Tue
Jul 7 2015 2:00pm

Now Win This!: Read All About It Sweepstakes

If these titles sound familiar, it's because each one has been recently featured on Criminal Element, and now we're giving you the chance to win them — these 15 titles are ready for your bookshelf!

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins July 7, 2015, at 2:00 pm ET, and ends July 21, 2015, 1:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

The Devil's Share by Wallace Stroby

It's been a year since professional thief Crissa Stone last pulled a job, and she's spent that time under the radar, very carefully not drawing attention to herself. That kind of life is safe, but it's boring, and it's lonely, and it's not very lucrative. So when Crissa starts to get antsy—and low on funds—she agrees to act as a thief-for-hire, partnering with a wealthy art collector to steal a truckload of plundered Iraqi artifacts before they're repatriated to their native country. But what's supposed to be a “give-up” robbery with few complications quickly turns deadly. Soon Crissa is on the run again, with both an ex-military hit squad and her own partners-in-crime in pursuit. And what should be the easiest job of her career—robbing a man who wants to be robbed—might just turn out to be the most dangerous.

 

Superfluous Women by Carola Dunn

In England in the late 1920s, The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, on a convalescent trip to the countryside, goes to visit three old school friends in the area. The three, all unmarried, have recently bought a house together. They are a part of the generation of “superfluous women”—brought up expecting marriage and a family, but left without any prospects after more than 700,000 British men were killed in the Great War.

Daisy and her husband Alec—Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, of Scotland Yard —go for a Sunday lunch with Daisy's friends, where one of the women mentions a wine cellar below their house, which remains curiously locked, no key to be found. Alec offers to pick the lock, but when he opens the door, what greets them is not a cache of wine, but the stench of a long-dead body.

And with that, what was a pleasant Sunday lunch has taken an unexpected turn. Now Daisy's three friends are the most obvious suspects in a murder and her husband Alec is a witness, so he can't officially take over the investigation. So before the local detective, Superintendent Underwood, can officially bring charges against her friends, Daisy is determined to use all her resources (Alec) and skills to solve the mystery behind this perplexing locked-room crime.

 

The Fraud by Brad Parks

A rash of carjackings terrorizing Newark become newsworthy when one such theft ends in the murder of a wealthy banking executive. The affable, wisecracking Ross is assigned the story, but he's weary of only writing about victims of crime who happen to be rich and white. To balance his reporting, he finds a Nigerian immigrant of more modest means who was also killed during a recent carjacking.

When it turns out the two victims knew each other, sharing an unexplained round of golf at a tony country club shortly before their deaths, Carter is plunged onto the trail of a deadly band of car thieves that includes a sociopathic ex-convict. When his unborn child is put in harm's way, it becomes more than just a story for Carter. And he'll stop at nothing to rescue the baby-even if it costs him his own life.

 

Vixen by Bill Pronzini

When Nameless is hired by Cory Beckett, a beautiful young woman who claims to be a model, to find her missing brother, Kenneth, it seems to be a routine matter. Kenneth has fled San Francisco in a drug-induced panic to avoid trial on a charge of stealing a valuable necklace from the alcoholic wife of the man for whom he works, wealthy yachtsman Andrew Vorhees. When agency operative Jake Runyon locates and questions the frightened young man, Cory Beckett's motives come into question and the case takes on darkly sinister complexities.

Cory lied to Nameless about her livelihood, her relationship with Vorhees, her brother's alleged drug use, and the nature of his alleged crime. Not only is she Andrew Vorhees' mistress, Cory has a secret second lover, factory owner Frank Chaleen, with whom she conspired to frame Kenneth. This bizarre sibling betrayal is part of a diabolical plan that reveals her to be a deadly, designing woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her warped desires.

A series of twists and turns drive the story to a truly shocking climax. For not until then do the detectives realize how devilish Cory Beckett really is, a femme fatale who has brought something new to the species—new, and terrible.

 

Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec

Commissaire Georges Dupin, a cantankerous, Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the scene of a curious murder. The local village of Pont-Aven—a sleepy community by the sea where everyone knows one other and nothing much seems to happen—is in shock. The legendary ninety-one-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec, owner of the Central Hotel, has been found dead.

