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Start Reading Overwatch by Marc Guggenheim

Apr 15, 2014 in Excerpts, Fiction

Overwatch by Marc GuggenheimToday marks the publication date of Marc Guggenheim’s thriller, Overwatch. Equal parts legal suspense and espionage thriller, Overwatch follows CIA lawyer Alex Garnett as he unravels a worldwide conspiracy, a hazardous path that leads him directly to his own superiors within the intelligence community. Below, read the harrowing opening, which takes place in an Iranian hospital—across the world, but only one button away, from Washington, DC.

OVER YAZD, IRAN
2330 HRS. ZULU

The desert sand stirs for a moment before coiling up like smoke in the direction of the blowback created by the Sikorsky MH-53J’s titanium-and-steel rotor blades. The Sikorsky sails just a few feet above the sand dunes, flying low to avoid radar detection. In whisper mode, the helicopter makes a sound more evocative of a golf-course sprinkler than a 38,238-pound troop carrier. Inside, the men of the 21st Dust Devils Special Operations Squadron of the 352nd Special Operations Group wait without a word of chatter passing between them. This silence, however, is not tactically mandated. This silence is a function of the fucking heat. On a night like this, the stale, hot desert air can push the mercury well over one hundred degrees, which is uncomfortable, at best, when one is completely naked but almost intolerable when wearing thirty pounds of ordnance and Kevlar. Even with years of training, these soldiers have to concentrate simply to keep from passing out. That kind of effort takes focus that’s best not wasted on talking.

Not that the Dust Devils have much to talk about in any case. The pre-op briefing they received in Iskenderun has been repeated and reviewed so many times, the mission objectives are as familiar to them as their home phone numbers. These objectives were applied to the general insertion-and-extraction scenario the men have drilled on so often that muscle memory will do more than half the work for them. So long as the hostages are where the intel indicates they are, the Dust Devils think, this op will not be unlike going to the grocery store to extract a quart of milk, a confidence shared by every man in the unit, even the more historically fluent who recall Captain Edward A. Murphy’s famous remark “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

But then, Captain Murphy was air force, not Special Forces.

Continue reading ›

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Ten Famously Gruesome Murders

Mar 17, 2014 in Guest Posts

Blood Royal by Eric JagerEric Jager knows we have a thing for historical mysteries. His new book, Blood Royal, tells the riveting true story of murder and detection in 15th-century Paris. In this case, the victim is Louis of Orleans, but his is not the only murder that has shocked and engrossed a nation. In the following guest post, Jager shares with us ten truly grisly murders that will send thriller writers racing to their history books for inspiration.

The (mainly) historical murders listed here are not just gruesome but also involve high-profile victims whose violent deaths were political acts and often dramatic public statements by the killers. Many other cases, including the Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper murders, are thus omitted.

1. Agamemnon

Woodcut illustration of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdering Agamemnon

According to Greek myth, this king of Argos and victorious commander of the Greeks survived the ten-year Trojan War only to die at home by the hand of his wife. Returning with his captive and concubine, Cassandra, Agamemnon was stabbed in the bath by his jealous and vengeful wife Clytaemnestra, who during his absence had taken her own lover. (Sources: The Oxford Classical Dictionary and Aeschylus, The Oresteia.)

2. Holofernes
Judith Beheading Holofernes

According to biblical apocrypha, this Assyrian general was slain by the Jewish heroine Judith. She beguiled him in his tent, then beheaded him while he slept, hiding his head in a bag and tricking his guards into letting her leave. Returning to Jerusalem in triumph with her trophy, she rallied her people against their enemies. (The Book of Judith)

3. Edmund, King of East Anglia

Statues of St. Edmund in Stone and Steel

In 969, he refused to fight the Vikings. Unimpressed, they shot him full of javelins (or arrows) until he looked “like a porcupine, or Saint Sebastian,” then cut off his head and threw it into a forest. A wolf miraculously guarded the king’s head, which cried out to a search party sent to find it, “Here! Over here!” The reassembled body of the martyr-king was then properly buried. (Aelfric, The Passion of Saint Edmund)

