Review: <i>A God in the Shed</i> by J-F. Dubeau Review: A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau Amber Keller Read Amber Keller's review! "Lacey's Wedding": Excerpt "Lacey's Wedding": Excerpt Sharon Bolton Learn how to win a copy of Dead Woman Walking! <i>American Static</i>: Excerpt American Static: Excerpt Tom Pitts A fast-paced crime novel set in California. Review: <i>Kangaroo Too</i> by Curtis C. Chen Review: Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review!
From The Blog
June 22, 2017
Q&A with J. Leon Pridgen II, Author of Unit 416
Crime HQ and J. Leon Pridgen II
June 16, 2017
Waiting for Nuggets Leads to 911 Call
Teddy Pierson
June 15, 2017
Adventures in Research, Part II: Storm Rising
Douglas Schofield
June 13, 2017
You Only Live Twice: Discovering Donald Westlake’s Lost James Bond Novel
Charles Ardai
June 9, 2017
Arrogant Drug Dealer Busted During Facebook Live Stream
Teddy Pierson
Jun 18 2017 12:00pm

Nina Laurin Excerpt: Girl Last Seen

Nina Laurin

Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin is a debut psychological thriller replete with sharp twists and turns, and particularly perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, and Chelsea Cain (available June 20, 2017).

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact...

I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl.

And now there is.

[Read an excerpt from Girl Last Seen...]

Jun 17 2017 10:04am

Lou Dobbs, James O. Born Excerpt: Putin’s Gambit

James O. Born and Lou Dobbs

Putin's Gambit: A Novel by Lou Dobbs, James O. BornFrom TV broadcaster Lou Dobbs and award-winning author James O. Born comes Putin's Gambit, an international financial thriller about a KGB plot to use a series of terrorist attacks as cover for a Russian military incursion into Estonia (available June 20, 2017).

Adjusting to civilian life has not been easy for former Marine Derek Walsh. As he navigates a brutal job on Wall Street and a challenging romance, he wonders if he could be doing more with his life. When an inexplicable $200 million dollar money transfer is made on his computer, he is thrust into the world of international terror, and the global economy is knocked off its hinges.

On the other side of the Atlantic, a dangerous alliance has formed. Radical Islamists and Russian extremists have set the wheels in motion for Russia to assert its power in Europe. The US President has proven to be weak on foreign policy, the military is stretched too thin, and Vladimir Putin judges this to be the time for Russia to regain its Soviet Empire. Troops mass on the Estonian border, waiting for the order to move.

The FBI believes Walsh was involved in the money transfer, and a group of Russians are intent on killing him. As New Yorkers are outraged upon learning of the illegal money transfer, and the world economy crashes after a series of terrorist attacks, Walsh and his Marine buddies are the only ones that can keep the world from spinning off its axis.

[Read an excerpt from Putin's Gambit...]

Jun 16 2017 4:30pm

Book-Inspired Cocktails: “GINdigo”

Not all great things mix well. But sometimes you get the ingredients just right, and it becomes a recipe for success!

That's what you've got with Indigo, where 10 critically acclaimed authors combine to create a crime novel like you've never read. That's also what you get with this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—the “GINdigo” cocktail, where three ingredients combine to create a delicious drink!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Jun 16 2017 3:00pm

Review: The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards is a terrifying new thriller that follows a down-on-his-luck dad and his bullied son, an out-of-place detective, and a serial killer that connects them all.

Read Debbie Meldrum's review, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Lucky Ones!

Ben Hofland’s life went sideways the day he walked in on his wife and his long-time friend together. He moved back to his old hometown in Shropshire with his eleven-year-old son, Ollie, to regroup. Even back home, things aren’t going well. Ben’s mother is terminally ill, he is out of a job, and their next-door neighbors have loud fights at all hours of the night. 

Ollie is also not adjusting to the upheaval in his young life the way Ben had hoped. He takes his son out for a day of exploring. They end up in a place called The Museum of Lost Things. Ollie becomes interested in a pile of old comics, so Ben continues by himself.

[Read Debbie Meldrum's review of The Lucky Ones...]

Jun 16 2017 1:00pm

Introducing Unit 416

Read an exclusive guest post from J. Leon Pridgen II, and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win Unit 416!

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is J. Leon Pridgen II. I am the person who had the distinct privilege to pen the novel Unit 416; it is the brainchild of A. John Vinci. I am honored that he, the folks at Macmillian, and St. Martin’s Press found the words I put to paper worthy of this project.

Unit 416 is a work of fiction that, I must confess, has beaten me, challenged me, and given me moments of reflection and introspection. Above all else, this work has inspired me and rewarded me. I dare say that there are rewards that have not revealed themselves to me as yet. I say that because I know the men and women that you will find in the pages of Unit 416. They have spoken to me throughout this process. They dance in my head, eagerly anticipating their opportunity to speak to you again.

[Read more from J. Leon Pridgen II!]

Jun 16 2017 11:02am

Waiting for Nuggets Leads to 911 Call

This week, I bring you another tale of the almighty chicken nugget. You might remember I reported on another chicken nugget incident earlier this year that involved a young man pulling a gun on a girl over the golden goodness. This time around, a woman displayed zero patience in waiting for her cripsy treat. What can I say, people really love their nuggets...

