SIGN UP FOR THE MULHOLLAND BOOKS NEWSLETTER for breaking news, exclusive material, and free books

Sign Me Up

Find Your Next Thrilling Book Club Book

Feb 27, 2013 in Books

We want to make selecting your next book club book a little easier by sharing with you our Mulholland Book Club collection on Scribd. In this collection, you’ll find reading group guides for our paperbacks and exclusive Q&As with the author. Our hope is that this extra material removes some of the mystery (pun apologetically intended) around how to inspire your best book club conversation yet.

Currently in the collection are guides for Dan Simmon’s The Crook Factory, Joe R. Lansdale’s Edge of Dark Water, and Brian D’Amato’s Beauty. Bookmark us on Scribd to stay current on our book club books!

0 Comments

The Lineup: Weekly Links, Hit Me Edition

Feb 25, 2013 in Weekly links

Contrasted ConfinementLawrence Block’s instant New York Times bestseller HIT ME has only been out for a handful of weeks, but the coverage has been extensive–perhaps in part because it very well may be Larry last novel ever.

Lawrence Block discusses the future of his career and his latest book in a profile for the New York Daily News. Don’t miss it.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel raves if HIT ME is Block’s “then it’s a fine finale for a writer who never stopped growing, and who allowed some of his series characters the same privilege of changing.”

Book Reporter says, “HIT ME does not disappoint. For his legion of fans, Block is working at the height of his powers … [a] true noir for our times. Do not miss this great read.”

“It’s a mark of Block’s storytelling skill that he can make lengthy philatelic interludes as fascinating as cloaks and daggers … It’d be a shame to hear no more from one of the most entertaining and unusual characters in the history of crime fiction, now that he’s back on the job,” says The Times-Picayune.

The Globe and Mail calls HIT ME “one of his best books ever…The plot is as tight as Jessica Simpson’s Spandex. Welcome back, Mr. Block.”

The Associated Press review, picked up widely in the Washington Post and much moresays, “In the hands of a lesser writer, the philately passages would be insufferable, but Block makes them interesting in their own right as well a window into the soul of a hit man who can dispatch innocent bystanders without remorse but won’t cheat on his wife and insists on being scrupulously honest.”

Marilyn Stasio raved in the New York Times Book Review‘s crime column, “Despite claiming he’s retired, Lawrence Block can’t seem to resist taking a few swigs from the poisoned cup … Aside from their ingenious methodology, what makes these amuse-bouches so delectable are the moral dilemmas Block throws up to deflect his philosophical anti­hero from a given task.” A review in The Columbus Dispatch concludes, “Block plays like a master on the consciences of his readers, raising moral dilemmas and then whisking them off behind a diverting bit of dialogue or drama.”

So what are you waiting for? Go pick up your copy now!

0 Comments

Fact and Fiction in Hunt the Scorpion

Feb 19, 2013 in Books, Fiction, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Writing

On sale today is Hunt the Scorpion, the second installment in Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo’s SEAL Team Six series, which follows the trail of nuclear weapon components from a ship commandeered by Somali pirates through Libya and into a hornet’s nest of local police forces, terrorists, and the Iranian Revolutionary Corps.

The book’s depiction of post-Gaddafi Libya reads like it came out of this morning’s newspaper, which got me thinking: how much of Hunt the Scorpion is based in fact? Sure, it’s a rip-roaring, action-packed thriller, but Don Mann is a former Navy SEAL, and Ralph Pezzullo has written a previous novel with a CIA operative. Maybe there’s more fact to this fiction than I realized.

Fortunately, my curiosity did not go unslaked for long. Pezzullo kindly responded to my searching questions about Hunt the Scorpion‘s plot:

Yes, a good deal of the ops in the book actually happened. Most Americans probably aren’t aware that we’ve been fighting a clandestine war with Iran. Basically, they’re trying to develop nuclear weapons, and we’re determined to stop them. Iran runs this nasty little organization called the Quds Force, which is part of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and reports directly to Supreme Leader—in other words, the religious leaders of  the country. The role of the Quds Force is exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution. It operates as highly-trained paramilitary unit and has been involved in bombings and assassinations in countries like Iraq, India, Bulgaria, Lebanon, and Thailand.

I keep my ear to the CIA-ops war ground, so to speak, and hear things. One of the most alarming things I’ve heard recently is about the efforts by al-Qaeda and the Quds Force to exploit the chaos in Libya following the overthrow of Gaddafi and get their hands on chemical weapons and nuclear material that had been developed while Gaddafi was in power.

