Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!
Check back every Wednesday and see what we're reading for the week!
Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope
Magnus “Steps” Craig is part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Called in on special cases where his skills are particularly needed, he works as a tracker. The media dubs him “The Human Bloodhound,” since Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface better than anyone else. But there's a secret to his success. Steps has a special ability—-a kind of synesthesia—-where he can see the 'essence' of a person, something he calls 'shine,' on everything they've touched. His ability is known to only a few people—-his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.
When the remains of a murdered woman are found, Steps recognizes the shine left by the murderer from another crime scene with a physically similar victim. And he uncovers the signature at both scenes—-the mark of a sad face. At the same time, another killer, one Steps has dubbed Leonardo and has been trying to track for over ten years, appears again, taunting Steps. But while Steps tries to find a clue that will lead him to Leonardo, the case of the Sad Face Killer heats up. The team uncovers eleven possible victims: missing women who fit the same pattern. Using his skill and the resources of the Bureau, it is a race against time to find the killer before it's too late.
First Strike by Ben Coes
Deep within the Pentagon, a covert, multi-billion arms-for-influence program was created. The objective was to protect the United States and its allies from terrorist acts by secretly enabling a hand-picked man to emerge as the most powerful leader in the Middle East. But the charismatic Tristan Nazir double-crosses America, twisting the program for his own violent ends to create ISIS. Now America is at great risk.
Elite operative Dewey Andreas is sent to Syria to retrieve details about the source of ISIS’s funding but his cover is blown mid-operation and chaos erupts in the streets of Damascus. Trapped and outnumbered, Dewey manages to send proof of the awful truth―unknown at even the highest levels in the government―that ISIS’s munitions were indeed provided by America itself.
This information arrives in time to for the U.S. to cut off a final arms shipment before it reaches ISIS. But the vicious Nazir, is far from finished. He launches a bold strike into the heart of America, sending a terrorist cell to take over a dorm at Columbia University, capturing hundreds of college students as hostages. For every hour that the shipment of weapons is withheld, the terrorists will publicly execute one student. The potential loss of life is intolerable. A frontal assault is impossible. Releasing the shipment is unthinkable. There is nowhere to turn…
In a situation with no solutions, there remains only one option―Dewey Andreas.
See also: First Strike: New Excerpt
Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander
Welcome to Torte―a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…
Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary…especially when murder is thrown into the mix.
When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking down the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading―with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent―for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start…and risk getting burned?
Ghosts of War by Brad Taylor
The Taskforce has stopped countless terrorist threats across the globe, operating outside of US law to prevent the death of innocents. But now, along the fault lines of the old Iron Curtain, the danger is far greater than a single attack. With Russia expanding its influence from Syria to the Baltic States, the Taskforce is placed on stand-down because of the actions of one rogue operator.
Meanwhile, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill travel to Poland, hired to verify artifacts hidden for decades in a fabled Nazi gold train, only to find themselves caught amid growing tensions between East and West. A Russian incursion into Belarus under the facade of self-defense is trumped by a horrific attack against the United States, driving NATO to mobilize even as it tries to determine who is behind the strike.
On the brink of war, Pike and Jennifer discover that there is a separate agenda in play, one determined to force a showdown between NATO and Russia. With time running out, and America demanding vengeance, Pike and Jennifer race to unravel the mystery before a point of no return is reached. Unbeknownst to them, there is another attack on the way.
One that will guarantee World War III.
The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler
When Mirabella Matthews’ Aunt Jolly dies unexpectedly and under mysterious circumstances Mirabella suddenly finds herself the new owner of a villa in the South of France. But with the inheritance come unexpected mysteries…and dangers.
On her way to the villa, Mirabella is run off the road by a motorcycle, and that’s only just the beginning. It turns out that Aunt Jolly had a past, and as the various men who were a part of it show up Mirabella must find out who can be trusted and who is using charm to mask the face of a murderer.
Read an excerpt from The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler.