Review: <i>Brew or Die</i> by Caroline Fardig Review: Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig Janet Webb Read Janet Webb's review! The Dark Tower: <i>Wolves of the Calla</i> Part IV The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla Part IV David Cranmer Join our discussion! Review: <i>Get Off the Grid!</i> by Saul Goodman Review: Get Off the Grid! by Saul Goodman David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review! <i>The Graves</i>: New Excerpt The Graves: New Excerpt Pamela Wechsler A tense and enthralling thriller about the intersection of power, privilege, and justice.
From The Blog
April 25, 2017
Page to Screen: Rumble Fish & The Outsiders
Brian Greene
April 25, 2017
Q&A with John Rector, Author of The Ridge
John Rector and John Valeri
April 24, 2017
Q&A with Carolyn Haines, Author of Sticks and Bones
Crime HQ and Carolyn Haines
April 21, 2017
People, Choices, and Moments
Lisa Preston
April 16, 2017
Why I Write Women
Douglas Schofield
Tue
Apr 25 2017 4:00pm

Page to Screen: Rumble Fish & The Outsiders

There are those who see Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic output as being divided into two distinct halves. According to this theory, there’s one set of his films that are of a classic Hollywood style and comparatively mainstream; then there’s another more personal and artistically pure group of releases. Whether or not you think this is a valid means of assessing Coppola’s work in films, there can be little question that his two 1983 movies based on the young adult novels of S. E. Hinton illustrate each of these approaches.

The Outsiders is a movie whose story just about anybody can grab onto, with its easily graspable dramatic episodes. Rumble Fish, by contrast, is a more deeply layered tale and more of an esoteric product, as well as a more experimentally shot film. Criterion Collection’s new edition of Rumble Fish provides an opportunity to give a fresh exploration of it, The Outsiders, and the two Hinton books they’re based on.

[Happy 50th anniversary, The Outsiders!]

Tue
Apr 25 2017 2:00pm

Q&A with John Rector, Author of The Ridge

John Rector is a Wall Street Journal and internationally bestselling author. His novels include Ruthless, Out of the Black, Already Gone, The Cold Kiss, and The Grove. Mr. Rector’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and is collected in The Walls Around Us; his novella, Lost Things, earned him the International Thriller Award. Mr. Rector’s latest, The Ridge (available April 25, 2017), is published by Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s Mystery/Thriller/Suspense imprint. 

Recently, the author generously made time to answer questions about creative inspiration, genre classification, setting serving story, and the inevitable influence of the outside world on fiction. 

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Tue
Apr 25 2017 1:00pm

Review: Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig

Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig is the 4th Java Jive mystery, where Nashville’s perkiest private eye—coffeehouse manager Juliet Langley—goes undercover in the party-planning industry to solve a suspicious death.

In Brew or Die, Caroline Fardig’s 4th Java Jive mystery, Nashvillian Juliet Langley crosses the line from being an enthusiastic, capable amateur sleuth to join the ranks of licensed private investigators. Juliet is the new part-time investigator at her friend Maya Huxley’s agency. Maya is a gal who likes to “do things her own way,” but she and Juliet have history.

But, after teaming up to get to the bottom of a bogus murder charge for a friend of mine, she saw something in me that she thought she could work with. So, she made me her apprentice, trained me, made sure I got my education requirements, and helped me study for the licensure test.

Pete Bennett—Juliet’s boss at her full-time gig, the Java Jive Coffeehouse—is less than enthused. Pete would like his manager, in her spare time, to explore her singer-songwriter talents. What better spot than Music City to make a splash in the local music scene? Pete’s not shy about expressing his doubts about how things will go with Maya.

[Read Janet Webb's review of Brew or Die...]

Tue
Apr 25 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla Part IV

Last week, we learned about what happened to Father Callahan after Salem's Lot. This week, we discover the Sisters of Oriza.

