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

Sign Me Up

Start Reading The Shining Girls

Oct 11, 2012 in Excerpts, Mulholland Authors

In June 2013, Mulholland Books will publish THE SHINING GIRLS, the next novel by Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Lauren Beukes, of whom Cosmopolitan has written: “the world Beuekes has invented is both eerily familiar and creepily different, “ and who William Gibson has praised as “very, *very* good.”

We’re giving away pins featuring the cover artwork of THE SHINING GIRLS this weekend at New York Comic-con 2012, with a link to the shareable excerpt on Facebook. You can also start reading right here on MulhollandBooks.com!

CHAPTER ONE

17 July 1974

He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sport coat. It is sweaty in his hand. Midsummer, here, is too hot for what he’s wearing. But he has learned to put on a uniform for this purpose; jeans in particular. He takes long strides—a man who walks because he’s got somewhere to be, despite his gimpy foot. Harper Curtis is not a moocher. And time waits for no one. Except when it does.

The girl is sitting cross-legged on the ground, her bare knees white and bony as birds’ skulls, but also grass stained. She looks up at the sound of his boots scrunching on the gravel and broken glass—long enough for him to see that her eyes are brown under that tangle of grubby curls—before she dismisses him and goes back to her business. Harper is disappointed. His personal preference is for blue, the color of the lake, out where it gets deep, where the shoreline disappears and it feels like you’re in the middle of the ocean. Brown is the color of shrimping, when the mud is all churned up in the shallows and you can’t see shit for shit.

“What are you doing?” he asks, putting brightness in his voice. He crouches down beside her in the threadbare grass. “Playing?” Really, he’s never seen a child with such crazy hair. Like she got spun round in her own personal dust devil, one that tossed up the assortment of random junk splayed around her—a cluster of rusty tin cans, a broken bicycle wheel tipped on its side, spokes jabbing outwards. Her attention is focused on a chipped teacup, turned upside down, so that the silvered flowers on the lip disappear into the grass. The handle has broken off, leaving two blunt stumps. “You having a tea party, sweetheart?” he tries again.

“It’s not a tea party,” she mutters into the petal-shaped collar of her checked shirt. Kids with freckles shouldn’t be so earnest, he thinks. It doesn’t suit them.

“Well, that’s fine,” he says. “I prefer coffee anyways. May I have a cup, please m’am? Black with three sugars, okay?” He reaches for the chipped porcelain, and the girl yelps and bats his hand away. A deep, angry buzzing comes from underneath the inverted cup. Continue reading ›

13 Comments

Start Reading Say You’re Sorry

Oct 09, 2012 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Eager to get started on Michael Robotham’s newest Joe O’Loughlin novel SAY YOU’RE SORRY, which Kirkus calls “subtle, smart, compelling and blessed with both an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing,” but can’t make it  to Murder By the Book in Houston tonight to meet Michael and hear him read? We’ve got you covered–

My name is Piper Hadley and

I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago. I didn’t disappear completely and I didn’t run away, which is what a lot of people thought (those who didn’t believe I was dead). And despite what you may have heard or read, I didn’t get into a stranger’s car or run off with some sleazy pedo I met online. I wasn’t sold to Egyptian slave traders or forced to become a prostitute by a gang of Albanians or trafficked to Asia on a luxury yacht.

I’ve been here all along—not in Heaven or in Hell or that place in between whose name I can never remember because I didn’t pay attention at Sunday scripture classes. (I only went for the cake and the cordial.)

I’m not exactly sure of how many days or weeks or months I’ve been here. I tried to keep count, but I’m not very good with numbers. Completely crap, to be honest. You can ask Mr. Monroe, my old math teacher, who said he lost his hair teaching me algebra. That’s bollocks by the way. He was balder than a turtle on chemo before he ever taught me.

Anyone who follows the news will know that I didn’t disappear alone. My best friend Tash was with me. I wish she were here now. I wish she’d never squeezed through the window. I wish I had gone in her place.

When you read those stories about kids who go missing, they are always greatly loved and their parents want them back, whether it’s true or not. I’m not saying that we weren’t loved or missed, but that’s not the whole story.

Kids who blitz their exams don’t run away. Winners of beauty pageants don’t run away. Girls who date hot guys don’t run away. They’ve got a reason to stay. But what about the kids who are bullied or borderline anorexic or self-conscious about their bodies or sick of their parents fighting? There are lots of factors that might push a kid to run away and none of them are about being loved or wanted. Continue reading ›

0 Comments

Some Thoughts on The Watcher

Oct 07, 2012 in Guest Posts

I used to get frightened reading. I used to like being told or read ghost stories by MR James, Edgar Alan Poe. The masters. I remember my mother retelling me the plot of Hitchcock’s Psycho when I was too young to get in to see the movie (which seems funny now). I’ve jumped plenty of times, but never been scared in the cinema.

