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!
What a powerhouse pub day! New Allison Brennan, Andrew Gross, and Sue Grafton novels highlight an incredible week of books! See what else we're reading:
Shattered by Allison Brennan
Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?
That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.
Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.
Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max's research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.
Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.
The Saboteur by Andrew Gross
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' 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.
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…
The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker
A young soldier escaped from a mental institution.
A P.I. carrying his own wounds hired to track that soldier down.
A race against the clock to bring the soldier home before he reveals the secret that haunts him.
Roland Ford—once a cop, then a marine, now a private investigator—is good at finding people. But when he’s asked to locate Air Force veteran Clay Hickman, he realizes he’s been drawn into something deep and dark. He knows war, having served as a Marine in first Fallujah; he also knows personal pain, as only two years have passed since his wife, Justine, died. What he doesn’t know is why a shroud of secrecy hangs over the disappearance of Clay Hickman—and why he’s getting a different story from everyone involved.
To begin with, there’s Sequoia, the teenage woman who helped Clay escape; she’s smart enough to fend off Ford’s questions but impetuous enough to be on the run with an armed man. Then there’s Paige Hulet, Clay’s doctor, who clearly cares deeply for his welfare but is impossible to read, even as she inspires in Ford the first desire he has felt since his wife’s death. And there’s Briggs Spencer, the proprietor of the mental institution who is as enigmatic as he is brash, and ambitious to the point of being ruthless. What could Clay possibly know to make this search so desperate?
What began as just a job becomes a life-or-death obsession for Ford, pitting him against immensely powerful and treacherous people and forcing him to contend with chilling questions about truth, justice, and the American way.
Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller
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.