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

Sign Me Up

Start Reading Bravo by Greg Rucka

Jul 22, 2014 in Excerpts, Fiction

Bravo by Greg RuckaIn his explosive new novel, Greg Rucka reveals that the plot against America is far from over. Jad Bell saving the day in Alpha? A minor setback. Read the first chapter of Bravo below and watch the wheels set back in motion.

Chapter One

“You look tired,” she says, moving out of the doorway to let him inside. “Do you want to talk about it?”

The soldier enters, moves his cover to his hands, holding the hat in a way that makes him feel half her age, though he’s most of the way through fifty and she’s not seen the edges of thirty yet. He doesn’t speak, doesn’t move as she shuts and locks the door behind him, comes back to put a gentle touch on his elbow. She looks at him curiously, concerned, then shakes her head in such a way that her hair shifts and gently sways, exposes bare neck from collar to jawline. He sees her skin, feels an almost magnetic tug, an immediate urge to wrap his arms around her and inhale her scent. He’s too old to believe that doing so will make it all better, but it’s what he feels. He thinks about the fact that he should’ve waited before coming here, before talking to her. He thinks that he doesn’t have a choice.

“Jamieson’s dead,” the soldier says.

She nods slightly, a touch of sympathy in her expression, in the movement, and he thinks it’s for his sake, and not for the dead man she has never met, hardly even knew.

“I’ll make you a drink,” she says. “I’ve got some of that rye you like.”

He nods, moves into the large front room. Floor-to-ceiling windows that would show the gleam of the capital at night, but the curtains are drawn, the way they always are when he arrives. He’s never seen them open, never seen the view out of her condo here in the West End. This town, he knows, keeps a secret like a four-year-old at a birthday party. When he visits, he visits at night, drives straight into the underground lot, takes the spot that’s always open. Normally, he changes out of uniform before coming here.

Tonight is not normal.

The soldier takes a seat, sets his hat beside him, loosens his tie and his collar. When she comes back with the drink, he takes it from her hand, sets it aside. She raises an eyebrow.

“You don’t want a drink you should’ve said so.”

The soldier pulls her to him, meets her mouth with his own. She kisses him back with full hunger, uncaged; it’s what she’s been waiting for.

When they reach her bedroom, he keeps much of his uniform on, at least for a while. Continue reading ›

0 Comments

Start Reading The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Jul 01, 2014 in Excerpts

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd JonesIn his debut novel, The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones weaves together three narratives that follow a shapeshifter as he stalks his prey through generations. It’s a terrifying, mythical tale, and it opens with a bang: a mother driving through the night, her daughter asleep in the back, and her husband bleeding out beside her. Start reading below, but be warned that you may not be able to close this diary.

Snowdonia: Now

It was only when Hannah Wilde reached the farmhouse shortly after midnight that she discovered how much blood her husband had lost.

They had spoken little during the drive to Llyn Gwyr. Hannah concentrated on the road ahead, her vision blurred through rain and tears. Beside her, Nate slumped in the Discovery’s passenger seat, a crooked shadow. She tried to glance over at him as the distance to what they’d left behind increased, but it was impossible to comprehend the full horror of his injuries while they were on the road. Each time she suggested they pull over Nate shook his head and urged her on.

Get to the farmhouse, Hannah. I’ll be OK. I promise.

Close to midnight, after four hours behind the wheel, she watched the English place names flashing past the Discovery’s headlights surrender to their Welsh cousins: Cyfronydd; Llangadfan; Tal-y-llyn.

No other vehicles shared this night with them. And although Hannah could see little more than what lay directly ahead, she could feel the country growing wilder, opening up around her. The road bucked and twisted, tried to throw them loose. For a time they chased a rushing mountain stream, the fractured diamonds of moonlight on its surface the only clue to its presence. When the road looped, climbing higher, the reflections winked out, lost to the night.

Half a mile from Llyn Gwyr, near the crest of a hill, Hannah slowed the 4×4 to a crawl and turned off its headlights. She inched the vehicle up the final few yards of the slope, to where a clump of ash trees grew. For a moment she watched the silhouette movement of their naked branches.

Hannah switched off the ignition. The sound of the engine had masked the voice of the wind until now. Here, at the summit of the hill, it sang around them, buffeting the car on its springs.

By God, what were you thinking? Did you really believe this place would be safe?

In the passenger seat, Nate roused himself, lifting his head. He squinted out of the window. “What do you see?”

Beyond the trees, the land dropped away below them, receding toward the shore of an almond-shaped lake. Although the moon had draped itself in rainclouds creeping in from the west, a phosphorescence lingered on the water’s surface. The black line of a river, snaking down from the mountains, fed the lake at its westernmost point.

Llyn Gwyr’s farmhouse stood on the lake’s far shore. A steep gravel track, crossing the river at a stone bridge, linked it to the main road.

“I can hardly see a thing from this far away,” she told him. “Not in the dark, anyway.”

“There should be some binoculars in the door well. Check the bridge first. See if it’s clear.”

Hannah found the glasses, raised them to her eyes. Trained them in the direction of the river. She needed a moment to orient herself, and then she found the bridge. Its crumbling stone arch looked barely robust enough to support the weight of their Land Rover.

No debris on the bridge itself, that she could see. Nothing lurking beneath it. No signs of a potential ambush.

“It’s clear.”