According to The New Times, police were dispatched to a McDonald's in Waco, Texas, after a woman called 9-1-1 to complain about how long her chicken nuggets were taking. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Read it again if you are still shocked and/or confused.

Meanwhile, a restaurant employee simultaneously called the police to report the woman for refusing to leave the drive-thru lane. She really wanted her nuggets.

When the police arrived on a scene, the woman claimed she should get the nuggets for free due to how long she waited. But everyone knows there's no such thing as a free lunch. The unidentified woman was given her money back and told to scram. The nuggets were taken in for questioning.

Jun 16 2017 10:00am

Curtis C. Chen Excerpt: Kangaroo Too

Curtis C. Chen

Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. ChenSet in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis C. Chen's Kangaroo Too is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer-space adventure (available June 20, 2017).

On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner—code named “Clementine” —might have information about who’s behind the sabotage.

Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.

What should be a simple infiltration is hindered by the nearly one million tourists celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing. And before Kangaroo and Jessica can make contact, Lunar authorities arrest Jessica for the murder of a local worker.

Jessica won’t explain why she met the victim in secret or erased security footage that could exonerate her. To make things worse, a sudden terror attack puts the whole Moon under lockdown. Now Kangaroo alone has to get Clementine to talk, clear Jessica’s name, and stop a crooked scheme which threatens to ruin approximately one million vacations.

But old secrets are buried on the Moon, and digging up the past will make Kangaroo’s future very complicated...

[Read an excerpt from Kangaroo Too...]

Jun 15 2017 4:00pm

Review: Shiver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw

Shiver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw is the third book in the Jane Bunker Mystery series.

Author Linda Greenlaw spins quite a yarn with this Jane Bunker series installment. There’s murder, snow, boats, and chowder. What more could you ask for?

Set in the cold, small community of Green Haven, Maine, series protagonist Jane Bunker has relocated from Miami—where she was a homicide detective—to the polar opposite environment and career. Here in Green Haven, she kind of does it all as she works for the sheriff and with the local insurance agency.

I laughed to myself. My present situation was a far cry from chief detective of Miami-Dade County. If anyone from my past could see me now—Jane Bunker, bundled up like a goddamned Eskimo—living in an apartment over a trinket-selling tourist trap in this remote outpost—making ends meet financially (just barely) with a combination of insurance consulting/investigation and a job as the assistant deputy sheriff of Knox County—shoveling snow!

[Read Amber Keller's review of Shiver Hitch...]

Jun 15 2017 3:00pm

Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: July, 2017

Discover (or remember to order) your next cozy with a delightfully convenient shopping list of upcoming soft-boiled mysteries! Last month, we kicked off summer with some great June cozies; this month, blast into July with fireworks and these amazing reads! Let us know in the comments how you like it and what you can't wait to read next!

Like this shopping list? Sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay in touch with all our cozy content!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Jun 15 2017 2:00pm

Adventures in Research, Part II: Storm Rising

Last month, I described some of the high points (and hapless incidents) I encountered during my research odyssey for Time of Departure. Today, I’ll describe some of the travels, insights, and adventures that contributed to Storm Rising, my second novel with Macmillan.

Read Part I

I won’t put you into a coma by rehashing the non-fiction sources I plowed through to transform my heroine Lucy Hendricks’s story from a “what if?” idea bouncing around my imagination to a 350-page manuscript. And there simply isn’t space to detail my interactions with one of the most fascinating academics I’ve ever encountered: Dr. Jim Tucker, Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Professor Tucker’s scientific studies of the childhood cognitive phenomenon that anchored one of the central themes of the novel was invaluable. His assistance provides a clear example of why it is so important to track down and interview experts in fields of study beyond your own radius of experience.

(To get a full sense of the range of people I consulted in developing the factual background to Storm Rising, I invite the reader to take a few moments to digest the Acknowledgements section at the end of the novel.)

Now, let’s jump to the fun stuff...

[Read more about Schofield's adventures in research!]

Jun 15 2017 12:00pm

The Fall of the House of Knoedler

Knoedler & Company began in 1846 as the Manhattan outpost of the French printmaker Goupil et Cie. It was America’s first storefront art gallery; it predated the Metropolitan Museum of Art by 24 years. During the Gilded Age, Knoedler moved from peddling inexpensive prints to dealing Old Master artworks to the likes of Vanderbilt, Morgan, and Frick.

By 1970, the new breed of robber barons had different tastes. Knoedler was in trouble. Oil tycoon Armand Hammer bought the place in 1971 and installed new management who made the leap to selling Modern art (roughly, Impressionism and its sequels to 1940). It also went back to its roots by selling original prints by LeRoy Neiman, who was huge back then.

The gallery began representing big-name artists such as Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Rauschenberg. Its age and reputation made it a go-to place for purchasing Modern and contemporary art. Being displayed in or represented by Knoedler could be a huge boost for an artist’s career.

[Read more about the fall of Knoedler...]