Don and I discussed this and agreed that these events would make a great backdrop for Hunt the Scorpion. I can’t tell you exactly how much of it is true. I always do a lot of research. In this case it involved speaking to a number of people who have been to Libya recently and are familiar with what happened there after the fall of Gaddafi.

There you have it: enjoy Hunt the Scorpion for its nonstop thrills—and the SEALs are a lot of fun to be around!—and appreciate it as an unclassified primer in classified foreign policy.

0 Comments

Where to Find Your Next Favorite Books Online

Feb 15, 2013 in Books

Since Bookish launched earlier this month, I’ve been playing around with its recommendation engine—can an algorithm for books online really pit itself against a recommendation from a friend?

I’ve been pleased with the results! For the past three books Mulholland has published, Bookish’s recommendations are spot-on. Check them out and click on each image to visit the live recommendation on Bookish:

Gun Machine on Bookish

Hit Me on Bookish

Seal Team Six: Hunt the Scorpion on Bookish

Does this mean it’s time to seal off the front door, toss your phone, and put all your faith in the internet hive mind? Of course not—but there are worse ways to spend your time than by riffling through books online.

0 Comments

Start Reading Hit Me

Feb 12, 2013 in Excerpts, Fiction, Mulholland Authors

Lawrence Block’s Keller thriller HIT ME, praised in starred reviews by Booklist as “delightful,” by Library Journal as “Block at the top of his form,” and Publishers Weekly as “highly enjoyable”, hits bookstores today! Can’t wait to get started on Larry’s latest and greatest? Start reading right here.

Keller limited himself to monosyllables en route to the airport, and gave the driver a tip neither large nor small enough to be memorable. He walked through the door for departing flights, took an escalator one flight down, and a bubbly girl at the Hertz counter found his reservation right away. He showed her a driver’s license and a credit card, both in the same name—one that was neither J. P. Keller nor Nicholas Edwards. They were good enough to get him the keys to a green Subaru hatchback, and in due course he was behind the wheel and on his way.

The house he was looking for was on Caruth Boulevard, in the University Park section. He’d located it online and printed out a map, and he found it now with no trouble, one of a whole block of upscale Spanish-style homes on substantial landscaped lots not far from the Southern Methodist campus. Sculpted stucco walls, a red tile roof, an attached three-car garage. You’d think a family could be very happy in a house like that, Keller thought, but in the present instance you’d be wrong, because the place was home to Charles and Portia Walmsley, and neither of them could be happy until the other was dead.

Keller slowed down as he passed the house, then circled the block for another look at it. Was anyone at home? As far as he could see, there was no way to tell. Charles Walmsley had moved out a few weeks earlier, and Portia shared the house with the Salvadoran housekeeper. Keller hadn’t learned the housekeeper’s name, or that of the man who was a frequent overnight guest of Mrs. Walmsley, but he’d been told that the man drove a Lexus SUV. Keller didn’t see it in the driveway, but he couldn’t be sure it wasn’t in the garage.

“The man drives an SUV,” Dot had said, “and he once played football for TCU. I know what an SUV is, but—”

“Texas Christian University,” Keller supplied. “In Fort Worth.”

“I thought that might be it. Do they have something to do with horny frogs?”

“Horned Frogs. That’s their football team, the Horned Frogs. They’re archrivals of SMU.”

“That would be Southern Methodist.”

“Right. They’re the Mustangs.”

“Frogs and Mustangs. How do you know all this crap, Keller? Don’t tell me it’s on a stamp. Never mind, it’s not important. What’s important is that something permanent happens to Mrs. Walmsley. And it would be good if something happened to the boyfriend, too.”

“It would?”

“He’ll pay a bonus.”

“A bonus? What kind of a bonus?”

“Unspecified, which makes it tricky to know what to expect, let alone collect it. And he’ll double the bonus if they nail the boyfriend for the wife’s murder, but when you double an unspecified number, what have you got? Two times what?”

Keller drove past the Walmsley house a second time, and didn’t learn anything new in the process. He consulted his map, figured out his route, and left the Subaru in a parking garage three blocks from the Lombardy.

In his room, he picked up the phone to call Julia, then remembered what hotels charge you for phone calls. Charles Walmsley was paying top dollar, bonus or no, but making a call from a hotel room was like burning the money in the street. He used his cell phone instead, first making sure that it was the iPhone Julia had given him for his birthday and not the prepaid one he used only for calls to Dot.