4. Thrain (the Slain)

Njal saga

Caught in a legendary feud, Thrain was killed in a battle on frozen river ice (c. 990). His attacker leaped onto the ice and “shot forward with the speed of a bird. Thrain was just about to put on his helmet as Skarp-hedin bore down on him and struck at him with his axe, ‘Battle-Troll.’ The axe came down upon his head and split it right down to the jaw, so that his jaw teeth dropped out onto the ice.” (Njal’s Saga, trans. Bayerschmidt and Hollander) Continue reading ›

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Introducing Marnie Logan

Mar 11, 2014 in Books, Fiction, Mulholland Authors, Mulholland News

Watching You by Michael RobothamThe wait is finally over! From New York Times bestselling author Michael Robotham comes the newest book in his Joseph O’Loughlin series, Watching You. This suspense novel builds tension and raises the stakes with every page—Booklist notes in their starred review that “Robotham slowly, expertly begins tightening the screws…Revelations increase rather than release tension until the last page.” And when you get to that shocking ending? Entertainment Weekly promises, “It’ll keep you guessing and gasping.”

Watching You introduces us to Marnie Logan, a woman in a desperate situation. Michael Robotham explains:

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Eager to dip into the book? You can read the opening chapters on Michael Robotham’s Facebook page.

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Start Reading We Are Here by Michael Marshall

Feb 28, 2014 in Excerpts

We Are Here by Michael MarshallThis week, Mulholland Books published Michael Marshall’s supernatural suspense novel, We Are Here. If you’ve been keeping up with Michael’s interviews, you’ll note he talks a lot about how this novel is about friendship, even as we’ve talked about how We Are Here features shadowy figures who may or may not be watching your every move. Curious about how the two intersect? Then read the beguiling scene that opens the book:

He drove. There were times when he stopped for gas or to empty his bladder or buy cups of poor coffee out of machines, selecting isolated and windswept gas stations where no one was doing anything except filling up and staring vacantly at their cold hand on the pump as they waited,
wanting to be back in their warm car and on the road to wherever it was they had to be. Nobody was looking or watching or caring about anyone who might happen to be doing the same thing. Nobody saw anything except another guy in bulky clothing getting into a big car and pulling
back out onto the highway.

Sometimes it was raining. Sometimes there was sleet. Sometimes merely the wind coming across the great flatness. He did not listen to the radio. He did not consult a map. He didn’t know where he was going and so he did not care where he was.

He just drove.

Continue reading ›

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The Lineup: Weekly Links

Feb 27, 2014 in Weekly links

Contrasted ConfinementThis week we welcome Richard Montanari’s THE STOLEN ONES and Michael Marshall’s WE ARE HERE to the Mulholland Books family!

Michael Marshall’s WE ARE HERE was selected as a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, and Marshall’s newest was the subject of great UK reviews, including a rave in the Guardian review which praised the novel as a “chilling” read that “posits the world as a sort of multidimensional palimpsest.”
Kirkus
proclaimed the novel “Marshall puts the pieces together to unsettling effect . . . a winning duo,” going on to praise the novel’s “edgy storytelling and ambition.”

Richard Montanari’s newest entry in the Byrne and Balzano series THE STOLEN ONES received a great review in Publishers Weekly, who called the novel “gripping … thrilling” and even “gothic.” Over at Pop Culture Nerd, Jen Forbus of Jen’s Book Thoughts says the novel “invokes the strongest elements of the thriller, the mystery, and the horror novel, so whether you enjoy plot, character, or scare-your-pants-off suspense, it delivers.” For more on Montanari’s latest, check out  Montanari’s conversation with Michael Marshall right here on the Mulholland Books site on their new novels and the art of crafting supernatural-tinged suspense.

Interested in hearing more from Richard Montanari and Michael Marshall? Both authors have forthcoming events: on March 5th, Montanari will participate in a public Q&A with Tess Gerritsen on Goodreads. And on March 10th, Michael Marshall will be chatting with Malinda Lo and Kaye Wells in a Google Hangout moderated by Amal El-Mohtar. Please join us for these conversations!

