<i>Reykjavik Nights</i>: New Excerpt Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt Arnaldur Indridason This prequel takes us, and Inspector Erlendur, back to 1960s Iceland! <i>The M.O.</i>: "Fix Me" The M.O.: "Fix Me" S.W. Lauden You selected it, NOW READ THE WHOLE STORY here! Now Win <i>This</i>!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes Crime HQ Sit back, sip your tea, and enter for a chance to win! <i>The Masque of a Murderer</i>: New Excerpt The Masque of a Murderer: New Excerpt Susanna Calkins A man's last words tell a murderous tale.
From The Blog
April 15, 2015
Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015
Crime HQ
April 14, 2015
True Detective Season 2 Official Teaser Trailer
Crime HQ
April 10, 2015
Strangers on a Train, Or When Sherlock Met Jane
Lyndsay Faye and Ashley Weaver
April 10, 2015
Crime Poetry: "The Morning Of" by Tom Brzezina
Crime HQ
April 9, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Revisiting If I Can't Have You
Crime HQ
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Apr 15 2015 5:00pm

Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015

Discover (or remember to order) your next cozy with a delightfully convenient shopping list of upcoming soft-boiled mysteries! We kicked this off last month with April's releases, and now we're setting our sights on May! Let us know in the comments how you like it and what you can't wait to read next!

Criminal Element's May 2015 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Apr 14 2015 3:00pm

Now Win This!: Soft-Boiled Sweepstakes

Don't sleep on these soft-boiled mysteries! These eight books still pack quite the punch!

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 April 14, 2015, at 3:00 pm ET, and ends April 28, 2015, 2:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Let's see what's on the table...]

Apr 14 2015 8:45am

True Detective Season 2 Official Teaser Trailer

Time might be a flat circle, but make sure you draw it on your calendar on June 21st, because that's when True Detective Season 2 will begin. We've already discussed how Season 2 will not be set in Louisiana, but rather out west in California and will star Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn, as well as Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams. Get ready for the premiere with HBO's official teaser trailer!

Apr 10 2015 9:45am

Crime Poetry: “The Morning Of” by Tom Brzezina

April is National Poetry Month, which for us, always means a tip o' the fedora to the crime poetry blog, The Five-Two, from which we're pleased to share this  evocatively sparse verse:


The Morning Of” by Tom Brzezina

On the morning before the morning of,
tension knotted the muscles between
my shoulder blades.

In the afternoon before the morning of,
the dark blue van was still parked across
the street.

On the night before the morning of,
I sat up in my bed, a loaded
shotgun in my lap.

On the morning of, I heard the back
door creak open, then careful
footsteps in the hall.

In the afternoon of the morning of,
I was lying on a slab in a jail cell,
and he was dead.

In the evening of the morning of,
I mouthed off to the guard, and he

On the night of the morning of,
I was in a hospital bed, handcuffed to
the railing.

On the morning after the morning of,
I was still handcuffed to the railing,
but my lawyer had good news.

That evening, I sat in front of my
television, eating Kung Pao chicken,
contemplating the absurdity of life.


Visit The Five-Two to hear the poet read his work and learn more about its inspiration. And check the schedule, because all month long, crime-loving sites will be hosting and discussing crime poems. Admit it, if you'd known Kung Pao chicken was involved, you'd have gotten cultured long ago!

Apr 9 2015 8:45am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting the Disappearance of Susan Powell in If I Can’t Have You

Normally, a dad taking his two sons camping is not strange, but when it occurs in the middle of a snowstorm on the same night that his wife disappears, strange doesn't even begin to describe it. Susan Powell, a Utah mother, disappeared from her home in December 2009, and the media was instantly drawn to the case, with eyes set firmly upon her husband, Josh. Over the next three years, the case would move from disturbing to downright disgusting, as more and more evidence and suspiscion surrounded Josh. And it only gets worse from there.

