Review: <i>Madness Treads Lightly</i> by Polina Dashkova Review: Madness Treads Lightly by Polina Dashkova Ardi Alspach Read Ardi Alspach's review! Discount: <i>The Prisoner of Hell Gate</i> by Dana I. Wolff Discount: The Prisoner of Hell Gate by Dana I. Wolff Crime HQ Get a digital copy for $1.99 through October! Cover Reveal: <i>Not Her Daughter</i> by Rea Frey Cover Reveal: Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey Crime HQ See the beautiful cover & order your copy today! <i>Dying to Live</i>: Excerpt Dying to Live: Excerpt Michael Stanley The sixth Detective Kubu Mystery, set against the richly beautiful backdrop of Botswana.
From The Blog
October 17, 2017
Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Adam Wagner
October 15, 2017
Executed 100 Years Ago: Who Was Mata Hari?
David Cranmer
October 13, 2017
6 Eerie, Mysterious, and Unsettling Unsolved Mysteries
Angie Barry
October 13, 2017
Man Arrested for 28th DUI
Teddy Pierson
October 12, 2017
Celebrating Robert Mitchum’s Centennial: Mitch Goes to War
David Cranmer
Thu
Oct 19 2017 4:00pm

Watch the First Official Trailer for Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.

Two artists that changed hip-hop forever—both in life and in death. Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. were both murdered within a year of each other after one of the biggest and most public feuds in entertainment history. However, neither of their murders have ever been solved.

Now, Emmy Award-winner Anthony Hemingway (American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson) and Kyle Long (Suits) team up with LAPD Detective Greg Kading—who led multiple law-enforcement task forces investigating the murders and authored the book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations—to bring you Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.

Premiering in 2018 on USA, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. stars Josh Duhamel (Detective Kading), Marcc Rose (Tupac), Wavyy Jonez (Biggie), Jimmi Simpson (Detective Russell Poole), Bokeem Woodbine (Officer Daryn Dupree), and Luke James (Sean “Puffy” Combs).

[Watch the trailer below!]

Thu
Oct 19 2017 3:00pm

Review: Madness Treads Lightly by Polina Dashkova

Madness Treads Lightly by Polina Dashkova is a Russian mystery where only three people can connect a present-day murderer to a serial killer who, fourteen years ago, terrorized a small Siberian town—and one of them is already dead.

Polina Dashkova, dubbed Russia’s Queen of Crime, first published Madness Treads Lightly in Russian in 1998. This edition was translated by Marian Schwartz, which I found surprising given Dashkova’s work as a translator herself. I’m not entirely sure that the translator served this book well, as Russian naming conventions were preserved, which can be a bit confusing to an American audience and contributed to my inability to become immersed in the story right away. But regardless of that, once I became accustomed, I found the story interesting, if standard, for a thriller.

The novel takes place in two time periods and two locations. Lena Polyanskaya is our protagonist, a young mother living in Moscow in 1996 who edits a prominent magazine and is married to a high-ranking police officer. She soon learns that an old friend of hers, Mitya, has died of suspected suicide, but she finds it all suspicious even though Mitya’s sister, Olga, has accepted it without question. But the further Lena digs, the more she feels that Mitya’s death was no accident and might, in fact, be somehow connected to a string of murders that happened in Siberia in the 1980s.

[Read Ardi Alspach's review of Madness Treads Lightly...]

Thu
Oct 19 2017 1:00pm

Discount: The Prisoner of Hell Gate by Dana I. Wolff

Four decades after Typhoid Mary went to her grave, five curious graduate students struggle to escape alive from the abandoned island that once imprisoned her. Contagion doesn't die. It just waits. Get a digital copy of Dana I. Wolff's The Prisoner of Hell Gate for only $1.99 through October!

In the Hell Gate section of New York’s East River lie the sad islands where, for centuries, people locked away what they most feared: the contagious, the disfigured, the addicted, the criminally insane.

Here infection slowly consumed the stricken. Here a desperate ship captain ran his doomed steamship aground and watched flames devour 1,500 souls. Here George A. Soper imprisoned the infamous Typhoid Mary after she spread sickness and death in Manhattan’s most privileged quarters.

George’s great-granddaughter, Karalee, and her fellow graduate students in public health know that story. But as they poke in and out of the macabre hospital rooms of abandoned North Brother Island―bantering, taking pictures, recalling history―they are missing something: Hidden evil watches over them―and plots against them.

