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An Excerpt from The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari

Apr 28, 2015 in Excerpts

The Doll Maker by Richard MontanariDetectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are back to take on Richard Montanari’s most frightening creations yet: the debonair Mr. Marseille and Anabelle. Mr. Marseille and Anabelle have a macabre mission, one that belies their refined appearance. Below is their first appearance in Montanari’s new novel, The Doll Maker, which is on sale today.

Chapter 1

At just after six a.m., as every other day, Mr Marseille and I opened our eyes, dark lashes counterweighted to the light.

It was mid-November, and although the frost had not yet touched the windows—this usually comes to our eaves in late December—there was a mist on the glass that gave the early morning light a delicate quality, as if we were looking at the world through a Lalique figurine.

Before we dressed for the day we drew our names in the condensation on the windowpane, the double l in Mr Marseille’s name and the double l in mine slanting toward one another like tiny Doric columns, as has been our monogram for as long as we both could remember.

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An Excerpt from When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

Apr 21, 2015 in Excerpts, Mulholland News

When We Were Animals by Joshua GaylordWhen Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn’t have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown, where at puberty, every resident “breaches” during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path. When We Were Animals is Lumen’s confessional, and below is an excerpt from the haunting and beautiful novel, which goes on sale today.

Do you want to know who I am?

Do you want to know what I do?

I live next door to you with my husband and my child.

I have done such things as would shame the devil, yet I keep my front yard tidy, the trash bins lined up neatly on trash day.

I attend the meetings of the PTA. I offer to bake cookies.

At night, after everyone is asleep, I creep downstairs to the kitchen table and write down my memories. They are the stories I tell myself when I can’t sleep. Like fairy tales—or the mythos
of a lost culture.

I was an excellent student.

I am an excellent member of the community. I never spit, and I always put my waste in the proper receptacles.

Do you know what else I do? Continue reading ›

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Start Reading Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell

Mar 24, 2015 in Books, Excerpts, Fiction

Inspector of the Dead by David MorrellThomas De Quincey is a real person. He really was addicted to opium, and in 1821, he really did scandalize all of England with his first-person account of addiction, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He really was the first to advance the idea of a subconscious (70 years before Freud), and he really was an expert in murder, publishing a masterful report of the Ratcliff Highways killings of 1811 called “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” But in David Morrell’s hands, Thomas De Quincey becomes the insightful, provocative hero of a bestselling historical thriller series. In 2013, Mulholland Books published Murder as a Fine Art. Today, we publish the sensational sequel, Inspector of the Dead. Read the shocking first chapter—in which we meet a vengeful killer—below.

CHAPTER ONE: THE KILLING ZONE

London, 1855

Except for excursions to a theater or a gentlemen’s club, most respectable inhabitants of the largest city on earth took care to be at home before the sun finished setting, which on this cold Saturday evening, the third of February, occurred at six minutes to five.

That time—synchronized with the clock at the Royal Greenwich Observatory—was displayed on a silver pocket watch that an expensively dressed, obviously distinguished gentleman examined beneath a hissing gas lamp. As harsh experiences had taught him, appearance meant everything. The vilest thoughts might lurk within someone, but the external semblance of respectability was all that mattered. For fifteen years now, he couldn’t recall a time when rage had not consumed him, but he had never allowed anyone to suspect, enjoying the surprise of those upon whom he unleashed his fury.

Tonight, he stood at Constitution Hill and stared across the street toward the murky walls of Buckingham Palace. Lights glowed faintly behind curtains there. Given that the British government had collapsed four days earlier because of its shocking mismanagement of the Crimean War, Queen Victoria was no doubt engaged in urgent meetings with her Privy Council. A shadow passing at one of the windows might belong to her or perhaps to her husband, Prince Albert. The gentleman wasn’t certain which of them he hated more.

Approaching footsteps made him turn. A constable appeared, his helmet silhouetted against the fog. As the patrolman focused his lantern on the quality of clothing before him, the gentleman made himself look calm. His top hat, overcoat, and trousers were the finest. His beard—a disguise—would have attracted notice years earlier but was now fashionable. Even his black walking stick with its polished silver knob was the height of fashion.

“Good evening, sir. If you don’t mind me saying, don’t linger,” the constable warned. “It doesn’t do to be out alone in the dark, even in this neighborhood.”

“Thank you, constable. I’ll hurry along.”

