<i>Date with Malice</i>: Excerpt Date with Malice: Excerpt Julia Chapman The second book in the Samson and Delilah Mystery series. Discount: <i>The Nearest Exit</i> by Olen Steinhauer Discount: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99! Review: <i>The Silent Companions</i> by Laura Purcell Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell Gabino Iglesias Read Gabino Iglesias's review! Review: <i>Last Ferry Home</i> by Kent Harrington Review: Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review!
From The Blog
March 27, 2018
Dark Streets, Green River: The Murder and Mayhem Conference in Chicago
Susanna Calkins
March 23, 2018
Driver in the UK Tries to Pass as Homer Simpson After Getting Pulled Over
Adam Wagner
March 19, 2018
Q&A with Christi Daugherty, Author of The Echo Killing
Christi Daugherty and Crime HQ
March 16, 2018
Like Stealing Candy from... "Gumball Bandit" Steals Large Gumball Machine from Sacramento Animal Shelter
Adam Wagner
March 13, 2018
Q&A with Sebastian Rotella, Author of Rip Crew
Sebastian Rotella and John Valeri
Mar 28 2018 5:00pm

New Look, Same Great Books Bundle Sweepstakes

At CrimeHQ, we're dedicated to bringing you the best in crime and mystery. And now, the site you know and love will be getting an upgrade! So for the next week or so, we'll be busy getting everything in order and moving our great content over to our new site. But, in the meantime, we wanted to make sure you all didn't miss us—so we created a wonderful bundle of books to give to one lucky fan! Thanks for all the support, and we'll see you soon with a brand new look!

Enter using the form below, then take a closer look at all the books you could win!

[See what 10 books you could win!]

Mar 28 2018 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke

We’re back in Lake Eden for a very brief stop so I can find out what happens with Norman and that interloper, Doctor Bev! As the 15th book in the Hannah Swensen series opens, our heroine is en route to the Lake Eden Inn with her sister, Michelle, to deliver an order of cinnamon rolls from her bakery, The Cookie Jar. The weather and traffic are typical of the miserable Minnesota mud season that Hannah has dealt with all her life, so she is well-prepared when she sees the sudden flurry of brake lights on the highway in front of them. She takes evasive action to ensure that she and Michelle aren’t caught in the pileup before the sisters head out to offer first aid and hospital transport to any injured.

The accident seems to have been caused by a tour bus that has completely flipped over. The passengers are the members and hangers-on of the Cinnamon Roll Six, a jazz ensemble hired to headline the Lake Eden Inn’s first annual jazz weekend (and the reason for the large delivery of namesake rolls). While the driver seems to have had a fatal seizure that caused him to lose control of the bus, the most serious injury otherwise is the keyboardist’s broken wrist. Buddy Neiman seems to be fairly blasé about his injury given how it will likely affect his livelihood, but he allows Hannah to escort him to the hospital where her mother volunteers.

The hospital is in a state of controlled chaos, as the victims of the multi-vehicle pileup have all been brought here. All available medical personnel have come in to assist, including Norman, Doctor Bev, both dentists, and Delores and her brigade of volunteers. When Delores goes to check on Buddy in his examining room later, she is aghast to discover a pair of surgical shears buried deep in his chest.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Mar 28 2018 3:30pm

What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka: A Visual Guide

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

What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka is the thrilling follow up to The Last Place You Look, starring troubled and determined private investigator Roxane Weary—take a visual tour with GIFnotes!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Mar 28 2018 1:00pm

Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 Review: Episodes 8-10

Hello, and welcome back to my look at Season 2 of Netflix and Marvel's Jessica Jones, where Krysten Ritter's hard-drinking PI uses her sharp observation skills, sharper tongue, and superhuman strength to crack strange cases. Today, we reach the penultimate installment of my review coverage with a look at Episode 8: “AKA Ain't We Got Fun”; Episode 9: “AKA Shark in the Bathtub, Monster in the Bed”; and Episode 10: “AKA Pork Chop.” We'll examine the elements of these episodes that worked (and those that didn’t), discuss connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Comics Universe that you may have missed, and talk about what I'd like to see develop in future episodes.

So stand against the wall so I can take your picture—and then, let's get started!

[Read Dave Richards's review of Episodes 8-10...]