A picture-perfect seaside village which played host to Gaugin in the 19th century, Pont-Aven is at the height of its tourist season and is immediately thrown into uproar. Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, including a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a wealthy art historian. An obstinate detective whose unconventional methods include good food, good wine, and taking in plenty of sea air, Dupin finds his case further complicated when ongoing incidents compound the mystery. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victim and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence that belies the village's quaint image. A delectable read, “Death in Brittany ”by Jean-Luc Bannalec“”transports readers to the French coast where you can practically smell the sea air and taste the perfectly cooked steak frites in an expertly crafted, page-turning mystery.

 

Fast Shuffle by David Black

Harry Dickinson is a used car salesman living in Springdale, Massachusetts, who believes he is a private detective. His girlfriend, Friday, finds this charming, though she warns him not to get carried away. The local cops are becoming fed up with him. His sister and brother-in-law think he's unstable and too old for such fantasies. They want him locked up.

When Harry stumbles upon the case of a missing woman, he decides to investigate. However, the situation is far more complex-and more dangerous-than he imagines.

Turning to the authorities only makes things worse. Harry witnesses a murder, but no one believes him. With Harry and Friday on the run-hunted by the police, the killer, and even Harry's friends and relatives-their chances for survival look grim. But the man everyone believes is crazy may be the only one who can crack the case.

 

Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson

One of the sharpest attorneys in Charleston, S.C., Sally Baynard isn't your typical southern belle. She's certainly not what her mother hoped she'd grow up to be, especially since she divorced her husband, Family Court Judge Joe Baynard, and his historic family with their historic wealth and historic houses. Maybe Sally was never going to be a proper society lady, but her success as a public defender and family lawyer have been enough for her. She's represented murderers, burglars, drug dealers and lately has taken on some of the thorniest divorces, all cases closed with her Sally Bright Baynard wit, charm and brains.

Or have they? One case she's never successfully closed is her marriage. And when Judge Joe assigns her to one of his divorce cases by appointing her as the Lawyer for the Dog — Sherman, a miniature schnauzer— she's forced into close quarters with him again. Juggling the needs of the dog, the angry owners, her amorous but uncommunicative ex-husband, her aging, Alzheimer's-ridden mother, and the expectations of the court is more than Sally could have imagined. And as rascally Sherman digs his way into Sally's heart, he brings along his charming vet Tony, a man who makes Sally question her views on love and marriage.

 

Rainy Day Women by Kay Kendall

In 1969, during the week of the Manson murders and Woodstock, Austin Starr, the intrepid amateur sleuth with an infant in tow, flies across the continent to support a friend suspected of murdering women's liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Then her former CIA trainer warns that an old enemy has contracted a hit on her. Her anxious husband demands that she give up her quest and fly back to him. How much should Austin risk when tracking the killer puts her and her baby's life in danger?

 

Stay by Victor Gischler

David Sparrow is an awesome stay-at-home dad. He gets his kids ready for school while his wife, Amy, commutes to New York City, where she is an Assistant District Attorney. She just inherited a major case: prosecuting crime lord Dante Payne. Meanwhile, David is content chatting with the moms at school drop-off, and doing housework.

One night, David is awoken by a sound downstairs, and discovers a man in Amy's office, going through her work documents. Instinctively, David confronts the man and a fight begins. But not a fight between a stay-at-home dad and a common burglar. No, this is a fight out of a Bourne movie and it is intense. David wins, but barely. He tries to explain to the cops that this guy was no ordinary burglar but they mostly ignore him, especially when they find out what he does for a “living.”

We now discover that David is a former Solo Ops officer, a soldier who was routinely dropped in war zones with a specific mission. If he was caught, the US government would disavow all knowledge of him. David was honorably discharged after too many missions and was excited for a quiet, normal life.

However, with Dante Payne now targeting Amy and her family, David decides to reactivate himself and take the fight to the vicious criminal lord. And Dante Payne has no idea who he's just crossed.