William Shaw’s SHE’S LEAVING HOME was released a few weeks back to excellent trade reviews, including a starred review from Library Journalwho wrote of the Shaw’s fiction debut: “This outstanding novel is a reminder of the multiple joys of a straight-ahead, by-the-numbers police procedural with quirky characters, crisp dialogue, and in this case, a healthy dose of period detail.” BookPage calls the book “highly recommended,” going on to praise Shaw’s novel as a “standout job … Shaw’s dialogue is well developed and his period detail is razor sharp, immersing the reader in the tumultuous era of swinging London with immediately relatable characters.” For the inspiration behind this historical mystery set around the hysteria of late 60′s Beatlemania in London, check out Shaw’s essay for RollingStone.com on the Apple Scruffs, and don’t miss Shaw’s introductory post on his novel, the playlist of Tozer’s favorite songs, and the below book trailer for SHE’S LEAVING HOME right here at Mulholland.

C. J. Sansom’s DOMINION has continued to get some excellent coverage in the weeks since its late-January release. Jocelyn McClurg of USA Today praised C. J. Sansom’s DOMINION in a 3.5/4 star review, calling the book “exciting” and going on to write: “What elevates Dominion above sheer white-knuckle entertainment …  are Samson’s empathetic, complex characters and the frighteningly believable alternative world [Sansom] creates. DOMINION‘s pages fly by in a frenzy, but this is a book that lingers.” Malcolm Forbes wrote a rave review of DOMINION for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, calling the novel “a highly charged and deeply inventive literary thriller . . . An exhilarating page-turner . . . Alternative history on a grand scale.” And be sure to check out C. J. Sansom’s essay on the dangers of nationalism right here at the Mulholland Books website.

Doug Dorst sat down with the Daily Beast for an insightful conversation on Dorst’s writing process, both in general and with specifics on the challenges of writing S. Elsewhere, i09 picked up the story of an enigmatic blogger named Jen Heyward (from where do we know that name?) appears to have discovered and translated an alternate final chapter of the illusive, legendary author’s final novel The Ship of Theseus. Some tanatalizing screengrabs of the chapter in full here….

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Richard Montanari and Michael Marshall in Conversation

Feb 26, 2014 in Mulholland Authors, Writing

The Stolen Ones by Richard MontanariToday Mulholland Books has the great pleasure of publishing two chilling, supernatural-tinged thrillers: The Stolen Ones by Richard Montanari and We Are Here by Michael Marshall. While the two novels make for complementary reading, they couldn’t be more different. The Stolen Ones centers on killers who haunt forgotten catacombs and our dreams; We Are Here ventures that some of us really are being followed, but not by anyone we could imagine.

In the exchange that follows, Michael Marshall and Richard Montanari discuss their new novels and question each other about setting, genre, the writing process, and that all-important question for any writer: “How do I start?”

Michael Marshall: What was the genesis moment for The Stolen Ones? The idea that, in retrospect, caused the book to eventually exist? Was it recent—kind of like “This is what the next book’s going to be about”? Or did this book have to wait its turn to be ready to be written?

Richard Montanari: All my books begin with a “what if?” The Stolen Ones began with “What if the dreams of a killer could be implanted in another human being?” I put the idea on a shelf for a while, until I was able to gather together some of the shadowy research that has gone on in this area.  The dream therapies in The Stolen Ones can happen.  Once I was satisfied with that, the story took off.

We Are Here by Michael MarshallWe Are Here moves effortlessly between first and third person. Did you know from the start that John would be a first person character? What are the challenges of writing a novel from alternating points of view?

Marshall: I started using the combination of first and third back with The Straw Men, purely because I thought it might be interesting. I hoped to combine the intimacy of the first person with the broader perspective and freedom of the third person, and I’ve been doing it so long now that to be honest I’ve stopped noticing I’m even doing it — except when it comes to selecting the first person voice for a particular novel.

John was the obvious choice for We Are Here, partly because he’d been the first person voice in a previous novel, Bad Things (though it might have be interesting to switch him to third, precisely because of that), and also because he and Kristina form the backbone of the novel as a whole. The first person needs to be the person inside the book, the mainspring of the story’s action. John’s that guy.

Continue reading ›

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Robert Galbraith Returns with The Silkworm

Feb 18, 2014 in Books, Mulholland News

Silkworm by Robert GalbraithMulholland Books is pleased to announce that The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith will be published on June 24.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

Praise for the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling

“Robert Galbraith has written a highly entertaining book….Even better, he has introduced an appealing protagonist in Strike, who’s sure to be the star of many sequels to come….Its narrative moves forward with propulsive suspense. More important, Strike and his now-permanent assistant, Robin (playing Nora to his Nick, Salander to his Blomkvist), have become a team—a team whose further adventures the reader cannot help eagerly awaiting.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Rowling’s literary gift is on display in this work. She crafts an entertaining story with characters who hold the reader’s interest, and comes up with an ending that, I’ll admit, I was surprised by.” —Deepti Hajela, Associated Press

“The master is back.” —Charles Finch, USA Today

“Rowling switches genres seamlessly, telling a gritty, absorbing tale.” —Ellen Shapiro, People

The Cuckoo’s Calling is decidedly old-fashioned. Rowling serves up a sushi platter of red herring, sprinkling clues along the way, before Strike draws a confession out of the killer in a climax straight out of Agatha Christie.” —Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

“One of the great pleasures of The Cuckoo’s Calling, as with most detective stories, is observing the gumshoe’s Aha! moments, without being told what they are….Money and general fabulousness do for The Cuckoo’s Calling what magic did for Harry Potter, creating an extravagant, alien, fascinating world for its characters to explore….The Cuckoo’s Calling is fun.” —Katy Waldman, Slate

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What Tozer Plays: A Playlist from She’s Leaving Home by William Shaw

Feb 13, 2014 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Music, Uncategorized

She's Leaving Home by William Shaw

London, 1968: the time and place evoke strong sense memories, but in William Shaw’s new novel, not everything is swinging. The police are called to a residential street in St. John’s Wood where an unidentified young woman has been murdered. Detective Cathal Breen and policewoman Helen Tozer, two investigators on opposite sides of a generational divide, must work together to solve the case. Shaw describes what WPC Tozer would listen to in his note below.

Police culture was very different in 1968. A lot of this was to do with the fact that the police lived communally, in police flats or section houses.

WPC Tozer lives in Pembridge House, the Women’s Section House just off the Bayswater Road. She shares a room with another policewoman. They squabble over what records they put on. Her roommate likes Cliff Richard and Engelbert Humperdink. She like The Beatles, but doesn’t think much of The White Album.

When she’s alone, this is what Tozer plays. You can listen to some of these songs through the Spotify player above.

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William Shaw Introduces She’s Leaving Home

Feb 11, 2014 in Books, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Writing

She's Leaving Home by William ShawThere is a point on any project when you know it’s going to work.

When my agent asked me, in the politest possible way, never to send him another piece of fiction again, I understood. He was trying to be kind. Stop wasting the long months it takes to write a book.

To be fair to him, I had never been convinced that either of the manuscripts I’d handed to him had worked either. He had done his utmost but enough was enough.

I was quite relieved to find that in spite of his advice, I couldn’t stop writing.

And when I found myself writing a scene in which one of the Apple Scruffs, the young fans who hung around The Beatles in 1968-9 was found dead in an alleyway, close to EMI’s soon-to-be-famous Abbey Road studios I remember having this peculiar feeling; “I have no idea where this is going but I know this is going to work.”

That turned out to be the first chapter of my 1968 crime novel, She’s Leaving Home.