Mar 28 2018 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: March 27, 2018

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, a new Hap & Leonard novel from Joe R. Lansdale combines with C. J. Box's latest Joe Pickett thriller to highlight an amazing week of books! See what else we're reading:

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

Mar 28 2018 10:00am

Julia Chapman Excerpt: Date with Malice

Julia Chapman

Date with Malice by Julia Chapman is the second book in the Samson and Delilah Mystery series, set in a delightful English village in the Yorkshire Dales (available April 3, 2018).

Take a visual tour through Date with Malice with GIFnotes!

When a pensioner turns up at the Dales Detective Agency and tells Samson O’Brien that someone in her old people’s home is trying to kill her, he dismisses her fears as the ramblings of a confused elderly lady. But after several disturbing incidents at Fellside Court, he begins to wonder if perhaps there is something malicious at the heart of the retirement community after all.

With Christmas around the corner, Samson is thrown into an investigation that will require all of his detective skills. He also needs the help of the tempestuous Delilah Metcalfe in order to infiltrate the local community, which Samson turned his back on so long ago. Against the background of a Yorkshire winter, Samson and Delilah must work together to uncover the malevolence that is threatening the lives of Bruncliffe’s senior citizens; a malevolence that will come perilously close to home.

[Read an excerpt from Date with Malice...]

Mar 27 2018 4:30pm

Vote for Your Favorite Film in the Godfather Series

Mar 27 2018 3:00pm

Dark Streets, Green River: The Murder and Mayhem Conference in Chicago

It’s a funny thing to go to a mystery conference and discover that everyone on the streets outside is drunk at nine o’clock in the morning, while everyone inside the conference is stone-cold sober. But that’s what happens when a conference—the second annual Murder and Mayhem in Chicago—is held on St. Patrick’s Day in the Windy City.

All this came to pass after Dana Kaye (of Kaye Publicity) had the idea to bring Murder and Mayhem to Chicago, as a sister conference to the one held annually in Milwaukee. As she told me:

Chicago is filled with talented crime fiction authors, and when our local mystery conference closed its doors, I was determined to replace it. Too often, publishers view Chicago as a flyover city, sending authors to the coasts and skipping over the middle of the country. This conference demonstrates that the Midwest is filled with enthusiastic readers, librarians, booksellers, and authors.

Her partner in this endeavor, Lori Rader-Day (award-winning author of The Black Hour, The Day I Died, and Little Pretty Things) explained:

I was excited to help out because it gave such a great platform for local crime writers and also gave a tour stop for writers from outside the Midwest. Chicago is such a great city for crime writers, it needed its own conference.

MMC drew an audience of about 250 crime fiction lovers and consisted of five panels featuring crime fiction writers, industry professionals, and experts in crime. Eric Beetner, author of 20 novels, proved once again to be a witty and capable Master of Ceremonies. Joking about the “formidable lineup” of the day, he commented that Jeffery Deaver (current president of Mystery Writers of America) “wrote a text last night that’s already outsold all my novels.”

[Read more from the Murder and Mayhem conference in Chicago!]

Mar 27 2018 2:00pm

Discount: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

Milo Weaver has nowhere to turn but back to the CIA in The Nearest Exit—Olen Steinhauer's brilliant follow-up to the New York Times bestselling espionage novel The Tourist.

Get a digital copy of The Nearest Exit for only $2.99 through April 3rd!

Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a “tourist.” Before he can get back to the CIA's dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo's background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism—or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors—especially as a man who has nothing left to lose.

See also: Olen Steinhauer on His Milo Weaver Series


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at iTunes

Mar 27 2018 1:00pm

Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect—much like the companions themselves.

Part Victorian ghost story, part Gothic narrative, and part exploration of the interaction between sanity and reality when they collide with the supernatural, Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions is the kind of novel that slowly simmers to a boiling point while transporting readers to a different time and place. At once gloomy, creepy, and brutal, this story—which spans a few generations—pays tributes to classic eerie novels while also pushing the Gothic genre further into the realm of hardcore horror.

When Elsie married Rupert Bainbridge, a handsome young heir who treated her very well, she was convinced that the rest of her life would be spent in the lap of love and luxury. However, those thoughts vanish quickly when her husband dies unexpectedly a few weeks after their marriage, leaving Elsie alone, incredibly sad, in charge of everything, pregnant, and on her way to a new, unknown place.

Her new servants—all of whom loved her husband—are resentful of her, and the local villagers are hostile and refuse to work for her or in the house she’s come to because they are convinced something evil inhabits it. Elsie is forced to deal with all this with only her dead husband’s cousin for company.

[Read Gabino Iglesias's review of The Silent Companions...]

