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!
The fourth and final book in C. J. Box's Highway Quartet highlights an incredible week of books! See what else we're reading:
Paradise Valley by C. J. Box
She almost caught him once. Now, he’s back.
For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as the Lizard King whose hunting grounds are the highways and truck stops where runaways and prostitutes are most likely to vanish. Cassie almost caught him…once.
Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff's department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls on Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.
At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared after telling people that he’s going off on a long-planned adventure. Kyle's grandmother begs Cassie to find him and, with nothing else to do, Cassie agrees―all the while hunting the truck driver.
Now Cassie is a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle's disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?
LoveMurder by Saul Black
When she’s called to the murder scene, the last thing San Francisco Homicide Detective Valerie Hart is expecting is for Katherine Glass to walk back into her life. Six years earlier, revulsion and fascination had gripped the nation in equal measure, as beautiful, intelligent, charming―and utterly evil―Katherine Glass had been convicted on six counts of Murder One. But the freshly-mutilated corpse in the ground-floor apartment bears all the hallmarks of Katherine’s victims. And then there’s the note, with its chilling implications. Addressed to Valerie.
To stop the slaughter, Valerie has no choice. She must ask Katherine Glass to help her decipher the killer’s twisted message. But that means re-entering the pitch-black labyrinth that is Katherine’s mind, and this time Valerie isn’t so sure which one of them will survive.
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Deadfall by Linda Fairstein
A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don't always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking assassination of an iconic public figure—someone Alex has worked with for years—the trio must unravel the motive behind the shooting to discover who is the bigger snake: the killer or the victim.
The murder investigation provides more questions than answers, as a tangled mess of secrets slowly comes to light. From street gangs to secret societies, from big-game hunting to the illegal animal trade, from New York City zoos to the highest offices in city government, Alex has her work cut out for her—especially since the task force handling the investigation, led by the US Attorney, seems to be more against her than with her. As tensions rise between Alex and the feds, she must determine just how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth—and uphold the integrity of the office she has so proudly served.
Every Day Above Ground by Glen Erik Hamilton
It sounds like a thief’s dream to Van Shaw: A terminally ill ex-con tells him of an easy fortune in gold, abandoned and nearly forgotten after its original owner died in prison. For the dying man, the money is a legacy to ensure his preteen daughter’s future. For Van, the gold is cash he desperately needs to rebuild his destroyed family home.
The grandson of a career criminal who taught him all the tricks of his trade, Van suspects that nothing is ever that easy. Sure enough, the safe holding the fortune is a trap—set by a mysterious player armed with tremendous resources and a lifetime of hatred. Now, Shaw’s partner is in the clutches of the hunters, and the former army ranger may be their next prey. But when the ex-con’s innocent daughter is threatened too, Van’s own hard childhood means he can’t let her come to harm.
To discover who has them in the cross hairs, Shaw must seek out the hunters’ real prey. His quest leads him from an underground bare-knuckle fighting ring, which may be fronting a darker purpose, to a massive pop-culture convention, where Van and his allies, Hollis and Corcoran, play a dangerous game with foes on every side. It also introduces Van to a brash and beautiful aspiring journalist who poses a whole different kind of personal risk.
For years, Van Shaw has tried to live every day above ground, on the right side of the law, even though crime is his gift . . . and in his blood. If he survives the coming storm, he’ll have to decide what he wants—and whether he can live as an outlaw without sacrificing his honor.