Red, Hot and Blue: A Defense of Agatha Christie’s The Mystery of the Blue Train

Part One: The Passion of Aline and Henry— A True Tale of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous between the Two World Wars The headline was horrific. “Wife, Beaten for 6 Years, Can’t Take It Anymore,” blared the title to the story about Aline (Stumer) von Rhau’s divorce suit again … | Continue reading | 27 minutes ago

10 Chilling Reddit Stories That Will Keep You Up At Night

“Everything is true here, even if it’s not.” With over 17 million members, NoSleep is a subreddit dedicated to horror stories that may or may not be based in reality. I’ve been reading and writing NoSleep stories for over a decade, but it wasn’t until 2021 that my series ‘We Used … | Continue reading | 29 minutes ago

Riley Sager on the Power of Nostalgia and Nerve-Jangling Suspense

The heat and haze of summer days holds the power to rekindle memories of sacred childhood rituals—beaches and bicycles, playdates and popsicles, sandcastles and swimming pools—with all the urgency and unpredictability of a weather front. Such remembrances are often amplified by s … | Continue reading | 31 minutes ago

Why the Liv Constantine Finally Decided to Return to Their Breakout Hit – Seven Years Later

When you don’t remember what you had for lunch two days ago, it’s easy to imagine that bringing back characters from a book written seven years ago would be a challenge. This might be true for authors who write solo, but for us as collaborators it’s a little different. When you w … | Continue reading | 34 minutes ago

10 New Books Coming Out This Week

Another week, another batch of books for your TBR pile. Happy reading, folks. * Ram Murali, Death in the Air (Harper) “An old-fashioned mystery in the model of Agatha Christie . . . . A frothy, fun, truly escapist read—offering perspective on a certain echelon that feels both hyp … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Six Stunning Tales of Folk Horror

I’m not sure when the folk horror (or folk horror “adjacent”!) element of my new thriller, The Midnight Feast first came to me. Perhaps it was researching the area in which the book is set, the West Country: think Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Arthurian legend and Thomas Hardy. This p … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Emiko Jean and Jamie Lee Sogn Talk Writing, Representation, and the Pacific Northwest

Emiko Jean, who already has a devoted following for her well-crafted ya fiction, released her debut novel for adult audiences, The Return of Ellie Black, this past month to wide acclaim. In the novel, also set in the Pacific Northwest and also featuring an intersectional explorat … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Denver: Mountain Air and Plenty of Crime Fiction

What kind of city is this Denver, Colorado we hear reports of? To those of us who inhabit distinctly grimier, grittier cities, far off Denver can appear dreamlike, pristine, virginal. Clear blue skies, fresh crisp air, the Rocky Mountains just over there in full view! You can’t m … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

The Early Vampire Novel The Vampyre, was Falsely Attributed to Lord Byron

One night in the rainy summer of 1816, at Lord Byron’s summer estate, Villa Diodati, in Cologny, near Geneva, Switzerland, Byron, and his friends Percy and Mary Shelley passed the time by telling ghost stories. The stories they created would lay the groundwork for future, publish … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

​​On the Internet, We’re All Unreliable Narrators

For a long time, if someone would have asked me how I decide which parts of my life and work to share on the internet, I would have responded with a shrug. I don’t think about it too much, I might have said, or maybe: I just try to be honest. I genuinely thought I […] | Continue reading | 4 days ago

In Memory Of Thuglit, The Lit Mag You Should Have Read

I was sitting in the back of an auditorium two years ago, listening to S.A. Cosby ruminate on the beginnings of his since gone thermonuclear writing career, when he mentioned a magazine that had escaped my mind for too long. Cosby was heaping praise on one of the first places he … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

Madeline Claire Franklin: I’m Tired of Talking About Sexual Assault

When I started writing The Wilderness of Girls—a young adult novel about a pack of feral girls thrust into civilization and the troubled teenager who rescues them—I told myself this book isn’t going to include sexual assault. I knew in my gut, my feral girls wouldn’t have to deal … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the Best Batman Movie

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best movie about Batman. That’s not because it has the most villains with the most memorable superpowers, or the flashiest gadgets, or the most extravagant vehicles. Instead, it is the best one about Batman because it is the one which makes the … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

June’s Best International Crime Fiction

There’s only one truly new novel in this month’s crop of international crime fiction—the others are all reissues, some translated for the first time, and others back in print for the first time in decades. Any translated novel takes a village to produce, but a translated and reis … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

How Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Kim’ Helped Create Modern Espionage

Boosters of the CIA like to talk up its American ancestry, pointing out that spies helped win the Republic’s founding struggle against the British Empire as well as all its subsequent victories in major wars. But this is not the whole story. The CIA was, after all, a foreign inte … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

The Lure of Faraway Places in Crime Fiction

I was barely out of college when I packed my bags and moved to the other side of the planet for the first time. I was young, of course, and madly in love, and as I boarded that plane, life felt like one great adventure. It still does, actually. Those early travels set the tone [… … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

Quiz: Can You Identify These Opening Lines of Classic Mystery and Crime Novels?