Mar 27 2018 12:00pm

Review: Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington

Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington is a riveting novel of grief, obsession, recovery, and passion, as well as a gripping portrait of a man torn apart by loss but looking for something, anyone, to believe in.

In Last Ferry Home, Kent Harrington introduces an intriguing protagonist in the form of PTSD-afflicted SFPD homicide detective and Afghanistan vet Michael O’Higgins. It’s been 18 months since his wife died in a boating accident, and O’Higgins is desperate to get his life back on track and reconnect with his 16-year-old daughter, Rebecca. Therapy has helped, but he still struggles on a daily basis.

His sister was the one who suggested he get therapy. She’d stopped by the house one morning and rang the bell while he’d been asleep. He was dreaming about the day of the accident, as he did every time he slept. The dream was always the same, with little variation, but in the dreamscape he was always unaware of what was to come. That was the irony. That was why he liked to sleep and dream. It was only then that he felt normal.

During the day, he felt great tension and fear: fear that he would kill himself, and fear that he would live another minute more. It was fear of both. Life was a torture of minutes and recollections and long, empty days of driving or walking. He’d become a “Meanderthal,” a word he’d coined to describe the desire to peregrinate aimlessly on foot, another symptom of his mental turmoil.

[Read Kristin Centorcelli's review of Last Ferry Home...]

Mar 27 2018 10:00am

Maureen Lindley Excerpt: The Beloveds

The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley is an exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace (available April 3, 2018).

Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return.

[Read an excerpt from The Beloveds...]

Mar 26 2018 4:30pm

The Walking Dead Power Rankings 8.13: “Do Not Send Us Astray”

Hey! What do ya know!? When the show about zombies actually reintroduces them as a threat, we get an entertaining episode.

“Do Not Send Us Astray” is the first episode in a long time where the zombies weren't just accessories to the human drama unfolding (slowly). Instead of keeping them in the background, barely given a second thought unless the week's budget allows for a few easy kills to up the gore factor, the show actually reminded us why this world was so scary in the first place. And even though they only killed people whom we've never met, their presence was felt and the episode watchable. We're in the home stretch for this season—let's hope the trend continues.

[See who's “Walking Tall” and who's been “Eaten Alive” this week...]

Mar 26 2018 3:00pm

Review: The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer

In The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer, a mortician for fallen soldiers becomes an unlikely hero as he helps a young woman from his past battle a murderous organization.

Brad Meltzer has returned to his roots as a thriller author in The Escape Artist, a fast-paced novel with protagonists who are easy to root for as well as some nuggets of history about magician Houdini’s history with the U.S. government. After Meltzer took time from his fiction to work on TV shows, comic books, and an inspirational children’s book series, longtime fans of his thrillers should be pleased with this novel.

Some of Meltzer’s novels focus heavily on uncovered historical conspiracies. The Escape Artist has some historical revelations centered on the magic tricks Houdini turned for the government, and Meltzer does strong research, as always, into the inner workings of the government. But it’s main focus is the two engrossing protagonists and their battle for survival.

As a middle-aged mortician at Dover Air Force Base, Jim “Zig” Zigarowsk isn’t the most likely candidate to battle wits and fists with professional killers. The man lives with death every day, taking pride in dressing up the corpses of national heroes so their families can view their remains in peace. His life is in paralysis. Zig has never gotten over the death of his young daughter, 14 years ago. He can’t sleep until he check’s his ex-wife’s Facebook page.

[Read Brian Bandell's review of The Escape Artist...]

Mar 26 2018 2:00pm

Review: Black Fall by Andrew Mayne

In Black Fall by Andrew Mayne, magician-turned-FBI agent Jessica Blackwood investigates a series of seemingly unrelated—but equally bizarre and sinister—crimes that lead her to the Colorado desert and a town that has, simply, disappeared.

“I… lost a town.”

A long pause. “Moffat?” There was no trace of surprise in his voice.

Olivia froze. “Yeah, how’d you know?”

“I got a man with a produce truck in front of me asking the same thing. … I haven’t heard of any recent tornado reports. I better call the sheriff. Any idea how many people live out there?”

“Fifty-eight,” she replied, without missing a beat. Olivia swept her hand across the metal sign at her feet. It said:


The sun was setting and the shadows were growing longer. She noticed bits of charred, broken boards poking out of the dirt. A cracked cinder block stuck out of the ground like a giant chipped tooth.

She was taken back to the stories in high school history class about ancient cities buried under the dirt. One day, the people just covered everything and left. Nobody knew why.

Either something took these people and their town, or they went willingly, erasing every trace of their existence.

She wasn’t sure which scenario scared her more.

Jessica Blackwood is no stranger to astounding tricks. She comes from a family of professional magicians and, in her youth, was known to dazzle audiences with her own conjuring and sleight of hand. But now that she’s an FBI agent, she wants to put all of that behind her and focus on catching the really bad people in the real world.

[Read Angie Barry's review of Black Fall...]

Mar 26 2018 1:00pm

Crime/Mystery/Thrillers Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in April 2018

April showers bring ... killer streaming entertainment! Highlighted by classic movies like Scarface and Seven, only a fool would miss out on what's coming to Netflix this month.

See what other crime/mystery/thriller entertainment is coming to (and leaving) Netflix in April! 

[See the full list below...]

Mar 26 2018 12:00pm

Cover Reveal: Flight of the Fox by Gray Basnight

Flight of the Fox by Gray Basnight follows an innocent math professor running for his life as teams of hitmen try to prevent publication of their government’s dark history.

College professor Sam Teagarden stumbles upon a decades-old government cover-up when an encoded document mysteriously lands in his inbox, followed by a cluster of mini-drones programmed to kill him. 

That begins a terrifying flight from upstate New York to Washington to Key West, as Teagarden must outfox teams of hitmen equipped with highly sophisticated technology. While a fugitive, he races to decode the journal only to realize the dreadful truth—it’s the reason he’s being hunted because it details criminal secrets committed by the U.S. in the 20th century. 

If he survives and publishes the decoded diary, he’ll be a heroic whistleblower. But there is no guarantee. He may also end up dead.

FLIGHT OF THE FOX is published by Down & Out Books and will be available July 23, 2018.

Mar 26 2018 10:00am

Paige Shelton Excerpt: Lost Books and Old Bones

Paige Shelton

Lost Books and Old Bones by Paige Shelton is the third book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series, featuring bookseller and amateur sleuth Delaney Nichols and set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Take a visual tour of Lost Books and Old Bones with GIFnotes!

Delaney Nichols, originally of Kansas but settling happily into her new life as a bookseller in Edinburgh, works at the Cracked Spine in the heart of town. The shop is a place filled with curiosities and surprises tucked into every shelf, and it’s Delaney’s job to research the rare tomes and obscure artifacts that people come to buy and sell. When her new friends, also students at the medical school, come to the shop to sell a collection of antique medical books, Delaney knows she’s stumbled across a rare and important find indeed. Her boss, Edwin MacAlister, agrees to buy the multivolume set, perhaps even to keep for his own collection.

But not long after the sale, one of Delaney’s new friends is found murdered in the alley behind the Cracked Spine, and she wonders if there is some nefarious connection between the origin of these books and the people whose hands they fell into. Delaney takes it upon herself to help bring the murderer to justice. During her investigation, Delaney she finds some old scalpels in the bookshop’s warehouse―she and discovers that they belonged to a long-dead doctor whose story and ties to the past crimes of Burke and Hare might be connected to the present-day murder. It’s all Delaney can do to race to solve this crime before time runs out and she ends up in a victim on the slab herself.

[Read an excerpt from Lost Books and Old Bones...]

Mar 24 2018 10:00am

Tara Thomas Excerpt: Deadly Secret

Tara Thomas

Deadly Secrets by Tara Thomas is a romantic thriller and the second book in the Sons of Broad series (available March 27, 2018).

In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless enemy is out to destroy them … and everyone they hold close.

As a lawyer and aspiring Congresswoman, Bea likes to keep things professional. But she’s hired to investigate past dark secrets embedded in the Benedict business empire―and as secret wife to Knox Benedict, the job is about to become even more personal.

Knox is the moral backbone of the Benedict family, but even a modern-day saint can have a mysterious side. He’s out to win back his estranged secret wife―but getting close to her again could destroy them both.

As Bea and Knox dig up the truth, Bea falls deeper and deeper into danger. Someone close by is watching her―and waiting to kill. Can Knox save the woman he loves from the enemy out to destroy them? And can their marriage survive the deadliest secret of all?

[Read an excerpt from Deadly Secret...]

Mar 23 2018 4:30pm

Book-Inspired Cocktails: “Cotton Paloma”

What do you do when you come across top-secret documents that could change the course of history?

Settle your nerves with this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—the “Cotton Paloma” cocktail, inspired by Steve Berry's prequel Cotton Malone thriller, The Bishop's Pawn!

[Check out the recipe below!]