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September 7 2016

5 New Books to Read this Week: September 6, 2016

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...
September 1 2016

Q&A with Elsa Hart, Author of The White Mirror

Elsa Hart, author of the critically acclaimed historical mystery Jade Dragon Mountain and the recently released follow-up The White Mirror, answers some of CrimeHQ's questions about her Li...
December 17 2015

Q&A with Anne Charnock

Earlier in December, Anne Charnock—author of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind—wrote a wonderful blog post about history and family secrets: Real Life Isn't Like the Neatly...
December 2 2015

Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind: Real Life Isn’t Like the Neatly Rounded Narratives of Fiction

This original blog post by author Anne Charnock is part 1 of a 2 part series including an exclusive Q&A featuring questions from YOU, the readers. To win a copy of Anne's new book Sleeping...
August 25 2015

Fresh Meat: Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Jade Dragon Mountain is the debut mystery by Elsa Hart set in China in 1708 featuring the exiled librarian Li Du (available September 1, 2015). Here are some of things I know about China: Ming vases,...
August 11 2015

Fresh Meat: Dragon Day by Lisa Brackmann

Dragon Day by Lisa Brackmann is the final book in the Ellie McEnroe trilogy about American vereran of the Iraqi War currently living in Beijing (available August 18, 2015). This novel had me hooked...
June 9 2015

Never 8-Legged Chickens, No Matter How Delicious

KFC is a powerful brand in China, and that's why they're suing over the mutant-freak-bird thing. At Above the Law's Redline, Elie Mystal is on the case (emphasis ours): The China...
March 21 2015

A George Smiley Offensive: The Honourable Schoolboy

In John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the previous George Smiley adventure, the intelligence officer was surreptitiously tapped to track down a mole—a bellicose cancer—burrowed...
November 2 2014

Fresh Meat: Black Karma by Thatcher Robinson

Black Karma by Thatcher Robinson is the second in the White Ginger series, featuring San Francisco’s souxun, or “people-finder,” Bai Jiang, assisting the police to locate a man whose...
July 10 2014

Fresh Meat: The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Sonny Liew is a revived  comic series adapted from a 1940s series about the Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero (available July...
May 8 2014

Fresh Meat: Jack of Spies by David Downing

Jack of Spies by David Downing is the debut World War I espionage series introducing U.K. spy Jack McColl who travels the world uncovering secrets disguised as a traveling car salesman (available...
May 7 2014

Getting a Law Degree, Even If It Kills Me: Law Students Petition to Award Posthumous License

We've heard of posthumous awards, but what about posthumous licenses? Students in California are petitioning the State Bar of California to award Hong Yen Chang a license he was denied because he...
March 18 2014

Fresh Meat: Decoded by Mai Jia

Decoded by Mai Jia is the story of a legendary codebreaker who is tasked with solving two devilish codes that seem to be the product of his old mentor (available March 18, 2014). Decoded is the...
February 4 2014

Announcing the 2014 Left Coast Crime Awards Nominees!

More award news! Left Coast Crime will be oceanside in Monterey, California this year (thus the monikker Calamari Crime), and here is its recently announced list of nominated honorees! [For Humor,...
August 16 2013

And the Lion Says…Bark?!

The zoo located in the People's Park of Luohe, in the province of Henan China had attempted something that was so cartoon, it could very well have been an episode of Scooby Doo. Almost. The...
August 15 2013

A DIY Mountaintop Lair for the Urban Supervillain

One man's do-it-yourself mountain atop a Beijing skyscraper is not pleasing his neighbors, one of whom called its builder a “menace.” The article's author calls Zhang Lin...
June 9 2013

Fresh Meat: Enigma Of China by Qiu Xiaolong

Enigma Of China by Qiu Xiaolong, the 8th book in the Inspector Chen series, involves political machinations in Shanghai (available June 18, 2013). China is a country in flux, with a government determined...
May 5 2013

Fresh Meat: Shattered Trident by Larry Bond

Shattered Trident by Larry Bond is a submarine-centered, military thriller set in the not-too-distant future (available May 7, 2013). China is the new Russia, a writer’s go-to country for...
January 17 2013

Man Hires “Assassins” to Kill Son in Video Game

A man in China hired assassins to kill his son. Oh, don't worry, it was just his gaming avatar in a series of online video games. The man, identified in foreign press simply as “Mr. Feng,”...
December 26 2012

The Strangest Weapons Real “Mad Scientists” Tried to Make

You know the look well: crazy white hair sticking out in all directions, coke-bottle thick goggles held fast across wildly staring eyes, while thickly gloved hands (black rubber gloves, no doubt)...
November 6 2012

The Curious Case of Neil Heywood, British...Something.

You might call him a spy. MI6 says he’s not in their employ. Which may certainly be true as he may never have been paid for passing information. If, indeed, he did pass information of any...
July 27 2012

Grand Theft Manhood

What is going on in China these days? First, there was the man who brought his index fingers to a gunfight. Then, there were the eighteen Chinese police who spent an hour rescuing a sex doll. And now,...
July 26 2012

What a Body!

From the files of police oddities, right next to the lone un-gunman, comes this story of an eighteen-man police “rescue” of a . . . sex doll. Although this incident originally came to our attention...
May 9 2012

Weird News: Four News Stories That Sound Stranger Than Fiction

Is it just me or do recent events in the news seem like they were ripped from the pages of a mystery novel? I love a good mystery, and of course reality is much more, well, real than anything I could...
April 23 2012

Fresh Meat: One Red Bastard by Ed Lin

One Red Bastard by Ed Lin is a police procedural in 1976’s New York City, set against the backdrop of America’s relationship with Taiwan and Beijing, China (available April 24, 2012). There’s...
January 23 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon! Gong Xi Fa Ca!

We were informed that “Gong Xi Fa Ca” is a traditional New Year’s greeting in Mandarin that means “Wishing you prosperity.” If it means, instead, “Let the web searcher beware,” very sorry...
January 11 2012

A Deli-cat-cy That Kills

The AFP News headline screams:  Poisoned cat stew “killed Chinese tycoon,” but notice the scare quotes of conjecture around the words. If the story’s true that a business associate...
August 16 2011

Ramen Westerns: Far East Meets Old West

What are “Ramen Westerns?” Imagine a spaghetti western as a starting point. Samurais and sharpshooters are not all that different. An iaidō instructor compared his Japanese martial art...
July 20 2011

The Elegant Bribery and Daring Forgers of China

According to Antony Ou of OpenEconomy: “Apart from appreciation and investment, it might be an alien concept for laymen outside the Chinese system that one of the most essential functions of art...
July 16 2011

Crimes in Writing and Writings in Crime

Languages can be fun, but they usually take a lot of time and effort to learn. Even if you put in the hours, some seem impossible to master. I for one can’t even make it past basic-level Korean, it...