Jody Gehrman Excerpt: <i>Watch Me</i> Jody Gehrman Excerpt: Watch Me Jody Gehrman A gripping psychological thriller exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction. Review: <i>Jack Waters</i> by Scott Adlerberg Review: Jack Waters by Scott Adlerberg David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review! Volker Kutscher Excerpt: <i>Babylon Berlin</i> Volker Kutscher Excerpt: Babylon Berlin Volker Kutscher The first in the new Detective Gereon Rath series. Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: February 2018 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: February 2018 Crime HQ Check out February's offerings!
From The Blog
January 16, 2018
Q&A with Christopher Reich, Author of The Take
Christopher Reich and John Valeri
January 12, 2018
Man Steals Tank, Crashes through Store Window, Steals Bottle of Wine
Adam Wagner
January 9, 2018
Q&A with C. J. Tudor, Author of The Chalk Man
C. J. Tudor and John Valeri
January 8, 2018
Q&A with Aimee Hix, Author of What Doesn’t Kill You
Aimee Hix and John Valeri
January 5, 2018
Man Drinks 20 Pints of Stella & Bites Security Guard's Leg
Adam Wagner
Jan 18 2018 10:00am

Jody Gehrman Excerpt: Watch Me

Jody Gehrman

Watch Me by Jody Gehrman is a gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, which introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all (available January 23, 2018).

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

[Read an excerpt from Watch Me...]

Jan 17 2018 4:00pm

Cooking the Books: Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

When we last left our intrepid heroine, Hannah Swensen had just been proposed to by both her suitors: dentist Norman Rhodes and police detective Mike Kingston. Since then, seven days have passed during which Hannah has agonized over which of them to accept—or whether to accept anyone at all. The pressure is getting to everyone in their small town of Lake Eden, so when Hannah finally makes a decision, it comes as a relief to the whole town.

Her decision, of course, is that she's not ready to be married, and any resulting tempest in a teapot that this might have provoked is soon quelled by more exciting news: Hollywood is coming to Lake Eden! Hannah's youngest sister, Michelle, has successfully pitched the town as the perfect setting for an upcoming independent movie directed by the hotshot auteur Dean Lawrence.

Hannah is delighted to discover that her neighbors from college, Lynne and Ross, are part of the cast and crew, even if they’re no longer the couple they were back then. Ross, who's producing, is eager to cast as many locals as possible. This earns him the goodwill of nearly the entire town, who are naturally excited to be part of the movie. It comes as a horrific surprise then when Dean fires what's supposed to be an unloaded gun on-set while coaching an actor and blows his own brains out in front of dozens of onlookers.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Jan 17 2018 3:00pm

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong: A Visual Guide

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

In this page-turning entry in Kelley Armstrong’s gripping series, life in Rockton is about to get even more dangerous—take a visual tour of This Fallen Prey!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Jan 17 2018 1:00pm

Review: Jack Waters by Scott Adlerberg

Jack Waters by Scott Adlerberg is a historical thriller set in 1904 about an American guy from New Orleans—a poker player and fugitive murderer—who joins a Caribbean island revolution for utterly non-political reasons. He has his own reasons for joining the rebellion, based on revenge against someone high up in the country (available January 17, 2018).

In the years after the American Civil War, Jack Waters, a successful Louisianan gambler, lives the high life on a big plantation that he cherishes. Fancying himself a gentleman, he is well-respected within his circles. His trajectory for a life of ease is forever altered, however, when he finds himself running from the law after he kills a 22-year-old poker player.

The boy had the gall to cheat in his house, and then to think he could depart unscathed. In a flash, like a panther, Waters leapt over the round oak table, scattering cards and chips. He jumped onto the boy and they fell to the floor. The others yanked at his arms and shoulders, but they couldn’t get a grip on him. Waters pushed them away. He drew from under his shirt the long retractable knife he always carried for protection, and ignoring the boy’s cries for mercy, stabbed him in the heart.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Jack Waters...]

Jan 17 2018 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: January 16, 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 Nick Petrie Peter Ash thriller and Deanna Raybourn's third Veronica Speedwell mystery highlight a killer week of books! See what else we're reading:

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

Jan 17 2018 10:00am

Volker Kutscher Excerpt: Babylon Berlin

Babylon Berlin is the first book in the international-bestselling series from Volker Kutscher that centers on Detective Gereon Rath caught up in a web of drugs, sex, political intrigue, and murder in Berlin as Germany teeters on the edge of Nazism.

It’s 1929 and Berlin is the vibrating metropolis of post-war Germany―full of bars and brothels and dissatisfied workers at the point of revolt. Gereon Rath is new in town and new to the police department.

When a dead man without an identity, bearing traces of atrocious torture, is discovered, Rath sees a chance to find his way back into the homicide division. He discovers a connection with a circle of oppositional exiled Russians who try to purchase arms with smuggled gold in order to prepare a coup d’état. But there are other people trying to get hold of the gold and the guns, too. Raths finds himself up against paramilitaries and organized criminals. He falls in love with Charlotte, a typist in the homicide squad, and misuses her insider’s knowledge for his personal investigations. And as he gets further entangled with the case, he never imagined becoming a suspect himself.