 

Countdown to Mecca by Michael Savage

A plane bound for Amman, Jordan goes down in the Caspian Sea. The crash yields no survivors—save the Russian mercenary who hijacked the flight—and a cask containing an agent of unprecedented destructive potential is missing from the wreckage. A carefully plotted terrorist attack has been put into motion, and the resulting chaos might be enough to push America toward another costly war.

The one man who might be able to stop the attack is Jack Hatfield, a freelance reporter who has never shied away from controversy. After making a politically incorrect statement about Islamic extremists, he has been discredited as a journalist and left to pick up the pieces of his career. But when his half-brother Sammy calls him, saying that his neighbor Ana overheard something she shouldn't have and now both their lives are in danger, Jack realizes he's stumbled upon a conspiracy to destroy Mecca. Now he, and a group of likeminded friends on the fringes of the law, must uncover who is behind the plot and stop them—or else witness the collapse of the world into a war of mutually assured global destruction.

 

The First Wife by Erica Spindler

As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grows older, those dreams transform, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who will sweep her off her feet and whisk her away from her ordinary existence. Then, suddenly, there he is. Despite the ten year difference in their ages, her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history she knew nothing about surfaces, plus whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife, True, and rumors about the women from the area who have gone missing—and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.

At first Bailey ignores the whispers, even circumstantial evidence against Logan mounts. But finally, Bailey must make a choice: believe what everyone says—or bet her life on the man she loves, but is realizing she hardly knows.

 

Blood Foam by Brendan DuBois

But just when his work has begun, former lover and journalist Paula Quinn comes to him with an urgent request. Her fiance, attorney Mark Spencer, has gone missing. Phone calls, e-mails, and text messages have gone unanswered. His car is gone, and his home is empty Lewis is Paula s last hope to find her missing fiance, and despite his fear for what might happen to his home, Lewis agrees to search for the missing attorney But one puzzling aspect of Mark s life leads to Lewis asking more questions . . . until gunfire suddenly erupts in placid downtown Tyler. And Lewis and Paula find themselves on the run from a deadly gang, who are also searching for Mark Spencer to find him and kill him for a past betrayal. So Lewis begins a difficult quest while his own world is threatened by ruthless men and gathering storm clouds "

 

The Nightmare Place by Steve Mosby

Sometimes, there's a thin line between love and hate. Or at least that's one theory for DI Zoe Dolan, tracking the Creeper a stalker who's been breaking into women's homes and attacking them. But the Creeper's violence is escalating and there's no pattern, no clue as to how he's getting in, and no clue as to who's next.

Until Jane Webster gets a call to the helpline where she volunteers. It's meant to be a confidential service and Jane is torn it could be a hoaxer, but the soft voice at the end of the line has the ring of truth about it. He says he loves these women but it's a love that ends in blood.

When Jane tells the police, it should be the lead that Zoe needs but it only pulls her further into a case that is already taking her dangerously close to the past she's never fully escaped. For Jane, Zoe and all the other young women of the city, suddenly nowhere is safe. Particularly their own bedroom at the dead of night...

 

Death in Salem by Eleanor Kuhns

It's 1796, and traveling weaver Will Rees is visiting Salem, Massachusetts. He's in town to buy a luxurious gift for his pregnant wife, a few yards of well-made fabric from the traders at the famed Salem harbor. While traveling through Salem, however, Rees comes upon a funeral procession for the deceased Mrs. Antiss Boothe. When Rees happens upon Twig, a friend who fought alongside him in the war, he learns that Mrs. Boothe had been very ill, and her death had not come as a surprise. But the next morning, the town is abuzz with the news that Mr. Boothe has also died—and this time it is clearly murder. When the woman that Twig loves falls under suspicion, Twig persuades Rees to stay in Salem, despite the family waiting for him back home in Maine, and help solve the murder.

Rees is quickly pulled into the murky politics of both Salem and the Boothe family, who have long been involved in the robust shipping and trading industry on the Salem harbor. Everyone Rees meets seems to be keeping some kind of secret, but could any of them actually have committed murder?

 

Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann

August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro's brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim's spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun's recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro's life is not the only one in danger.

Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro's life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer?