<i>Wolf on a String</i>: New Excerpt Wolf on a String: New Excerpt Benjamin Black A mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense. Discount: <i>Rogue</i> by Mark Sullivan Discount: Rogue by Mark Sullivan Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through 6/5! <i>Only the Dead Know Brooklyn</i>: New Excerpt Only the Dead Know Brooklyn: New Excerpt Chris Vola A tale about a vampire who must choose between immortality, love, and revenge. Discount: <i>Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Into the Fire</i> Discount: Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Into the Fire Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through 6/5!
From The Blog
May 26, 2017
Putting My Hard Work to Work
L. F. Robertson
May 25, 2017
Page to Screen: Nightmare Alley
Brian Greene
May 18, 2017
Discovering a Sister in Crime: Eleanor T. Bland
Stephane Dunn
May 16, 2017
Q&A with Court Merrigan, Author of The Broken Country
David Cranmer and Court Merrigan
May 15, 2017
Adventures in Research, Part I: Time of Departure
Douglas Schofield
Sat
May 27 2017 10:04am
Excerpt

Wolf on a String: New Excerpt

Benjamin Black

Wolf on a String by Benjamin BlackWolf on a String by Benjamin Black is an historical crime novel that delivers both a mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense (available June 6, 2017).

Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar and alchemist, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599, intent on making his fortune at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, the eccentric Rudolf II. The night of his arrival, drunk and lost, Christian stumbles upon the body of a young woman in Golden Lane, an alley hard by Rudolf’s great castle. Dressed in a velvet gown, wearing a large gold medallion around her neck, the woman is clearly well-born—or was, for her throat has been slashed.

A lesser man would smell danger, but Christian is determined to follow his fortunes wherever they may lead. He quickly finds himself entangled in the machinations of several ruthless courtiers, and before long he comes to the attention of the Emperor himself. Rudolf, deciding that Christian is that rare thing—a person he can trust—sets him the task of solving the mystery of the woman’s murder. But Christian soon realizes that he has blundered into the midst of a power struggle that threatens to subvert the throne itself. And as he gets ever nearer to the truth of what happened that night in Golden Lane, he finally sees that his own life is in grave danger.

[Read an excerpt from Wolf on a String...]

Fri
May 26 2017 4:30pm

“Doc’s American Dream” Cocktail

America is heading for the Great Depression, but a true love is forming down south ... one that will rival the crash of the century.

So speak easy with Bonnie & Clyde and this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—“Doc's American Dream” cocktail, inspired by Jenni L. Walsh's debut historical mystery, Becoming Bonnie!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Fri
May 26 2017 3:00pm

Putting My Hard Work to Work: The Uneasy Relationship Between Having a Day Job and Writing About It

“Write what you know” is such common advice for new writers that it has become a cliché. It sounds seductively simple: you just look at the life you’re living and the people you see and write a story about them. No need to imagine fantasy worlds or recreate life on a distant planet or in a dystopian future; no need to research a historical period and hope you get the details right. Everything you need is right there in front of you. 

Right.  

When I wrote my first novel, Two Lost Boys, I decided to write about what I do for a living—something I know that is unusual enough to supply material for a mystery novel. I work in death penalty defense not as a trial lawyer but on the appeals of people who have already been convicted and sent to death row. In real life, though, my work is mostly a lot of research and writing, going out to visit my clients and the people who knew them, and more research and writing. It also involves a lot of obscure law and technical legal procedures. My cases go on for a very, very long time, with a pronounced lack of exciting courtroom scenes and explosive denouements

[Read more from L. F. Robertson!]

Fri
May 26 2017 1:00pm

Discount: Rogue by Mark Sullivan

Rogue by Mark Sullivan is a propulsive, compelling thriller that is one part Bourne Identity and one part Mission: Impossible with a nod to Hitchcock's It Takes a Thief. From now until June 5, 2017, get a digital copy of the first book in the Robin Monarch Thrillers series for only $2.99!

Two years ago, Robin Monarch was a top level CIA operative―perhaps the best they had when it came to black bag operations. Then one day, in the middle of an operation, with his team around him in the field, Monarch walked away, leaving his old life and friends behind without a word of explanation.

