Why do we love heroes with a bit of bad in them?
Antiheroes are popping up more and more in novels, TV shows and movies. Here's a look at why:
Why do we love heroes with a bit of bad in them?
Antiheroes are popping up more and more in novels, TV shows and movies. Here's a look at why:
Exfiltration started out as a scene from one of Ben Coes's novels, Independence Day. It was cut long before the final draft—the novel took a substantially different turn—but Ben liked the characters and action so much, that he sculpted a separate story for giveaway with a preorder purchase of his new book, First Strike.
Here’s what happened right before the story opens:
After a harrowing evening in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dewey Andreas is followed by agents from SVR, the Russian intelligence agency. His only hope of escape is on a ferry just about to leave, but as he boards the crowded ship, Dewey sees that agents have also come aboard. Within minutes, Dewey is cornered. Now his only option is to get off the boat, but as he leaps from the deck, a gunman shoots him in the leg. He lands in the cold water miles from shore, a bullet lodged in his leg and darkness all around. Dewey knows he will probably drown but does what he can to increase the odds of survival as blood pours from his wounded leg into the ocean.
Castle ended this month, after eight seasons on the air, amid a swirl of controversy. The show chose not to renew Stania Katic’s contract, and plans for Season 9 included Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) as the lead, with no Kate Beckett, despite the fact the show was based on the relationship between the characters.
Despite all this, however it got there, the series finale contained a happily ever after.
The controversy of its ending distracted from the fact that Castle had an excellent run. The quality remained high, up until it’s last two seasons, despite the fact Castle and Beckett first got together at the end of Season 4—putting a lie to the adage that once characters get together, the show falls apart. More of my choices for top ten episodes are in Season 5 than any other season.
What really seemed to spell doom for the show, instead, was a switch in showrunners after Season 6, when creators Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller stopped helming the show. That quality drop was clear when I began making my list, and no episodes past Season 6 made the cut—though one from Season 7 is an honorable mention.
So, here, in sequential order, are my picks for the best ten episodes of the series, with a few honorable mentions at the end.
Let’s play a game.
Don’t worry, there’ll be no human body puzzle parts and all the violence will be fictional and happen off screen (plus, we won’t drag this out with 7+ sequels).
The game is CrimeHClue. And YOU the reader will choose the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the murder in our Tuesday’s Lineup, here at CrimeHQ. We’ll hide the results, and once the cards are set, we’ll hide the answers to the clues throughout our social media channels for a lucky winner to win a prize!
*One more week to vote for the clues! Next Tuesday, we'll tally the votes and post the final instructions for how to win! Make sure you're following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—that's your first clue!
So, let’s get to it!
Where will the murder take place?
Wedding Bel Blues is the first book in the new Bel McGrath Mysteries Series (Available May 31, 2016).
Are they tying the knot?
Belfast McGrath has spent the last fifteen years avoiding her big, bustling, brash Irish family. But when her five-star culinary career goes up in flames, she retreats to Foster’s Landing—where she’s immediately tapped as her cousin Caleigh’s maid-of-honor. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster...especially when Bel learns that the wedding preparations included Caleigh having one last one-night stand.
Or the noose?
When Caleigh’s lover plunges from the second-floor balcony during the reception, Bel can’t help but think his death was no accident. Soon Detective Kevin Hanson, who just happens to be Bel’s long-ago love, arrives on the scene—looking hotter than ever. Heartbreak and homicide hardly help Bel to feel more at home, but if she is going to make a new beginning for herself, including putting the past behind her, she must first steer clear of a cold-hearted killer.
It never bothered me when Caleigh McHugh, my first cousin on my mother’s side, insulted me when we were teenagers. We had been competing with each other since we were kids, and today, her wedding day, was no exception.
Because I was pretty sure that my IQ was higher than hers and since I come from a family that has always valued brains over beauty—well, most of the time—her insults didn’t really hurt. “You look plushy in that dress, Bel,” Caleigh said, giving me the once-over, making sure she looked better than I did.
Early morning. Håkan von Enke (Terrence Hardiman) begins his day as he always does, winding the Mora clock in the front hall of his beautiful historic home. Taking the same walk. Thinking the same thoughts. Just as he described to Kurt Wallander in Episode 2: “A Lesson in Love.”
Only this time, von Enke doesn’t come home from his walk. This time, that troubled man disappears without a trace.
Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) is asked to investigate von Enke’s disappearance, in part because he’s a detective, but mainly because Håkan von Enke is the father-in-law of Wallander’s daughter Linda (Jeany Spark), which makes it a family matter. Wallander wants to set Linda’s mind at ease. Plus, he’s curious about the secrets Håkan revealed to him in Episode 2. It was pretty big stuff related to a high-level government cover-up that goes back 30 years. Wallander figures it’s related to Håkan’s disappearance.
Local detective Nils Ytterberg (Simon Chandler, who’s had roles in many of your favorite British mystery series from Midsomer Murders to The Bletchley Circle to Vera) isn’t having much luck finding Håkan. He’s happy for Wallander’s help, and Wallander is happy to be helpful, given that he’s been suspended from duty in Ystad.