Part of it was discovering the right form. I am a huge fan of the 60s and 70s thriller writer Nicholas Freeling and novels like Love in Amsterdam and Guns Before Butter. With the massively growing popularity of European noir, I think it’s well worth revisiting his work; set in Holland, it has a remarkable sense of time and place. They are novels which immerse you in the culture of northern Europe, its food and in all its social spikiness.

“The past,” L P Hartley famously says at the start of The Go Between, “is another country.” What if I wrote about 1968 as if it was another country? In many ways it is. Our image of 1968 may be all tie-dyes and acid but the truth is that 45 years ago, Britain was a very different place. It’s not just different from Britain in 2013; it’s different from how we imagine 1968 to have been.

I realised that the book would work if I regarded it as much as crime fiction as a cultural fiction—attempting to tread in Freeling’s footsteps. This was a Britain which was being overtaken by a tidal wave of pop culture that pitched one generation against the other. People like my parents were from a generation that struggled with the idea of pop music.

For all the supposed radicalism of the Vietnam marches and the Paris uprisings, 1968 was a man’s world of jobs for life, Sunday dinners and limited pub opening times. This was an unrecognisably racist country in which Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech struck a chord with the majority of British people. Feminism had yet to arrive. There were policewomen like my character WPC Tozer, but they were allowed to do only a fraction of what a modern WPC is allowed to do. The pill was available, but in the 60s the idea of free love was a man’s fantasy come true rather than a liberation for women.

And then there was Biafra. A forgotten largely war but one which, by 1968, had turned into one that was incredibly violent. This was territory I knew about because my own family had lived in Nigeria and had had to leave the country in 1966 as the upheavals began and had returned there in 1970 after the bloodletting and mass starvation had subsided.

What if some of the ripples of that war had spilled over into the London of Carnaby Street and Abbey Road studios?

So I ignored my (former) agent’s kind advice and carried on. And was thrilled when, over a year later, my new agent called me up to say that Mulholland Books thought it worked too. And they wanted the first three books in the series, a narrative arc that takes WPC Tozer and her superior DS Breen into the even more uneven year of 1969.

She’s Leaving Home arrives in bookstores today! This essay is adapated from Crime Time—many thanks to them for letting us re-run the piece.

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The Lineup: Weekly Links

Jan 31, 2014 in Books, Mulholland Authors, Weekly links

Contrasted ConfinementC.J. Sansom‘s DOMINION hit bookshelves all across the country this week! A highly acclaimed, #1 internationally bestselling alternative history thriller of what might have been had Churchill never become Prime Minister, Sansom’s newest has popped up all sorts of places in the past few days.

Stephen King kicked things off with a pair of earnest and enthusiastic tweets on the book, calling Sansom’s novel a “great alternate history-thriller…check it out…and no, this isn’t one of those publisher-sponsored blurbs. I just fell in love with it.”

(King isn’t the first author to enthusiastically endorse DOMINION–Kate Atkinson declared Sansom “one of [her] favorite writers” and praised DOMINION in particular as “a wonderful example of what the novel can do–a through-the-looking-glass glimpse into a world that might have been, and almost was.” And Charles Cumming, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six and A Foreign Country, proclaimed DOMINION “Dazzling…the best novel of its kind since Robert Harris’s Fatherland.”)

Elsewhere this week, the Huffington Post included DOMINION in a list of Ten Ways Not to Watch the Superbowl. (Nothing wrong with picking up the novel either way!) And Kirkus ran Clayton Moore’s very insightful and thorough feature and interview with Sansom about the book, writing alternative history, and Sansom’s inspirations and process building the novel’s world and complex characters.

Looking for more review coverage? Be sure to check out the Seattle Times review by Adam Woog, high praise from earlier in the year from trades like Library Journal (“Intriguing, page-turning and delicious”),  and Kirkus (“All too real”). Not to mention the laudatory reviews from across the pond from the likes of The Guardian, The Independent, and The Times.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more DOMINION news in the weeks to come!

Did we missing something sweet? Share it in the comments! We’re always open to suggestions for next week’s post! Get in touch at mulhollandbooks@hbgusa.com or DM us on Twitter.

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