[Read an excerpt from Babylon Berlin...]

Jan 16 2018 4:00pm

Poll: Vera Stanhope Mystery Novels or Vera TV Show?


Read an excerpt from Hidden Depths!

Jan 16 2018 2:00pm

Discount: A Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

A Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton is the first book in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries series.

Get a digital copy of the book that started it all for only $2.99 through February 5th!

A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki's bad name won't be easy.

If there's one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer—and sharper—than she imagined.

Read David Cranmer's review of A Is for Alibi!


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at iTunes

Jan 16 2018 1:00pm

Q&A with Christopher Reich, Author of The Take

Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of thrillers including Numbered Account, Rules of Deception, Rules of Vengeance, Rules of Betrayal, and The Devil’s Banker. The Patriot’s Club won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel in 2006. Reich’s newest, The Take, marks the launch of a new series featuring Simon Riske, a spy who’s been likened to James Bond and Jack Reacher. Having traveled far and wide, the author now makes his home in Encinitas, California.

Recently, Mr. Reich entertained questions pertaining to the launch of his new series, creating a protagonist who’s at once familiar and original, drawing on fact to inform fiction, and bringing suspense alive through setting. He also teases what comes next for Simon Riske…

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Jan 16 2018 12:00pm

Review: The Weight of an Infinite Sky by Carrie La Seur

The Weight of an Infinite Sky by Carrie La Seur explores the heart and mystery of Big Sky Country in this evocative and atmospheric novel of family, home, love, and responsibility inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

After his father’s surprise death, Anthony Fry—son of cattle ranchers Dean and Sarah Fry—returns home to Billings, Montana, to run a small theater camp and to, ostensibly, help his mother with the ranch. When he arrives, he finds his uncle Neal helping out much more than he ever could. Anthony’s mother and his uncle then proceed to get married … a mere three months after Dean’s death.

The shock of his mother’s remarriage isn’t the only thing playing on Anthony’s mind. A mining company is insisting that he sign away his rights to the ranch so they can strip the ranch land for coal. The love of Anthony’s life—Hilary, who had a nervous breakdown just before he left for New York—is back in town. And teenagers are leaving him love poetry.

[Read Jenny Maloney's review of The Weight of an Infinite Sky...]

Jan 16 2018 10:00am

Ward Larsen Excerpt: Cutting Edge

Ward Larsen

A helicopter crash alters a Coast Guard rescue swimmer's life forever in Cutting Edge, a suspense thriller by USA Today bestselling author Ward Larsen (available January 23, 2018).

Trey DeBolt is a young man at the crest of life. His role as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer in Alaska offers him a rewarding job and limitless adventure. Then a tragic accident alters his life: during a harrowing rescue, his helicopter goes down.

Severely injured, DeBolt awakens in a seaside cabin in Maine, thousands of miles from where the accident occurred. His lone nurse lets slip that he has been officially declared dead, lost in the crash. Back in Alaska, however, Coast Guard investigator Shannon Lund uncovers evidence that DeBolt might still be alive. Her search quickly becomes personal, but before she can intervene, chaos erupts outside a cabin in the wilds of Maine.

The nurse who has been treating DeBolt is brutally killed by military-trained assassins. DeBolt is only saved when a bizarre vision guides him to safety. Soon other images appear, impossible revelations that are unfailing in their accuracy. As he runs for his life, DeBolt discovers he has been drawn into an ultra-secret government project. The power it bestows is boundless, both a gift and a curse. Yet one thing is certain: Trey DeBolt has abilities no human has ever known.

[Read an excerpt from Cutting Edge...]

Jan 15 2018 3:00pm

Watch the Official Teaser Trailer for RKSS’s Upcoming Horror Thriller, Summer of ’84

Stranger Things. It.

There’s something about kids on bikes banding together to take down a threat. Call it nostalgia. Call it childhood innocence. Call it whatever you want—it works.

From RKSS, the directors of the cult Netflix movie Turbo Kid, comes Summer of ’84—the latest nostalgia-fueled teen thriller to hit the big screen.

Summer, 1984: The perfect time to be 15 years old and free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous.

Written by Matt Leslie and Stephen J. SmithSummer of ’84 stars Graham Verchere (Fargo), Judah Lewis (Demolition), Cory Gruter-Andrew (The 100), Caleb Emery (Goosebumps), and Rich Sommer (Mad Men).

Check out the trailer below!

Jan 15 2018 12:00pm

Review: The Night Market by Jonathan Moore

The Night Market by Jonathan Moore is a mind-bending, masterfully plotted near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play (available January 16, 2018).

What’s “near-future noir” mean to you? Does it sound like what happens if Philip K. Dick edits a Raymond Chandler novel? If so, you have an idea of what Jonathan Moore’s The Night Market is about.

Hardboiled San Francisco PD Inspector Ross Carver is investigating a possible murder scene featuring a truly ugly-dead (i.e., dissolving) victim when he and his partner, Cleve Jenner, are jumped by moon-suited FBI agents. The Men in Tyvek shoot up the two cops with something that’s supposed to keep them from becoming equally ugly-dead but also knocks them out.