The hotel room was okay, he told her. And he’d had a good look at the stamps he was interested in, and that was always helpful. And she put Jenny on, and he cooed to his daughter and she babbled at him. He told her he loved her, and when Julia came back on the phone he told her the same.

Portia Walmsley didn’t have any children. Her husband did, from a previous marriage, but they lived with their mother across the Red River in Oklahoma. So there wouldn’t be any kids to worry about in the house on Caruth Boulevard.

As far as the Salvadoran maid was concerned, Dot had told him the client didn’t care one way or the other. He wasn’t paying a bonus for her, that was for sure. He’d pointed out that she was an illegal immigrant, and Keller wondered what that had to do with anything. Continue reading ›

0 Comments

Standing in Another Man’s Grave with a Gun Machine: Warren Ellis and Ian Rankin In Conversation

Jan 28, 2013 in Graphic Novels, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Music, Writing

Ian Rankin has called Warren Ellis’s GUN MACHINE “hellish fun.” Warren Ellis has called Ian Rankin’s  STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S GRAVE “a magnificent read.” Figuring the Rankin and Ellis might have a thing or two to say to one another, we put the two in touch and watched the fireworks ensue. Their conversation follows…

Warren Ellis: In STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S GRAVE, you make returning to John Rebus look like putting on a comfortable old suit, but I wonder if it was. Was there ever a point where you assumed you’d never talk to Rebus again? Or were you waiting for the right story with which to go and see him again?

Ian Rankin: I retired Rebus because the real world demanded it. At that time (2006-7) detectives in Scotland had to retire at 60, and that’s how old I reckoned he was. But I knew that given the chance he would apply to work as a civilian in Edinburgh’s Cold Case unit. It really exists and is staffed by retired detectives. So when I got a notion for a story that involved a cold case…

Now let me ask you something, Warren: as a novelist, I found it hard the one time I wrote a graphic novel. I think authors of graphic novels work harder than novelists, who have all the time and words in the world. How different is it, approaching a novel to a graphic novel? What are the pros and cons of each?

Ellis: Writing a novel, for me, is always having to learn again when to stop describing.  You have to be so blunt and specific, for an artist, to achieve the image and narrative step you’re looking for, and doing that in prose is dull and thudding and takes away the possibility of the image growing and breathing in the reader’s head.  It’s like that art trick where someone draws three lines and a dot but yet everyone can see a face in it.  Not the same face, sure, because no-one sees everything the same way, but definitely a face.  But if you drew that face in detail, many of your readers would say, “huh, I didn’t think they looked like that,” and they’re kicked out of the book.  It’s that specific effect of evocation I have to try and find again.

The pros of writing a novel are about having space and time.  Graphic novels are limited containers of information, especially so in the amount of information one can radiate off a page, and books aren’t.  But there’s an atmosphere you can conjure in six words of text and a simple drawing that books simply can’t capture.  Comics are a hybrid form: they are semiotics and slogans and theatre and iconography and a dozen other things.  Like all hybrids, they have some weird weaknesses, and there are workings and effects in the prose novel that the graphic novel can’t really approach. But there are things in the graphic novel that the prose book simply cannot do.  They are pure visual narrative. Continue reading ›

3 Comments

Whisperers

Jan 24, 2013 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

The paperback edition of Donato Carrisi’s THE WHISPERER, the acclaimed international bestselling thriller about which Michael Connelly wrote: “This story screams high tension, high stakes, and high velocity,”and which Ken Follett called “brilliant…a great book,” is now available in bookstores everywhere!

In the below Author’s Note included with the novel, Carrisi discusses the psychological background to his “haunting, disconcerting, devastating portrait of evil” (Kirkus).

Criminology literature began to address the issue of ‘whisperers’ during the rise of cults and sects, but had great difficulty finding a definition of ‘whisperer’ for use in a legal trial, because mere suggestion is so hard to prove.

Where there is no causal connection between the guilty party and the whisperer, it is not possible to envisage any type of crime for which the latter might be liable. ‘Incitement to criminal activity’ is usually too weak to lead to a sentence. The activity of these psychological controllers involves a subliminal level of communication which does not add criminal intent to the psyche of the agent, but brings out a dark side – present in a more or less latent form in each of us – which then leads to the subject committing one or several crimes.

Often cited is the Offelbeck case of 1986: a housewife who received a series of anonymous phone calls and who then, out of the blue, exterminated her family by putting rat poison in their soup.

