Review: <i>Deadfall</i> by Linda Fairstein Review: Deadfall by Linda Fairstein John Valeri Read John Valeri's review! Review: <i>LoveMurder</i> by Saul Black Review: LoveMurder by Saul Black Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review! <i>Penance of the Damned</i>: Excerpt Penance of the Damned: Excerpt Peter Tremayne The 27th book in the Sister Fidelma series. Review: <i>Incarnate</i> by Josh Stolberg Review: Incarnate by Josh Stolberg Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review!
From The Blog
July 22, 2017
The Gothic Origins of the Contemporary Crime Thriller
Chuck Caruso
July 22, 2017
Ramming McDonald’s, Demanding Drugs, Wire Chewer, and More!
Crime HQ
July 21, 2017
Q&A with Kaye George
Kaye George and Katherine Tomlinson
July 21, 2017
Woman Gets DWI After Attempting to Bail Out Friend
Teddy Pierson
July 20, 2017
Buddy Cops with an Undead Twist
Michael Haspil
Jul 18 2017 3:00pm

Vote for Your Favorite George A. Romero Film



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

Jul 18 2017 2:00pm

Review: The Student by Iain Ryan

The Student by Iain Ryan is high-paced, hardboiled regional noir: fresh, gritty, unnerving, with a stark and lonely beauty.

University campus novels involving crime date back to at least Dorothy L. Sayers’s Gaudy Night (1935), in which Lord Peter Wimsey and his mystery writer friend Harriet Vane investigate vandalism, poison-pen messages, and threats of murder at Oxford University, Harriet’s alma mater. More recently, there was Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which takes place at a fictional Vermont college called Hampden, modeled on Bennington College, where Tartt went. In The Secret History, a murder does occur, though the novel has the form of an inverted mystery—a whydunit—with its killing taking place at the novel’s outset.

Over the years, campus mystery novels have tended to use their settings much like classic era detective writers used ships, country houses, and trains as sites for murder: the campus serves as an isolated environment where a detective investigates a crime among a small group of people. The campus forms a world unto itself, with codes of behavior unique to it.

[Read Scott Adlerberg's review of The Student...]

Jul 18 2017 1:00pm

Q&A with Marcus Sakey, Author of Afterlife

Markus Sakey is a novelist and screenwriter whose books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into dozens of languages. His titles include The Blade Itself, Good People (which was adapted for film and starred James Franco and Kate Hudson), and the Brilliance Trilogy: Brilliance, A Better World, and Written in Fire. Mr. Sakey’s newest, Afterlife (available July 18, 2017), is a standalone thriller that’s already been optioned for film by Imagine Entertainment with the author attached to write the screenplay.

Recently, the Chicago-based author generously made time to answer questions about creative inspiration, the importance of setting, genre classification, and the challenges of turning a full-length novel into a screenplay, among other topics.

[Read the full Q&A below!]

Jul 18 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part IV

Last week, the ka-tet lost another at the Battle of Devar-Toi as they free the Breakers and save the beam. This week, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense? 

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense? Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of The Dark Tower: PART THREE: In this Haze of Green and Gold, Ves'-Ka Gan!

CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread

[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Jul 18 2017 11:00am

Review: The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

The Breakdown by B. A. ParisThe Breakdown by B. A. Paris is the next chilling, propulsive book from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors (available July 18, 2017).

Take a visual tour of The Breakdown—one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2017! 

It all begins on a dark and stormy night—a good night to try and get home fast. Despite warnings from her husband to take the longer-but-safer route, Cass decides to take a shortcut. With the rain beating against her windshield, it’s hard to see the road in front of her. She barely sees the car stopped on the side of the road, but when she does, she pulls over briefly and waits to see if the driver will come over to her. When the driver remains in her car, Cass moves on. 

The next day, the news breaks: a woman has been murdered. A woman in a parked car on the side of the road. A woman Cass passed by. A woman Cass knows. 

[Read Jenny Maloney's review of The Breakdown...]

Jul 18 2017 10:00am

C. J. Box Excerpt: Paradise Valley

C. J. Box

Paradise Valley by C. J. Box Paradise Valley by C. J. Box is the fourth and final book in the Highway Quartet (available July 25, 2017).

Take a visual tour of Paradise Valley with GIFnotes!

She almost caught him once. Now, he’s back.

For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as the Lizard King whose hunting grounds are the highways and truck stops where runaways and prostitutes are most likely to vanish. Cassie almost caught him...once.

Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff's department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls on Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.

At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared after telling people that he’s going off on a long-planned adventure. Kyle's grandmother begs Cassie to find him and, with nothing else to do, Cassie agrees—all the while hunting the truck driver.

Now Cassie is a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle's disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?

[Read an excerpt from Paradise Valley...]