I was a true believer in the Uncanny. But I lost my religion around age 39, when I had kids. Now that we are all vampires or werewolves, I have no allegiance to horror or any genre. In fact I shun them.

I am not sure what induces me to write. Ideas come, float around in amniotic flux, then either disperse or coalesce suddenly like a shoal of fish. Which can be unsettling. I take on each new book as a journey of exploration, a quest which will surely end in discovery, revelation, enlightenment. It almost never does. In my non-fiction book, The Wolf Children, I hoped to establish whether human children had ever been fostered by animals in the wild, or whether such tales belonged to myth and folklore, reflecting a longing to revive the lost connection with our animal ancestors. The strange story of the wolf children of Midnapore led me on a trail through remote Indian jungle villages and amongst the embers of scientific controversy. But the truth about feral children remains elusive.

As a fiction writer, I’ve been attracted to the outer limits, the far frontier, searching for meaning in the unexplained, looking beyond the boundaries of ordinary experience. Described as a metaphysical thriller, The Watcher charts an individual’s attempt to make sense of human existence through a chain of past lives that are linked down the ages by a single purpose – a karmic journey, as he sees it, towards the light. It tells the story of an ordinary man whose unremarkable life spirals into nightmare when he commits a mystifying atrocity. In his quest to discover the cause of his actions, the hero, Martin Gregory, takes the reader with him into the darker corners of his mind presenting his elaborate fantasies as the truth. We know this can’t be the case, yet we want to believe him. Partly because we don’t trust his nemesis, the smooth, rational psychiatrist who, in a contrapuntal narrative, warns us not to listen to his patient….he’s talking nonsense, he needs help! Naturally, it’s Martin’s lapel-grabbing insistence that ‘you must believe me’ that prevails against the dry clinical response of Dr Somerville, who may be smart and is probably right but before the hero’s eyes and ours turns sinister as hell. In the final down-the-ages struggle between good and evil we have to be rooting for Martin, the anti-materialist, save-the-planet visionary complete with crystal staff and ready to lead mankind back onto the true (spiritual) path, to win…there’s no middle way. The fate of the earth hangs in the balance! Continue reading ›

0 Comments

Ten Rules for Writing a Sherlock Holmes Novel

Oct 05, 2012 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Writing

It may well be that Sherlock Holmes is the reason why I have spent so much of my life writing crime fiction of my own and if there is one small boast that I occasionally make, it’s that I have probably written more fictional murders than any other writer. Ever. The crime figures can be quickly totted up.

If you were to ask what has made Sherlock Holmes the most successful and best loved detective of all time, I would argue that it is not in fact the crimes or the mysteries. It seems to me that the appeal of the books has much more to do with character, the friendship of Holmes and Watson, the extraordinary and very rich world they inhabit and the genuine and often under-rated excellence of Conan Doyle’s writing, a touch melodramatic at times but still very much in the tradition of gothic romance. When I was asked to write The House of Silk, I realized that this would be the key. I had to become invisible. I had to find that extraordinary, authentic voice.

So, I set out the ten rules which I would have beside me as I wrote The House of Silk – and here they are. If you’ve read the book, you can judge for yourself how well they were kept and, indeed, if they were worth keeping. Continue reading ›

9 Comments

Why I Became a Psychologist

Oct 04, 2012 in Guest Posts

Victorian HouseJoe O’Loughlin, protagonist of Michael Robotham’s acclaimed O’Loughlin series, was kind enough to stop by the office today on a connecting flight to Bouchercon, where he’s meeting Robotham to promote his newest, SAY YOU’RE SORRY. We’re happy to report that not only is Joe a beacon of morality in dark times, he’s also a really cool guy, and was kind enough to jot down the below recollection which appeared in the UK edition of his first appearance SUSPECT, but was cut for the US edition.

SAY YOU’RE SORRY, which Kirkus calls “subtle, smart, compelling and blessed with both an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing,” is now available in bookstores everywhere.

Sunday morning is normally my time. I bury myself under the combined weight of four newspapers and drink coffee until my tongue feels furry. But today is different. The calendar says so. My memory serves me well.

Charlie is rugged up in jeans, skivvy and a ski jacket because I’ve promised she can come with me today. After gulping down her breakfast, she watches me impatiently – convinced that I’m deliberately drinking my coffee more slowly.

When it’s time to load up the car, we carry the cardboard boxes from the garden shed, along the side path and put them next to my old Metro. The boxes are so light I can balance three on top of each other. Charlie makes do with one at a time.

Julianne is sitting on the front steps with a cup of coffee resting on her knees.

‘You’re both mad, you know that?’

‘Probably.’

‘And you’ll get arrested.’

‘And that’s going to be your fault.’

‘Why is it my fault?’

‘Because you won’t come with us. We need a getaway driver.’

Charlie pipes up. ‘C’mon, Mum. Dad said you used to.’

‘That’s when I was young and foolish and I wasn’t on the Committee at your school.’

‘Do you realise, Charlie, that on my second date with your mother she was arrested for scaling a flag-pole and taking down the South African flag.’

Julianne scowls. ‘Don’t tell her that!’

‘Did you really get arrested?’

‘I was cautioned. It’s not the same thing.’

There are four boxes on the roof racks, two in the boot and two on the back seat. Fine beads of sweat, like polished glass, are decorating Charlie’s top lip. She slips off her ski jacket and tucks it between the seats.

I turn back to Julianne. ‘Are you sure you won’t come? I know you want to.’

‘Who’s going to post bail for us?’

‘Your mother will do that.’

Her eyes narrow, but she puts her coffee cup inside the door. ‘I’m doing this under protest.’

‘Duly noted.’

She holds out her hand for the car keys. ‘And I’m driving.’

She grabs a jacket from the coat rack in the hallway and pulls the door shut. Charlie squeezes herself between boxes on the back seat and leans forward excitedly.

‘Tell me the story again,’ she asks, as we swing into light traffic along Prince Albert Road, alongside Regent’s Park. ‘And don’t leave anything out just because Mum’s here.’

I tell people that the reason I became a psychologist is because I wanted to know what Julianne was really thinking – but that’s not true. The real reason was great aunt Gracie, who died at the age of eighty, having spent sixty years never setting a foot outside her house. Continue reading ›

2 Comments

The O’Loughlin Files, Revisited

Oct 02, 2012 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Michael Robotham brings us back to psychologist Joe O’Loughlin after the events of BLEED FOR ME in his newest, SAY YOU’RE SORRY, out this week from Mulholland Books. New to the series? Looking for a refresher on O’Loughlin, with tantalizing glimpses into his newest adventure? Look no further than the below dossier Robotham was kind enough to compile for this very purpose.

Name: Professor Joseph O’Loughin (commonly known as Joe)

Profession: Clinical Psychologist

Born: November 29, 1960, Penrhyn Bay, Wales.

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 175 lbs

Eyes: Brown

First appeared in: SUSPECT (2004)

Latest book: SAY YOU’RE SORRY (2012)

Joe’s own descriptions of himself:

I am not handsome in the conventional sense. I am tall and pale with watery brown eyes and when I look at myself naked I am reminded of a winter animal that sheds its fur in the hotter months and looks out of place until the cold returns. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t wear shorts or T-shirts or flip flops which Australians call thongs. I wonder what they call G-strings? (BLEED FOR ME)

Status:

Married but separated from Julianne.

We’re estranged, not divorced. The subject is raised occasionally (never by me) but we haven’t got round to signing the papers. I moved back to London eight months ago. Now I live in a one-bedroom flat that reminds me of something I had when I was at college – cheap, transitory, full of mismatched furniture and a fridge stocked with Indian pickles and chutneys. I try not to dwell on the past. I touch it only gingerly with the barest tips of my thoughts, as though it were a worrying lump in my testis, probably benign, but lethal until proven otherwise. (SAY YOU’RE SORRY) Continue reading ›

1 Comment

The Greatest Crime Writer

Sep 27, 2012 in Guest Posts

Books to Die For, a collection of 120 of the most influential living writers of crime and suspense discussing their favorite works, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke, will be available this Tuesday, October 2nd.  We may not be publishing it ourselves, but we’re sure as hell excited about it–which is why we’re featuring Jo Nesbo’s essay today on Jim Thompson’s Pop. 1280, available as a Mulholland e-book for $4.99.

Dubbed the “Dimestore Dostoevsky” by novelist Geoffrey O’Brien, Jim Thompson (1906–77) published more than thirty novels during his career. Despite early critical praise, and particularly positive reviews from Anthony Boucher in the New York Times, Thompson’s talent went largely unrecognized during his lifetime. He made his debut in 1942 with Now and On Earth, and is best known for novels such as The Killer Inside Me (1952), Savage Night (1953), A Hell of a Woman (1954), The Getaway (1958), and The Grifters (1963), all of which were characteristic of an oeuvre that unflinchingly explored the darkest and nastiest recesses of the human psyche. “He let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it,” declared Stephen King. Well served by film adaptations, and particularly French filmmakers, Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me was remade in 2010, directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Casey Affleck.

There’s a clip in the Sylvester Stallone film, Cop Land. The clip only lasts about one or two seconds, and doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the film. It’s a brief flash of a sign showing the number of inhabitants in the town. The sign says, “Pop. 1280.”

I looked around the cinema when it came on the screen, and listened. No reaction. Obviously. Because it was 1997 and this was a coded mes- sage for the initiated few, a bonus for those who had dived into the deep- est depths of pulp literature and found Jim Thompson, the genius who portrayed the American psychopath in the first person some forty years before Brett Easton Ellis did the same in American Psycho.

