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Robert Galbraith Returns with The Silkworm

Feb 18, 2014 in Books, Mulholland News

Silkworm by Robert GalbraithMulholland Books is pleased to announce that The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith will be published on June 24.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

Praise for the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling

“Robert Galbraith has written a highly entertaining book….Even better, he has introduced an appealing protagonist in Strike, who’s sure to be the star of many sequels to come….Its narrative moves forward with propulsive suspense. More important, Strike and his now-permanent assistant, Robin (playing Nora to his Nick, Salander to his Blomkvist), have become a team—a team whose further adventures the reader cannot help eagerly awaiting.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Rowling’s literary gift is on display in this work. She crafts an entertaining story with characters who hold the reader’s interest, and comes up with an ending that, I’ll admit, I was surprised by.” —Deepti Hajela, Associated Press

“The master is back.” —Charles Finch, USA Today

“Rowling switches genres seamlessly, telling a gritty, absorbing tale.” —Ellen Shapiro, People

The Cuckoo’s Calling is decidedly old-fashioned. Rowling serves up a sushi platter of red herring, sprinkling clues along the way, before Strike draws a confession out of the killer in a climax straight out of Agatha Christie.” —Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

“One of the great pleasures of The Cuckoo’s Calling, as with most detective stories, is observing the gumshoe’s Aha! moments, without being told what they are….Money and general fabulousness do for The Cuckoo’s Calling what magic did for Harry Potter, creating an extravagant, alien, fascinating world for its characters to explore….The Cuckoo’s Calling is fun.” —Katy Waldman, Slate

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What Tozer Plays: A Playlist from She’s Leaving Home by William Shaw

Feb 13, 2014 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Music, Uncategorized

She's Leaving Home by William Shaw

London, 1968: the time and place evoke strong sense memories, but in William Shaw’s new novel, not everything is swinging. The police are called to a residential street in St. John’s Wood where an unidentified young woman has been murdered. Detective Cathal Breen and policewoman Helen Tozer, two investigators on opposite sides of a generational divide, must work together to solve the case. Shaw describes what WPC Tozer would listen to in his note below.

Police culture was very different in 1968. A lot of this was to do with the fact that the police lived communally, in police flats or section houses.

WPC Tozer lives in Pembridge House, the Women’s Section House just off the Bayswater Road. She shares a room with another policewoman. They squabble over what records they put on. Her roommate likes Cliff Richard and Engelbert Humperdink. She like The Beatles, but doesn’t think much of The White Album.

When she’s alone, this is what Tozer plays. You can listen to some of these songs through the Spotify player above.

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William Shaw Introduces She’s Leaving Home

Feb 11, 2014 in Books, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Writing

She's Leaving Home by William ShawThere is a point on any project when you know it’s going to work.

When my agent asked me, in the politest possible way, never to send him another piece of fiction again, I understood. He was trying to be kind. Stop wasting the long months it takes to write a book.

To be fair to him, I had never been convinced that either of the manuscripts I’d handed to him had worked either. He had done his utmost but enough was enough.

I was quite relieved to find that in spite of his advice, I couldn’t stop writing.

And when I found myself writing a scene in which one of the Apple Scruffs, the young fans who hung around The Beatles in 1968-9 was found dead in an alleyway, close to EMI’s soon-to-be-famous Abbey Road studios I remember having this peculiar feeling; “I have no idea where this is going but I know this is going to work.”

That turned out to be the first chapter of my 1968 crime novel, She’s Leaving Home.

Part of it was discovering the right form. I am a huge fan of the 60s and 70s thriller writer Nicholas Freeling and novels like Love in Amsterdam and Guns Before Butter. With the massively growing popularity of European noir, I think it’s well worth revisiting his work; set in Holland, it has a remarkable sense of time and place. They are novels which immerse you in the culture of northern Europe, its food and in all its social spikiness.

“The past,” L P Hartley famously says at the start of The Go Between, “is another country.” What if I wrote about 1968 as if it was another country? In many ways it is. Our image of 1968 may be all tie-dyes and acid but the truth is that 45 years ago, Britain was a very different place. It’s not just different from Britain in 2013; it’s different from how we imagine 1968 to have been.

I realised that the book would work if I regarded it as much as crime fiction as a cultural fiction—attempting to tread in Freeling’s footsteps. This was a Britain which was being overtaken by a tidal wave of pop culture that pitched one generation against the other. People like my parents were from a generation that struggled with the idea of pop music.

For all the supposed radicalism of the Vietnam marches and the Paris uprisings, 1968 was a man’s world of jobs for life, Sunday dinners and limited pub opening times. This was an unrecognisably racist country in which Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech struck a chord with the majority of British people. Feminism had yet to arrive. There were policewomen like my character WPC Tozer, but they were allowed to do only a fraction of what a modern WPC is allowed to do. The pill was available, but in the 60s the idea of free love was a man’s fantasy come true rather than a liberation for women.

And then there was Biafra. A forgotten largely war but one which, by 1968, had turned into one that was incredibly violent. This was territory I knew about because my own family had lived in Nigeria and had had to leave the country in 1966 as the upheavals began and had returned there in 1970 after the bloodletting and mass starvation had subsided.

What if some of the ripples of that war had spilled over into the London of Carnaby Street and Abbey Road studios?

So I ignored my (former) agent’s kind advice and carried on. And was thrilled when, over a year later, my new agent called me up to say that Mulholland Books thought it worked too. And they wanted the first three books in the series, a narrative arc that takes WPC Tozer and her superior DS Breen into the even more uneven year of 1969.

She’s Leaving Home arrives in bookstores today! This essay is adapated from Crime Time—many thanks to them for letting us re-run the piece.

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The Lineup: Weekly Links

Jan 31, 2014 in Books, Mulholland Authors, Weekly links

Contrasted ConfinementC.J. Sansom‘s DOMINION hit bookshelves all across the country this week! A highly acclaimed, #1 internationally bestselling alternative history thriller of what might have been had Churchill never become Prime Minister, Sansom’s newest has popped up all sorts of places in the past few days.

Stephen King kicked things off with a pair of earnest and enthusiastic tweets on the book, calling Sansom’s novel a “great alternate history-thriller…check it out…and no, this isn’t one of those publisher-sponsored blurbs. I just fell in love with it.”

(King isn’t the first author to enthusiastically endorse DOMINION–Kate Atkinson declared Sansom “one of [her] favorite writers” and praised DOMINION in particular as “a wonderful example of what the novel can do–a through-the-looking-glass glimpse into a world that might have been, and almost was.” And Charles Cumming, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six and A Foreign Country, proclaimed DOMINION “Dazzling…the best novel of its kind since Robert Harris’s Fatherland.”)

Elsewhere this week, the Huffington Post included DOMINION in a list of Ten Ways Not to Watch the Superbowl. (Nothing wrong with picking up the novel either way!) And Kirkus ran Clayton Moore’s very insightful and thorough feature and interview with Sansom about the book, writing alternative history, and Sansom’s inspirations and process building the novel’s world and complex characters.

Looking for more review coverage? Be sure to check out the Seattle Times review by Adam Woog, high praise from earlier in the year from trades like Library Journal (“Intriguing, page-turning and delicious”),  and Kirkus (“All too real”). Not to mention the laudatory reviews from across the pond from the likes of The Guardian, The Independent, and The Times.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more DOMINION news in the weeks to come!

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.

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C.J. Sansom on the Dangers of Nationalism

Jan 29, 2014 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Dominion by C.J. SansomDominion, C.J. Sansom’s magisterial new novel, hinges on a big what-if: What if Winston Churchill had never become Prime Minister in 1940? What if a coalition government, headed by Lord Halifax, were to choose a policy of appeasement toward the strengthening Nazi party, instead of one of opposition? But Sansom’s novel isn’t just about World War II and what might have been; it also asks a big what-if of contemporary politics: what if we became obsessed with nationhood? What happens when a country becomes so consumed by its myth of selfhood that it forgets its own people? Sansom elaborates on this idea in the historical note that concludes Dominion—which has been updated since its 2012 publication in the UK. Below is an excerpt from the original historical note, and we leave it to you to read the US edition of Dominion to find out what, if anything, has changed.

I find it heartbreaking — literally heartbreaking — that my own country, Britain, which was less prone to domestic nationalist extremism between the wars than most, is increasingly falling victim to the ideologies of nationalist parties. The larger ones are not racialist, but they share the belief that national identity is the issue of fundamental, overriding importance in politics; it is the atavistic notion that nationhood can, somehow, allow people to bound free from the oppression — nationalism always defines itself against some enemy “other” — and solve all their problems. UKIP promises a future that will somehow be miraculously golden if Britain simply walks away from the European Union. (To what? To trade with whom?) At least they have the honesty to be clear that they envisage a particular type of political economy, based on that other modern dogma which has failed so often and disastrously, not least in Russia, that “pure” free markets can end economic problems.

