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!
A new Charlie Parker thriller from John Connolly and a great debut Western by Ian Stansel highlight an explosive week of books! See what else we're reading this week:
The Lies We Tell by Theresa Schwegel
Raising her young niece on her own, Gina hides her disease; she can’t afford to lose her job. Anyway, she is healthier than most of the cops she knows and greatly appreciates the responsibility of caring for a child.
But Gina's secret is threatened when a colleague calls her in to help trace a suspect: Johnny Marble has added to his rap sheet with an assault charge—this time against his mother. When Gina pays a visit to the mom in the hospital and winds up running into—and after—Marble, she finds herself in a physical confrontation she can’t possibly win. He gets away, and Gina is faced with an impossible situation. She has to find him but knows doing so means turning in the one person who knows the true story of what happened. After all, now that he's seen her fight, Johnny Marble can reveal her deepest secret to the police department.
Though alone in her struggle, Gina isn’t alone in her search: in addition to a loyal partner, there is a curious detective and an entire force of coworkers on the hunt. And she’s sympathetic to Marble’s mother, a woman who is losing her mind to Alzheimer’s. Still, Gina fears the fallout: she has no idea how will she keep her own world intact once Marble is found and the truth is out.
Read an excerpt from The Lies We Tell!
Unit 416 by J. Leon Pridgen II
Born and raised in America’s hardest streets, five men are faced with the ultimate choice: continue their lives of crime and incarceration or serve their country and join the Army. Master Sergeant Keeble is faced with no good choice: be the leader of a new section called Unit 416 or take him and his surgically-repaired leg out of the game for good. At first, all Keeble has to work with is a ragtag group of men with no regard for the rules and a huge chip on their shoulders. But as the men go through training and more together, they form a group so tight, so formidable, that nothing can break them apart. And when a secretive CIA directive leads them straight into the heart of Uzbekistan to infiltrate an arms cartel, Unit 416’s men will need all the grit, tough—and heart—they have in order to see this mission home.
Read J. Leon Pridgen II's introduction of his latest novel, Unit 416, and then read an excerpt!
A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly
It is deep winter and the darkness is unending. A private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished and Charlie Parker is assigned to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found. Eklund is no ordinary investigator—he is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker is drawn into Eklund’s world: a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts…
Read Dirk Robertson's review of A Game of Ghosts!
The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel
When Silas Van Loy flees home on horseback to avoid capture for his brother’s murder, he is soon followed by both the police and his brother’s wife, Lena, who is intent on exacting revenge. She reluctantly lets her trusted stable assistant join her in a journey across the wilds of Northern California in the hopes of catching Silas for one final showdown. Stansel follows the chase and shares the story of the brothers’ rise from hardscrabble childhood to their reign as the region’s preeminent horse trainers, tracking the tense sibling rivalry that ultimately leads to the elder’s death.
The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne
Solomon Creed has no recollection of who he is, or where he comes from. The only solid clue to his identity is a label stitched in his jacket that reads: “This suit was made to treasure for Mr. Solomon Creed.”
The jacket fits perfectly, and so does the name, but there is a second name on the label, the name of the tailor who made the suit and an address in southern France. Solomon heads to France in search of this man, hoping to discover more about who he is. But instead of answers he finds a bloody corpse, the Star of David carved into his chest and the words “Finishing what was begun” daubed in blood on the wall.
When the police discover Solomon at the crime scene they suspect he is the murderer and lock him up. Solomon must escape to clear his name and solve the mystery of why the last remaining survivors of a notorious Nazi death camp are being hunted down and murdered. Only by saving these survivors from evil can Solomon hope to piece together the truth about a decades-old conspiracy as well as discover the key to his own identity.
Read Kristin Centorcelli's review of The Boy Who Saw!