I personally hadn’t had to dive so deep myself. I was served Jim Thompson on a silver platter by a friend, Espen, who told me it was “old, but good stuff.” The book had the very promising title of Pop. 1280 and a not-quite-so-promising sheriff on the cover. And maybe that was the only way to discover Jim Thompson: you had to be guided to him by someone like Espen, someone who moved freely beyond the main highways and narrow paths of literary snobbery. Continue reading ›

2 Comments

The Beauty Queen Killer

Sep 25, 2012 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Michael Robotham’s BLEED FOR ME, which Booklist called “crime fiction of the highest order” in a starred review, is now available in paperback in bookstores everywhere. Join the celebration with the below guest post by Michael Robotham on the chilling, real-life inspiration for the novel’s villain.

Villains are more fun to write than heroes. They get to wear cooler clothes and stroke cats and have monkey paws or steel hooks instead of hands. They also get to date dirty girls with names like Pussy Galore, Solitaire, Honey Rider and Mary Goodnight.

I have always taken a lot of care with the villains I write. None of them are evil because I don’t think evil exists. They do terrible things, but they have reasons. Mitigating circumstances. Nothing excuses their behaviour, but I do attempt to explain it.

In my new novel BLEED FOR ME I have created a number of villains but by far the most interesting are those who seem completely normal. Better than normal. Nice. Charismatic. Handsome. Popular. Loved.

We often assume that we would recognize a true psychopath. We see photographs of serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and we think, ‘Yeah, they look like bad’uns,’ but the truth is, until their crimes were revealed we could have walked past any of these people in the street and not looked twice. They could have been living next-door, or working at the local garage, or teaching our kids piano.

My first experience of this dissonance between perception and reality occurred more almost thirty years ago when I was a young journalist working on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney. I was sent cover a committal hearing at a local magistrate’s court. A man called Christopher Wilder was appearing, charged with the sexual assault of two schoolgirls.

Wilder had grown up in Australia, the son of an American naval officer and his Australian bride. He was educated at good schools and given every opportunity in life, but found trouble in his teens when he pleaded guilty to the gang rape of a girl on a Sydney beach and was given probation.

He married at the age of twenty-three, but the union lasted only a few days. His new bride complained of sexual abuse and found photographs of naked women in Wilder’s briefcase, as well as items of underwear that weren’t her own. In 1969 Wilder avoided prison again after blackmailing a student nurse into having sex with him by taking compromising photographs. She complained to the police, but the charges were dropped when she refused to testify in court.

Wilder’s father told him he should go to America and start afresh with a clean slate in a new country. He moved to Boynton Beach in Florida and found his calling as an electrical contractor and construction engineer, making millions from the property boom. By his mid-thirties he was worth millions with a luxurious bachelor pad and a string of sports cars. Continue reading ›

1 Comment

The Disapearance of Lynette Dawson

Sep 24, 2012 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Oceans, hearts and ghosts.Twenty-eight years ago, a young mother disappeared from her home in Sydney’s northern suburbs, leaving behind two daughters and a handsome football star husband.

 Lynette Dawson, a nurse and childcare worker, has never been seen since, but the mystery of her fate continues to haunt her family, friends and neighbours. It also provided the seed for bestselling author Michael Robotham’s thriller, BLEED FOR ME, now available in paperback in bookstores everywhere. Here, he explains how …

I was a young journalist working for an afternoon newspaper in Sydney when Lynette Dawson disappeared in January 1982. It didn’t make the headlines or cause a ripple of publicity, because nobody reported her missing at first.

Her husband, Chris Dawson, was a PE teacher at Cromer High School, on Sydney’s northern beaches. He was also a champion rugby league star for the Newtown Jets, playing alongside his identical twin brother Paul, who coincidentally taught at the same high school.

Former students say they were the coolest, most popular teachers and parents remember them as being incredibly charming and handsome. Both men had done modelling work and moved on to play rugby union.

According to his police statement, Chris Dawson dropped Lynette off at Mona Vale shopping centre on the morning of January 9, 1982. She had organized to meet her mother at Northbridge Baths that day, but didn’t show up.

Chris called his mother-in-law and said that Lynette ‘needed some time on her own’ and had gone off for a few days. On that same day he also called his 16-year-old lover, Joanne Curtis, and said, ‘My wife has gone away. She’s not coming back.’ Continue reading ›

1 Comment

Read an Excerpt of Incognito: The Classified Edition

Sep 19, 2012 in Comic Books, Excerpts

Want a sneak peak from the Classified Edition of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ INCOGNITO, but can’t make it out to your local comics store? Marvel was kind enough to provide us a few pages below–now go grab yourself a copy! You won’t regret it.

Continue reading ›

0 Comments