Our previous read, The Wind Through The Keyhole, waylaid us in a town hall as a starkblast trapped our ka-tet with freezing conditions. Roland of Gilead spent the time palavering with Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy about long ago when him and fellow gunslinger Jamie tracked down and killed the shapeshifter Skin-Man. Intertwined in the narrative, we discover that Roland’s mother Gabrielle had learned from Randall Flagg that her son would murder her, and so in a letter she’d written in advance, she absolved Roland of the deed. After the icy weather passes, the ka-tet emerges and heads along the Path of the Beam toward Thunderclap.

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

We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) 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 week is a short but important read as we learn about the Sisters of Oriza! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of Wolves of the Calla: Part Two Telling Tales, IV: “The Priest's Tale Continued (Highways in Hiding)” – Part Two Telling Tales, VII: “Nocturne, Hunger”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Introducing the Sisters of Oriza...]

Tue
Apr 25 2017 11:00am

Review: Get Off the Grid! Saul Goodman’s Guide To Staying Off The Radar by Saul Goodman

Get Off the Grid! Saul Goodman's Guide to Staying Off the Radar by Saul Goodman & Steve Huff is a humorous guide on going to ground from the fast-talking lawyer from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Well this book, Get Off the Grid, comes at a perfect time. Recently, I was one of millions who purchased a VPN—virtual private network—after the government voted to let ISPs sell our browser history. So after shaking my fist at the thin air and writing my congressman another letter he will “file away,” I took matters into my own hands.

Perhaps, I mused, Saul Goodman can help with even more tips. Well, it turns out, maybe only a little in my case because he’s talking about getting really gone, gone baby. We’re talking flying way close to the ground. Who is he to offer such advice? Let Mr. Goodman introduce himself:

[Read David Cranmer's review of Get Off the Grid!...]

Tue
Apr 25 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

The Graves: New Excerpt

Pamela Wechsler

The Graves by Pamela WechslerIn The Graves, former prosecutor turned television writer Pamela Wechsler delivers a tense and enthralling Boston-set thriller about the intersection of power, privilege, and justice (available May 2, 2017).

Abby Endicott, the chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit in Boston, returns in the heart-racing follow-up to Mission Hill. Things are looking good for Abby: she’s top pick to be the next District Attorney, and her musician boyfriend Ty has moved in, despite her upper crust family’s objections. But a serial killer is on the loose, and with two college-aged girls dead and another missing, time is running out. When the sons of a prominent government official are linked to the murders, Abby pushes back, stopping at nothing to find justice for the girls. This time, the killer could be right under her nose, and she may be the next victim.

[Read an excerpt from The Graves...]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 4:00pm

Q&A with Carolyn Haines, Author of Sticks and Bones

Carolyn Haines, author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery series, is originally from Mississippi but now runs a farm in Alabama. A recipient of the Harper Lee Distinguished Writing Award and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, her latest, Sticks and Bones, is the 17th mystery to feature the unconventional Southern belle private investigator.

Ms. Haines took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions about her popular mystery series, the latest with Sarah Booth Delaney, and what she is currently reading and watching!

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 3:00pm

Review: Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

Cold Earth is the 7th book in the Shetland Island Mystery series.

Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez is attending the funeral of friend Magnus Tait, body just laid to rest in the ground, when a landslide occurs and wreaks havoc in Ravenswick, Shetland. The natural destruction cuts off the main drag to the airport, shuts schools, and causes general disorder to the small, tight-knit community. At a house close to the cemetery, pretty much engulfed in mud, Perez looks upon a startling find. A death that may have happened before the natural catastrophe.

And something else, bright against the grey wall and the black soil. A splash of red. Brighter than blood.

He scrambled down the bank towards it. A woman’s body had been left behind by the ebbing tide of earth. She wore a red silk dress, exotic, glamorous. Not the thing for a February day in Shetland, even if she’d been indoors when the landslide swept her away. Her hair and her eyes were black and Perez felt a strange atavistic connection. She could be Spanish, like his ancestors of centuries ago.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Cold Earth...]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 2:00pm

Review: The Measure of the Moon by Lisa Preston

The Measure of the Moon by Lisa Preston is a mix of mystery and domestic suspense that weaves together two stories of love, lies, and secrets resulting in a shocking conclusion. 

