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eBook, 4/19/16, $1.99

ISBN 9780316361224

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A young man struggles to find his identity in this short story by the bestselling author of The Tourist.

Olen Steinhauer’s crafty story begins as an affectionate recounting by Tom, a down-on-his-luck graduate caring for his sick mother and reconnecting with his awkward friend, Jerry McLaughlin. Jerry lives in a relative’s basement in Chicago, and over the intervening months the two young men strategize Jerry’s seemingly innocuous plan to become a super-villain in the spirit of Bond greats like Blofeld. Things turn dark, however, when Jerry’s plans find success, and he enlists the wayward Tom to help him expand his little start-up to the next level. At turns witty and diabolical, “The Start-Up” is a fiendish take on the spy genre, as well as the dangerous friendships of Highsmith, le Carré, and others.

“Start-Up” by Olen Steinhauer is one of 20 short stories within Mulholland Books’s Strand Originals series, featuring thrilling stories by the most legendary authors in the Strand Magazine archives.

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he’s lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy. He also spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and daughter.