We find ourselves (again) the middle of the week; I ask you, how does this keep happening? We must stop meeting this way. It’s time for something fun, to move the time along. Like the quiz that came before it, this one is part quiz, part trivia. Under “questions” I have listed ma … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Lovely, Dark and Deep: Why the Pacific Northwest is the Perfect Setting for Murder 

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” -John Muir With a twelve-gauge slung over his shoulder and a walking stick in hand, my father cut a proud figure as he marched boldly into the eighty acres of untamed Washington wilderness that bordered our fami … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

The Lure of the Jailhouse Confessional 

The jailhouse confessional is a form that has always intrigued me—an accused recounting his crimes, after the fact—seemingly to atone, but more often to rationalize, to elide, to recast themselves as the victim. The jailhouse confessional implicates the reader, putting them in th … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

The Spy Who Helped Bring the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. back from the Brink of Nuclear War

In 1983 a man named Oleg Gordievsky saved the world. Gordievsky, a disillusioned officer in the KGB, had in 1968 offered himself to Britain’s foreign intelligence service, MI6, as a double agent. Fifteen years later Gordievsky found himself posted at the Soviet Embassy in London. … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

James Lee Burke on Hemingway, Orwell, and a New Chapter in the American Battle Against Fascism

The work of James Lee Burke functions as a searchlight, exposing and illuminating the contradictions of the American experience. Full of grand beauty and haunting brutality, Burke’s novels and stories, like the country in which they take place, map a collision course between hero … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

Queering Crime Stories: Establishing a New Order in Mysteries and Thrillers

A traditional mystery or whodunit offers a recognizable milieu with social and physical limitations, whether it’s a small village or a city apartment building. The inciting incident is a crime, often a murder, that ruptures its peaceful status quo. To restore order, the transgres … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

On Body Shaming, Women’s Rage, and the Power of the Thriller

In a world that wants us to shrink, what if we took up space? That’s the question at the heart of many of the recent thrillers that delve into body shaming. It’s almost impossible to exist as a woman today without experiencing the persistent drip of Diet Culture. From well-meanin … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

Why Humor is one of the Sharpest Tools in a Writer’s Arsenal

Mark was once the world’s deadliest assassin, working for a clandestine group called the Agency. His alias, the Pale Horse, struck fear into the heart of anyone who heard it and knew what it meant: that death was both imminent and guaranteed. But then something happened, and Mark … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

The Making of a Reality Show Villain

The easiest type of reality TV contestant it is to be is a forgotten one. This sounds a little counterintuitive, when we consider the promise of social media fame that franchises like The Bachelor have historically provided, but if we look at it as a numbers game, this is absolut … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

10 New Books Coming Out This Week

Another week, another batch of books for your TBR pile. Happy reading, folks. * James Lee Burke, Clete (Atlantic Monthly) “Burke returns to Louisiana’s New Iberia Parish and the late 1990s for a tangled tale that confronts private eye Clete Purcel with monsters in the present and … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

Ruth Ware On the Comfort of Thrillers and The Novelist’s Duty to the Truth

Best-selling British author Ruth Ware is back with another gripping tale, this time whisking us to a tropical Indonesian paradise that quickly turns nightmare in her latest, One Perfect Couple (Scout Press, 5/21). Facing the uncertain future of her research career, scientist Lyla … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

Bump In the Night: Vintage Horror Illustrations Gave Us the Shivers

When I was a kid I was obsessed with horror films and horror stories. I’ve written about that before for CrimeReads. But I was also a little freaked out by them, particularly the illustrations that accompanied horror tales published in the 1960s and early 1970s. Not gonna lie, so … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

The Backlist: Joe R. Lansdale on a Forgotten Classic of Southern Noir

There’s no one quite like Joe R. Lansdale. It’s hard to think of a writer who has taken so many chances in his writing career, or who’s had so much fun. He’s written not only mysteries and suspense but also horror, science fiction, and Westerns, as well as screenplays and comic b … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

The Best Recent Horror Novels about Horror Movies

It’s summertime! And, as everyone knows, summertime is for meta horror movies and books about meta horror movies. I don’t make the rules! My friend and colleague Molly and I were talking about how there are SO many books coming out that play on horror movie tropes. So we rounded … | Continue reading | 10 days ago

Ice Cold Reads for a Hot Summer Night

Summer isn’t my favorite season. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach, barbecues, and the warm sun, especially after a seemingly endless winter in the mountains where I live, but once the temperature barrels past eighty degrees I start yearning for turning leaves and chilly autum … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Alejandro Nodarse on Writing a Thriller About the Real Miami