You can start If I Can't Have You by Gregg Olson and Rebecca Morris now, by heading over to an excerpt of Chapter 1.

Apr 7 2015 8:45am

James Bond’s Secret Past: Teaser Trailer for Spectre

After James Bond (Daniel Craig) receives a cryptic message from his past, he embarks on a trail to uncover a sinister organization dubbed Spectre. Slated to hit theaters on November 6th, Spectre will mark the fourth time Daniel Craig has portrayed Ian Fleming's suave spy. Set to join Craig are Christopher Waltz and Monica Bellucci, and the film will be directed by Sam Mendes.

Are you excited for Spectre? What do you think of Daniel Craig's Bond?

Apr 6 2015 9:45am

Video Games: Training for Psychopaths... Maybe Saints?

In Norway, a high school teacher is using video games to teach ethical frameworks, reports Laura Hudson for FiveThirtyEight:

The first time I played the “Walking Dead” video game, I killed an elderly man. It seemed like the right thing to do....

Later, some unnerving statistics appeared on the screen: how my choices compared to everyone else who had played the game. I saw a long, red bar of discord stretch out next to my decision to kill Larry. Over 68 percent of players had disagreed and refused to take his life. I gulped. Until that moment, I’d felt certain I made the right decision. Now I wasn’t so sure....

The data doesn’t just influence players, it’s also an important tool that allows developers to tailor the game as they’re making it. In every episode, there are decision points designed as narrative barometers, opportunities to gauge how the audience feels — and whether they’re having the reactions Telltale [Games] hoped for.

Read more about how the role playing aspect of inhabiting different perspectives and the complex moral dilemmas of deciding who to kill or to let kill introduces relational ethics, consequential ethics, and the ethics of duty and virtue. What do you think about using video games as ethical training grounds?

Apr 3 2015 9:30am

Announcing The M.O.’s “Long Gone” Story!

Thanks for a great election turnout! We're delighted to announce that the story we'll be publishing in its entirety is...

“Fix Me” by S.W. Lauden

All the stories were terrific, and any would have made a fantastic debut for our new, themed short fiction program. Thanks to all who shared submissions with us, even if the breadth and quality of stories did make it awful work to narrow down the shortlist.

Give us a couple of weeks to get the selected story a dynamite cover, to format it for downloading if and as you choose, and meet back here on Friday, April 17th to read the whole thing at last!

Apr 2 2015 8:45am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting the Wicked Boston Mob

Not everyone is deserving of the nickname he or she receives, but for Boston mafioso Joseph Barboza, “The Animal” was quite apt. Linked to the murders of over 30 people, some for business and some for fun, Barboza was only one member of a fearsome mafia that terrorized people up and down the East Coast.

The mob would go on to find itself in the halls of Congress in Washington D.C., with governors and mayors joining arms with the organization. From the tragic legacy of the Kennedy family, to the Winter Hill-Charlestown feud, this true crime tale discusses the rise and fall of the New England Mafia.

SEE ALSO: Read an excerpt of Marc Songini's Boston Mob!

This sweepstakes has ended. Thanks for entering!

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and its Most Notorious Killer by Marc Songini!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Boston Mob Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances 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.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2015/04/true-crime-thursday-revisiting-the-wicked-boston-mob-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-new-england-mob-and-its-most-notorious-killer-marc-songini beginning at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) April 2, 2015. Sweepstakes ends 8:44 a.m. ET April 9, 2015. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Mar 31 2015 3:00pm

Now Win This!: Unleash the Beast Sweepstakes

It’s all about survival of the fittest, and if you want to make it out alive, you’ll heed caution to these seven wild books!

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 31, 2015, at 3:00 pm ET, and ends April 14, 2015, 2:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Hear me roar!]

Mar 30 2015 8:45am

Arsenic in Your Wine Glass? Naturally!