Carver can’t remember what happened when he wakes up in bed two days later feeling like he went six rounds with a Mack truck. Another surprise: Mia Westcott—until now, merely the pretty neighbor-lady—is reading to him. Mia feeds Carver a story that launches him into trying to recover those lost days. Needless to say, Carver, Jenner, and Mia end up diving into the deep end of a vast, subterranean conspiracy that threatens the existence of free will and memory itself.

[Read Lance Charnes's review of The Night Market...]

Jan 15 2018 10:00am

Ann Cleeves Excerpt: Hidden Depths

Ann Cleeves

Now available in the U.S., Hidden Depths is the third book in Diamond Dagger award-winning crime novelist Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope series, brought to life in the hit TV series Vera (available January 23, 2018).

On a hot summer on the Northumberland coast, Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers.

This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But now, Vera must work quickly to find this killer who is making art out of death. As local residents are forced to share their private lives, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed.

And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave…

[Read an excerpt from Hidden Depths...]

Jan 12 2018 4:30pm

Book-Inspired Cocktails: “Gamblin’ Jack”

Revenge is a drink best served cold.

So is this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—the “Gamblin' Jack” cocktail, inspired by Scott Adlerberg's historical revenge thriller, Jack Waters! I bet you can't have just one...

[Check out the recipe below!]

Jan 12 2018 2:00pm

Search Party: Why the TBS Hit Is the Crime Series Millennials (for Better or Worse) Need

**Spoilers Ahead**

Search Party has the dubious distinction of being a series that’s true colors don’t show right away. In fact, it really isn’t until the second season that the series shows its true ethos, primarily because it performs the impossible feat of turning the debut season’s idea on its head while still retaining its identity. What’s more, the show actually lacerates the culture it depicts, offering us characters that become increasingly more deplorable—and even criminal in their actions—yet also avoiding the pitfall of being cynical by being all-too nuanced and self-aware in its presentation and commentary. Not too shabby for a show that’s concept would seem out of place for the YA section at your local library.

From afar, one might mistake Search Party’s idea of having something of a gimmick to it, especially if judging the first season alone. (If you don’t want the ending of the first season to be ruined, then don’t read a single thing about the second!) Following a group of 20-something New Yorkers who bring it upon themselves to find a missing classmate would seem like a clear attempt at modernizing the Nancy Drew mystery series for the smartphone age. The advertising suggests this as well, with the bright colors, character renderings that are cheekily modeled off of traditional teen-mystery novels, and the throwback titles (promos for the first season referred to it as “The Curious Case of the Lost Soul”). Still, it doesn’t take too long to delve into Search Party and realize that the programmatic formatting is just a hook and that there is something far more intelligent going on.

[Read more about Search Party!]

Jan 12 2018 12:00pm

Discount: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right is the smashing, award-winning (winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book) debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Get a digital copy of the first Charley Davidson mystery for only $2.99 through February 5th!

Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life ... and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

See also: Charley Davidson’s Crime-Solving Tips (Supernatural Abilities Required)


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at iTunes

Jan 12 2018 11:00am

Military Joyride: Man Steals Tank, Crashes through Store Window, Steals Bottle of Wine

Let’s play a game: Russia or Florida?

Recently, a drunk man stole a tank from a military base, drove it through the streets, crashed it through a grocery store, got out of the tank, walked around in the aisles, and tried to steal a bottle of wine before the police finally arrested him.

If it weren’t for the snow in the picture above, the Sunshine State would have been a perfectly reasonable answer (and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could do a quick Google search and find a similar story). But alas, Russia is in the news again—this time, at least, for hilarious reasons.

According to The Guardian, the man stole the armored vehicle from a military driving school in Apatity, Russia, on Wednesday. Sounds like a dream joyride to me—but then again, I am from Florida…

Jan 11 2018 4:00pm

Watch the First Trailer for Investigation Discovery’s Upcoming True Crime Docuseries, Love & Hate Crime

“I have to live with the fact that I killed Mercedes, and she’s in hell.”

Deadline recently reported that Investigation Discovery has released the first teaser trailer and premiere date for their upcoming show Love & Hate Crime—a true crime docuseries that will explore crimes of hate and prejudice in the US. The trailer shows an incarcerated Josh Vallum expressing the crushing guilt he lives with on a constant basis for his role in the 2015 murder of Mercedes Williamson.

Mercedes was a 17-year-old transgender female. Josh Vallum had ties to the Latin Kings street gang in Mississippi. However, the Latin Kings are strict in their hatred for homosexual behavior—the punishment: death. So to protect his reputation and prevent gang retaliation, Vallum drove Williamson to a secluded area, stabbed her repeatedly, and bashed her head in with a hammer.

Vallum pleaded guilty to avoid trial and was sentenced to life in prison. In addition, he was prosecuted under the US Hate Crimes Prevention Act, his case becoming the first successful transgender hate-crime prosecution ever.

Investigation Discovery has the full story and more in Episode 1 of Love & Hate Crime, premiering Sunday, February 5th!

[Watch a clip from Love & Hate Crime!]