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Lev AC Rosen on Future Noir

Mar 19, 2015 in Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Depth_Main_ImageLev AC Rosen’s new novel, Depth (published by Regan Arts), is a classic hardboiled mystery set in a future radically transformed by environmental catastrophe. Here, Lev explains how he hit upon that combination.

The Big Sleep is my favorite noir movie—of course, it has to be the 1946 version, which has more Bacall and Bogart scenes than the original version from the year before—that wasn’t actually released until much later. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of them: Laura, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, The Blue Dahlia… maybe I love all of them. But The Big Sleep is my favorite.

A lot of people don’t understand why I’d be so into a movie that, frankly, makes very little sense, even less sense than the first cut. (Supposedly, not even Raymond Chandler was sure who killed the chauffeur.) But it makes perfect sense to me—it’s the style. The Big Sleep is dripping in noir style that you just don’t see anymore. The glamour of Lauren Bacall coming down the steps at night in her dressing gown, the gruesomeness of her sister’s disorder, the dirtiness of all the (unnamed, because of the Hayes Code) crimes Philip Marlowe uncovers—drugs, sexual coercion, abuse, blackmail. The scenes between Bogart and Bacall are fantastic—the telephone scene, or the moment in his office when he tells her to go ahead and scratch, or the talk about her sister, or my favorite, the horseracing conversation. Nothing really captures, for me, the feel of noir like that movie.

So when I set out to write my own hardboiled noir detective fiction, I knew I wanted that feel. I thought about writing something period, but it felt too familiar. I tried writing it in the present day, but it didn’t have the glamour or the grit I wanted. So I did something that I’ve been told was either a brilliant idea or a very bad one: I set my story in the future. I imagined a world where the ice caps have melted and all that’s left of New York City is the tops of buildings, with worn bridges and decommissioned boats floating between them. A city of flotsam.

This was a world where my detective, Simone Pierce, who I tried to write as a female Bogie, could have hard-boiled conversations with the cops and her clients. Where a body could just vanish by being rolled into the water, where crime could flourish and justice was a wisp you would try to snatch out of the air (and probably miss). This was a world, in short, that felt noir.

I know, I know, I know. “You got scifi in my noir!” “You got noir in my scifi!” Now no one will want to eat it. I heard that (well, maybe not exactly that, but some variation on it) over and over, along with the “no one will know how to sell this because these are two different types of readers” refrain from various publicity departments, though ultimately I did find an editor and publisher who found the world of Depth as enthralling as I did. I didn’t do market research when I created this world. But I knew the feeling of the thing I wanted to write and I found my way of getting there. And I ended up with my lone detective in a ruined world, trying to keep everything as together as it can be. It might be less then traditional, but I do genuinely look at Depth as a noir that just happens to take place at the end of the world. Because the end of the world is where I found my noir voice.

Lev-by-Rachel-ShaneLev AC Rosen is the author of the critically acclaimed All Men of Genius and the middle grade novel Woundabout. He received his BA from Oberlin College and his MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Lev is originally from lower Manhattan, and now lives in even lower Manhattan, right at the edge of the water, with his husband and a very small cat. You can find him online at LevACRosen.com.

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Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Radiant St. James’s Church

Mar 16, 2015 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David Morrell prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hillthe third post about Lord Palmerston’s House, the fourth post about Jay’s Mourning Warehouse, and the fifth post about the Crystal Palace.

If asked to name the most impressive church in London, most people would say, “St. Paul’s cathedral.”

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They might be surprised to learn that its designer, the great English architect, Sir Christopher Wren, considered a quite different, small, simple church to be his favorite creation.

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Visiting Inspector of the Dead: The Magnificent Crystal Palace

Mar 02, 2015 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hillthe third post about Lord Palmerston’s House, and the fourth post about Jay’s Mourning Warehouse.

The first world’s fair took place in London in 1851. Championed by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, it demonstrated the might and majesty of the British Empire. Officially called the Great Exhibition, it quickly became known as the Crystal Palace exhibition because of the amazing building in which it occurred.Crystal1

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Start Reading Lamentation by C.J. Sansom

Feb 24, 2015 in Excerpts

Lamentation by C.J. SansomLamentation is the first Shardlake novel to be published by Mulholland Books, but it’s not the first in C.J. Sansom’s internationally bestselling series. That said, I approached Lamentation without having read the first five books in the series and was swept away by Sansom’s depictions of Henry VIII’s court and life in Tudor England. Our hero, Matthew Shardlake, is a brilliant lawyer, a loyal friend, and a thoughtful man of his time. 1546 has never appeared more vivid than when seen through his eyes. Sample the first chapter of Lamentation below, which opens with the burning of radical Protestant Anne Askew.

