<i>Asylum</i>: New Excerpt Asylum: New Excerpt Jeannette De Beauvoir A serial killer really does make a PR director's job a nightmare. <i>All the Old Knives</i>: New Audio Excerpt All the Old Knives: New Audio Excerpt Olen Steinhauer The memories of a botched hostage exchange still linger... Fresh Meat: <i>The Edge of Dreams</i> by Rhys Bowen Fresh Meat: The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen Rachel Kramer Bussel Could Molly's dreams hold the answer to her husband's case? Now Win <i>This</i>!: Shooters and Computers Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Shooters and Computers Sweepstakes Crime HQ You'll want backup when CTRL + ALT + DELETE doesn't work...
From The Blog
March 6, 2015
Literary Mysteries: The Enduring Riddle of Edwin Drood
Edward A. Grainger
March 6, 2015
Submissions for The M.O. Close at Midnight!
Crime HQ
March 2, 2015
John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley's Reckoning
Edward A. Grainger
March 2, 2015
Lizzie Borden's Not Nearly Done!
Crime HQ
February 28, 2015
Under the Radar: Genre Movies You May Have Missed — Bandits
Angie Barry
Fri
Mar 6 2015 3:00pm

Literary Mysteries: The Enduring Riddle of Edwin Drood

On June 8, 1870, in the middle of composing the twelve part serial The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the story came to a jarring standstill when, after a long day's work on what would become his last set of characters, Charles Dickens suffered a stroke and passed away the following day. Chapman & Hall went on to publish the six installments that had been completed, leaving Drood, John Jasper, Rosa Bud, and company to wander about an endless stage with no curtain call. And even now, 145 years after the beguiling mystery of what happened to Edwin Drood first took hold, it shows no signs of letting up.

His last tale returns to a familiar theme for Dickens and that is one of orphans—or in the case here, four orphans, beginning with Edwin Drood and Rosa Bud. Their parents had been friends and wished for their kids to get hitched. Edwin and Rosa have decided they have no interest in becoming betrothed but keep it quiet as not to cause a scandal. That also gives Rosa time to find out if she will lose her inheritance if she doesn’t wed Edwin as dictated. Enter the second set of orphans: Neville and Helena Landless. Neville is instantly smitten with Rosa, and Helena and Rosa develop a strong bond as best friends. Neville doesn’t much care for Edwin’s less than gentlemanly manner with Rosa and becomes an instant foe.

[Time for a showdown...]

Fri
Mar 6 2015 12:30pm
Excerpt

Asylum: New Excerpt

Jeannette De Beauvoir

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir is a thriller set in Montreal narrated by the city's Director of Public Relations as a series of murders unfold (available March 10, 2015).

Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal. When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine's boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and bodytypes and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city's and the country's past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?

Not until Martine finds herself imprisoned in the terrifying steam tunnels underneath the old asylum does she put the pieces together. And it is almost too late for her...

Prologue

The woman sitting in the backseat shivered and drew the child closer to her side. But it was a warm morning, promising summer.

[Continue reading Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir...]

Fri
Mar 6 2015 8:45am

Submissions for The M.O. Close at Midnight!

Okay, it'll technically be 11:59p.m. when The M.O. submissions close. But don't be caught out in the cold with your loot in your hand while the getaway car's halfway to Taos, if you know what we mean, metaphorically speaking. If you write about 70 words per hour (and fast typists can do that per minute), you can still get us your original story on the theme of “Long Gone,” and possibly end up in our Rogues' Gallery and/or see your short fiction published here!

Happy Friday!

Thu
Mar 5 2015 2:00pm

Casting TV Crime with Rhys Bowen and Tasha Alexander

Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

Join Rhys Bowen and Tasha Alexander as they discuss their favorite (and least) crime televison series, casting decisions, and ponder the perfect actors to play their own leading characters!

Rhys Bowen: Tasha, do you watch many mysteries/crime shows on TV? I am not a huge TV viewer and I find that most of the shows I choose to watch are on PBS. And my favorites are the oldies: Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse. I enjoy some of the DCI Banks and the Dalziel and Pascoe but most of the newer ones seem to have too much violence, and their plots have gaping holes in them.

You'll notice that all the shows I've mentioned are British. Maybe it's just my nostalgia for my homeland, or maybe it's just that the BBC does better productions with more eye for detail (again nostalgia on my part as I used to be part of BBC drama and always loved the lengths we would go to get it right).

A current favorite is the one with retired policemen solving cold cases. (Is it called New Tricks?) Again I like it because the characters are likable and human, although some of the plots stretch my credibility a trifle! Oh, and I do like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  (But then I love anything in the Twenties, especially the costumes.)

I'm wondering if I enjoy a TV show more or less if I've read the book. From this list it would appear to be more—although there have been some awful Miss Marples. I'm not too keen on the present one. They portray her as nosy, snooping and making bad decisions about going into dangerous situations. I LOVED Joan Hickson. She really got Miss Marple right, don't you think?

[Your turn, Tasha...]

Thu
Mar 5 2015 10:45am

The Americans 3.06: “Born Again”

Julia Garner as Kimberly Breland, Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings

If last night’s opening scene of The Americans was the first time a bathtub had been prominently featured this season, it would be easy to take the events of the scene at face value. After all, Paige (Holly Taylor) had lobbied hard and received permission from her parents to become baptized by Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin). But in a season that has had more bathtubs than an ‘80s Prince video, it’s reasonable to assume that the creators had something more in mind. Sure enough, right after Paige takes the plunge for Jesus, she emerges in a manner that cinematically recalls a shot from earlier in the season when Elizabeth (Keri Russell), also taking a bath, comes up for air. This similarity gives a more ominous element to last week’s scene of Elizabeth furiously scrubbing the Jennings’ tub. Is she cleaning it, not for herself, but for Paige, in preparation for another type of conversion? By the end of the “Born Again,” it appears that this is indeed the case. Paige is on the path to be transformed, only it’s not in Jesus’s image as she originally expected, but in her mother’s.

Before Elizabeth makes her move on Paige, Philip (Matthew Rhys) tries his best to warn Paige of what’s coming (as Paige distractedly replaces her Rick Springfield poster for one of Paris. One can’t help but wonder if this is foreshadowing of the eventual spinoff, The Americans in Paris. Get it? Okay, moving on.) by telling her to stay true to herself, even if the people pressuring her have her best interest at heart. Philip’s counsel is not only appropriate for Paige (though she is understandably confused by his crypticness) but for other characters in “Born Again,” as well, many who find themselves being subtly manipulated by those close to them.

[Be careful who you trust...]

Thu
Mar 5 2015 8:45am

But These Tarantulas are Farm-Raised, with BBQ Seasoning!

Eating wild bugs can be a risky affair, but in the global bazaar, insect specialties are now available, “collected fresh from farms and then cleaned, quick frozen, cooked, dehydrated, seasoned and packed in special vacuum packs with oxygen and moisture absorbers ready for shipping.” Besides chocolate-covered scorpions, canned BBQ tarantulas, and sacks of dried bugs in profuse variety, Thailand Unique also offers earthworm jerky, ant eggs, and a celebrated tea:

...made from the feces of grain moth larvae... fed on nothing else but special tea leaves that have been naturally fermented... According to historical records it has positive health benefits for fever, high blood pressure, digestion and it has good detoxifying properties. Whatever the extent of its health benefits, Bug A Poop serves as a good cooling beverage' which has a higher nutritive value than regular tea. It contains 18 kinds of amino-acids, protein, Saccharide, tannin, vitamins, and microelements."

While still personally preferring free-range insects for convenience and exercise, this meerkat we consulted had nothing but good things to say about the overall trend.

Wed
Mar 4 2015 4:00pm
Excerpt

All the Old Knives: New Audio Excerpt

Olen Steinhauer

All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer is an espionage thriller about an ex-couple from the CIA who can't get over their failed hostage-handling from six years ago (available March 10, 2015).

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA's Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

Two of the CIA's case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she'd had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight's dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

[Click here to start All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer...]

Wed
Mar 4 2015 11:15am

Justified 6.07: “The Hunt”

Sometimes the quietest episodes of Justified are filled with the most tension. “The Hunt” which was in some ways, a setup for the last half of the season, had a relatively low body count (except for the ambulance drivers who had the misfortune to take Ty Walker’s call), but it was filled with thematic density.