Eight-year-old Greer Donner, on a joyride with horse Clipper, is thrown from the mount. Now, having a good four-hour trek home with darkness closing in, he begins huffing it. On a back forest road, he spots a vehicle, hoping he can get a ride or borrow a phone. Instead, a scene of horrific violence is playing out—and his life ends up being altered forever.

The glare of the SUV’s headlights lit up the sight of a man in a suit roaring at a woman in a dress and a turtleneck. She cowered. He drew back one hand and belted her solidly across the right side of her face, deflating her last cry, sending her to the ground. Greer’s stomach clenched.

Realizing that the SUV’s headlights protected him from being seen, Greer crept closer, pausing at the open driver’s door. A silver pistol lay tucked between the floor and the leather driver’s seat.

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Measure of the Moon...]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 1:30pm

Cover Reveal: Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Glass Houses will be the 13th novel in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Pre-order your copy today!

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In her latest utterly gripping book, #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Amazon

 

 

Click here for more Louise Penny at Criminal Element, and make sure you're signed up for our newsletter so you can stay up to date with all things mystery!

Mon
Apr 24 2017 1:00pm

Review: Ararat by Christopher Golden

Ararat by Christopher Golden is the heart-pounding tale of an adventure that goes wrong—on a biblical scale.

Personally, I can’t think of a more interesting mystery than an historical one—unsolved mysteries from our past tantalize as historians, scholars, scientists, and writers dig for clues and come up with plausible scenarios for what might have happened—and I think Biblical mysteries, most of all, are incredibly interesting. It’s where science and faith intersect for a common goal: to prove the existence of God. Chistopher Golden’s latest novel, Ararat, delves into the mystery of Noah’s Ark and puts a thrilling, and at times horrific, twist on the myth.

Adam and Meryam are an adventurous couple engaged to be married when they get word from their Turkish mountain friend, Feyiz, that an avalanche has uncovered a geologically impossible cave on Mount Ararat. Although scholars agree that the references to the “mountains of Ararat” in the Bible are not referring to the Ararat we know today, it has still been long speculated that this mountain in far eastern Turkey is the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.

[Read Ardi Alspach's review of Ararat...]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 12:00pm

Crime/Mystery/Thrillers Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in May 2017

Finally! The month of May is a good one for fans of crime/mystery/thriller entertainment (as well as documentaries and comedy). In addition to the much anticipated 4th season of Sherlock, viewers will also revel in the 5th season of the Netflix hit original show House of Cards, as well as some great movies like Inglourious Basterds and The Place Beyond the Pines. See what else is coming to (and leaving) Netflix in May!

[See what is coming to (and leaving) Netflix in May!]

Mon
Apr 24 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Murder Is for Keeps: New Excerpt

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Murder Is for Keeps by Elizabeth J. DuncanMurder Is for Keeps by Elizabeth J. Duncan is the 8th book in the Penny Brannigan Mystery series (available May 2, 2017).

Local artist Penny Brannigan has been spending her summer painting Gwrych Castle and its surrounding landscapes. A privately owned, castellated Welsh country house, Gwrych has been sadly neglected for decades and is in a heartbreaking state of disrepair. So when she learns architectural historian Mark Baker is leading a team of enthusiastic volunteers to restore the castle grounds and gardens to their former grandeur, Penny is thrilled.

But it’s not long before disagreements over the restoration turn deadly, and Penny is horrified to discover the body of a volunteer hidden in a castle outbuilding. Penny enlists her friend Gareth Davies, recently retired from the North Wales Police Service, to help investigate. As the two dig deeper into the castle's history, including its glamorous heyday in the 1920s, they find startling connections between an old, unsolved murder and Gareth's own family, and as they solve the present-day murder, Penny recovers a stunning piece of the castle's architectural heritage.

[Read an excerpt from Murder Is for Keeps...]

Sun
Apr 23 2017 10:08am
Excerpt

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall: New Excerpt

Hannah Dennison

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison is the 4th book in the Honeychurch Hall series (available May 2, 2017).

