Review: <i>Dog Dish of Doom</i> by E. J. Copperman Review: Dog Dish of Doom by E. J. Copperman Katherine Tomlinson Read Katherine Tomlinson's review! <i>Fast Falls the Night</i>: Excerpt Fast Falls the Night: Excerpt Julia Keller The sixth Bell Elkins novel. Review: <i>Poisonous</i> by Allison Brennan Review: Poisonous by Allison Brennan Katherine Tomlinson Read Katherine Tomlinson's review! Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: September, 2017 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: September, 2017 Crime HQ Check out September's offerings!
From The Blog
August 15, 2017
Page to Screen: Hopscotch
Brian Greene
August 15, 2017
Q&A with Kelley Armstrong, Author of Rituals
Kelley Armstrong and John Valeri
August 14, 2017
A Different Kind of Crime Family
Allison Brennan
August 11, 2017
Man Straps Huge Stolen Street Lamp to Car
Teddy Pierson
August 10, 2017
Tracking the American Bandito
Christopher Brown
Aug 16 2017 11:00am

Review: Dog Dish of Doom by E. J. Copperman

Dog Dish of Doom by E. J. CoppermanDog Dish of Doom by E. J. Copperman is the first book in the new Agent to the Paws series.

Take a visual tour of Dog Dish of Doom with GIFnotes!

Show business is in Kay Powell’s blood. Her parents (Jay and El) were successful Catskill performers back in the day, and when she was a kid, she had her own spot in the show—a bit called “Oh Kay” where she sang and danced. Opting out of the limelight, she headed for college to play around with organic chemistry and history classes before heading for law school. Now, she’s a theatrical agent specializing in animal actors because they’re much easier to deal with than humans. (Her company logo is a cat playing Hamlet that she privately thinks looks more like Donald Trump’s toupee has grown arms.)

Unfortunately, even though her clients are a delight, she still has to deal with their people. Tent Barclay—owner of Kay’s client Bruno, a talented mutt up for the role of “Sandy” in a new production of Annie—is the kind of person Kay would happily ignore if she could.

[Read Katherine Tomlinson's review of Dog Dish of Doom...]

Aug 16 2017 10:00am

Julia Keller Excerpt: Fast Falls the Night

Julia Keller

Based on a real-life event, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Keller’s latest Bell Elkins novel Fast Falls the Night takes place in a single 24-hour period, unfurling against the backdrop of a shattering personal revelation that will change Bell’s life forever (available August 22, 2017).

The first drug overdose comes just after midnight, when a young woman dies on the dirty floor of a gas station bathroom. To the people of the small town of Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, it is just another tragedy. It is sad—but these days, depressingly familiar.

But then there is another overdose. And another. And another.

Prosecutor Bell Elkins soon realizes that her Appalachian hometown is facing its starkest challenge yet: a day of constant heroin overdoses from a batch tainted with a lethal tranquilizer. While the clock ticks and the bodies fall, Bell and her colleagues desperately track the source of the deadly drug—and engage in fierce debates over the wisdom of expending precious resources to save the lives of self-destructive addicts.

[Read an excerpt from Fast Falls the Night...]

Aug 15 2017 3:00pm

Page to Screen: Hopscotch

I’m not sure if Criterion Collection is releasing a new edition of the 1980 movie Hopscotch because of the timeliness of the plot, but timely it is. A retired CIA agent who threatens to publish a book filled with leaked classified information ... um, yeah, that kinda gels with the present times here in the U.S. The film, directed by Ronald Neame (he also directed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), and The Odessa File (1974), among others) is based on a 1975 novel by Brian Garfield. Garfield co-wrote the screenplay for the movie with Bryan Forbes. Let’s take a look inside the book and movie.

[Read Brian Greene's Page to Screen review!]

Aug 15 2017 2:00pm

Q&A with Kelley Armstrong, Author of Rituals

Kelley Armstrong is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of more than 30 novels. These include the 13-book urban fantasy Otherworld saga and the recent Casey Butler books (City of the Lost, A Darkness Absolute) as well as a YA standalone, Missing. Her newest, Rituals (available August 15, 2017), is the fifth and final entry in her popular Cainsville series, also comprised of Omens, Visions, Deceptions, and Betrayals. Ms. Armstrong makes her home in southwestern Ontario, where she writes from her locked basement dungeon.

Recently, the author generously entertained questions about crafting satisfying conclusions, balancing creative ambitions with reader expectations, and maintaining a sense of realism in her supernatural storytelling, among other curiosities.

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Aug 15 2017 1:00pm

Review: Poisonous by Allison Brennan

Poisonous by Allison Brennan is the third book in the Max Revere series, where Max answers the plea of a heartbroken and developmentally disabled stepbrother of a recently deceased girl, investigating an apparent suicide that looks more and more like murder.

A teenage girl is dead, and after more than a year, the case has gone nowhere. When Ivy Wallace’s stepbrother Tommy reaches out to Maxine “Max” Revere, a journalist-turned-television star, his simple plea for help touches her heart. Convinced that there’s a story in the cold case, Max heads for Corte Madera, California, with her best friend and colleague, David Kane, in search of answers and fodder for the next episode of her hit show, Maximum Exposure.

Max soon realizes there’s a lot more going on than a simple case of “Did she fall, or was she pushed?” in the case of Ivy’s death. It’s obvious to her that the only person who has truly mourned her passing is Tommy, who has been banished from the family because his stepmother thinks he’s the one who killed Ivy. There are a lot of suspects who look “good” for the crime, but Max didn’t get where she is by being satisfied with the superficial. 

[Read Katherine Tomlinson's review of Poisonous...]

Aug 15 2017 11:00am

Review: Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the 20th book in the Joe Grey mystery series, where the stakes are higher and more personal than ever for feline investigator Joe Grey, as death comes to his beloved coastal California town (available August 15, 2017).

In the 20th book in the Joe Grey mystery series, Joe becomes a father! His beloved Dulcie has given birth to three darling kittens—soon named Striker, Buffin, and Courtney—bringing joy to both the cats and to their loving circle of humans. But a string of car break-ins and thefts soon has the residents of Molena Point in an uproar, as a sophisticated gang of car thieves descends upon the town with the onset of a hurricane-force storm.

Joe and his feline friends Kit and Pan are in the thick of it, assisting their humans in the investigation. Most of those humans are, after all, either part of or related to local law enforcement, and this isn’t the first time the cats have been involved. It is, however, a new experience for Dulcie to stay home with her first litter of kittens instead of out helping Joe; this passage is wistfully reminiscent of the feelings of human mothers of newborns:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Cat Shining Bright...]

Aug 15 2017 10:00am

Andrew Gross Excerpt: The Saboteur

Andrew Gross

The Saboteur by Andrew Gross portrays a hero who must weigh duty against his heart in order to single-handedly end the one threat that could alter the course of World War II (available August 22, 2017).

February 1943. Both the Allies and the Nazis are closing in on attempts to construct the decisive weapon of the war.

Kurt Nordstrum, an engineer in Oslo, puts his life aside to take up arms against the Germans as part of the Norwegian resistance. After the loss of his fiancée, his outfit whittled to shreds, he commandeers a coastal steamer and escapes to England to transmit secret evidence of the Nazis’s progress towards an atomic bomb at an isolated factory in Norway. There, he joins a team of dedicated Norwegians in training in the Scottish Highlands for a mission to disrupt the Nazis’ plans before they advance any further.

Parachuted onto the most unforgiving terrain in Europe, braving the fiercest of mountain storms, Nordstrum and his team attempt the most daring raid of the war, targeting the heavily-guarded factory built on a shelf of rock thought to be impregnable, a mission even they know they likely will not survive. Months later, Nordstrum is called upon again to do the impossible, opposed by both elite Nazi soldiers and a long-standing enemy who is now a local collaborator—one man against overwhelming odds, with the fate of the war in the balance, but the choice to act means putting the one person he has a chance to love in peril.

[Read an excerpt from The Saboteur...]

Aug 14 2017 4:30pm

Review: Low Heights by Pascal Garnier

Low Heights by Pascal Garnier, translated by Melanie Florence, is the latest Garnier novel to be translated into English and made available by Gallic Books (available August 15, 2017).