The three separate storylines – Raylan’s (Timothy Olyphant) commitment to the daughter he’s never met before and her mother; Ava’s (Joelle Carter) fraught hunting trip with Boyd (Walton Goggins); and the manhunt for Ty Walker (Garrett Dillahunt) played riffs on the themes of fraternity, loyalty, betrayal, love. and family.

Last week, Ty Walker reluctantly conceded to Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) that Choo Choo (Duke Davis Roberts) needed to be sacrificed for “the greater good” (which mostly is Avery Markham’s good.) This week it was Ty’s turn to learn that the supposed fraternity of having served in the “sandbox” together wasn’t strong enough to keep Seabass (Scott Grimes) from choosing Avery’s enormous piles of cash over his loyalty. There’s no honor among thieves, I guess. Left all alone, Ty extracted a bullet from his own shoulder (that was hardcore – nearly on a par with The Americans DIY dentistry a couple of weeks ago!) and menaced some frat boys before conceding that he would need medical attention. He lured an ambulance to where his car broke down, and then, once he realized he’d been recognized, murdered both the “hero” ambulance driver who tried to sedate him, and his far less heroic sidekick who pleaded for his life.

[Poor guys...]

Wed
Mar 4 2015 8:45am

Cops Discover Pot in Container Labeled NOT WEED

File this one under another harebrained idea. A Nebraska man has been cited for possessing marijuana inside a container with a makeshift label reading “Not Weed.”

The Lincoln Journal Star reports  that deputies stopped the man's vehicle around 9 p.m. over the weekend, and the plastic sour cream container turned up during a search of the car.

After he admitted the pot belonged to him, the driver was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and also cited for having less than an ounce inside the container, so more like “barely any weed.”

Tue
Mar 3 2015 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen

The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen is the 14th historical mystery in the Molly Murphy series, and this time a near-fatal train accident leaves the former detective sleuthing from the sidelines (available March 3, 2015).

It’s 1905, and Molly Sullivan (née Murphy) is no sooner back in her beloved New York City, preparing to move back into her apartment with husband, NYPD captain Daniel Sullivan and baby Liam (after the building caught fire in the last installment of Rhys Bowen’s series), when she finds herself in a subway accident. She and Liam escape, barely, but having to rest during her recovery is not the former detective’s preferred way of doing things.

So when Daniel tells her about a case he’s trying to solve, a series of seemingly unrelated murders of men and women from various walks of life, all being boastfully claimed by a man sending notes directly to Daniel, Molly is more than eager to help, especially with Daniel and his colleagues getting nowhere. She hates being cooped up, worries that he’s in danger, and wants to settle back into a regular routine, though a part of her misses her former profession, which she’d promised to formally give up at Daniel’s request.

[It's tough giving up on what you love...]

Tue
Mar 3 2015 1:00pm

Now Win This!: Shooters and Computers Sweepstakes

Sometimes CTRL + ALT + DELETE just won't do, and you'll wish you had backup. These eight books can help!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins March 3, 2015, at 1:00 pm ET, and ends March 17, 2015, 12:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Last chance for you to abort...]

Tue
Mar 3 2015 11:15am

Gotham 1.18: “Everyone Has a Cobblepot”

 Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) investigate a lead in the "Everyone Has A Cobblepot" episode of GOTHAM.

“Petulance and naiveté are a bad combination.”

That’s Police Commissioner Loeb (Peter Scolari) telling Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) that he’s going about fighting corruption in the department the wrong way. But it might as well have been the audience rolling their eyes at yet another Gordon plan to stop corruption by yelling at people.

Perhaps Loeb’s comments stung because, in this episode, Gordon does a small amount of actual investigative work in an effort to find the evidence of murder and other misdeeds that Loeb has on, well, practically every member of the GCPD.

“Everyone Has a Cobblepot” also served up yet another offensive parody of the mentally ill, reassured viewers that Alfred (Sean Pertwee) will recover from last week’s stabbing, provided Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) with a new eye, and showed that Selina (Camren Bicondova) is attached to Bruce (David Mazouz), whatever she may claim. Oh, and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) shows up but he makes little impression.

The episode also featured Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor), which was good, and lacked Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), which is double good. But, unfortunately, the episode itself was mediocre, much like most of the season.

[Same old, same old...]

