5 New Books to Read this Week: July 24, 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 book in the Philip Marlowe canon from Lawrence Osborne combines with Linwood Barclay’s latest to highlight a thrilling week of books! See what else we’re reading:

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can.

Read Kristin Centorcelli’s review of A Noise Downstairs!

    

Believe Me by JP Delaney

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy … and who is the prey?



Devil’s Mile by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Devil’s Mile tells the story of The Bowery in stunning detail, from its origins to its pre-Civil War years to its deterioration beginning in the postbellum years, ending her historical exploration of this famed street in the present, bearing witness as the old Bowery buildings and the memories associated with them are disappearing.

The Bowery was a synonym for despair throughout most of the 20th century. The very name evoked visuals of drunken bums passed out on the sidewalk, and New Yorkers nicknamed it “Satan’s Highway,” “The Mile of Hell,” and “The Street of Forgotten Men.” For years the little businesses along the Bowery―stationers, dry goods sellers, jewelers, hatters―periodically asked the city to change the street’s name. To have a Bowery address, they claimed, was hurting them; people did not want to venture there.

But when New York exploded into real estate frenzy in the 1990s, developers discovered the Bowery. They rushed in and began tearing down. Today, Whole Foods, hipster night spots, and expensive lofts have replaced the old flophouses and dive bars, and the bad old Bowery no longer exists.

Read an excerpt from Devil’s Mile, then check out Alice Sparberg Alexiou’s profile on Max Hochstim!



Hangman by Daniel Cole

A detective with no one to trust.

A killer with nothing to lose.

Detective Emily Baxter is still reeling from the Ragdoll case, and from the disappearance of her friend William “Wolf” Fawkes. Despite her reluctance to jump into another gruesome case, she’s summoned to a meeting of a new FBI/CIA/UK law enforcement task force in New York. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up from the Brooklyn Bridge, the word “BAIT” carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder, again with a victim inscribed with a word—“PUPPET.”

The murders continue to grow in spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, and the team helplessly plays catch-up. Baxter must shake off the grief and fear that have paralyzed her for the last year so she can stop another terrible killer before it’s too late.

Check out Daniel Cole’s exclusive guest post about how his favorite screenwriters and directors influenced his fiction!

       

Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Lawrence Osborne

The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe—now in his seventy-second year—is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it.

For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn—supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaving behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils?

Set between the border and badlands of Mexico and California, Lawrence Osborne’s resurrection of the iconic Marlowe is an unforgettable addition to the Raymond Chandler canon.

   


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