Chapter One

I did not want to attend the burning. I have never liked even such things as the bearbaiting, and this was to be the burning alive at the stake of four living people, one a woman, for denying that the body and blood of Christ were present in the Host at Mass. Such was the pitch we had come to in England during the great heresy hunt of 1546.

I had been called from my chambers at Lincoln’s Inn to see the Treasurer, Master Rowland. Despite my status as a serjeant, the most senior of barristers, Master Rowland disliked me. I think his pride had never recovered from the time three years before when I had been – justly – disrespectful to him. I crossed the Inn Square, the red brickwork mellow in the summer sunshine, exchanging greetings with other black-gowned lawyers going to and fro. I looked up at Stephen Bealknap’s rooms; he was my old foe both in and out of court. The shutters at his windows were closed. He had been ill since early in the year and had not been seen outside for many weeks. Some said he was near death.

I went to the Treasurer’s offices and knocked at his door. A sharp voice bade me enter. Rowland sat behind his desk in his spacious room, the walls lined with shelves of heavy legal books, a display of
his status. He was old, past sixty, rail-thin but hard as oak, with a narrow, seamed, frowning face. He sported a white beard, grown long and forked in the current fashion, carefully combed and reaching halfway down his silken doublet. As I came in he looked up from cutting a new nib for his goose-feather quill. His fingers, like mine, were stained black from years of working with ink.

‘God give you good morrow, Serjeant Shardlake,’ he said in his sharp voice. He put down the knife.

I bowed. ‘And you, Master Treasurer.’

He waved me to a stool and looked at me sternly.

‘Your business goes well?’ he asked. ‘Many cases listed for the Michaelmas term?’

‘A good enough number, sir.’

‘I hear you no longer get work from the Queen’s solicitor.’ He spoke casually. ‘Not for this year past.’

‘I have plenty of other cases, sir. And my work at Common Pleas keeps me busy.’

He inclined his head. ‘I hear some of Queen Catherine’s officials have been questioned by the Privy Council. For heretical opinions.’

‘So rumour says. But so many have been interrogated these last few months.’

‘I have seen you more frequently at Mass at the Inn church recently.’ Rowland smiled sardonically. ‘Showing good conformity? A wise policy in these whirling days. Attend church, avoid the babble of
controversy, follow the King’s wishes.’

‘Indeed, sir.’

He took his sharpened quill and spat to soften it, then rubbed it on a cloth. He looked up at me with a new keenness. ‘You have heard that Mistress Anne Askew is sentenced to burn with three others a
week on Friday? The sixteenth of July?’

‘It is the talk of London. Some say she was tortured in the Tower after her sentence. A strange thing.’

Rowland shrugged. ‘Street gossip. But the woman made a sensation at the wrong time. Abandoning her husband and coming to London to preach opinions clear contrary to the Act of Six Articles. Refusing to recant, arguing in public with her judges.’ He shook his head, then leaned forward. ‘The burning is to be a great spectacle. There has been nothing like it for years. The King wants it to be seen where heresy leads. Half the Privy Council will be there.’

‘Not the King?’ There had been rumours he might attend.

‘No.’

I remembered Henry had been seriously ill in the spring; he had hardly been seen since.

‘His majesty wants representatives from all the London guilds.’ Rowland paused. ‘And the Inns of Court. I have decided you should go to represent Lincoln’s Inn.’

I stared at him. ‘Me, sir?’

‘You take on fewer social and ceremonial duties than you should, given your rank, Serjeant Shardlake. No one seems willing to volunteer for this, so I have had to decide. I think it time you took your turn.’

I sighed. ‘I know I have been lax in such duties. I will do more, if you wish.’ I took a deep breath. ‘But not this, I would ask you. It will be a horrible thing. I have never seen a burning, and do not wish to.’

Rowland waved a hand dismissively. ‘You are too squeamish. Strange in a farmer’s son. You have seen executions, I know that. Lord Cromwell had you attend Anne Boleyn’s beheading when you worked
for him.’

‘That was bad. This will be worse.’