Tue
Mar 3 2015 8:45am

Gangland Undercover: Inside the Vagos Motorcycle Gang

As Charles Falco was about to learn after being caught for dealing drugs, the only way out of jail was to go undercover. As recounted in detail in his autobiography Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America's Deadliest Biker Gangs, Falco discusses his experiences from his time undercover where he worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in one of the most successful RICO prosecutions.

If all that sounds interesting to you, then you won't want to miss Gangland Undercover, a new miniseries airing on The History Channel adapted from Falco's book. The miniseries will air its second episode tonight at 10pm, and you can watch the first episode on The History Channel's website. Watch the trailer below:

Mon
Mar 2 2015 3:30pm

John Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley’s Reckoning

In 1974’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, we finally have an account of George Smiley as a full-fledged intelligence officer after thirteen years on the scene. In the first two novels of the series—Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962)—Smiley functioned more as detective that could have easily fit into a G.K. Chesterton Father Brown mystery as he pieced clues together to solve murders. Entertaining, mind you, but not the sort of exploits you expect from a master spy. In the groundbreaking The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963), the door was cracked open a little farther and we see him functioning as a ‘puppeteer’ of sorts pulling the surreptitious strings to bring down a communist agent. The Looking Glass War (1965) is almost a footnote; Smiley makes what amounts to an extended cameo that his creator John Le Carré concedes (in a 1991 forward to the then latest paperback) was miscast. It would be a nine-year break between Glass War and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but Le Carré wasn’t resting, and he delivered in a very big way.

[The best things take time...]

Mon
Mar 2 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Firebreak: New Excerpt

Tricia Fields

Firebreak by Tricia Fields is the 4th mystery in the Josie Gray series, and this time the Texas police chief finds herself investigating the country music scene after a body is discovered in a wildfire's wake (available March 3, 2015).

Texas is experiencing its worst season of wildfires in a decade, forcing police chief Josie Gray to evacuate the citizens of Artemis and the surrounding ranchlands. Not everyone makes it out alive, however.

In the fire's wake, Josie discovers the body of someone who didn't leave in time, inside the partly burned home of a local country music singer. A syringe found near the body offers an answer for why the deceased missed the evacuation. The question remains, though, why the unlucky soul was in the house in the first place. As Josie investigates, digging further into the country music scene and its hard-living characters, she begins to wonder whether or not something more sinister took place.

One

The wind from the east pounded the watchtower and sliced across the guy wires, moaning like a violin. Josie felt the building shudder, but her attention was drawn to the north, fixated on a swirl of gray billowing upward and then disappearing against the overcast sky. The paint-splattered transistor radio propped on the window ledge beside her crackled through another lightning strike. The announcer for the Marfa public-radio station warned of forty-mile-per-hour wind gusts and dry lightning that would spark the parched grasslands like a match to paper.

[Continue reading Firebreak by Tricia Fields...]

Mon
Mar 2 2015 8:45am

Lizzie Borden’s Not Nearly Done!

Christina Ricci will reprise the role of Lizzie Borden in a 6-episode miniseries, plus two more episodes on order, which fantastically elaborates life (and plentiful death) in Fall River after the woman acquitted of slaughtering her parents in 1892 experiences a murderous relapse. Premiering on Sunday, April 5th, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles serve as the sequel to Lifetime's television movie, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. Not only is the titular star returning, but, according to Fashion&Style:

Clea Duvall is returning to portray Lizzie's sister. John Heard is playing a business partner of Lizzie's father and Andrew Howard is playing Lizzie's half-brother, William. Cole Hauser plays detective Charlie Siringo, whose mission is to connect Lizzie to the new killings.

If you enjoy “history” (and those are extremely loose air quotes) as a reason for olde tyme sets with lots of axe play—though the real weapon was a hatchet, as you can read below— and sly scheming in veils and big skirts, this one looks like it could be a darned good time. What do you think?

SEE ALSO: The Rhyme and the Crime: 5 Questions About Lizzie Borden's Forty Whacks

Sun
Mar 1 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Impasse: New Excerpt

Royce Scott Buckingham

IMPASSE by Royce Scott BuckinghamImpasse by Royce Scott Buckingham is a thriller about a recently-fired prosecutor who heads into the Alaskan wilderness to find himself, only to be left for dead (available March 3, 2015).

