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
Wed
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...]

Wed
Aug 16 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

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...]

Tue
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!]

Tue
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!]

Tue
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...]

Tue
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...]

Tue
Aug 15 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

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...]

Mon
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...]

Mon
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...]

Mon
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...]

Mon
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!]

Mon
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…]

Mon
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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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.

Mon
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...]

Mon
Aug 14 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

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...]

Sun
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...]

Sat
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...]

Sat
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...]