For Kurt Wallander has troubles of his own.
“The Door” marked the official halfway point of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, and it did so with emphatic exclamation. We’ll get to the somber ending north of The Wall in a bit, but first, I want to give a standing ovation to the wonderful troupe of actors who perfectly summarized the entirety of Season 1. Give me them over the Sand Snakes any day of the week.
At the wall, we watched Sansa (Sophie Turner) first dismiss a submissive Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and then later channel his duplicitous ways in lying to Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) about where she found out about the Blackfish’s rebellion at Riverrun.
In the Dothraki Sea, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) offered Jorah (Iain Glen) a glimpse into a post-friend zone life, but only if he can figure out how to cure his incurable disease. Sounds about right for Jorah.
At the House of Black and White, Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Waif (Faye Marsay) dropped the gloves, much to Arya’s chagrin, and Jaqen H’ghar explains that the Faceless Men were once slaves in Valyria before going on to found the Free City of Braavos. He then sends Arya out with a vial of poison meant for Lady Crane, the actress playing Cersei in a reenactment of The War of the Five Kings. After watching the seemingly clever and decent actress, Arya grows unsure if the woman deserves the Many-Faced God’s gift.
In Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) hold court with Kinvara (Ania Bukstein), a High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. Tyrion, forever a believer in the power of positive press, urges Kinvara to deliver to the commonfolk the powerful story of Daenerys: mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and all that. Varys, on the other hand, is doubtful of the priestess's preachings...at first.
And finally, we dropped our anchors in Pyke to watch Yara (Gemma Whelan), with the help of Theon (Alfie Allen), attempt to take a seat on the Salt Throne. There’s only one problem, and he calls himself the storm.
Who doesn't like a good comic book movie?
(Notice I said good—I would never try to inflict The Green Lantern on you. I love y'all too much for that sort of betrayal, Ryan Reynolds's abs notwithstanding.)
Well, if you're up for another one—and yes, I'm aware we're all hitting that saturation point where we've maybe had too much of a good thing, what with there being roughly ten billion Marvel films and a glut of DC stuff in the tubes coming straight for us—then allow me to lead you down the path least taken.
I'm talking about a lesser known, Vertigo-flavored slice of fried gold that has never been spoken of in the same breath as Batman, Spider-Man, or any of those other Lycra-clad animal-themed superheroes.
I'm here to talk to you about the gloriousness that is The Losers.
Do you like rag-tag bands of not-so-merry men? Are you fond of underdog stories full of madcap hijinks and snarky dialogue? Is it just not a good time unless there are enough spent shell-casings to carpet a drug lord's bedroom?
Have I got the movie for you!
Abandoned Prayers: An Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession, and Amish Secrets by Gregg Olsen is the true crime account of Eli Stutzman, the son of an Amish Bishop that had haunting secrets. Get the ebook for only $1.99 until Friday 5/27!
On Christmas Eve in 1985, a hunter found a young boy's body along an icy corn field in Nebraska. The residents of Chester, Nebraska buried him as “Little Boy Blue,” unclaimed and unidentified— until a phone call from Ohio two years later led authorities to Eli Stutzman, the boy's father.
Eli Stutzman, the son of an Amish bishop, was by all appearances a dedicated farmer and family man in the country's strictest religious sect. But behind his quiet façade was a man involved with pornography, sadomasochism, and drugs. After the suspicious death of his pregnant wife, Stutzman took his preschool-age son, Danny, and hit the road on a sexual odyssey ending with his conviction for murder. But the mystery of Eli Stutzman and the fate of his son didn't end on the barren Nebraska plains. It was just beginning…
To learn more or order a copy, visit:
A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah is a standalone thriller by this New York Times bestselling author, where a woman is pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, and must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life (Available May 24, 2016).
You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.
You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.
You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.
Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .
This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.
Jane Doe January by Emily Winslow is a compelling, real-life crime mystery and gripping memoir of the cold case prosecution of a serial rapist, told by one of his victims. (Available May 24, 2016).
In 1992, college student Emily Winslow was raped off-campus by a stranger. In 2013, the man was identified by a DNA match in the FBI’s CODIS database of criminal DNA. This excerpt from Emily’s memoir of the cold-case prosecution that resulted, Jane Doe January (her fourth book after three detective novels), describes her journey back to Pittsburgh to testify in the preliminary hearing to establish the charges against him.
The preliminary hearing is not set in Pittsburgh’s historic courthouse near my hotel. Instead it takes place a few blocks away, in the municipal court, a run-down building awkwardly shaped to look like a police badge from above.
Bill, the original detective from my case, has walked me there. We’ve been instructed to meet the other detectives, Dan and Aprill, in front of the “broken elevators.” They’re easy to find once we’re through the oversensitive metal detector and past the chipper, already-bored security lady; there are no working elevators to trick us.
These are some of the more interesting true crime related stories from the past week (05/14/16 - 05/21/16):
What do you do when a baby is dropped off at your door? I wipe the sweat from my brow, remember that it's a fictional situation, and enjoy another cocktail!
So, put the book down for a quick minute and join us for Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel!