When death visits Hell Gate, it comes to stay.

As darkness falls, the students find themselves marooned―their casual trespass having unleashed a chain of horrific events beyond anyone’s imagination.

Disease lurks among the eerie ruins where Typhoid Mary once lived and breathed. Ravenous flies swarm puddles of blood. Rot and decay cling to human skin. And spiteful ghosts haunt the living and undead.

Soon five students of history will learn more than they ever wanted to know about New York’s foul underbelly: the meaning of spine-tingling cries down the corridor, of mysterious fires, of disfiguring murder, and of an avenging presence so sinister they’d rather risk their lives than face the terror of one more night.

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

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

Thu
Oct 19 2017 12:00pm

Cover Reveal: Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Emotionally powerful and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.  

NOT HER DAUGHTER is available for pre-order now! Release date: August 14, 2018.


To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Amazon

 

 


Rea Frey is a food and relationship writer as well as a novelist. She writes a monthly vegetarian food column for Martha's Stewart's site, Whole Living, as well as her own food blog, Clean Convenient Cuisine, hosted by Chicago Tribune. She writes two columns for Cheeky Chicago, is a regular contributor to YumUniverse, and is a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist. A common guest on WGN radio, she discusses how to live a balanced life at www.reafrey.com. She lives in Chicago, IL.

Thu
Oct 19 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Michael Stanley Excerpt: Dying to Live

Michael Stanley

Dying to Live by Michael Stanley is the sixth crime novel to feature the humble and endearing Detective Kubu, set against the richly beautiful backdrop of Botswana (available October 24, 2014).

A Bushman is discovered dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Africa. Although the man looks old enough to have died of natural causes, the police suspect foul play, and the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. Pathologist Ian MacGregor confirms the cause of death as a broken neck, but is greatly puzzled by the man’s physiology. Although he’s obviously very old, his internal organs look remarkably young. He calls in Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu. When the Bushman’s corpse is stolen from the morgue, suddenly the case takes on a new dimension.

[Read an excerpt from Dying to Live...]

Wed
Oct 18 2017 4:45pm

Cooking the Books: Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Okay, wow, this one is a little different from the previous books. For starters, our heroine Hannah Swensen is not the one to stumble across the body, a habit that her mother Delores despairs of in the context of attracting a marriage proposal (because, in a case of Mom-logic that I find insufferable but intensely realistic, Hannah is totally doing it on purpose).

Instead, it is Delores herself who finds the body in the basement of the house that dentist Norman Rhodes has just bought in order to tear down and build the dream house he and Hannah collaborated on in previous novels. But only for a contest, sadly. Come on, Hannah! Pick Norman!

Anyway, the body belongs to Rhonda Scharf, who’d just sold the house to Norman after inheriting it herself. Since lead detective Mike Kingston (the other of Hannah’s suitors) won’t release the crime scene back to Norman till progress is made on the case, Hannah has a lot of people urging her to investigate. In a departure from previous books, Mike takes her efforts in stride—though he’s quick to remind her that while she may be a talented amateur, she still has to defer to him as a professional.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
Oct 18 2017 3:45pm

Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane: 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 Con Lehane's second 42nd Street Library Mystery, Murder in the Manuscript Room!

[Like CliffsNotes, but more fun...]

Wed
Oct 18 2017 1:00pm

Discount: Snowblind by Christopher Golden

One small, New England town is taken by storm―and nothing will ever be the same. Get a digital copy of Christopher Golden's chilling horror novel Snowblind for only $2.99 through the month of October!

Once upon a time, Coventry weathered a horrific blizzard, one that left many people dead―and others mysteriously lost. Twelve years later, the town is still haunted by the snow that fell that one fateful night…and now a new storm is on the way.

Photographer Jake Schapiro mourns the little brother he lost in the storm and, this time, he will see another boy go missing. Mechanic and part-time thief Doug Manning, whose wife was never found after she wandered into the whiteout, is starting over with another woman―and more ambitious crimes. Police detective Joe Keenan has never been the same since that night, when he failed to save the life of a young boy…and the boy's father vanished in the storm only feet away. And all the way on the other side of the country, Miri Ristani receives a phone call―from a man who died twelve years ago. Old ghosts are trickling back to life as a new threat rolls in. Could it be that this storm will be even more terrifying than the last?