Miami is a crime writer’s paradise. This city has seen it all, and her denizens have definitely done it all, so there’s no shortage of inspiration to fuel the imagination. The Magic City often feels more like a fictional metropolis than an actual, real-life place. Our history is … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Planning a Heist with Your Spouse

One of the first questions we get upon meeting other writers or discussing our profession among new friends is how do you write together? The answer is rote to us by now, though the process is anything but. As married co-authors, we answer with jokes about how much we fight over … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

What Caleb Carr Taught Me About the Families We Make

There’s always a certain distance to eulogizing an artist you didn’t know personally. Without the firsthand connection, what you’re really mourning is the loss of future art, which can feel like a fairly callous reaction to a human being’s death. In some cases, though, with art t … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

K.A. Cobell: Letting My Characters Shine the Light

When I think of the thrillers that have stuck with me the most over the years, they are always the books that align closest with reality. They’re the stories with events that could be taken straight out of a newspaper or police report. Something about exploring those realistic fe … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Kat Davis Talks Pop Culture, Internet Obsessions, and The Dark Fairy Tale of Childhood

In 2014, two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the Wisconsin woods and stabbed her 19 times, as a tribute to the fictional entity Slender Man. The case captured the public’s imagination and sparked a debate about the effect of the internet on young minds—one that it feels … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Crime Fiction’s Fascination with Fame

“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write.” Richard Price said that. His advice, which I think of often, was top-of-mind when Marilyn Monroe came tapping on my computer screen and wanting to step into my latest novel. To write about a person who is arguably the world’s greates … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Quiz: Can You Identify These Classic Detectives from their Descriptions?

All right, people. It’s the middle of the week, so I think we can all use something fun. Like a quiz! I like quizzes. If you’ve clicked on this, perhaps you do too. This is part quiz, part trivia. Under “questions” I have included a description of a famous detective or sleuth fro … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Greg Iles On a Lifetime of Crime Writing

For years, I tried to find a book that would impress my grandmother, one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever known. Nothing would stick with her, especially considering she said that our wants in literature were opposed by nature: she was old, and tired of reading for anythin … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

8 Books Haunted by a Central Absence

One of my favorite narrative tricks is when a story coalesces around an absent character, someone the reader might never even meet but who nonetheless casts a long shadow. I think this might be what our drive toward storytelling is all about—how else do we reckon with loss? Most … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

What the Story of Alvin Ridley Can Teach Us About Snap Judgements

· Alvin Ridley, a one-time TV repairman who had run a TV shop in downtown Ringgold, Georgia, was not someone I felt I would ever be associated with. I knew who he was—he had gone to school with my sister, and my father loved to do business with outsiders like Alvin. I remember th … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Who Was Q. Patrick, the Golden Age Mystery Author?

Peripatetic Anglo-American mystery writers from the Golden Age of detective fiction did their share of sailing over deep waters, not merely metaphorically but in fact, so it is no surprise that in the years between the first and second World Wars that shipboard mysteries, like th … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Murdle, Jr: Excerpt, Cover Reveal, and Puzzle!

JAKE IN THE CASE OF THE MISSING PENCIL Jake was the toughest kid at her school, Sacred Kidney. She had been the toughest kid at her previous school, too, until she was kicked out due to the circumstances surrounding an event referred to only as “the Pizza Day Disaster.” Jake swor … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Far From Home: Exile in Fiction

In my novel, Holy City, Will Seems returns from living “in exile” in Richmond, to his family home in Southside, Virginia, to face the two great tragedies of his past which have laden him with a guilt that both drives and suffocates him. He is incapable of living in exile any long … | Continue reading | 14 days ago

Five Great Books About Maine, From Thomas E. Ricks

Maine is an unusual state, with a distinct identity and, in rural areas, a culture that remains distinctly pre-industrial. It borders more Canadian provinces than it does states; it is the only mainland state with just one interstate highway; it is the only state crossed by the n … | Continue reading | 14 days ago

How One Movie-Obsessed California Drug Trafficker Was Brought Down in a Massive International Sting Operation

In the early morning of September 9, 2015, Owen Hanson opened his Louis Vuitton bag and stuffed it with bundles of cash and three cell phones. The money was for gambling during the round of golf he was scheduled to have that day with a business associate. The phones were for orch … | Continue reading | 14 days ago

The Quiet Librarian: Excerpt and Cover Reveal!

Hana comes out of the restroom in search of mooring, her gait made unsteady by a tumult of memories. It is Amina’s hand, of all things, that finds its way through the muddle, the way Hana held it on that darkest of nights so long ago—and again later, on the brightest of days when … | Continue reading | 14 days ago

Gary Phillips Reflects on His Reissued Classic Novel of the LA Uprisings

Crazy it’s now three decades after the publication of Violent Spring featuring my PI Ivan Monk. In those days of the early ‘90s, changes were happening in the mystery field. In 1988 my friend Gar Anthony Haywood had published Fear of the Dark. It was not the first novel to featur … | Continue reading | 15 days ago