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Showing posts tagged: Kristen Houghton click to see more stuff tagged with Kristen Houghton
Mar 17 2017 1:00pm

Review: Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles is the final installment in the Natchez Burning Trilogy set within the larger Penn Cage series (available March 21, 2017). 

Mississippi Blood is the last book in Greg Iles’s Penn Cage trilogy, which has captured the hearts and minds of readers who love their fictional suspense novels expertly mixed with the true events of history—in this case the horrors of racial violence in the South. New York Times bestselling author Iles’s novels have been made into films, translated into more than twenty languages, and published in more than 35 countries worldwide. A native son of the South, Greg Iles lives in Natchez with his two teenage children. 

Crumbled by grief and with dreams of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is dead, his principles have been severely compromised, his young daughter lives in terror, and his father—once a leading moral figure of the community where Penn is mayor—is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. 

[Read Kristen Houghton's review...]

Mar 10 2017 1:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: Dealing With Sexual Harassment

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.


I am being sexually harassed at my place of employment. I do contracts for an entertainment agency, and the man with whom I have to work has been harassing me. It started with comments like, “You look hot. Some guy’s going to get lucky later,” or “I heard your fiancé is out of town. I can come over tonight and make you feel good, honey.”

Then, he has this nasty habit of accidentally rubbingand I do mean rubbingagainst me as I’m standing in front of my desk. He takes every opportunity to rub against me and laughs when I tell him to stop. One time, he followed me into the bathroom saying, “Oops! I thought this was the men’s room.” The men’s room is nowhere near the women’s bathroom. 

This guy is not my boss, so I went to the supervisor, who shrugged it off as harmless joking around. Human Resources was no better, as they said that unless I had a witness to what occurred I couldn’t prove it.

I’m thinking of quitting my job, but I like the work and need the money. What would you do?

Harassed Hannah

[Read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s advice!]

Feb 23 2017 1:00pm

Crimes of the Century: Leopold and Loeb

Compulsion, a novel written in 1956, details the true story of a murder that gripped the nation back in the Roaring Twenties—1924 to be exact. “The Crime of the Century,” screamed the headlines. The murder, committed by two sons of multimillionaire families, captivated America in a case that shocked the public. 

The young men—nineteen-year-old Nathan Leopold and eighteen-year-old Richard Loeb—kidnapped and murdered a fourteen-year-old boy named Robert “Bobby” Franks whose family also lived in the rarefied atmosphere of wealth. Why did these teens kill Robert? For two reasons: simply to prove that they could, and because they decided that it would be fun to “break the commandant, Thou Shalt Not Kill.” 

[Read more about this chilling true crime tale...]

Feb 17 2017 2:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: The Company You Keep

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.

Dear Lisbeth Salander,

I have never written to anyone for advice, and truthfully I feel very foolish doing this. However, a friend of mine who had written to you concerning a problem she had told me that you were able to help her, and so I decided to finally ask for help. 

I am a single mother, and the problem is my 14-year-old son, Eric. He has become friends with some really bad boys. To put it bluntly, these kids have been in trouble with the cops many times, but because they’re underage, not much has been done.

To make matters worse, they seem to hang out at the home of one of the kids, Mikey, whose mother is a roaring drunk. This woman is giving alcohol and drugs to these boys. Eric came home one night so out of it that I didn’t know what to do, so I just let him sleep it off. He’s become nasty, rude, and verbally abusive to me. I fear that it’s only a matter of time until he becomes violent toward me.

I tried to speak to Mikey’s mother, but she laughed at me and called me some really nasty names. I am fearful of her because those boys will do anything she asks them to do, including home and property damage. A neighbor of hers had her car and front door badly damaged.

Please, can you give me advice on what to do? Eric is getting unmanageable.

Thank you,

Eric’s Mom

[Read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's advice...]

Feb 10 2017 4:00pm

The Best Crime Dramas to Binge Watch Now

Oh the joy of binge-watching! Everyone has been talking about a show that you’ve promised yourself you’d “get to,” but somehow you never have the time when the episodes are actually aired. But the appeal of the shows and your friends’ enthusiastic reviews are making you anxious to see what it’s all about. It’s time to binge-watch!

[I'll just watch one more...]

Feb 6 2017 5:30pm

The Pleasures of Reading J.D. Robb

When you find a mystery series that you completely enjoy reading, it’s as if you have found reading gold. Finishing each book is no longer an agony because you know your favorite main characters will come back in the next book in the series.

Readers of my Cate Harlow Private Investigation series have told me that they enjoy knowing Cate and company will return in a new book. I like that too, as each time I write a new book the character of Cate Harlow grows in ways that add to her fictional life.

One of my favorite authors is J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, who pens the absolutely superb In Death series featuring the steely-eyed, incomparable Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Eve is a fiercely dedicated cop who prefers to do things on her own. According to her way of thinking, this impacts both her personal and professional lives with fewer complications. Truthfully, she chose to be in law enforcement as a police officer so that she could have absolute control over her own life. Until the age of eighteen, she was controlled by others in a foster care system from hell. 

[Read more from Kristen Houghton!]

Jan 27 2017 1:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: Dating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.

Dear Lisbeth Salander,

I’m dating this woman who seems kind, smart, friendly—you get the picture. And man is she hot! I cannot wait to tap that as soon as I can! We’ve been together for almost two months.

Anyway, last week I accidentally found her on a new social media site. What I found there makes her seem like a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. On social media, she’s a bullying, raving monster! It’s hard for me to reconcile her social-media persona with the person I thought I knew. I mean, should I keep seeing her or what? Remember, I said that’s she’s hot. But which is her real personality: the one I know in person or the one who hides behind the screen? Can she turn on me?

—Confused But Horny

[Read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's advice!]

Jan 13 2017 2:00pm

Review: Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Kristen Houghton reviews #27, Salvation in Death.

Hector Ortiz had been a good man. He had lived for a hundred and sixteen years, and his large family and many friends were gathered for his funeral mass. At St. Cristóbal’s Church, the priest officiated with the dignity and respect Señor Ortiz deserved.

But while Father Flores is performing the Rite of Communion at the mass, he suddenly and unexpectedly dies on the altar. This is no death related to natural causes; it is a murder. Someone has spiked the communion wine with poison, causing the priest to die in front of a church filled with mourners. 

Miguel was officiating the funeral mass, and was taking Communion. He drank, and he seemed, almost immediately, to seize. His body shook, and he gasped for air. And he collapsed.” López spoke with the faintest of accents, an exotic sheen over rough wood.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of Salvation in Death...]

Jan 6 2017 2:00pm

Review: Memory in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Kristen Houghton reviews #22, Memory in Death.

If you’ve had a childhood as bad as Lt. Eve Dallas, the last person you want to see during the holiday season is the foster “mother” who made your life hell during the time you were in her “care.”

Eve’s got enough on her hands as the story opens, what with an office-party Santa falling out of a 36th-story window and killing an innocent bystander below. Ol’ Saint Nick was high on drugs when he took the header out the window. 

Lt. Dallas of the New York Police and Security Department promptly finds and arrests the dealer and returns to her precinct where she is met by a woman named Trudy Lombard. This unwelcome Ghost of Christmas Past is the foster mother who terrorized an eight-year-old Eve back in Texas. The abuse continued until Eve escaped by running away. 

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of Memory in Death...]

Jan 2 2017 5:00pm

Lisbeth Salander’s Assassin’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.

Dear Readers,

The end of a very interesting year is fast coming to an end, and this is the time when most people make those alcohol-soaked, maudlin resolutions for the new year. I say most because I have never made one damned resolution just for the sake of a new year. I mean, come on, just because the calendar switches from December 31st to January 1st, that’s not a valid reason to write up a list of “life improvements” that you won’t keep past the end of the first month! No, the switch in a calendar does not impact Salander. Ha.

Some of you are more than curious about my lifestyle and what I do besides writing this column. I’m sure you know that I have killed people, hacked accounts, destroyed top-level billionaires. The list goes on and on. But you seem to want to know how I do what I do.

To that end, I have decided to give you what I call the “Assassin’s Guide to Survival Resolutions.” Good for this new year and any year. They work for me. Here goes. You will need:

[Check out Lisbeth Salander's Assassin's Guide to Survival!]

Dec 27 2016 2:00pm

Review: Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Kristen Houghton reviews #14, Reunion in Death.

Lt. Eve Dallas is back in J.D. Robb's popular In Death series. This time, she’s facing a recently released murderer who is out to even the score with Eve. Early in her law enforcement career, Eve testified against the woman, and she hasn’t forgotten that the young lieutenant’s testimony was the final nail in the coffin. She plots a violent “reunion.” It turns out that the just-released killer has spent her years in lockup planning how to confuse, humiliate, and ultimately destroy Dallas. 