Jun 15 2017 10:00am

Ben Coes Excerpt: Trap the Devil

Ben Coes

Trap the Devil by Ben CoesTrap the Devil by Ben Coes is the 7th book in the Dewey Andreas series (available June 20, 2017).

A group of some of the most powerful people in the government, the military, and the private sector has begun a brutal plan to quietly take over the reins of the U.S. government. They’ve begun to remove the people who stand in their way—and replace them with their own sympathizers and puppets. They’ve already taken out the Speaker of the House—whose death was made to look like an accidental drowning—and the president and vice president are next. Once they have their own people in place, they plan to start a bloody, brutal war on an unimaginable scale.

On restricted duty while he recovers from injuries incurred on a previous mission, Dewey Andreas is sent to Paris by CIA Director Hector Calibrisi. The Secretary of State is going there for secret talks, and Dewey is to be an extra layer of security above the State Department team. But what should be an easy mission couldn’t go more wrong. The cabal has sent in a hit man to take out the Secretary of State and lay the blame for this murder at the feet of Dewey himself.

With the Secretary of State dead, shot by Dewey’s weapon, Dewey is on the run and out in the cold, desperately trying to unravel the plot before the conspirators succeed in killing millions of innocents.

[Read an excerpt from Trap the Devil...]

Jun 14 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Title Wave by Lorna Barrett

This was my first foray into the bestselling Booktown Mystery series, and I was a little worried that I’d be a bit lost, as this is the 10th book in. So it was a great relief to find it highly accessible—most likely because the story itself doesn’t take place in Stoneham, New Hampshire (the fabled Booktown), proper, but on an Atlantic cruise.

Quite a few Stoneham residents have embarked on this cruise to escape the New England winter, and they are looking forward to a few days of luxury as they sail to Bermuda and back. Even better, the cruise is mystery-themed, with a good number of authors (mostly in the mystery genre, but not all) aboard to hold panels as well as discuss and promote their books.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Jun 14 2017 3:30pm

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris: A Visual Guide

GIFnotes: Giving you the basic plot summary of an upcoming book with the help of the Graphics Interchange Format.

This week, take a visual tour of the one of most anticipated thrillers of 2017, The Breakdown by B. A. Paris!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Jun 14 2017 2:00pm

Discount: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Through the month of June, get a digital copy of Louise Penny's fifth Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, The Brutal Telling, for only $2.99!

Chaos is coming, old son. 

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.

No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him? 

As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures― from first editions of Charlotte's Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it―lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.

Hosting a book club? Download our free discussion questions for The Brutal Telling!


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Amazon Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Books a Million Buy at iTunes

Jun 14 2017 1:00pm

Review: The Mentor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

The Mentor by Lee Matthew Goldberg is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected hanging in the balance.

Take a visual tour of The Mentor with GIFnotes!

Bentley College Professor William Lansing shoots a question out to his students, “Why does Meursault insist to the chaplain that he didn’t know what a sin was?” (Meursault is the protagonist from The Stranger, a Nobel winner in literature, written by acclaimed author Albert Camus.) Lansing scans his classroom to find the usual assortment of the bored and the clueless. William eventually supplies his own definitive answer:

“Expressing remorse would constitute his actions as wrong. He knows his views make him a stranger to society, and he is content with this judgment. He accepts death and looks forward to it with peace. The crowds will cheer hatefully at his beheading, but they will be cheering. This is what captivates the readers seventy years after the book’s publication. What keeps it and Camus eternal, immortal.”

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Mentor...]

Jun 14 2017 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: June 13, 2017

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 lost James Bond-inspired novel from Donald Westlake and a new James Bourne thriller by Eric Van Lustbader highlight a great week of books! See what else we're reading:

[See this week's Top 5...]

Jun 14 2017 10:00am

Charlaine Harris Excerpt: Indigo

Charlaine Harris

Indigo by Charlaine HarrisIn Indigo, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Kat Richardson, Seanan McGuire, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, James Moore, and Mark Morris join forces to bring you a crime-solving novel like you’ve never read before (available June 20, 2017).

Investigative reporter Nora Hesper spends her nights cloaked in shadows. As Indigo, she’s become an urban myth, a brutal vigilante who can forge darkness into weapons and travel across the city by slipping from one patch of shadow to another. Her primary focus both as Nora and as Indigo has become a murderous criminal cult called the Children of Phonos. Children are being murdered in New York, and Nora is determined to make it stop, even if that means Indigo must eliminate every member. But in the aftermath of a bloody battle, a dying cultist makes claims that cause Indigo to question her own origin and memories.

Nora’s parents were killed when she was nineteen years old. She took the life insurance money and went off to explore the world, leading to her becoming a student of meditation and strange magic in a mountaintop monastery in Nepal…a history that many would realize sounds suspiciously like the origins of several comic book characters. As Nora starts to pick apart her memory, it begins to unravel. Her parents are dead, but the rest is a series of lies. Where did she get the power inside her?

[Read an excerpt from Indigo...]

Jun 13 2017 4:00pm

Vote for Your Favorite Actor to Play Batman


Let us know who you chose and why in the comments below!