her adventures trying to track down the killer of her friend Charles Latimer, Emmeline finds herself in a car that has crashed on a lonely country road in Kent with a dead man as her companion. How did she come to find herself in this predicament? It all started with a man named Ambrose Trent, the fiancé of her friend Claire Sedgwick. But there’s something not quite right about Ambrose. When he ends up dead, Emmeline believes she knows who the killer is. But as new evidence comes to light, she realizes she’s dead wrong—and only Gregory can save her.

Chapter 22

As they exited the M20, the storm intensified. The wipers were going at a furious pace but seemed to be fighting a losing battle against the relentless onslaught of wind and water. When the ever-increasing flashes of lightning burst through the murky gloom of the car’s interior, Emmeline caught glimpses of Ambrose’s tense profile. The only movement was the rhythmic fluttering of his eyelashes as he blinked. He hadn’t said a word since they left London an hour ago. His white knuckles were gripping the wheel so tightly that she thought he would wrench it out of the steering column. For the last five minutes, his eyes flicked nervously between the windscreen and the rearview mirror. Windscreen. Mirror. Windscreen. Mirror.

[Read the full excerpt from Deadly Legacy...]

Sep 16 2016 8:00pm

Once Upon a Crime: A Collaborative Caper in Need of a Title

To help celebrate Bouchercon 2016, we teamed up with our pals over at Minotaur Books to help sponsor a collaborative short story penned by a huge collection of their fabulous authors. After nearly 3o authors and an impromptu roast of some of the Minotaur team members, the results were fantastic. But there's one problem: we don't have a title. That's where YOU come in!

What we need is for you to read the short story below and come up with a title. Leave your suggestions in the comments, and in a couple weeks, we'll choose our favorite title.

The winner will not only have the honor of naming their favorite authors' work, but they'll also receive a mega-bundle of books from all of the participating authors! So get your reading glasses out, your thinking caps on, and have at it! (A full list of participating authors can be found underneath the story.)

[Start reading now!]

Sep 18 2016 12:00pm

Party Till You Puke

December, 2006: As the year comes to a close so do the respective brains of the entire Atlanta comics community. Little Torak discovers music, Nigh Perfect discovers LSD, apparently, and all of us discover the delights of neighborhood swingers!

Hello Chums!

It has been a strange week during which my Nigh Perfect wife’s episodes of spousal madness have reached an all-time high. While it would be wrong – let’s not forget suicidal – of me to list all of her many indiscretions I feel it is my obligation to report one particular misdemeanor, since I’m now convinced that maybe she plans to kill me while I am too confused to react.

My wife lives in an alternate reality: it’s a happy place full of drunken bunny rabbits and magical shoe stores. Here, the television is a trusted confidante, and leprechauns and unicorns live side-by-side in peace and harmony. In the Nigh Perfect Ultimate Universe, it’s perfectly normal to make hand signals while warbling along to a favorite song in the car. When a line comes on involving the word “love” for example, you must look soulfully out of the window as if about to cry and make the symbol of a heart on your chest. “Death” or “pain” involves stabbing yourself sorrowfully with an invisible dagger. The word “rain” is a particular favorite because you can pretend to make rain sprinkles with your fingers. You probably see where I am going with this and you are perfectly within your rights to want to blow your brains out with an Uzi right about now.

[Let's get to the drinking...]

Sep 17 2016 12:00pm

The Best Mysteries Set in New Orleans

New Orleans...it’s not all King Cakes and muffuletta sandwiches and balconies adorned with wrought-iron lace. Beneath its flamboyant exterior, the city has always had a dark heart and an aura all its own—a humid miasma composed of equal parts dried early morning puke, rotting Spanish moss, and the scent of fresh beignets.

New Orleans is jazz and jism, Tennessee Williams and Kentucky bourbon cocktails.

It is Mardi Gras and Marie Laveau.

It is sex and death.

New Orleans is the city that put the “N” in Noir; fertile ground for crime writers to plant their bloody dreams.

[Crime and New Orleans go hand in hand...]

Sep 16 2016 4:30pm

“Brandy Crusta” Cocktail for Bouchercon 2016!

Bouchercon 2016 is this weekend, held in the New Orleans, Louisiana—a city with a rich history of cocktails and imbibing. There are so many great books up for an Anthony Award (including one of CrimeHQ's own bloggers' anthology, Protectors 2: Heroes by Thomas Pluck), we couldn't pick just one to give the ol' Pick You Poison treatment!

