The Criminal Element Grand Tour and FAQ

Handcuffs, the website logo
Unleash the power of Criminal Element!
This post has been reposted with permission from the wonderful (if now defunct) blog, Criminal Brief. It has been slightly edited as changes have occured on the site since its original writing.

Thank you, Leigh [Lundin, of Criminal Brief], for inviting me to talk about Criminal Element, a publisher-neutral site with lots of great material written by crime/mystery fans especially for crime/mystery fans. So now we have a place for fans to gather, share news and information, banter with other fans or roam the links and investigate on their own. There is no limit to subgenre, era, or medium. Criminal Element covers dark noir to light, comedic cozies and everything in between. It’s boiled to your taste.

In a recent email exchange, Leigh mentioned that although he spends time at Criminal Element, he feels that he may only be scratching the surface of what is available to site users. Naturally, I volunteered to do a guided tour and I invite you all to come along.

I must admit that at first glance, I, too, wondered how I’d ever find anything. After a very few visits, I became extremely comfortable flitting from page to page. I recommend that you register for a log-in the first time you visit. (The LOGIN is on the extreme right of the yellow crime scene tape that spans the top of every page.) It makes life much simpler when you want to read exclusive excerpts or make a comment. Believe me, you will want to comment—it’s the nature of the site. I’ve been registered since the end of April 2011 and I can attest there is no “borrowing” your email addy to hawk anyone’s wares. Every week, I get a very short newsletter with the most recent highlights. If I haven’t had a chance to scan the site recently, the newsletter keeps me “in the know.”

Perp Walk

Of course, the extreme left of the crime scene tape will always take you HOME. Next to HOME is the STORIES menu, a wonderful lead-in to plenty of fresh, new crime writing. Here you’ll find original shorts and nice, chunky excerpts from the latest in crime novels. When you click on the STORIES menu the newest entries are right up on top.

The FEATURES menu will open to the latest posts that are in any featured collection, followed by a scroll of posts that fall into those specific categories. Clicking on the red subtitle of any feature area will get you to that feature’s home page with all of its relative content. As a few examples, BOND HOTLINE is your connection to all things James Bond, SHERLOCKIANA explains itself, and WRITING THE WORLD welcomes you to international locales for both authors and crime stories. MORNING COFFEE, usually funny and always brief, is a great way to start your day. (And yes, I do pour my coffee before I open the site.) 

The easiest way to search by subgenre is to pull down the CATEGORIES menu from the yellow crime tape. There are sections for Detective/Procedural, Traditional/Cozy, Thriller/Noir, Historical/Western, and True Crime/Nonfiction. We may be talking about the unexpected turn of events in recent episodes of a popular television show, or the relevance of a mystery novel turned to film seventy years ago, or perhaps the popularity of the Phryne Fisher mystery series set in 1920s Australia. Take a look at Bill Crider’s post about Private Eyes and Westerns and you will see the crisp, clear connection between those subgenres.

The Criminal Element Front Page
Above the fold.
Front Page News

The most exciting thing about Criminal Element is that the front page changes constantly, so any time you need a break from the stress of your day, there is always something new to read.

The next crime tape link, the COMMUNITY menu, will show you who’s commenting and about which topics. Current conversations are listed by blog topic, blog author, and last comment. The center-right side of every page has two columns Comments and Bloggers. Each column has “show all” at the end of the list. You can click on any comment and it will bring you back to the original post with all comments, or you can click on a blogger’s name and read all the posts that have been published on Criminal Element by that blogger. 

Finally on the crime tape, you have the trusty RSS feed. Subscribe to this to have all the new posts delivered to your RSS reader as they happen.

You can also connect with the site on social media: Criminal Element on Facebook or on Twitter under @CrimeHQ. Besides sharing links to the site’s new posts, a pretty terrific crime-community gadabout you may already know—Jen Forbus—carries on conversations with crime fans and shares lots more news from the mystery community at large. Okay, so by now I’m sure you have thrown your hands in the air and screamed, “TMI, TMI. Make her stop.”

Criminal Fandom

If anyone is interested in blogging for cash on Criminal Element, you may wish to join the more than sixty bloggers, including readers, librarians, writers, historians, etc., all of whom gather ideas and data about everything the genre has to offer and package them into entertaining and informational posts with a point of view. Traditional reviews, author interviews, or “the writer’s life” posts don’t fit their needs, but Criminal Element is always looking for attention-grabbing content that can be critically substantial or trendy and sassy. If you think you would like to contribute blog posts, please email.

Before I go, I want to tell you about the Criminal Element contests that give away books and audiobooks to lucky readers. There’s a new one nearly every week. Keep an eye peeled for the next giveaway. 

So, Leigh, I hope I have eased your confusion and made the site more familiar.

Finally, I’d like to say that Criminal Element lives up to its name and also to its subtitle: Murder. Mystery. Mayhem.—boiled daily.

Terrie Farley Moran’s recent collection of short stories, THE AWARENESS and other deadly tales, is currently available in e-format for the Nook  and the Kindle. Terrie blogs at Women of Mystery.

Read all posts by Terrie Farley Moran on Criminal Element.


  1. Deborah Lacy

    This is a great post Terrie! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Terrie Farley Moran

    Thanks, Deb. There is so much great info (not to mention great fun) here at CE, that I don’t want anyone to miss it.

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