He tapped a paper on his desk. ‘This is the request for me to send someone to attend. Signed by the King’s secretary, Paget himself. I must despatch the name to him tonight. I am sorry, Serjeant, but I
have decided you will go.’ He rose, indicating the interview was over. I stood and bowed again. ‘Thank you for offering to become more involved with the Inn’s duties,’ Rowland said, his voice smooth once more. ‘I will see what other – ’ he hesitated – ‘activities may be coming up.’

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Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Jay’s Mourning Warehouse

Feb 17, 2015 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hill, and the third post about Lord Palmerston’s House.

Victorian society was preoccupied about death, obeying elaborate rules about how to react to it. A grieving family was expected to put on severe mourning garments immediately after a loved one died and remain at home for several weeks following the funeral—except for a widow who stayed at home, in the blackest of clothes, for a year and a day.

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The link between grief and clothes inspired an entrepreneur, W.C. Jay, to create Jay’s Mourning Warehouse in 1841, selling bereavement garments of every type and size.

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Jay began with one address on fashionable Regent Street, but the death business became so brisk that he expanded into the shop next door. By the 1850s, he had expanded the business so often that it occupied most of the block.

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The most extreme case of grief involved Queen Victoria, who was one of Jay’s customers. Following the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, the queen dressed in mourning for the next forty years. In Inspector of the Dead, Jay’s warehouse and his funereal garments play a major role in the story.

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Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Eerie Lord Palmerston’s House

Feb 02, 2015 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, and the second post about Constitution Hill.

During the 1800s, Lord Palmerston (nicknamed Lord Cupid because of his numerous love affairs) was one of the most powerful English politicians: a war secretary, foreign secretary, home secretary, and prime minister.

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His famous Mayfair house, where he welcomed London’s rich and powerful, is located across from Green Park on Piccadilly. It’s readily identified because it’s the only Piccadilly property that’s set back from the street. The two gates and the curved driveway make it easy to recognize.

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In 1850, the residence was known as Cambridge House because Queen Victoria’s uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, owned it. On 27 June, the queen visited him and attracted so much attention that by the time she emerged from the house, a considerable crowd blocked the street, preventing her carriage from leaving.

One member of the crowd, Robert Francis Pate, was more interested in walking onward than looking at the queen. Angry that his way was blocked, he pushed his way toward the royal carriage, raised his cane, and struck Queen Victoria across the forehead. Shockingly, he drew blood. (For the full scene, preorder Inspector of the Dead.) Pate was the fifth man to threaten the queen. Declared as insane as it’s possible for a sane person to be, he was exiled to Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania). Continue reading ›

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Start Reading The Kings of London by William Shaw

Jan 27, 2015 in Excerpts

The Kings of London by William ShawWe’ll admit it. Even more than the historical detail, even more than the celebrity cameos, even more than the mystery, what we love most about William Shaw’s series is the pair of sleuths at its heart: Detective Sergeant Breen and WPC Tozer. In the sequel to She’s Leaving Home, Breen and Tozer investigate the suspicious death of a man trapped when his house went up in flames. Join them as they walk through the ashes in this excerpt from chapter five.

‘You all right?’ Sergeant Breen asked Temporary Detective Constable Tozer, shouting above the noise of the siren.

‘Me? I’m fine,’ she shouted back. They were in Delta Mike Five, the old Wolesley radio car whose gearbox crunched every time Breen put it into second.

He hesitated before saying, ‘I meant to call you.’

‘Course you did,’ said Tozer.

‘No. Really.’

She looked out of the window. Awkwardly thin, early twenties, in clothes that never seemed to fit quite right. Lank hair cut to a bob. ‘I wasn’t by the phone, waiting for it to ring, if that’s what you were wondering.’

‘Of course not.’

She dipped into her handbag. ‘I suppose you told all the lads,’ she said.

‘What do you take me for?’

‘That’s something, anyway,’ she said. ‘Want a fag?’

He shook his head.

‘Were you avoiding me?’

‘No,’ he said. ‘Busy, that’s all.’

‘Fair enough,’ she said. ‘I been busy too. Getting ready to go home.’

Tozer had handed in her notice. She was leaving too. She had joined CID from the Women’s Section as a probationer, hoping to do more than just interview women and children, or direct traffic, which was all you were supposed to do as a WPC. But it wasn’t much different in CID either.

‘I mean,’ said Tozer. ‘It was just a bit of fun, wasn’t it, you and me?’ Then, ‘Christ. Must have rattled a few windows.’

Breen had pulled up outside the house on Marlborough Place. Or what was left of it. A grand, three-storey Victorian mansion, half of it completely blown away. Continue reading ›

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