When the only copy of Ravished, Iris Stanford’s new manuscript, never arrives at her London publisher’s office, her daughter Kat investigates the tiny local village post office, where it appears the package never left the building. Iris is on tenterhooks—not only is her novel gone with the wind, but she’s deathly afraid that Muriel Jarvis, the postmistress and notorious busybody, will expose her secret identity as the bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm. Meanwhile, Muriel has her own problems with the sudden death of her husband Fred, which has left her heavily in debt. In the spine-tingling climax, both past and present collide as Kat fights for her life and those she holds most dear, dancing once again with the dark forces lurking behind the grandeur of Honeychurch Hall.

[Read an excerpt from Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall...]

Sat
Apr 22 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Proving Ground: New Excerpt

Peter Blauner

 Proving Ground by Peter Blauner Proving Ground by Peter Blauner is a sweeping crime novel, an intricate story about the quest for redemption, and a vibrant portrait of contemporary New York City (available May 2, 2017).

Nathaniel Dresden never really got along with his father, an infamous civil rights lawyer who defended criminals and spearheaded protest movements. As an act of rebellion, Natty joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, coming back with a chest full of commendations and a head full of disturbing memories.

But when his father is found murdered near the peaceful confines of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Natty is forced to deal with the troubled legacy of their unresolved relationship. He also has to fend off the growing suspicions of NYPD Detective Lourdes Robles, a brash Latina cop with something to prove, who thinks Natty might bear some responsibility for his father’s death. Though truth be told, the list of people—cops and criminals—who wanted David Dresden out of the way is long. The search for answers leads Natty and Lourdes into an urban labyrinth where they must confront each other—and the brutal truths that could destroy them both.

[Read an excerpt from Proving Ground...]

Fri
Apr 21 2017 4:30pm

“Earth Day Cooler” Cocktail

This cocktail may not actually cool the Earth, but it's a great way to celebrate Earth Day and Ann Cleeves's 7th Shetland Island Mystery, Cold Earth!

So go green with this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—the “Earth Day Cooler" cocktail!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Fri
Apr 21 2017 3:00pm

Cooking the Books: Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross

Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross is the 4th book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Novel.

This 4th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series has been nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Novel, and deservedly so! Julia Snowden has decided to give up her career and New York City lifestyle to open a restaurant with her boyfriend Chris in her hometown of Busman's Harbor, Maine. Meant as a place for the locals to have a nice dinner out during the off-season—when all the other nice restaurants have closed—Gus’s Too is slowly finding its feet and a regular clientele. Julia is also gradually settling into the studio apartment over the restaurant that came as part of the lease, a place of her own after months of living with her family.

The Monday after Thanksgiving promises to be slow, but bad weather and a traffic accident detain the nine guests that Gus’s Too does serve until well into the night. Imagine Julia's surprise when the corpse of one of those guests, the only single man in the group, is discovered in the walk-in freezer the next morning! And if it isn't terrible enough to find a body in her building, items related to the death begin disappearing from her apartment over the course of the next few days. Scared but determined, Julia begins to investigate in order to find a murderer and stop a sinister intruder whom she fears may be one and the same.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Fri
Apr 21 2017 2:00pm

People, Choices, and Moments

Before tapping out novels on the keyboard, my working hours were spent in various assignments as a police officer and, prior to that, as a fire department paramedic. Those two former careers certainly bolster the third. Countless memories of people at their worst and best drift through my mind.

In extreme situations—the kind of turning point that novel or movie plots hinge on, or the events in which cops are called to intervene in dozens of times per day—a choice is present.

I’m fascinated by people, the choices they make, and the fly-by moments when those decisions are made. Choices are tests. Often, people don’t view those moments in which they made a choice as pivotal, but that lack of recognition doesn’t diminish how key the choice and the moment are. I chose to become a sergeant.

A sergeant does the extra difficult things, such as take full responsibility for the scene, discipline an officer who went too far, tell a citizen the officer made no foul, or knock on a doorway in the middle of the night to deliver a death notification. 

[Read more from author Lisa Preston!]