Jul 17 2017 5:00pm

Baby Driver: Why Edgar Wright’s Latest Is the Best Film of the Summer

For a movie that has accumulated such a high volume of accolades since its premiere, it’s a bit perplexing to find that Baby Driver is actually a bit of a difficult movie to review. Perhaps it’s because so much has been said about the film already, but the more likely reason is that the movie can be considered a sort of a self-review.

A pop-culture pastiche that uses an abundance of tropes, pop-culture references, and singular craft, Edgar Wright’s fifth film is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the film industry’s current status quo while also being a radiant beacon of creativity. Whether this was a conscious decision on Wright’s part or not remains murky, but it certainly entices my mind the more I think about the possibility of Baby Driver being a deceptive film essay. That said, here goes my review anyway. Perhaps the best way to start is by addressing the man in the director’s chair.

[Read Peter Foy's review of Baby Driver...]

Jul 17 2017 3:00pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 8, 9, and 10

Part 8: “Gotta Light?”

Hard to convey the vibe this reviewer got from experiencing a seminal moment in television history without coming across as an awestruck fanboy. So, what the hell, let me just embrace it by doubling down: this ranks next to Mulholland Drive (2001) and Blue Velvet (1986) as one of Lynch’s crowning directorial achievements.

“Gotta Light” is a subversive, expressionistic, and harrowing episode with prolonged scenes—even by Lynch standards—of no dialogue. “As soon as you put things in words, no one ever sees the film the same way,” he was quoted as saying in The New Yorker. The sobering result: we hear the eerie, discordant “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” by Penderecki as we bear witness to the first atomic bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, and are pulled into the mushroom cloud among the swirling atoms of hellfire and destruction.

[Read more about Parts 8-10 of Twin Peaks: The Return...]

Jul 17 2017 2:00pm

2017 Thrillerfest Wrap Up

This year's Thrillerfest was a blast! Hosted at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, it was five glorious days of meeting authors, hearing their stories, getting advice and writing tips, and schmoozing with authors, industry, and fans alike.

Criminal Element was lucky enough to be there for it all, and in case you missed it, we streamed a few of the best panels on Facebook Live! Watch some great interviews with authors like Lee Child, Steve Berry, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, and more:

[Videos, pictures, and winners, oh my!]

Jul 17 2017 12:00pm

Game of Thrones 7.01: Season Premiere “Dragonstone”

The most highly-anticipated season premiere in television history began with a tomboyish teen committing mass murder, followed that up with some Ed Sheeran product placement, and concluded by fulfilling a plotline first teased seven years ago. In short, Game of Thrones is back!

“Dragonstone” wasn’t a sexy episode (though Tormund would disagree), but just like Janitor Sam cleaning all those the maesterly chamber pots, our season premiere did the dirty work of making sure everything runs smoothly in the future. We checked in on many of the season’s upcoming characters and learned of their varied plans. Arya is headed to King’s Landing to kill Cersei. Cersei and Jaime are surrounded by enemies except for Euron Greyjoy, who has two good hands. Bran and Meera have made it back to the Wall. Jon and Sansa participated in a long-overdue sibling fight. Littlefinger is currently Googling where the burn unit closest to Winterfell is located. Jorah checked into the realm’s premier inpatient program. The Hound hates man buns. And Daenerys played in the sand IN WESTEROS!

Clearly, there are a lot of moving pieces, but it’s only a matter of time before these scattered groups come together. I hear Dragonstone is nice this time of year…

[Onto this week’s risers and fallers…]

Jul 17 2017 11:00am

Grantchester 3.04: Episode Review

“Temptation is the source of all suffering,” Sidney Chambers (James Norton) tells his parishioners in his Sunday sermon.

Well, if that’s true, the hunky vicar must be suffering mightily. He’s never been a guy who could resist temptation. In fact, there she is, in the pews, rolling her eyes and smirking. Yes, it’s a little late for Sidney to be having a crisis of conscience about weak flesh and all. Amanda (Morven Christie) is now a fact of his life in Grantchester, for better or worse. Presumably, we’ll get to the richer or poorer later.

Grantchester is prone to veering off into extensive explorations of the characters’ assorted personal dilemmas, forgetting that it’s billed as a mystery. This episode is one of those instances. So, while we do have a dead body and an investigation to determine how it got that way, most of this hour will be spent on other things. 

[Like we said, for better or worse…]

Jul 17 2017 10:00am

T. Jefferson Parker Excerpt: The Room of White Fire

T. Jefferson Parker

The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker follows a P.I. who must hunt down a soldier who is damaged by war, dangerous, and on the run (available August 22, 2017).

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Room of White Fire, and then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of T. Jefferson Parker's latest thriller!

A young soldier escaped from a mental institution.
A P.I. carrying his own wounds hired to track that soldier down.
A race against the clock to bring the soldier home before he reveals the secret that haunts him.