So for this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—we decided to toast with a classic yet less-known New Orleans cocktail to honor the event. Here's to Bouchercon, the city of New Orleans, and to a kickass cocktail—laissez les bon temps rouler!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Sep 16 2016 3:00pm

Things to Do in Carcosa When You’re Dead

If you’re going to Bouchercon in New Orleans, I’m afraid you won’t have any luck finding the King in Yellow or Lost Carcosa. But you can still have a lot of fun exploring a state known for its criminal history. Louisiana was the perfect setting for the first season of True Detective because you can believe corruption is so expected that Rust Cohle’s nihilism and misanthropy feel like the only normal reaction.

I’ve loved Louisiana and its culture ever since I drove down after college to see the places I read about in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux novels—and after dinner at Mulate’s and wandering down Bourbon Street I was hooked. I worked down at the port there a while, visiting local haunts like Charley’s Steakhouse—featured in my story “Gumbo Weather,” which is in the Bouchercon 2016 anthology Blood on the Bayou, available for order at Down & Out Books or at the convention. My wife is from Baton Rouge, and we met in Manhattan by pure chance. But maybe her sassy ways appealed to me because of Mr. Burke and my visits to the state.

So, if you find yourself in New Orleans, here are my suggestions for a tour of the state for the criminally minded:

[Take the tour...]

Sep 16 2016 1:00pm

Dear Jack Reacher: Family is Forking Important

This week's guest columnist is Reacher, who just received three unusual deposits into his bank account for $2.06, $5.55, and $12.94, which clearly is intended to be a phone number with a Seattle area code: 206-555-1294. This leads to a problem, seeing how Reacher doesn't own a phone.

Dear Reacher,

My sister is a year older than me, and we grew up as best friends. I married a rancher in Nebraska and we've got a big, happy family—two boys, two girls—and she married an investment banker in New York.

The trouble is, we've packed up and driven to her place the last two years for Thanksgiving dinner with our parents, and the whole time, she kept correcting the table manners of our kids, especially which fork to use. This is the only time the whole family can get together, and her pettiness makes me want to skip it—except we can't. She even did it this summer when she visited our farm for a week.

How can I get her to stop?

—Sister, Up in Arms

[Read Jack Reacher's advice!]

Sep 16 2016 12:00pm

American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare—Season Premiere, “Chapter 1”

“When a mob shows up in the middle of the night with torches, there are not there to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

When American Horror Story announced it’s 6th season, I rolled my eyes. I’ve steadily lost my love for the series after being inundated with too many poorly handled plot lines, inconsistencies, and loose ends. Then, when Season 6 announced its “mystery theme,” I was convinced it had to be true because show writer Ryan Murphy already threw everything, the kitchen sink, and aliens at us, and not even he knew what Season 6 would be about. Turns out the rumors of this season being titled American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, were true.

And color me surprised when the pilot aired and it was framed like a documentary. Fact: I am a sucker for those horribly produced, cheesy as hell “I Shouldn’t Have Survived” and “My Ghost Story” programs. I can’t help myself. This season, the cast even goes as far as to have the “real people” doing talking heads (where they are speaking directly to the camera) while a different person does the “actor portrayal.” It’s funny, refreshing, and such a welcome departure from the usual mode. 

[What did you think of the premiere of Season 6?]

Sep 16 2016 11:00am

Woman Calls in Bomb Threat to Thwart Drug Test

A Florida woman is facing a felony charge after calling in a bomb threat earlier this week. Genuine terrorist threat? Nope: an attempt to keep her boyfriend from needing to take a drug test. Brilliant plan, huh?

According to The Daily Mail, at about 2:40 p.m., Deniz Martinez called 911 stating that someone in front of the Probation and Parole building in Winter Haven, Florida was planning to blow it up.

The call disconnected when the dispatcher attempted to get more information regading the situation. Shortly after, the local police quickly traced Martinez and arrested her after she spilled the beans about making the call so her boyfriend could avoid the drug urinalysis he was slated to take in that building.

Deniz Martinez has been charged with filing a false report concerning planting a bomb, which is a second-degree felony. Oh, and her boyfriend still had to take his test.