“OK, now check the house.” Continue reading ›

0 Comments

Start Reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Jun 04, 2014 in Excerpts

The Silkworm by Robert GalbraithPrivate investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo’s Calling. Read the first two chapters of The Silkworm below, and meet Strike’s new client. The Silkworm goes on sale June 19th, but you can preorder your copy today at your local independent bookstore or online from Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Hastings | iBooks | Target | Walmart

QUESTION
What dost thou feed on?
ANSWER
Broken sleep.
–Thomas Dekker, The Noble Spanish Solder

“Someone bloody famous,” said the hoarse voice on the end of the line, “better’ve died, Strike.”

The large unshaven man tramping through the darkness of pre-dawn, with his telephone clamped to his ear, grinned.

“It’s in that ballpark.”

“It’s six o’clock in the fucking morning!”

“It’s half past, but if you want what I’ve got, you’ll need to come and get it,” said Cormoran Strike. “I’m not far away from your place. There’s a—”

“How d’you know where I live?” demanded the voice.

“You told me,” said Strike, stifling a yawn. “You’re selling your flat.”

“Oh,” said the other, mollified. “Good memory.”

“There’s a twenty-four-hour caff—”

“Fuck that. Come into the office later—”

“Culpepper, I’ve got another client this morning, he pays better than you do and I’ve been up all night. You need this now if you’re going to use it.”

A groan. Strike could hear the rustling of sheets.

“It had better be shit-hot.”

“Smithfield Café on Long Lane,” said Strike and rang off. Continue reading ›

2 Comments

Start Reading SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Jackal

May 13, 2014 in Excerpts, Fiction

SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Jackal by Don Mann with Ralph PezzulloToday Mulholland Books is proud to publish Book 4 in Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo’s SEAL Team Six series, which plunges us into Guadalajara, Mexico, where the lawless streets are ruled by drug cartels. Captain Thomas Crocker and the rest of SEAL Team Six have been sent there to rescue a senator’s wife and daughter from the clutches of The Jackal, a drug lord who may bring to mind El Chapo. But Pezzullo and former Navy SEAL Don Mann remind us that serving one’s country isn’t just about taking down the bad guys—it’s also about facing death and taking responsibility. In this short excerpt from Hunt the Jackal, we meet Crocker at a vulnerable moment.

Pushed by the same wild, relentless energy he’d had since he was a kid, Crocker rode his Harley south, winding through country roads, not really aware of where he was going or why, just enjoying the rural scenery, the sunshine, smells of nature, and fresh air. There was something liberating about being on the open road with no real destination. Edenton, Tarboro, Rocky Mount, Smithfield, Clinton, Whiteville, Marion, Lake City. Towns flew by, schools, churches, golf courses, junkyards filled with rusting cars and buses, lakes.

He was searching for an answer or direction. Was it time to retire, leave the teams, and start something new? Had his string of narrow escapes from tragedy run out?

As he rode, he thought about his mother and father, and the cycle of life and death.

His mother had died of emphysema several years ago, but his father was still alive and living in Fairfax, Virginia. Lately, he’d befriended a thirty-five-year-old Gulf War vet named Carla and her nine-year-old son. According to Crocker’s sister, their dad had been giving Carla money—possibly as
much as twenty thousand dollars so far.

Maybe the old man was lonely and she was taking advantage. Or maybe Carla was a good person and meant to pay him back.

When Crocker was eighteen and constantly in trouble with the police, his father had told him a Cherokee story about a man and his grandson.

The grandfather, seeing that his grandson was being self-destructive, said, “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us. One is evil. It’s jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is good. It’s joy, hope, humility, kindness, and truth.”

The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man replied quietly, “The one you feed.”

For the past twenty-some years, since joining the navy, Crocker had fed the good wolf. But now he could sense the bad wolf’s hunger. It was a big hole at the bottom of his soul carved out by the people he’d killed in the line of duty, and his anger at life’s injustices, and the wrongs that had been visited on the people he loved.

Last night he had stopped in Santee, South Carolina, and eaten blackened catfish for dinner, washed down with several Skull Coast Ales. Later he’d parked near the state park, watched the stars, and reminded himself that even they weren’t immortal. Everything in nature came and went. Stars died and broke up into asteroids. Trees felled in lightning storms rotted into mulch. People died and were consumed by worms. Maybe there was such a thing as reincarnation. He didn’t know.

What he understood was that life went on, mysteriously, hurtling toward something new, like he was now.

Don Mann (CWO3, USN) is the author of the national bestseller Inside SEAL Team Six and the SEAL Team Six series of thrillers and has for the last thirty years been associated with the Navy SEALS as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, advanced training officer, and more recently, program director preparing civilians to go to BUD/s (SEAL Training). Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team Six. Since his retirement, he has deployed to the Middle East on numerous occasions in support of the war on terror. Many of the active duty members of SEAL Team Six are the same guys he taught how to shoot and conduct ship and aircraft takedowns, and trained in urban, arctic, desert, river, and jungle warfare, as well as Close Quarters Battle and Military Operations in Urban Terrain. He has suffered two broken backs, two pulmonary embolisms, and multiple other broken bones in training or service. He has twice survived being captured during operations.

Co-writer Ralph Pezzullo is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning playwright, screenwriter and journalist. His books include Jawbreaker (with CIA operative Gary Berntsen).

0 Comments

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 ›

1 Comment

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 ›

1 Comment

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:

)

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

0 Comments

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 ›

0 Comments

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….

0 Comments

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 ›

0 Comments