Roland Ford—once a cop, then a marine, now a private investigator—is good at finding people. But when he’s asked to locate Air Force veteran Clay Hickman, he realizes he’s been drawn into something deep and dark. He knows war, having served as a Marine in first Fallujah; he also knows personal pain, as only two years have passed since his wife, Justine, died. What he doesn’t know is why a shroud of secrecy hangs over the disappearance of Clay Hickman—and why he’s getting a different story from everyone involved.

To begin with, there’s Sequoia, the teenage woman who helped Clay escape; she’s smart enough to fend off Ford’s questions but impetuous enough to be on the run with an armed man. Then there’s Paige Hulet, Clay’s doctor, who clearly cares deeply for his welfare but is impossible to read, even as she inspires in Ford the first desire he has felt since his wife’s death. And there’s Briggs Spencer, the proprietor of the mental institution who is as enigmatic as he is brash, and ambitious to the point of being ruthless. What could Clay possibly know to make this search so desperate?

What began as just a job becomes a life-or-death obsession for Ford, pitting him against immensely powerful and treacherous people and forcing him to contend with chilling questions about truth, justice, and the American way.

[Read an excerpt from The Room of White Fire...]

Jul 15 2017 11:01am

Madeline Ashby Excerpt: Company Town

Madeline Ashby

Company Town by Madeline AshbyCompany Town has never been the safest place to be—but now, the danger is personal (available July 18, 2017).

New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig—making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be—but now, the danger is personal.

[Read an excerpt from Company Town...]

Jul 14 2017 1:00pm

Linda Castillo Audio Excerpt: Down a Dark Road

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo is the ninth Kate Burkholder novel, where a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Take a visual tour of Down a Dark Road with GIFnotes!

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he's headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and puts Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle's house. He's armed and desperate, with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

[Listen to an audio excerpt from Down a Dark Road...]

Jul 14 2017 11:08am

Suspect Claims Van Full of Marijuana Was for Personal Use

This week's perp derp must have channeled the spirit of Cheech & Chong when he claimed that a truck loaded with marijuana was all for personal use.

According to The Metro, Shane Prosser was driving along and minding his own business when police pulled him over due to the strong stench of weed that engulfed the officer as Prosser's truck drove by.

When Prosser spoke to the officers, he admitted that his passenger and himself smoked marijuana and that the truck contained some more for his own personal use. But after a quick look-see in the truck, the officers discovered hundreds of pounds of the green stuff.

They also found keys to a farm that led them to find a whole cannabis-growing operation. Prosser continued to deny that he possessed all of that cannabis with the intent to sell. Cool story, bro...

Jul 14 2017 10:00am

David Rosenfelt Excerpt: Collared

David Rosenfelt

Collared by David RosenfeltCollared by David Rosenfelt is the 15th book in the Andy Carpenter series (available July 18, 2017).

Lawyer Andy Carpenter’s true passion is the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs with his friend Willie Miller. All kinds of dogs make their way to the foundation, and it isn’t that surprising to find a dog abandoned at the shelter one morning, though it was accompanied by a mysterious anonymous note. But they are quite surprised when they scan the dog’s embedded chip, and discover that they know this dog. He is the “DNA dog.”

Two and a half years ago, Jill Hickman was a single mother of an adopted baby. Her baby and dog were kidnapped in broad daylight in Eastside Park, and they haven’t been seen since. A tip came in that ID’d a former boyfriend of Hickman’s, Keith Wachtel, as the kidnapper. A search of his house showed no sign of the child but did uncover more incriminating evidence, and the clincher that generated Wachtel’s arrest was some dog hair, notable since Wachtel did not have a dog. DNA tests showed conclusively that the hair belonged to Hickman’s dog. Wachtel was convicted of kidnapping, but the dog and baby were never found.

Now, with the reappearance of the dog, the case is brought back to light, and the search for the child renewed. Goaded by his wife’s desire to help a friend and fellow mother and Andy’s desire to make sure the real kidnapper is in jail, Andy and his team enter the case. But what they start to uncover is far more complicated and dangerous than they ever expected.

[Read an excerpt from Collared...]

Jul 13 2017 4:30pm

6 of the Best Crime Films Based on True Events

Some of the most thrilling stories come from real life. So it's no surprise that some of the best movies are based on true stories. Below are six great crime films based on true events!

[See all six below!]

Jul 13 2017 3:00pm

Q&A with David Rosenfelt, Author of Collared

Read an exclusive Q&A with David Rosenfelt, author of the Andy Carpenter series, and make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win the 15th in the series, Collared!

David Rosenfelt is the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures. Now, he is the acclaimed author of the Andy Carpenter series as well as several standalone thrillers. Recently, the accomplished author took time to answer some of CrimeHQ's questions about his latest Andy Carpenter mystery, Collared, the difference between writing movies and novels, and his Tara Foundation. 

[Read the full Q&A below!]