It begins with the poisoning of middle-aged, wealthy men in seemingly innocuous circumstances on Eve Dallas’s beat. 

Murder was work. Death was a serious chore for the killer, the victim, for the survivors. And for those who stood for the dead. Some went about the job devotedly, others carelessly.

And for some, murder was a labor of love.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of Reunion in Death...]

Dec 19 2016 5:30pm

Holidays and Murder: The Best Mysteries for Christmastime

A U.S. survey has come out with an interesting statistic: more murders take place during the holidays than at any other time of the year. It seems the season of “good will to all” has a caveat. Don’t the holidays bring out the best in people? Makes you look at your holiday-celebrating family and neighbors in a whole new way.

With that scary thought in mind, it doesn’t surprise me that many murder mysteries are set during the holiday season—most notably at Christmastime. With all the redundant “Ho-Ho-Hos” and “Fa-La-Las” echoing in our brains, it’s no wonder that we sometimes need a break from all the cheer. Having to be happy all the holiday season puts a tremendous amount of strain on all of us. What you need is to find some time to kick back and enjoy a good book.

So why not fill your cup with the heavily-spiked eggnog that Aunt Martha brought you as a present and settle down to read some nice, nasty holiday murder mysteries.

[Hopefully not spiked with poison...]

Dec 16 2016 1:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: I HATE the Holidays!

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.

Dear Lisbeth Salander,

Okay, I’m just going to say it; I HATE the holidays. It’s crap. Nothing but fighting, drunken relatives, expensive gifts no one can afford, and forced cheer. I’m sick of it all. I want to go to a resort, get away from all the false happiness, and just be by myself with a beach, an ocean view, and a good bottle of wine. Am I wrong? 

I have a demanding job, I live in the city500 miles away from the ol’ family homeand really can’t stomach the thought of the long drive to be with relatives. My mother, who expects me to “come home” for the holidays, says that I’m thinking in a selfish way and should just “suck it up and be nice.” She says she and my father raised me to be a man and do the right thing.

I’m 28 years old, unmarried, and I want to get away by myself for a change. Am I really being selfish or am I just being true to my own self?

Holiday Blue

[Read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's advice!]

Dec 12 2016 11:00am

Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners: New Excerpt

Kristen Houghton

Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners by Kristen Houghton is the 3rd book in the Cate Harlow Private Investigation series (Available December 15, 2016).

Cate Harlow's best friend, the lovely “lady of the New York City evening” Melissa Aubrincourt asks Cate and Cate's ex-husband, NYPD Detective Will Benigni to come to New Orleans. Her beloved Tante Anjali, the woman who raised Melissa, has been arrested for murder.

What she doesn't tell Cate is that she needs her to conduct a private investigation into this murder of a notorious voodoo priestess who had been accused of kidnapping girls for a sex trade. As a “gifted person of magic” and powerful voodooienne rival of the murdered woman, Tante Anjali, is the prime suspect. She was found kneeling over the body of the murder victim, Fleur-SalI Cloutier, holding a bloody knife in her hands, yet she swears she did not kill her.

But Anjali Aubrincourt is more than evasive about what really happened the night of the murder. Cate believes she is protecting the real murderer, but who and why? The answer to both may come from an imaginative fairy-like child who believes in magic and a goddess named Sainte Ursule.

While Will works tirelessly with the New Orleans police and legal systems, Cate's own private investigation into the murder takes her into the mystical and frightening heart of New Orleans voodoo magic where the dead and the living co-exist, and a possible connection to witchcraft in her own family.

[Read an excerpt from Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners...]

Dec 8 2016 4:00pm

Murder, Mystery, and Scandinavia: The Perfect Combination

If you like the setting of your murder mysteries to take place in a cold, snowy climate, you’re not alone. The newest and bloodiest murder mysteries now seem to take place in Scandinavia. There’s something about murder, mystery, and the bitter cold that seem to go together, and it seems that readers have been entertained by them for years.

The first tastes of “murder in the cold” were not centered in Scandinavia at all, but in Canada. King of the Royal Mounties by Zane Grey and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon by Fran Striker not only paid homage to the brave officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but also took pleasure in the descriptions of the snow and cold where they work. But those thrillers were mild.