A recent California lawsuit claims a score of brands of wines produced there, contain high levels of arsenic. According to San Francisco's CBS affilate

So far there is no theory on why this might be happening but Hicks’ [Kevin Hicks, founder of Denver lab BeverageGrades] tests showed an interesting pattern. “The lower the price of wine on a per-liter basis, the higher the amount of arsenic,” he said.

Hicks’ list of low-priced, high-arsenic wines includes Trader Joe’s famous Two-Buck Chuck White Zinfandel which tested at three times the limit. A bottle of Menage a Trois Moscato was four times the limit and a Franzia Blush had five time the EPA limit for drinking water.

We cheapskates and lushes at HQ were near-frothing, until we read this from Alder Yarrow of Vinography:

Arsenic is a naturally occurring compound that is found in the cellular structures of many foods we eat (fruits, vegetables, shellfish and meats) and in all the water we consume in trace amounts. Newsflash: most wines will ALL likely have very small traces of arsenic in them.

Arsenic also happens to be one of the essential minerals our bodies require for health, not unlike selenium, which is another metal that is quite toxic in high doses, but which is found in most multi-vitamins...

Apple juice and pear juice contain up to two or three times as much arsenic as drinking water as a matter of course. The Food and Drug Administration has known this for years. In fact the acceptable threshold for traces of arsenic in juice is much higher than it is for water, a fact that the FDA explains by simply saying that people don't drink as much juice as they do water.

So, the arsenic levels look pretty high until you compare them to, say, your kid's juice box. Snopes has a nice round-up of coverage, including the note that the lab's press release about their arsenic testing services was concurrent with the media splash of the lawsuit. Why, that's the kind of thing that could make a suspicious-minded person doubt the purity of their public-spiritedness.

What's the world come to when an unexpected amount of arsenic in your wine doesn't mean someone's out to kill you?!
Mar 27 2015 9:00am

Like Jurassic Park, with Foreskins

Last year, we covered the strange and controversial artistic history of the Holy Foreskin, supposedly given to a pope by Charlemagne, which became a relic of veneration, being the only part of Jesus's corpus he left behind on earth.

Well, according to David Farley, who wrote a book about it in addition to an article for Slate, there's a small town in Italy that's claimed to have it since 1557, with attached miracles as proof. And even as the Church was cracking down on its more vocal members, threatening excommunication for even mentioning it, Calcata quietly hosted an annual procession allowing pilgrims to adore the relic. But in 1983, crime reared its ugly head as the item was reported stolen from a shoebox in the priest's house.

There is now a U.S. company called Foregen, reports Arikia Millikan in Motherboard last month, which aims to use an extra-cellular matrix along with stem cells to allow unhappy circumcised men to regrow working tissue “much like a salamander is able to re-grow a limb.” That article also delves into cultural, social, and health issues behind the practice of circumcision, blah, blah, blah. But if the real relic could be found, and its cells scientifically used to regrow it on a grand, functional scale, it's obvious what we're looking at, right? Holy Jurassic Foreskin Park!

Leading axolotl image via i09.

Mar 26 2015 8:45am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness

Lucie Blackman left home with her sights set on Tokyo and her mind set on money, but what awaited her was worse than she ever imagined. Working as a hostess in a seedy Roppongi night club, it wouldn't be long before Lucie went missing, with only a strange message left by a mysterious stranger serving as the lone clue, until months later when her severed limbs were found outside the house of a wealthy real estate magnate (No, not Robert Durst.) . But Lucie was far from a reckless girl, as author Richard Lloyd Parry expresses through a great deal of research in People Who Eat Darkness.

Lloyd Parry, the Asia editor and Tokyo bureau chief of The Times (London), spent 10 years researching Lucie's case, interviewing and gaining access to a wide array of people connected to Lucie, including family, friends, lawyers, and police. The result is a compelling and immersive look into not just Lucie, but her family, friends, and killer.

For more information, check out our Fresh Meat review or read an excerpt over at FSG Originals!