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!
Check back every Wednesday and see what we're reading for the week!
Boar Island by Nevada Barr
Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—-her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.
While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs—-and find the person behind the harassment—-the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.
But the move east doesn't solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren't alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.
Mercy by Michael and Daniel Palmer
Dr. Julie Devereux is an outspoken advocate for the right to die –until a motorcycle accident leaves her fiancé, Sam Talbot, a quadriplegic. Sam begs to end his life, but Julie sees hope in a life together. With the help of an organization that opposes physician-assisted suicide, Julie has Sam coming around to her point of view when he suddenly dies from an unexpected heart attack. An autopsy reveals that Sam died of an unusual heart defect, one seen only in those under extreme stress –in fact, it appears that Sam had been literally scared to death.
As Julie investigates similar cases, she finds a frightening pattern…and finds herself the target of disturbing threats. The more cases Julie discovers, the more the threats escalate, until she is accused of a mercy killing of her own. To clear her name and save her career, she must track down whoever is behind these mysterious deaths…but time is running out as someone has decided that killing Julie is the only way to stop her.
See also: Mercy: New Excerpt
Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.
The Fireman by Joe Hill
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.
Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
That thing is growing again. We must destroy it. The time to act is now…
With these words begins Gideon Crew's latest, most dangerous, most high-stakes assignment yet. Failure will mean nothing short of the end of humankind on earth.
Five years ago, the mysterious and inscrutable head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Eli Glinn, led a mission to recover a gigantic meteorite—the largest ever discovered—from a remote island off the coast of South America. The mission ended in disaster when their ship, the Rolvaag, foundered in a vicious storm in the Antarctic waters and broke apart, sinking-along with its unique cargo-to the ocean floor. One hundred and eight crew members perished, and Eli Glinn was left paralyzed.
But this was not all. The tragedy revealed something truly terrifying: the meteorite they tried to retrieve was not, in fact, simply a rock. Instead, it was a complex organism from the deep reaches of space.
Now, that organism has implanted itself in the sea bed two miles below the surface-and it is growing. If it is not destroyed, the planet will be doomed. There is only one hope: for Glinn and his team to annihilate it, a task which requires Gideon's expertise with nuclear weapons. But as Gideon and his colleagues soon discover, the “meteorite” has a mind of its own-and it has no intention of going quietly…