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

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

Wed
Oct 18 2017 12:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: October 17, 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!

This week, a new John Sandford and Faye Kellerman highlight a fantastic week of books! See what else we're reading:

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

Wed
Oct 18 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Donna Andrews Excerpt: How the Finch Stole Christmas!

Donna Andrews

How the Finch Stole Christmas! by Donna Andrews is the 22nd Meg Langslow Mystery, which is guaranteed to put the “ho ho hos” into the holidays of cozy lovers everywhere with its gut-bustingly funny mystery (available October 24, 2017).

Meg's husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens's A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who's come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?

[Read an excerpt from How the Finch Stole Christmas...]

Tue
Oct 17 2017 4:00pm

Vote for Your Favorite Haunted House Story

 

Don't see your favorite haunted house story? Let us know in the comments below!

Tue
Oct 17 2017 3:00pm

Introducing The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Read the first installment of The Life of a Book introducing Sandie Jones and her upcoming psychological thriller, The Other Woman, then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win an early copy!

For most of us, a book begins when we pick it up and ends when we finish the last page. But the life of a book begins much earlier than that! We’re excited to be partnering with Minotaur Books and Sandie Jones to offer you an ongoing behind-the-scenes look at the publication process for one of Minotaur’s most anticipated new books of 2018.

Make sure you tune in each month as we update our progress. Not only will we be chatting with Sandie Jones, the author, but we’ll also be featuring the entire team behind the book, including the editor, publicist, designer, and marketer.

And we’re hoping you’ll get involved too! We’ll have ample opportunities for you to ask Sandie and the team questions, and there will be plenty of chances to win an early copy of the book too! But that’s enough about the series … now onto the most important part—the book!

[Read more about the life of a book!]

Tue
Oct 17 2017 1:00pm

Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Not many films sci-fi films can truly attest to having the legacy that Blade Runner has accumulated in the 35 years since its release. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the film told a contemplative tale of a future police officer tasked with terminating artificial humans known as replicants, and it drew as equally from film noir as it did science-fiction.

Directed by Ridley Scott (fresh off his success from Alien), the film hit theaters in the summer of 1982. It wasn’t initially met with great critical acclaim, and it actually underperformed at the box office. Over time, however, its importance became more lucid, as its influence could be felt in countless films from Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi roller-coaster Total Recall (also a Dick adaptation) to the beautiful anime classic Ghost in the Shell.

It’s often considered one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time by critics, as well as one of the truly great films of the 1980s (perhaps in no small part because a generation raised on Star Wars was liable to adhere to an edgier sci-fi film starring Harrison Ford as they grew up). Of even more distinction, Blade Runner has even been released in different versions over the years, with perhaps even more acclaim than the original (despite the film’s recognition, Ridley Scott’s preferred cut didn’t see release until a decade ago).

[Read Peter Foy's review of Blade Runner 2049...]

Tue
Oct 17 2017 12:00pm

Review: Deep Freeze by John Sandford

Deep Freeze by John Sandford is the 10th book in the Virgil Flowers series, where Virgil finds out that class reunions are a time for memories—good, bad, and deadly (available October 17, 2017).

The 10th Virgil Flowers mystery opens with our grief-stricken killer going over the death of banker Gina Hemming in his mind. It had been an accident, but he’d been too overcome with shame to do the right thing and call it in. Instead, he staged her death as a fall down her stairs. So when her body is ice-fished out of the local river a few days later, even he is flummoxed by the news.

Enter the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Virgil Flowers. He’s on vacation, but his boss, Jon Duncan, knows of Virgil’s history with the town of Trippton where Gina Hemming lived. He successfully bribes Virgil into investigating the death, which looks to be connected to Hemming’s upcoming 25th high school reunion. As Virgil starts asking around, he soon discovers that there are about 25 years of drama and bad blood that might very well have culminated in Gina’s death.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Deep Freeze...]

Tue
Oct 17 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Iris Johansen Excerpt: Mind Game

Iris Johansen

Mind Game by Iris Johansen is the 22nd book in the Eve Duncan series and a propulsive thriller that’s impossible to put down (available October 24, 2017).

Take a visual tour of Mind Game with GIFnotes!