Now, this ex-soldier, ex-operative, and orphan with a murky past is a thief, stealing from the super-rich and has surfaced in St. Tropez. But when a complicated, high-profile jewel heist goes wrong, Monarch is led into a carefully woven trap designed to force him to complete the very same mission he walked away from years ago. 

It will take all of his skills (as well as those of the team he burned) and all of his cunning if Monarch is to thwart the violent and deadly goals of the very powerful cabal who will do whatever it takes to bring the very dangerous “Green Fields” technology under their control.

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Books a Million Buy at iTunes

Fri
May 26 2017 11:01am

Home Depot Imposter Steals Air Conditioners

This week's perp derp struggled with an identity crisis while committing a chilling robbery. Let me explain...

Bernardo Calana, 53, suited up in Home Depot armor—aka an orange apron—and posed as a faithful employee in order to steal a couple of air conditioners from a store in New Hampshire.

According to the New York Post, he tossed the air conditioner units in his truck and then quickly went back inside. An eagle-eyed manager called the police when he noticed the guy’s apron had flowers and the name “Shannon” on it.

Calana left the scene but was arrested when he returned to the store shortly after. Police say Calana denied having any knowledge of the missing air conditioners.

Fri
May 26 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn: New Excerpt

Chris Vola

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris VolaOnly the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola is a tale about a vampire who must choose between love, revenge, and immortality (available May 30, 2017).

Why not make yourself an “Only the Dead Drink Brooklyns” cocktail to sip while reading? 

Ryan Driggs has lived in Brooklyn for 128 years, 96 of them as one of the last members of a tribe of blood-eating immortals who have called the borough home since before colonial times. Besides the occasional hard-to-control thirst, his life in the twenty-first century is uneventful, until he meets Jennifer, a human from Manhattan with whom he falls in love.

Unable to leave Brooklyn without reverting back to his original, cancer-stricken human state, Ryan knows he must tell Jennifer who and what he really is. But before he can find the words, she is kidnapped by a tribe of Manhattan vampires—and Ryan discovers that, for a reason unknown to him, he is a target too. After contacting the oldest member of his tribe, a former slave named Frank Lafayette, and after an attempt on their lives that leaves two of Frank’s employees dead, Ryan realizes he’s been thrust into a world that is more dangerous than anything he’d imagined.

As he travels to Manhattan to rescue Jennifer, forsaking his immortality, he gets caught up in a roller coaster of violence, lies, manipulation, and a power struggle that stretches back thousands of years. In a world where conspiracies are more than just theories and where he is the key to an ancient secret, Ryan must decide to fight or forsake both of the species he’s called his own.

[Read an excerpt from Only the Dead Know Brooklyn...]

Thu
May 25 2017 4:30pm

Review: Netflix’s True Crime Documentary The Keepers

The story begins with two retired women who come together to try to solve the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, their former high school teacher. It sounds like the premise of a cute cozy mystery, but this story is anything but cozy. It’s a tale of abuse, pedophilia, cover-ups by the Catholic Church, and forbidden love, as this explosive documentary uncovers layer after layer of secrets across seven episodes.

The first episode introduces us to the facts of the case. It’s a chilling overview of an unsolved murder of a Catholic nun in a small town outside of Baltimore, Maryland. The physical evidence was almost non-existent at the time, and the two women—Abbie Schaub and Gemma Hoskins, former classmates at Archbishop Keough High School—attempt to find out what happened to their beloved teacher.

[Who killed Sister Cathy?]

Thu
May 25 2017 3:00pm

Page to Screen: Nightmare Alley

When I was around 23, I took my two nephews to a carnival in Norfolk, Virginia. I figured it would be a good time for the boys, both aged approximately nine at the time. You know—cotton candy, funnel cake, exhilarating rides, midway games, etc. And for me, personally, maybe there would be some kicks like a wild funhouse with those freaky mirrors.

We left after less than an hour and with me in a bitter mood. The staff of the fun fair were rough customers. One barker growled at me and called me a cheapskate when I declined to buy any of the goods at his stall. The guy operating the Spider laughed meanly through bad teeth when one of my nephews cried out in fright while being thrown around on the rickety ride. Most of the workers looked like they needed a bath and maybe a stay at a drying-out clinic. Needless to say, they were an unsavory bunch. It was enough to make me want to stick to treating the kids to comparatively safe and wholesome activities like mini golf when I had them for a night.