[Find out more about Scandinavian thriller!]

Dec 1 2016 2:00pm

The 1830 True Murder Behind Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

A brutal crime in Salem, Massachusetts inspired author Edgar Allan Poe to write his famous psychological murder mystery, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” On the evening of April 6, 1830, the murder of 82-year-old Captain Joseph White, a wealthy retired shipmaster and trader, shocked the residents of the small town of Salem. 

White lived in a distinguished landmark house in Salem with Benjamin White, a distant relative and house handyman; Lydia Kimball, a domestic servant; and Mary Beckford, his housekeeper niece. Mrs. Beckford’s daughter, also named Mary, lived a short distance away in the town of Wenham and was married to Captain White's grandnephew, Joseph J. Knapp. 


Nov 21 2016 1:00pm

Review: Stone Coffin by Kjell Eriksson

Stone Coffin: A Mystery by Kjell ErikssonStone Coffin by Kjell Eriksson is the 7th book in the Ann Lindell series (Available November 22, 2016).

This is another page-turning mystery of murder, intrigue, and action by Kjell Eriksson, featuring his popular detective Ann Lindell. Like all good murder mysteries, this is a complex thriller that begins with life remembrances but also death. The remembrance lies in a poignant memory of the birth of a child and the passing of that child’s grandmother.

Six years and one day ago, Emily was born, and the very next day her grandmother died. Every anniversary of her death they walked to the church and laid flowers on her grave. They also sat on the low stone wall for a while. The woman would drink coffee and her daughter some juice.

The walk took them half an hour. They could have taken the car but preferred to walk. The slow trip to the church enabled reflection. She had loved her mother above all else. It was as if Emily had filled in for her Nana. As one love slipped away, another arrived.

She and her newborn had been transported in the Akademiska hospital to the unit where her mother lay in a state between consciousness and sleep.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review of Stone Coffin...]

Nov 17 2016 5:30pm

Review: The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years, edited by Jeani Rector

The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years is an anthology edited by Jeani Rector that features horror short stories collected from the best of the first four anthologies from this award-winning, long-running ezine.

Out of the corner of your eye you see something … there’s a shadow in the room that you can’t explain. When you open a certain door, a chill runs through you—it’s a mystery. Everyone enjoys being frightened; we love experiencing fear through reading a horror story. The natural high from the fantasized fight-or-flight response feels great. We love horror because there’s something about the genre that is similar to shouting, “I’m not afraid of death, I’m entertained by it!”

Reading a good short horror story in an anthology is a pleasure. One of the best anthologies I have read recently is The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years. It contains fiction from renowned masters of the macabre, all hand-chosen by editor and master horror writer herself, Jeani Rector, who pens an excellent scary story in “The Bus Station.

[Read Kristen Houghton's review...]

Nov 11 2016 2:00pm

Dear Lisbeth Salander: Post-Election Tension

This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.


Okay, so by now you’ve read or heard about the presidential election in the United States. So many people are either sick to their stomachs or elated, depending on the success or failure of their chosen candidate. The world I knew has gone crazy and turned completely upside-down. People are at each other’s throats and saying all kinds of horrible things.

My question to you is: How do I deal with all the changes that seem to be coming down the road? I’m only 22, and I feel scared, anxious, and angry. What can I do to make sure that my own future is secure and not totally screwed?

Please help!

Uncertain Future Girl

[Read Lisbeth Salander's advice!]

Oct 27 2016 11:00am

The Grimmest of Fairy Tales

“There once was a man who lived a life so strange, it had to be true. Only he could see what no one else can—the darkness inside ... the real monster within ... and he’s the one who must stop them. This is his calling. This is his duty. This is the life of a Grimm."

Grimm, the fan and critic favorite TV show created by David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf, and Stephen Carpenter, begins its 6th and final season this coming January, 2017. The wonderfully successful series’ final season gives viewers a chance to say goodbye to characters that are immensely appealing and likeable. 

Having reached its 100th-episode milestone last season, the show has long been a critics’ choice. “Terrific and trendsetting … Grimm has become a beacon of solid narrative and a weekly reminder of why monsters matter,” said The Los Angeles Times, while The New York Times called Grimm, “Engaging, clever, tense, funny and well-paced, featuring a remarkably appealing cast.”

[Read more about the hit series Grimm...]