As I’ve noted in other posts on this site, one common thread among several of the novels written by Pascal Garnier (1949-2010) is that the Frenchman liked to study characters who have the left the cities of France and moved into provincial areas. This is true of Low Heights, which was published in its original language in 2003 and is the latest Garnier title to be brought out in a new English translation by Gallic Books.

Édouard Lavenant, the tale’s protagonist, is a widower in his mid-70s who left the city of Lyon for the remote town of Rézumat sometime after his wife’s death and after he’d suffered a stroke. At the outset of Low Heights, we find Édouard to be a grouchy old geezer who has one arm that’s no good to him and a mind that is having episodes during which it loses touch with reality. A businessman who’s financially comfortable, the widower now mostly spends his time sitting around his house in the country and griping about this and that to Thérèse, his live-in housekeeper.

[Read Brian Greene's review of Low Heights...]

Aug 14 2017 3:00pm

Review: I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen is the 12th Rizzoli & Isles novel, where the pair pursues a shadowy psychopath keeping secrets and taking lives (available August 15, 2017).

After seven seasons on the small screen, Rizzoli & Isles bid farewell to its loyal audience nearly a year ago. Fortunately, Boston Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles pre-existed their celluloid counterparts, and New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen has no plans to retire them from the page. The dynamic duo returns in I Know a Secret—the first series entry since 2014’s Die Again and 12th overall.

It’s winter in Boston when Rizzoli and Isles are summoned to the home of indie horror movie producer Cassandra Coyle, who’s been found dead in her bed. Despite the lack of blood or any obvious cause of death, it’s clearly a case of murder: the 26-year-old’s eyes have been removed (postmortem) and placed in the palm of her hand. Is this the work of a sadistic killer acting out his own scary movie, they wonder, or is there some other meaning to the perverse imagery? The discovery of a second corpse, also felled in a symbolic fashion, suggests that their perpetrator is making a statement—and that there are more names on his/her hit list.

[Read John Valeri's review of I Know a Secret...]

Aug 14 2017 2:00pm

Watch the Trailer for HBO’s The Deuce

With only two episodes left of Season 7 of Game of Thrones, people are starting to wonder what their next Sunday night show will be. Well, don’t change the channel because HBO is bringing a new David Simon and George Pelecanos-created show called The Deuce

Premiering Sunday, September 10th, The Deuce explores the rise of the porn culture in New York during the 1970s and ’80s, as a cultural revolution in American sexuality met a change in the legal definitions of obscenity to create the billion-dollar industry it is today. Starring James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., and more, Season 1 of The Deuce will run for eight episodes. 

[Watch the trailer below...]

Aug 14 2017 1:00pm

A Different Kind of Crime Family

Raising five kids isn’t easy, and some people argue that it’s even harder today with the advent of the internet, the explosion of social media, and a myriad of ways for kids to get in trouble. Even the types of “trouble” a kid can get into are different, and unfortunately, they don’t always see it. 

For example, when I was a kid, my stupidity wasn’t documented for posterity. (Unless you count my mother verbally telling my kids about the stupid things I did.) I wasn’t a bad kid—but I wasn’t an angel, either. Fortunately, I can rewrite history because no one can point to a photo or blog or tweet and “out” my past.

I’ve always been blunt with my kids, particularly once they became teenagers. My oldest daughter, Katie, is now 23 and living on her own in Scottsdale—a Crossfit competitor, bartender, and working toward her dream of being a firefighter. She’s responsible and focused and has oodles of common sense. But at the age of 12, she wanted a MySpace page (yes, I’m aware that no one has MySpace anymore). I put my foot down. I printed out article after article about girls who were raped or murdered after meeting up with a guy online. In fact, I even wrote a book about it (Fear No Evil). Teenagers counter with, “I’m not that stupid.” I counter with, “You don’t have to be.” 

[Read more from Allison Brennan!]

Aug 14 2017 12:30pm

Game of Thrones 7.05: “Eastwatch”

For too long, Jon Snow has been the only character in Game of Thrones to properly grasp the gravity of the situation presented by the White Walkers – or at least the only character who understood that and could actually do something to prevent it. But after “Eastwatch, ” it seems as if Daenerys will help Jon, as long as he can provide proof that the undead army exists. 