[There's a reason carnivals are portrayed as dark and creepy...]

Thu
May 25 2017 1:00pm

Discount: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire by George Galdorisi & Dick Couch

In celebration of the recent publication of the latest in Tom Clancy's Op-Center series, Dark Zone (available now!), get a digital copy of Into the Fire by George Galdorisi & Dick Couch for only $2.99 through June 5th!

Read an excerpt from Dark Zone!

When a team of assassins murder a high-ranking North Korean general and his family in their sleep, making it look like a robbery, events are set in motion that could shake the balance of world powers. Meanwhile, a U.S. naval combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is attacked by North Korean forces in the middle of a training exercise off the shore of South Korea, and Commander Kate Bigelow is forced to ground the ship to avoid being captured. The crew takes refuge on a tiny island, trapped dangerously between the grounded ship and a fleet of hostile North Korean soldiers.

Op-Center intelligence discovers a secret alliance behind the attack—a pact between China and North Korea that guarantees China total control of a vast oil reserve found beneath the Yellow Sea. As both sides marshal their forces for a major confrontation at sea, Chase Williams and his Op-Center organization devise a plan to secretly spirit the American crew from the island and out from under North Korean control. But the North Koreans are not finished. In a desperate gamble, they unleash a terrorist cell on the American homeland. Only Op-Center can uncover their plan and stop it in time to prevent a major catastrophe that could lead to all-out war.

Read an excerpt from Into the Fire!

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Books a Million Buy at iTunes

Thu
May 25 2017 12:00pm

Review: Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills

Set against a terrific backdrop of Europe on the cusp of the Second World War, Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills is a compelling novel, rich in adventure, espionage, secrets, and lies (available May 30, 2017). 

The dust of war is spreading across a divided Europe in 1937. A late night visit to an orphanage by a man with dark deeds on his mind sets the scene for Where Dead Men Meet. Mark Mills writes in a very composed and concise way, which allows the characters to unfold in an extremely untroubled fashion. Yet despite the slick, sophisticated style, there is still a grittiness in the narrative that ensures all palates will be satisfied. 

The balance he achieves in his writing results in a thriller that takes you back to the smoke and mirrors of the years leading up to the Second World War. Luke Hamilton, a junior air intelligence officer at the British Embassy, receives a letter from his father. Bad news awaits him as he slits the envelope open. But this is just the start of a rollercoaster ride for the young Hamilton as he tries to stay one step ahead of those who would do him harm.

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of Where Dead Men Meet...]

Thu
May 25 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Killing for You: New Excerpt

Keith Elliot Greenberg

Killing for You by Keith Elliot GreenbergKilling For You by Keith Elliot Greenberg is a shocking, authoritative account of a brutal double murder (available May 30, 2017).

A KILLER PLOT
Twenty-six-year-old actor Daniel Wozniak was unemployed, facing eviction, and deep in debt for his upcoming wedding. So he devised a diabolical plan: He asked his neighbor Sam Herr, a young war veteran, to help him move some things into the attic of an empty theater. There, Wozniak shot Herr twice in the head before taking his ATM card and cell phone. Hours later, Wozniak performed on stage with his fiancée in a local production of the musical Nine, convinced that he had gotten away with murder…

A DRAMATIC LAST ACT
Wozniak dismembered his victim’s body and hid the pieces. Then he lured Herr’s college friend Juri “Julie” Kibuishi to Herr’s apartment and shot her twice in the head. The police immediately declared Herr a prime suspect—just as Wozniak had planned. But when Herr was declared missing, and his ATM withdrawals led authorities to Wozniak at his bachelor party, the actor was forced to play the role of a lifetime in a shocking murder investigation that would be his greatest—and final—performance…

[Read an excerpt from Killing for You...]

Wed
May 24 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Silence of the Jams by Gayle Leeson

Hurray, we’re back in Winter Garden, Virginia, to visit with the delightful Amy Flowers and her family and friends! This is one of those series where I’m there as much for the cast and their personal issues as I am for the mystery itself, and immersing myself back in the series was as truly cozy as wrapping a nice toasty blanket around myself.