This week, make a nice “Rocks-&-Rye Bones” cocktail—inspired by the 12th Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines, Rock-a-Bye Bones!
Alfred Hitchcock is brilliant. He made some absolutely amazing films. Certified classics—make no mistake. But is he as great as you, and the rest of the film snob world, think he is?
Here’s the thing: Hitchcock did one thing, and he did it very well (mostly). But, that’s just it. He only did ONE THING. Many directors in the classic period or so-called “golden age” of Hollywood were genre-hopping craftsmen, who were equally at home with a thriller, a comedy, a western, or even the occasional musical.
Hitchcock made everything from suspense to thriller. It’s like that bartender in The Blues Brothers. “We got both kinds—Country and Western.” Not much of a choice there, is it?
This week's guest columnist is Professor Moriarty, who denies any knowledge of what happened to Prince Harry's missing puppy, though offering a large reward for finding the creature might be wise.
I'm a junior at Harvard who just got engaged to a beautiful pre-med whose parents are loaded. A dream, right?
Here's the nightmare part: her brother. I live in one of their condos (yeah, they have three) and couldn't afford tuition, room, and board without this help. Her only brother, who she adores, is my roommate. Mostly, he amuses himself by tormenting me. Nair in my shampoo bottle, waking me up with an airhorn at 3 a.m. every morning and squirting Crazy Glue into the keyholes of my car—yeah, that's an average week.
It's ruining my life. Do I drop out of Harvard and break off the engagement to a great woman, or sit quietly and endure another two years of living hell?
Harvard Man Living with a Maniac
“Down to Zero” by Jon McGoran is a new ecological thriller short story featuring Detective Doyle Carrick! This exclusive serialization on CrimeHQ will break the story into 4 parts throughout the rest of this week. Be sure to check back each day for more, or if you can't wait, scroll to the bottom and buy a copy for your e-reader for only 99 cents!
When a beekeeper removing hives from an inner city warehouse is greeted with gunfire, Detective Doyle Carrick is called in to help aging mentor Jack Conroy catch the shooters. Although a previous case involving genetically modified bees has made Doyle the closest thing to a bee expert the Philly PD has, it’s a subject he wants nothing to do with. But Doyle owes Jack plenty of favors. Soon, the pair are clashing with foreign agents, corporate security agents, and lowlife thugs while tracking the mysterious bees across the city. As they work to figure out why these bees are worth killing over before the shooters can strike again, Doyle finds himself racing against a clock he could never have imagined.
Sometimes you need to rob a joint at the tail end of the munchies. It appears that is what happened with this week's case. California Police reported that a man attempted to holdup a carwash with an empty bag of potato chips.
Accounting to the SF Gate, the police say that the man entered KaCees World of Water and dropped the potato chip bag on the counter and told the cashier to fill it up with money. The man also threatened the cashier that he had a gun and that he gestured it was located within the empty bag of chips. However, the cashier noticed that it contained only a piece of cardboard and yelled over a co-worker for some help.
When the would-be robber realized his plan was not working, he quickly jumped into his car and fled. Police are still looking for the suspect and the empty bag of chips. I suggest they try every vending machine in the state.
The 100 Year Miracle is the latest novel by author Ashley Ream (Available May 24, 2016).
Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, a scientist studying the 100-Year Miracle and the tiny sea creatures that create it, knows a secret about the phenomenon that inspired the region’s myths and folklore: the rare green water may contain a power that could save Rachel's own life (and change the world). When Rachel connects with Harry and Tilda, a divorced couple cohabiting once again as Harry enters the last stages of a debilitating disease, Harry is pulled into Rachel's obsession and hope as they both grasp at this once-in-a-lifetime chance to save themselves.
But the Miracle does things to people. Strange and mysterious things. And as these things begin to happen, Rachel has only six days to uncover and control the Miracle's secrets before the waters go dark for another hundred years.
The First Day of the Miracle
The Department of Fish and Wildlife had cordoned off the beach, wrapping the small half-moon bay in yellow caution tape. The mayor and the governor in separate press conferences—because even for this they could not share—had warned people to stay out of the water. They feared islanders and tourists would gather up so many of the glowing Artemia lucis into glass jars to wonder at like fireflies that the breeding activity would be compromised, killing the species forever. This fear was not, in Dr. Bell’s opinion, unfounded.
Everyone tends to read about the familiar; I’m never as contented as when I am curled up with an English country-house murder mystery, for example. But, challenging yourself to trying something new could open up—literally—a whole new world.
Just think about the places you could travel via mystery! From the remote stretches of the Arctic to the tip of South Africa, there are crime-solvers poised to bring you into their space, their world, their culture.
Let’s just take a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite places. I’ve made the choice here to select writers native to or at least longtime residents of the places in which their books are situated. Instead of literary tourism (which we’ll look at in another article), I’ve chosen writers you will often be reading in translation.
Boar Island by Nevada Barr is the 19th book in the Anna Pigeon series, where the National Park Service Ranger has to deal with the cyber-bullying and stalking of teenager Elizabeth.
Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—-her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.
While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs—-and find the person behind the harassment—-the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.
But the move east doesn't solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren't alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.