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, Patricia Cornwell publishes a fascinating exposé on one of the world's most infamous serial killers, and Mike Mignola gifts us with a mesmerizingly illustrated, 1930s pulp-style novel! See what else this week brings in the way of books:
The Fifth Element by Jørgen Brekke
Police Inspector Odd Singsaker has been captured, imprisoned on an island off the Northern coast of Norway. He wakes to find himself holding a shotgun. Next to him is a corpse. But what events led him to this point? And how did he get here?
A few weeks earlier, Felicia, his wife, disappeared. Though he didn’t know it, she was trying to find her way back to Odd to reconcile, but then she vanished into a snowstorm. Possibly involved is a corrupt, coldblooded cop from Oslo, a devious college student who’s stolen a great deal of cocaine from drug dealers, and a hit man hired by the drug dealers who have been robbed. All of these lives intersect with Odd’s as he searches for Felicia.
The Fifth Element is ultimately the story of what happened to Felicia Stone. Within that journey, brutal crimes are uncovered, tenacious love shines through, and chilling characters with nothing to lose will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell
Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his art—as well as extensive evidence—points to another name, one that’s left its bloody mark on the pages of history: Jack the Ripper. Cornwell has collected never-before-seen archival material—including a rare mortuary photo, personal correspondence and a will with a mysterious autopsy clause—and applied cutting-edge forensic science to open an old crime to new scrutiny.
Incorporating material from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed, this new edition has been revised and expanded to include eight new chapters, detailed maps and hundreds of images that bring the sinister case to life.
Bone Box by Faye Kellerman
On a bright and crisp September morning, while walking a bucolic woodland trail, Rina Decker stumbles upon human remains once buried deep beneath the forest grounds. Immediately, she calls her husband, Peter, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD, now working for the local Greenbury Police. Within hours, a vista of beauty and tranquility is transformed into a frenetic crime scene. The body has been interred for years and there is scant physical evidence at the gravesite: a youthful skeleton, a skull wound and long dark strands of hair surrounding the bony frame. As Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, further investigate, they realize that they’re most likely dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate—a well-known and well-respected consortium of higher learning where Rina works.
And when more human remains are found in the same area, Decker and McAdams know this isn’t just a one-off murder case. Short-staffed and with no convenient entry into the colleges, Decker enlists Rina’s help to act as the eyes and ears of campus gossip. Winding their way through a dangerous labyrinth of steely suspects and untouchable academics, Decker, McAdams, and Rina race to protect their community from a psychopathic killer still in the area—and on the hunt for a fresh victim.
Marked for Revenge by Emelie Schepp
When a Thai girl overdoses smuggling drugs, the trail points to Danillo, the one criminal MMA-trained public prosecutor Jana Berzelius most wants to destroy. Eager to erase any evidence of her sordid childhood, Berzelius must secretly hunt down this deadly nemesis with whom she shares a horrific past.
Meanwhile, the police are zeroing in on the elusive head of the long-entrenched Swedish narcotics trade, who goes by the name The Old Man. No one has ever encountered this diabolical mastermind in person; he is like a shadow, but a shadow who commands extreme respect. Who is this overarching drug lord? Berzelius craves to know his identity, even as she clandestinely tracks Danillo, who has threatened to out her for who she really is. She knows she must kill him first, before he can reveal her secrets. If she fails, she will lose everything.
As she prepares for the fight of her life, Berzelius discovers an even more explosive and insidious betrayal—one that entangles her inextricably in the whole sordid network of crime.
Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal by Mike Mignola & Tom Sniegoski
An uneasiness festers upon the city streets, threatening the peace and safety of law-abiding citizens. A war is escalating, and it seems as though the good and righteous are being crushed beneath the unholy weight of evil’s onslaught. Organized crime is spreading in an unchecked reign of terror.
Until a mysterious agent of retribution rises up from the shadows to challenge the villains. A lone figure, clad in a slouch hat and clothes seemingly stitched from the blackest shadows, masked in the guise of a skull-faced death―a Grim Death―emerges with guns blazing. With him, a wronged ex-con clad in the striped costume of his misfortune―Bill the Electrocuted Criminal.
Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal are not your average heroes, but they want justice.