Here in the second installment, Amy has finally realized her dream of opening a healthy, homey cafe after helping to solve the murder of her former boss in the series debut. Business at Amy’s Down South Cafe is good, perhaps unsurprisingly given that the only other place to eat out in this small town is a somewhat greasy pizza parlor.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
May 24 2017 3:00pm

Shark Island by Chris Jameson: A Visual Guide

GIFnotes: Giving you the basic plot summary of an upcoming book with the help of the Graphics Interchange Format.

This week, a shark attack survivor believes she has already lived through her worst nightmare—she's dead wrong. Take a visual tour of Chris Jameson's debut novel, Shark Island, with GIFnotes!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Wed
May 24 2017 1:00pm

Review: City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino

City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino is an edgy, gritty, mature YA mystery about a young woman's struggle to not only belong—but survive.

One reason why I'm drawn to crime fiction is that it shows so-called “bad” people at their best and “good” people at their worst. That nuanced look at humanity and the forces out to corrupt it makes for some powerful, poignant, and pretty dark tales. You have to be an adult to fully appreciate and understand those types of stories though, right? You can't do a gritty, street level, crime story as a YA novel ... can you?

It turns out you can. City of Angels, Kristi Belcamino's (author of the Gabriella Giovanni series) debut YA crime novel, proved I need to reevaluate my assumptions about YA novels' ability to tell gritty and powerful crime stories. 

[Read Dave Richards's review of City of Angels...]

Wed
May 24 2017 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: May 23, 2017

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!

This week is a powerhouse of new releases, including Michael Crichton's return to the world of paleontology! See what we're reading this week:

[See this week's Top 5...]

Wed
May 24 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Blood of Tyrants: New Excerpt

Ken Shufeldt

Blood of Tyrants by Ken ShufeldtBlood of Tyrants by Ken Shufeldt is a gripping political thriller that explores the devastating effects that unlimited political funding, if permitted, could produce (available May 30, 2017).

Backed by a secretive Super PAC, Richard Wilkes, an old money Virginia businessman, upsets the incumbent to win the Presidency. His term begins smoothly enough—until ISIS launches horrific terrorist attacks on American soil.

In way over his head, the President refuses to take action, paving the way for the terrorists to use a stolen Pakistani nuke to incinerate almost a million Americans. Fed up with his incompetence, multi-billionaire Walter Jefferson leads several high ranking military leaders and a band of patriots in a bloody coup.

After eliminating President Wilkes and almost everyone on the Presidential succession list, Jefferson proclaims himself Chancellor and begins moving “undesirables” into internment camps. He then orders the military to invade Canada and Mexico in a desperate attempt to wipe out the ISIS contingents hiding there, and to build a buffer zone around the country. There are catastrophic losses on all sides. There’s only one hope for the United States now: the last survivor on the Presidential succession list, the Secretary of State.

[Read an excerpt from Blood of Tyrants...]

Tue
May 23 2017 4:30pm

Vote for Your Favorite Roger Moore James Bond Film

 

Tell us which film you chose and why in the comments below!

Tue
May 23 2017 3:00pm

We Can Be Heroes

Read author Rio Youers's exclusive guest post about the unlikely hero in all of us, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of his upcoming supernatural thriller, The Forgotten Girl!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of us didn’t disarm a nuclear weapon today. Likewise, we didn’t parachute out of a burning helicopter or get into a knife fight with an army of muscle-packed henchmen.

Or maybe—depending on the book we’re currently reading—we did.

In a recent interview, Lee Child said that there was an element of wish fulfillment involved in the creation of Jack Reacher—an empowering response to the vulnerabilities of everyday life: to see the world through the eyes of a character who could walk down any street, day or night, and not feel threatened. As a writer, I can see the appeal. We inhabit our characters. It’s as close to body-swapping as we’ll ever get. So why not swap with a total badass?

[Life swap!]

Tue
May 23 2017 2:00pm
Excerpt

Becoming Bonnie: New Excerpt

Jenni L. Walsh

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh is a debut historical novel and the untold story of how the wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

Just in time for the anniversary of the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde on May 23, 1934, comes the debut historical novel Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh! Read an exciting excerpt below and make sure to sign in and comment at the bottom for a chance to win your very own copy!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her, and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school, and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, he embraces it―perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling―she tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. But her life―like her country―is headed for a crash.

Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

[Read an excerpt from Becoming Bonnie...]