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October 2 2017

Top 10 Crime Films of the 21st Century

What is it that makes for a great crime film? Is a movie a crime film simply because it deals with illicit characters? In that case, couldn’t a lot of political films be classified as such?...
April 27 2017

The Top 6 Moments of Iris Johansen’s Margaret Douglas

Everybody loves Iris Johansen's animal-whispering character Margaret Douglas! Read about some of her best moments & make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of No Easy...
April 14 2017

My Top 5 Historical Mysteries of Great Influence

This post was originally going to be about my favorite/influential mysteries, but I realized that the designation was too large. In order to hone the number down to 5—such a small number—I...
February 24 2017

Carnage Count: Ranking 2017’s Best Picture Nominees

It’s hard to believe that this is my fourth time writing this article. What started out as merely a brainstorming joke has turned into my favorite singular piece of writing I do each year....
January 26 2017

Top Female Crime and Mystery Authors

Crime and mystery fiction’s diversity attracts a broad readership. For instance, I prefer the soft stuff and am attracted to the puzzle rather than grizzly details, while many of my friends...
June 9 2016

20 Things Heard at the Sheriff’s Office

In my twelve years as the crime analyst for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, I’ve seen and heard a lot of funny and unusual things—some of which provided great inspiration...
May 24 2016

Antiheroes: Top 5 Reasons a Little Bad Feels So Good

Why do we love heroes with a bit of bad in them? Antiheroes are popping up more and more in novels, TV shows and movies. Here's a look at why: [Heroes we love to hate and hate to love...] 1....
May 24 2016

The Top 10 Castle Episodes of All-Time

Castle ended this month, after eight seasons on the air, amid a swirl of controversy. The show chose not to renew Stania Katic’s contract, and plans for Season 9 included Rick Castle (Nathan...
May 9 2016

5 Things I’ve Learned Writing Mysteries and Thrillers

A lot of research goes into my novels in order to make them believable. Beyond making sure the details are accurate, some of the things I’ve learned are literal lifesavers and some are just...
April 27 2016

The Many Enemies of Eve Duncan

Eve Duncan has made a lot of enemies over the years. She’s faced the worst of the worst, including serial killers, terrorists, and now cartel leaders. We pulled out the case files and ranked...
April 7 2016

11 True Crime Books That Prove Real Life Can Be Scarier than Fiction

Between the Netflix hit Making a Murderer and the FX limited series that everyone keeps talking about, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, it seems like a true crime sensation is...
April 1 2016

The Best Female Sleuths in Pop Culture, Part II

Sleuth fans, we’re back again, and this time with an even longer list of the best women detectives, crime fighters, and amateur mystery solvers pop culture has to offer.  When we published...
March 27 2016

6 Book Characters You’d Like to See Resurrected

Books have the tendency to give you all the feels, good and bad, but there is no worse feeling than the one you get when your favorite character dies. No matter how foolish it may be, you secretly...
March 18 2016

13 of the Best Female Sleuths from Pop Culture

Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and the Hardy Boys, but what about the best female sleuths from pop culture? Women have been solving crime and catching bad guys in books, television,...
March 11 2016

The 12 Worst James Bond Films: A Feminist’s Take on the World’s Favorite Spy

Whenever I complain about the misogyny in a James Bond film, I'm inevitably told: “What do you expect? It's Bond.” The fact that this is said so matter-of-factly—it's...
March 3 2016

11 Things You Should Never Say to a Mystery Addict

You might know mystery is the best genre of all time, but the truth is, not everyone will understand your obsession. Maybe it’s because they haven’t spent enough time with the books...
March 2 2016

Our 5 Most Anticipated Books Published March 1, 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...
February 25 2016

Carnage Count: Ranking 2016’s Best Picture Nominees

And we’re back! 2016’s Academy Awards brought forth eight worthy films to compete for Best Picture, and while I’m not necessarily worthy of judging these movies on the cinematic...
February 12 2016

6 Memorable Cop Shows that Never Were

Cop shows are such a mainstay of television, and have been for so long, that turning on a TV and randomly clicking through four or five channels is guaranteed to lead you to at least one trip down...
February 7 2016

Top 5 NFL Criminals

Tonight, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will square off with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area of Santa Clara, California. And while...
February 4 2016

Taken! 10 Great Heist Movies

Ah, the heist. Who hasn’t thought of it—maybe even dreamed about it—imagining both the daring nature of the action itself and the rich reward should it be successful? Turns out...
January 12 2016

11 “Facts” About Lizzie Borden Debunked

Lizzie Borden took an axe, Gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. If that’s everything you know about Lizzie Borden, nearly...
December 31 2015

Best Movies/TV Shows of 2015

As the year comes to a close and all the time spent with the lonely, on-his-own friend during the holidays reminds us to get our lives together, like two former lovers who awkwardly run into each other...
December 30 2015

Best Books of 2015

As the year comes to a close and all the time spent with the weird uncle during family gatherings reminds us to get our lives together, like two old work buddies who awkwardly run into each other in...
December 21 2015

Top 5 Christmas Mysteries

As traditional as counting down the shopping days to Christmas or making plans to visit out of town family is the appearance of Christmas and holiday mysteries. When did the tradition start? Why...
December 18 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Crime and Mystery Lovers!

The holidays are a season for giving (even if that giving is really for yourself—go ahead, we won't tell). So we've compiled a list of unique gift ideas for that crime and mystery...
December 10 2015

8 Spies, Assassins, and Secret Agents You Need to Know

Undercover ops and fancy gadgetry; cold War tensions and hand-to-hand combat; secret government programs and high-speed chases—espionage films have been a mainstay in Hollywood since before...
October 8 2015

11 Must-See Thrilling Movie Scenes

Join author Jon Land for his 11 must-see thrilling movie scenes, and after you've read and watched, comment for a chance to win a finished copy of Strong Light of Day, Jon's 7th mystery...
September 11 2015

My Best Sherlock Holmes

The first axiom of “Best of” rankings is they must be long enough to invoke the fury of fans, who know more about the subject than the idiot who wrote the list. Even if the list is...
September 8 2015

The ZINNG: Criminal Minds, Machine Gun Kelly, and Cary Fukunaga

Earlier this week, we brought out an exclusive excerpt of Joe Urshel's new true-crime thriller about the life of Machine Gun Kelly, The Year of Fear, and now we're turning it over to The...