So just like that, the fate of humankind rests on the shoulders of seven unlikely men. There's Thoros, the suddenly sober red priest; Beric Dondarrion, the red god's OG puppet; Jorah Mormont, the man who conquered grey scale but not the friendzone; the Hound, a man so scared of fire he’s fled north of the Wall; Tormund, a wildling who fights today so he can love Brienne tomorrow; Jon, a resurrected King about to take on another king’s resurrected army; and motherfucking Gendry, a bastard, a smith, and the only possible choice for…

[As if it could be anyone else…]

Aug 14 2017 11:30am

Win a Copy of Y is for Yesterday!

Enter for a chance to win!

A decades-old murder. A missing videotape. An escaped suspect.

Y is for Yesterday might be Kinsey Millhone's darkest, most disturbing case to date. But that's never stopped her before...

Add some intrigue to your August. Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Sue Grafton's latest entry in the Alphabet Series!

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  1. ELIGIBILITY: Y Is for Yesterday Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is open only to persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are a legal resident of the 50 United States, District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are 18 years of age or older and of the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which he or she resides. We are sorry for the geographic restrictions, unfortunately it is required for various legal reasons. Persons who as of the date of entry (and, if a winner, as of the date of prize fulfillment) are an employee of St. Martins Press (“Sponsor”) or any of Sponsor's Affiliates (as defined in Section 5), and members of the immediate family or household (whether or not related) of any such employee, are not eligible. Eligibility determinations will be made by Sponsor in its discretion and will be final and binding. U.S. law governs this Sweepstakes. Void in Quebec and where prohibited by law.
  2. HOW TO ENTER: The entry period for the Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) on Monday, August 14, 2017 and continues through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 (the “Entry Period”). No purchase is necessary. Any entrant who is under 18 years of age or otherwise under the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which the entrant resides (a “Minor”) must obtain permission to enter from his or her parent or legal guardian, and the agreement of the parent or legal guardian to these Official Rules, prior to entry. To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Entry Period, entrants must access, complete and submit the Sweepstakes entry form (which will require entrant to submit his or her e-mail address and such other information as Sponsor may require), found in entrant's Facebook newsfeed or alternatively by visiting Sponsor's website located at (the “Website”) and following the on screen entry instructions. The Facebook entry form may be pre-filled with information provided by the Facebook platform. There is a limit of one entry per person and per email address. All entries must be completed and received by Sponsor prior to the conclusion of the Entry Period. Entry times will be determined using Sponsor's computer, which will be the official clock for the Sweepstakes. Normal time rates, if any, charged by the entrant's Internet or mobile service provider will apply. All entries are subject to verification at any time. Proof of submission does not constitute proof of entry. Sponsor will have the right, in its discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility in a form acceptable to Sponsor (including, without limitation, government-issued photo identification). Failure to provide such proof to the satisfaction of Sponsor in a timely manner may result in disqualification.
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Ten (10) potential Grand Prize winner(s) will be selected in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor or its agent from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received. The potential winner will be notified by e-mail (sent to the e-mail address provided by the entrant when entering), or using other contact information provided by the potential winner, in Sponsor's discretion. If the initial notification requires a response, the potential winner must respond to Sponsor's initial notification attempt within 72 hours. The potential winner is subject to verification of eligibility and may, in Sponsor's discretion, be required to complete, sign and return to Sponsor an Affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability or an Affirmation of Eligibility/Release of Liability, as determined by Sponsor, and, if legally permissible, a Publicity Release, collectively, a “Declaration and Release” for residents of Canada) and any other documentation provided by Sponsor in connection with verification of the potential winner's eligibility and confirmation of the releases and grant of rights set forth herein (as applicable, “Winner Verification Documents”), within seven days of attempted delivery of same. The potential winner if a U.S. resident may also in Sponsor's discretion be required to complete and return to Sponsor an IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same. If the potential winner is a Minor, Sponsor will have the right to request that the potential winner's parent or legal guardian sign the Winner Verification Documents on behalf of the winner, or to award the prize directly in the name of the winner's parent or legal guardian, who in such event will be required to sign the Winner Verification Documents and/or, if a U.S. resident, an IRS Form W-9. If the potential winner is a Canadian resident, he or she will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid to be administered via telephone, email or another manner determined by Sponsor in its discretion at a pre-arranged mutually convenient time. If the potential winner cannot be reached or does not respond within 72 hours of the initial notification attempt or fails to complete, sign, and return any required Winner Verification Documents or, if a U.S. resident, IRS Form W-9 within seven days of attempted delivery of same, or in the case of a Canadian selected entrant, fails to correctly answer the mathematical skill testing question without mechanical or other aid, or if the potential winner does not otherwise comply with these Official Rules and/or cannot accept the prize as awarded for any reason, then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may, at Sponsor's discretion, be selected from among the remaining eligible entries as specified in these Official Rules (in which case the foregoing provisions will apply to such newly-selected entrant).

  1. PRIZE:

Ten (10) Grand Prize(s) will be offered. The Grand Prize consists of one hardcover copy of Y Is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (ARV: $18.90). The approximate retail value (“ARV”) of the Grand Prize is $18.90 USD.
Approximate retail value of all prizes: $189.00.
The exact value will depend on where the winner resides and market conditions at the time of prize fulfillment.
All prize details that are not expressly specified in these Official Rules will be determined by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize will be awarded if properly claimed. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of the right to receive the prize is permitted, except in the discretion of Sponsor, which has the right to substitute the prize or any component of the prize with a prize or prize component of equal or greater value selected by Sponsor in its discretion. The prize consists only of the item(s) expressly specified in these Official Rules. All expenses or costs associated with the acceptance or use of the prize or any component of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. The prize is awarded “as is” and without any warranty, except as required by law. In no event will more than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules be awarded. All federal, state and local taxes on the value of the prize are the responsibility of the winner. For U.S. residents, an IRS form 1099 will be issued if required by law.

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  3. DISPUTES: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant on behalf of himself or herself and the Entrant Parties agrees that, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (a) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Sweepstakes, or the provision, acceptance and/or use of any prize or prize component, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (Note: Some jurisdictions do not allow restricting access to class actions. This provision will not apply to you if you live in such a jurisdiction); (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys' fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant or Entrant Party be permitted to obtain any award for, and each entrant and Entrant Party hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, special, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of the entrants, Entrant Parties and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York in the United States of America without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Sweepstakes or relating to these Official Rules shall be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in New York County in the State of New York, waiving any right to trial by jury, and each entrant and Entrant Party consents to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these rules or the Sweepstakes. In the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and any Sweepstakes information provided elsewhere (including but not limited in advertising or marketing materials), these Official Rules shall prevail.
  4. USE OF INFORMATION: Please review the Sponsor's Privacy Notice at By entering the sweepstakes, entrant hereby agrees to Sponsor's collection and use of their personal information in accordance with such Notice, including the use of entrant's personal information to send email updates about Criminal Element and other information from Sponsor and its related companies.
  5. WINNER NAME AND RULES REQUESTS: For the name(s) of the winner(s), which will be available two weeks after the conclusion of the Entry Period, or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Y Is for Yesterday Sweepstakes, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010. Winner name requests must be received by Sponsor within six months after the conclusion of the Entry Period.
  6. SPONSOR: St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010. The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

By providing your information above, you are entering the sweepstakes and will automatically be signed up to receive email updates about Criminal Element and other offers from Macmillan and its related companies. You will also be signed up for news about Sue Grafton, new releases, and more from Penguin Random House. By clicking submit, you agree to Penguin Random House's terms of use and privacy policy.

Aug 14 2017 11:00am

Review: Without Fear or Favor by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Without Fear or Favor by Robert K. Tanenbaum is the 29th Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi thriller, where Butch Karp and his wife Marlene Ciampi must stop a radical organization of armed militants bent on the cold-blooded murder of uniformed on-duty police officers (available August 15, 2017).

This is the 29th book in Robert K. Tanenbaum’s series featuring New York County DA “Butch” Karp, but it’s my first, and he pretty much throws you into the thick of things right off the bat. Readers will recognize the timeliness of the plot right away: New York is in the grip of racial tensions between police and citizens, and the shooting of a black teen by an Asian officer has citizens on the verge of rioting.

The city is waiting to hear if Butch will bring charges, and he announces at a public press conference that they haven’t made a decision yet. It goes terribly wrong. A gunman who gained a foothold as an unpaid intern to a has-been journalist uses his easy in to make good on a terrible plan. 

[Read Kristin Centorcelli's review of Without Fear or Favor...]

Aug 14 2017 10:00am

Ann Cleeves Excerpt: Telling Tales

Ann Cleeves

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves is the second book in the Vera Stanhope series (available August 22, 2017).

Take a visual tour of Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves!

It has been ten years since Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel. Now residents of the East Yorkshire village of Elvet are disturbed to hear of new evidence proving Jeanie’s innocence. Abigail’s killer is still at large.

For one young woman, Emma Bennett, the revelation brings back haunting memories of her vibrant best friend—and of that fearful winter’s day when she had discovered her body lying cold in a ditch.

As Inspector Vera Stanhope makes fresh inquiries on the peninsula and villagers are hauled back to a time they hoped to forget, tensions begin to mount. But are people afraid of the killer or of their own guilty pasts? With each person’s story revisited, the Inspector begins to suspect that some deadly secrets are threatening to unfurl…

[Read an excerpt from Telling Tales...]

Aug 13 2017 1:00pm

Review: Cold Snap by Allison Brennan

Cold Snap by Allison Brennan is the seventh Lucy Kincaid novel, where the Kincaid Family Christmas Reunion is threatened by murder.

I’m usually wary of novels that kick things off with forewords that explain a bit of what’s to follow and who’s involved. In the case of Allison Brennan’s Cold Snap, the foreword even gave an update on the lives of a dozen characters in the author’s Lucy Kincaid series. A few chapters later, I was glad for said foreword.

Brennan’s Kincaid series is a long, deep slice of police procedural fiction, and while those not familiar with the series can enjoy random novels from it, it’s better to approach the texts with some inkling of what’s happening and who the key players in the narrative are. While previous knowledge of the main character’s history, adventures, and motivations certainly enriches the reading experience, the series does not demand reading previous book in order to enjoy any of its novels. 

[Read Gabino Iglesias's review of Cold Snap...]

Aug 12 2017 3:00pm

Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown is a thriller with supercharged sexual tension about tainted heroism and vengeance without mercy (available August 15, 2017).

What do you think of when you think of a Sandra Brown bestseller? Consider some key phrases: “trademark nonstop suspense,” “supercharged sexual tension,” and “thriller,” of course. Another tell is her complicated, intricate plots, which often go back years in the past. It’s a fool’s game to try to guess the outcome—let alone the villain(s)—so sit back and enjoy the ride; Seeing Red will have you compulsively turning the pages. 

Some fictional private detectives have a reputation for being sleazy slobs, albeit smart and determined. John Trapper doesn’t disappoint. He spars with a client without an appointment. She tells him her name is Kerra Bailey, but he doesn’t recognize her and says that it’s not a good time for him. That doesn’t fly, she’s very persistent. Trapper thinks to himself that she looks like she can pay the bill—her handbag “was the size of a small suitcase and covered in designer initials.” Trapper opens the door for her, not wanting to “say no to a lady in distress.”

[Read Janet Webb's review of Seeing Red...]

Aug 12 2017 1:00pm

Review: Stolen by Allison Brennan

Stolen by Allison Brennan is the sixth Lucy Kincaid novel, told from the point of view of her boyfriend, Sean Rogan, as he attempts to help the FBI, clear his own name, and keep it all from Lucy.

Lucy Kincaid is knee-deep in training at the FBI Academy. While she’s busy learning the ropes, her boyfriend—private investigator and computer whiz Sean Rogan—is trying to keep life as normal as possible. But Sean has never lived a normal life, and now his past is catching up with him. When a former “associate” approaches him with a job offer, it’s the FBI and Agent Noah Armstrong—Lucy’s mentor—who insist he takes the job as part of a sting operation. 

Sean reluctantly takes on the assignment. He must convince his old college circle—a group of “hacktivists” (hackers who expose corporate and government cover-ups)—to trust him in their current attempt to expose a pharmaceutical company who may be poisoning leukemia patients and gain information on a United States Senator’s involvement, all while toeing the line with the FBI to avoid jail time for his own past misdeeds. And he needs to keep all of this from Lucy.

[Read Jenny Maloney's review of Stolen...]