Anyone who sullies himself with heinous crimes often tends to share moral responsibility with a voice, a vision or imaginary characters. For this reason it is particularly difficult to tell when such manifestations spring from genuine psychosis and when they may be traced back to the hidden work of a whisperer.

Among the sources I used in the novel, apart from manuals of criminology, forensic psychiatry and texts of legal medicine, I’ve also quoted studies by the FBI, an organisation with the merit of having assembled the most valuable database concerning serial killers and violent crimes.

Many of the cases quoted in these pages really happened. For some, names and places have been changed because the investigations relating to them are not closed or the trials have not yet taken place.

The investigative and forensic techniques described in the novel are real, even though in some circumstances I have taken the liberty of adapting them to the needs of the narrative.

Donato Carrisi studied law and criminology before he began working as a writer for television. THE WHISPERER, Carrisi’s first novel, won five international literary prizes, has been sold in nearly twenty countries, and has been translated into languages as varied as Dutch, Hebrew, and Vietnamese. Carrisi lives in Rome.

2 Comments

Detective John Rebus: Twenty-Five Years Later

Jan 22, 2013 in Books, Fiction, Writing

Twenty-five years will take its toll on anyone. No one knows this better than former detective John Rebus, the star of Ian Rankin’s dazzling crime novels, who now finds himself a retired civilian, peering at cases from the outside.

But even the passage of years can’t bring closure to a cold case, and Rebus has found the ultimate lost cause: the disappearance of a woman from the side of the road with no witnesses, no body, and no suspect. Rankin explains the evocative nature of the road and Rebus’s emotional state as he digs up the past in the new novel, Standing in Another Man’s Grave:

While we see Rebus’s role evolving, so, too, does our understanding of Malcolm Fox:

Continue reading ›

0 Comments

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Jan 16, 2013 in Weekly links

Contrasted Confinement

The Oscar race kicks in to high gear now that the Golden Globe winners have been announced. So who’s your dog in the race? Argo? Zero Dark Thirty? Les Mis?

Cory Doctorow has a moving remembrance of Internet pioneer Aaron Swartz up at Boing Boing. Rest in peace, Aaron.

In Mulholland news, in anticipation of the February release of Lawrence Block’s HIT ME–which features fan-favorite hitman Keller coming out of retirement, just as Larry’s about to return to this own–Adam Woog of the Seattle Times included Larry’s new novel in a roundup of notable upcoming crime novels. And did you read Jeffrey Toobin’s great piece in the New Yorker on the long-running mystery/thriller round table presided over by Mary Higgins Clark, and frequented by the likes of Larry, Harlan Coben, and many more?

Meanwhile, Warren Ellis‘s GUN MACHINE continues to receive high marks from critics and great media coverage. Charles McGrath of the New York Times (“A pleasingly quirky crime thriller [that] races along in crisp, hard-boiled fashion”) AND Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times Book Review (“vivid [with] fully fleshed characters…a seriously good writer with a seriously wicked imagination”) both have strong words of praise for Ellis’s novel. Also check out this great interview with Warren in the Los Angeles Times, this review in the Independent (“a perfectly flawless crime book with a feral glint in its eye,”), the Nerdist podcast with Warren, or the second GUN MACHINE trailer below. And don’t forget to pick GUN MACHINE up in time to join the i09 Book Club discussion on February 5th!

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.

0 Comments

Ernest Hemingway and Other Literary Spies

Jan 15, 2013 in Books, Fiction

In Dan Simmons’s The Crook Factory, which is out in paperback on February 5th, Ernest Hemingway assembles an espionage ring from an unlikely team of misfits in order to root out Nazi infiltrators in Cuba. Though this storyline is, regrettably, a work of fiction, there are plenty of writers who really were spies. Some of our favorites include:

Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe

Oh yes, the man who brought us Faustus was also a spy. And his mysterious death at 29 raises all sorts of questions: was his fatal stab wound the result of a bar brawl? Or an assassination by the Elizabethan state? I highly recommend you listen to this BBC podcast for more on Marlowe.

Graham GreeneGraham Greene

The author of The Quiet American, The Third Man, and Our Man in Havana (among many other excellent novels) was recruited by his sister into the M16, resulting in a posting to Sierra Leone during the Second World War.

Anthony BurgessAnthony Burgess

Burgess did cipher work for British Army intelligence in Gibraltar during World War II before penning A Clockwork Orange in 1966. Perhaps there lies something encrypted in lines like “The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silver flamed”? Continue reading ›

2 Comments