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!
Redemption Road by John Hart
A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.
A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.
After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…
This is a town on the brink.
This is Redemption Road.
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.
As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?
The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.
Slow Burn by Ace Atkins
The fire at a boarded-up Catholic church raged hot and fast, lighting up Boston’s South End and killing three firefighters who were trapped in the inferno. A year later, as the city prepares to honor their sacrifice, there are still no answers about how the deadly fire started. Most at the department believe it was just a simple accident: faulty wiring in a century-old building. But Boston firefighter Jack McGee, who lost his best friend in the blaze, suspects arson.
McGee is convinced department investigators aren’t sufficiently connected to the city’s lowlifes to get a handle on who's behind the blaze—so he takes the case to Spenser. Spenser quickly learns not only that McGee might be right, but that the fire might be linked to a rash of new arsons, spreading through the city, burning faster and hotter every night. Spenser follows the trail of fires to Boston’s underworld, bringing him, his trusted ally Hawk, and his apprentice Sixkill toe-to-toe with a dangerous new enemy who wants Spenser dead, and doesn’t play by the city’s old rules. Spenser has to find the firebug before he kills again – and stay alive himself.
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.
Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want: She's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding―in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.
See also: City of the Lost: New Excerpt
Last Light by CJ Lyons
After leaving the FBI, life should be easy, right? Wrong—not if you’re Lucy Guardino.
Lucy has always seen herself as a normal Pittsburgh soccer mom who happened to have a job chasing the worst of the worst. But after a violent predator targets her family and she’s injured, Lucy sacrifices her career with the FBI in order to keep her family safe.
What is she now that she’s no longer a FBI Special Agent? she wonders as she begins her new job with the Beacon Group, a private consulting firm that specializes in cold cases and bringing justice to forgotten victims. Lucy fears she’s traded being a kick-ass law enforcement officer for being a civilian mother hen shepherding a team of amateurs.
Her fears appear justified when she’s partnered with TK O’Connor, a former Marine MP struggling with her transition to life back home, and sent to rural Texas to investigate a case that’s more than cold, it’s already been closed with the killers behind bars for the past twenty-nine years.
But…who really killed Lily Martin, her infant daughter, and husband? Why was an entire family targeted for annihilation?
What price will Lucy pay when she fights to expose a truth people will kill to keep buried?