Forty and facing a mid-life crisis, Stu Stark has lost his mojo. He simply gave up after being fired from his prestigious job as a prosecuting attorney for losing the biggest case of his career. So when Stu's best friend gifts him a one-week trip into the Alaskan wilderness to rediscover his manhood, Stu thinks it just might do him some good. But after a horrible week, Stu is crushed when he realizes that no one is coming back for him. Dying, Stu is found by a grizzled old hunter who informs that winter has set in, and they're not going anywhere for a while.

So begins Stu's training to become the man he never was…and to get revenge on those who betrayed him.

Prologue

“No body, no case,” Stuart Stark’s fellow attorneys at the Bristol County, Massachusetts, DA’s Office had warned him. He’d tried the Butz murder anyway. But as he lay dying in a ramshackle cabin in the middle of the Alaska interior wondering if he could fit the business end of the borrowed Browning .30-06 in his mouth and still reach the trigger, he wished he had listened to them.

[Continue reading Impasse by Royce Scott Buckingham...]

Sun
Mar 1 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses: New Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses by Diane Kelly is the 8th cozy mystery in the IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway series where this time her boyfriend is going deep undercover to catch a drug cartel (available March 3, 2015).

IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway can calculate tax penalties to the penny. But seeing the world of white-collar crime through rose-colored glasses? Priceless.

Tara's career comes with a lot of pros and cons—which is a nice way of saying that she's kick-a$$ in her fight against professional con-artists. And she's tough enough to deal with all the money-launderers, tax-evaders, and other such criminals who cross her path…Until her own boyfriend, Nick, joins their leagues. Now all bets are off.

Nick is about to go deep undercover—and the stakes are higher than Tara could have ever imagined. It's all part of a joint task force with the DEA to bring down a powerful, violent drug cartel. It's going to take more than a pair of dime store shades for Tara to bring their dark deeds to light. Can she help Nick without blowing his cover…and ending up in harm's way herself?

Chapter One

Nick’s New Assignment

I slid my gun into my purse, grabbed my briefcase, and headed out to my car. Yep, tax season was in full swing once again, honest people scrambling to round up their records and receipts, hoping for a refund or at least to break even. As a taxpayer myself, I felt for them. But as far as tax cheats were concerned, I had no sympathy. The most recent annual report indicated that American individuals and corporations had underpaid their taxes by $450 billion. Not exactly chump change. That’s where I came in.

[Continue reading Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses...]

Sat
Feb 28 2015 11:00am

Under the Radar: Genre Movies You May Have Missed — Bandits

As a reporter says in the opening prologue, Bandits (2001) is “part Bonnie and Clyde, part Barnum & Bailey.” It’s farcical comedy, crime melodrama, and a unique love story all rolled into one.

Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and Terry Collins (Billy Bob Thornton) are a pair of inmate pals who spontaneously decide to break out of prison. In the aftermath, confident Joe sets his sights on his dream of buying a hotel in Mexico and turning it into a restaurant and casino. He’ll work the front, while the high-strung Terry can manage the restaurant and finances.

But casinos cost money, and the pair’s pretty strapped for cash — not to mention on the lam. So the fugitives turn to their most bankable skill and concoct a daring plan: they’ll rob banks by kidnapping the managers the night before, then make off with the goods the next morning with their hostage’s assistance.

They enlist Joe’s cousin, Harvey Pollard (Troy Garity), to be their getaway driver and odd job man, and before long, Joe and Terry are known as the Sleepover Bandits. Their faces may be plastered on every TV and they’re now at the top of the Most Wanted list, but things are definitely looking up.

[They'll soon learn: two's company, but three's a crime...]

Fri
Feb 27 2015 3:00pm

How to Get Away with Murder 1.15: Season Finale “It’s All My Fault”

How To Get Away With Murder finally proved that it knew where it was going all along: the twists are shocking, sure, but it pulled through with a logical conclusion to the question of who killed Lila Standgard (Megan West).

Rebecca (Katie Findlay) was lying, and Sam (Tom Verica) has plenty of opportunity, as we see in more flashbacks, but neither of them killed her. Not exactly, anyway.

Following up on their kidnapping of Rebecca, Keating (Viola Davis) and her team hold a mock trail of sorts, intending to sort out Rebecca’s part in Lila’s murder once and for all. Once all their accusations are presented, Keating pokes holes in all of them and—correctly—labels the entire case as speculation. But if they let Rebecca go, she’ll involve the police.

[Quite the pickle...]