Sep 16 2016 10:00am

Protectors 2: Heroes

Thomas Pluck and Holly West

The good folks who run Bouchercon have announced the 2016 Anthony Award nominees, and I’m thrilled beyond belief that Protectors 2: Heroes is not only nominated for an Anthony Award for best anthology, but that Holly West’s story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” from it has also been nominated for best short story. It has also been chosen to appear in a Ripper anthology from Mysterious Press; thank you so much, Holly, for writing the story and letting me publish it in the anthology.

Protectors 2: Heroes benefits The National Association to Protect Children, specifically the HERO Corps, which trains wounded veterans to assist federal and local law enforcement to hunt sexual predators online. Some of the contributors include: Joyce Carol Oates, David Morrell, Hilary Davidson, Laird Barron, Joelle Charbonneau, Reed Farrel Coleman, Angel Luis Colon, Charles de Lint, SJ Rozan, Harlan Ellison®, Wayne Dundee, Alison Arngrim (you may know her as “Nellie Olsen” from Little House on the Prairie), Bracken MacLeod, former ThugLit editor Allison Glasgow, Josh Stallings, Chad Eagleton, Martyn Waites, Gary Philips, Scott Adlerberg, Linda Rodriguez, Rios de la Luz, Joe Lansdale, Graham Wynd, Alex Segura, Albert Tucher, Clare Toohey, Laura K. Curtis, Andrew Vachss, and Anthony nominee Chris Irvin. It’s a monster of a book to fight monsters in our midst.

Holly is the author of two historical mysteries, Mistress of Fortune and Mistress of Lies, which were gripping and gritty enough to make me care about whether an English king lived or died—which is tough for the grandson of Irish immigrants. They’re great noir yarns. Holly was gracious enough to let me share an excerpt from “Don’t Fear the Ripper,” which you can find below.

One of the other anthology contenders is ThugLit Presents Cruel Yule: A Holiday Anthology, in which my story “Letters to Santa” appears. Johnny Shaw’s Chingon tale “Feliz Navidead” is in there, and also nominated for best short story. Also nominated is Erin Mitchell’s “Old Hands,” from Dark City Lights: New York Stories (ed. by Lawrence Block), in which my story “The Big Snip” appears. Snip wasn’t chosen for an Anthony, but it was picked for The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016, edited by Kristine K. Rusch, so I’m pretty thrilled about that, too.

The Anthonys are a fan award and they mean a lot. It’s an honor to be nominated along with so many champions of the genre and also good friends, like Josh Stallings’s Young Americans—my favorite heist novel of recent vintage—Joelle Charbonneau’s Need, Rob Hart’s New Yorked, Hank Phillippi Ryan’s What You See, Chris Holm’s The Killing Kind, Adrian McKinty’s Gun Street Girl, and Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone.

As they say, it’s an honor to be nominated. But if you enjoyed Protectors 2: Heroes and are going to the convention, your vote will help sell the book and generate more revenue for Protect: The National Association to Protect Children. The book’s sales have generated over $4500 in donations so far. Let’s keep it going for the HERO Corps!

[Read an excerpt of “Don't Fear the Ripper,” nominated for Best Short Story]

Sep 15 2016 4:30pm

The New Orleans Setting for Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners

New Orleans is a city that is rich in music, cuisine, and Mardi Gras mania. Its summers are known for their stifling heat and humidity; at one time it was notorious for the outbreaks of Yellow Fever during those steaming summers. Add to all this the fact that New Orleans has an air of mystery from the mingling of religious beliefs and superstitions strongly influenced by Catholicism, Spiritualism, and Voodoo and you have the perfect setting for a murder mystery.

New Orleans was my only choice for Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners, Book 3 in the Cate Harlow Private Investigation series. It begins, as all good murder mysteries do, with a bloody murder. 

[New Orleans and murder? I'm sold...]

Sep 15 2016 3:00pm

Q&A wth Brenda Novak, Author of Her Darkest Nightmare

Brenda Novak, author of Her Darkest Nightmare, is fascinated by the inner workings of the minds of psychopaths. This fascination is what inspired her to write the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, featuring Hanover House—a maximum security facility in a small Alaskan town.

Ms. Novak was nice enough to take some time away from her research and writing to answer some of CrimeHQ's questions about Hanover House, what exactly fascinates her so much about psychopaths, what she's currently reading, and more!

Brenda Novak's Book Club on Facebook is discussing Her Darkest Nightmare! Join the discussion now!

[Read the full Q&A here...]