Scotland holds a treasure that Jane MacGuire has been hunting for years. But as she scours the highlands in search of it, she’s plagued by dreams of a girl in danger―dreams she can’t ignore no matter how hard she tries. Who is this girl, and what is she trying to tell Jane? And will Jane figure it out before it’s too late―for her and the mysterious young woman?

Things are further complicated when Seth Caleb comes back into Jane’s life. Their history is volatile to say the least. This time Jane finds herself pulled unexpectedly into his world as she fights to save him. But Caleb isn’t the only person sweeping her up into startling developments. When Eve Duncan surprises Jane with news of her own, Jane comes face to face with stunning changes in the lives of those she loves most.

[Read an excerpt from Mind Game...]

Mon
Oct 16 2017 5:00pm

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine is a mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense (available October 17, 2017).

Daphne Parrish is everything Amber Patterson isn’t: beautiful and rich with a perfect home and a perfect husband. Amber will do anything to get what Daphne has—to be Daphne—even if she must lie and scheme to do it. After all, it’s what she does best.

Amber weasels her way into Daphne’s life via the death of Daphne’s sister, Julie, as a teen from cystic fibrosis. Amber claims to have a sister who suffered and died of the same disease. Of course, she doesn’t, but it’s the perfect way to get into Daphne’s good graces.

Daphne begins to see a kindred spirit in Amber, someone that understands her loss, someone she can really talk to. Of course, all Amber sees is a meal ticket. She thinks Jackson—with his good looks and endless wealth—should be hers, but it won’t be easy. Daphne eventually invites Amber to help out with her charity, Julie’s Smile, which benefits those with CF. After humiliating one of the other ladies and sending her running, Amber eventually becomes co-chair.

[Read Kristin Centorcelli's review of The Last Mrs. Parrish...]

Mon
Oct 16 2017 3:00pm

Discount: The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

October is a time for horror stories. What better way to feed the monsters inside than with a digital copy of The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker—the conclusion to the Hellraiser horror series featuring the collision of tattooed paranormal detective Harry D'Amour and the Cenobite known as Pinhead—for only $2.99 (offer ends November 6, 2017)!

The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell.

Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with bated breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker's horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories.

The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?

Read an excerpt from The Scarlet Gospels while sipping a “Scarlet Cosmos,” inspired by Clive Barker's book!

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

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

Mon
Oct 16 2017 1:00pm

Watch the Final Trailer for Stranger Things 2

Eleven days until the world is turned upside down again. On October 27, Netflix will drop the second season of the surprise breakout hit, Stranger Things. In Season 2, the gang of lovable losers is reunited—though Will isn't quite right after his terrifying trip to the upside down. It appears the barrier between the two dimensions is thinning, and it will take everyone working together to make sure evil isn't unleashed onto the entire town of Hawkins, Indiana. 

Stranger Things 2 is released just in time for Halloween—though, let's face it: who among us isn't going to binge the entire series before the 31st?

[Watch the final trailer for Stranger Things 2...]

Mon
Oct 16 2017 12:00pm

Review: Killing Season by Faye Kellerman

Killing Season by Faye Kellerman is an electrifying novel of suspense in which a young man'’s investigation into his sister'’s death draws him into the path of a sadistic serial killer (available October 17, 2017).

For more than two decades, award-winning New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman—wife of novelist and occasional collaborator Jonathan Kellerman—has been captivating readers with her sophisticated brand of suspense. Perhaps best known for her long-running Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus saga, she has also delved into non-series titles, YA, and short stories. Her newest, Killing Season, is a standalone thriller that was first released serially as a three-part e-book and is now available in its entirety as a paperback.

Four years ago, 15-year-old Ellen Vicksburg went missing in the quiet town of River Remez, New Mexico. Her younger brother, Ben (more commonly known as “Vicks”), now 17, discovered her body in a carefully dug grave by the river’s edge exactly one year later and has been obsessed with catching her killer ever since.

[Read John Valeri's review of Killing Season...]

Mon
Oct 16 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Christopher J. Yates Excerpt: Grist Mill Road

Christopher J. Yates

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale (available January 9, 2018).

Read this exclusive excerpt from Grist Mill Road, then make sure you're signed in before commenting below for a chance to win an advanced copy of Christopher J. Yates's highly anticipated sophomore novel!

The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends―Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah―are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again―with even more devastating results.

[Read an excerpt from Grist Mill Road...]