Far larger, and more dangerous, is the threat to all of Britain posed by the Scottish National Party, which now sits in power in the devolved government in Edinburgh. As they always have been, the SNP are a party without politics in the conventional sense, willing to tack to the political right (as the 1970s) or the left (as in the 1980s and 1990s) or the center (as today) if they think it will help them win independence. They will promise anything to anyone in their pursuit of power. They are very shrewd political manipulators. In power, they present themselves as competent, progressive democrats (which many are) but behind that, as always, lies the appeal to the mystic glories of independence, which is what the party has always been for. Once ruling an independent state, they will not easily be dislodged. How people who regard themselves as progressive can support a party whose biggest backers include the right-wing Souter family who own Stagecoach, and Rupert Murdoch, escapes me completely. Like all who think they will be able to ride a nationalist tiger, they will find themselves sadly mistaken. Continue reading ›

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Start Reading Dominion by C.J. Sansom

Jan 28, 2014 in Excerpts

Dominion by C.J. SansomToday we welcome C.J. Sansom’s alternative history thriller, Dominion, to our shores. Already an international bestseller, Dominion asks us to follow in the footsteps of a few intrepid men and women as they navigate a dangerous “world that might have been, and almost was” (Kate Atkinson). Read on for the prologue, which takes us into the Cabinet Room of 10 Downing Street at a crucial hour.

“The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him all Europe may be free, and the life of the world will move forward into broad, sunlit uplands; but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more prolonged, by the lights of a perverted science.”

—WINSTON CHURCHILL, 18 JUNE 1940

All events that take place after 5:00 p.m. on 9 May 1940 are imaginary.

Prologue

The Cabinet Room, 10 Downing Street, London
4.30 p.m., 9 May 1940

Churchill was last to arrive. He knocked once, sharply, and entered. Through the tall windows the warm spring day was fading, shadows lengthening on Horse Guards Parade. Margesson, the Conservative Chief Whip, sat with Prime Minister Chamberlain and Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax at the far end of the long, coffin-shaped table which dominated the Cabinet room. As Churchill approached them Margesson, formally dressed as ever in immaculate black morning coat, stood up.

“Winston.”

Churchill nodded at the Chief Whip, looking him sternly in the eye. Margesson, who was Chamberlain’s creature, had made life difficult for him when he had stood out against party policy over India and Germany in the years before the war. He turned to Chamberlain and Halifax, the Prime Minister’s right-hand man in the government’s appeasement of Germany. “Neville. Edward.” Both men looked bad; no sign today of the habitual half-sneer, nor of the snappy arrogance which had alienated Chamberlain’s House of Commons during yesterday’s debate over the military defeat in Norway. Ninety Conservatives had voted with the Opposition or abstained; Chamberlain had left the chamber followed by shouts of “Go!” The Prime Minister’s eyes were red from lack of sleep or perhaps even tears — though it was hard to imagine Neville Chamberlain weeping. Last night the word around a feverish House of Commons was that his leadership could not survive. Continue reading ›

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The Film Adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s Cold In July Takes Sundance By Storm!

Jan 23, 2014 in Film, Mulholland Authors

Cold in July film

Calling it “dank and sweaty and fabulous,” Twitch reviews Cold In July, directed by Jim Mickle (Stake Land, We Are What We Are) and starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson. The way the film is described can also be applied to Joe Lansdale’s writing: “dark, grim, all-too-real, refusing to stay within a predictable path.” Please join us in congratulating Joe as Cold In July is positioned to be one of the most buzzed-about films at the Sundance Film Festival.

And when can plebes like us watch the movie? Cold In July was just snapped up by IFC Films for nationwide distribution, and they’re expecting to release the film theatrically and on Video On Demand this summer. Read the full press release on Deadline.

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Nicholas Mennuti’s 11 Best Film Scores of 2013

Jan 13, 2014 in Film, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Weaponized by Nicholas Mennuti with David GuggenheimNicholas Mennuti, one of the authors of Weaponized, is a true cineaste. In this post, written at the end of 2013, he shares with us his favorite film scores of the year. You can stream these scores as a playlist via the Spotify widget below.

There’s still a few scores I’ve been waiting to get my hands on: Roque Banos’s Oldboy, Arcade Fire’s Her, Danny Elfman’s Unknown Known, and Explosions in the Sky and Steve Jablonsky’s work on Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, so I hate to make this list without hearing them—because judging from the composers’ prior work, I’m sure one of them would have made it—however, December is winding down and being cursed with a sense of impending time comparable only to a Italian railroad official, I wanted to get my thoughts down on film scoring in 2013.

I’ve been told by those “in the know” that lists of ten are so common they tend to get passed over by search engines, so here are the 11 best film scores of 2013.

CLIFF MARTINEZ – ONLY GOD FORGIVES

It’s hard to justify one’s love for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive follow-up, Only God Forgives, without dropping caveats up front—yes, it sure is excessive and slow; luckily, you don’t have to do the same for Cliff Martinez’s score.

Refn and Martinez both hit it big with Drive, which relied as much on songs from Johnny Jewel’s “Italians Do It Better” label—as it did Martinez’s score—to back a meticulously executed, but seriously derivative film that at times felt like a cryogenically frozen fetish object.

Only God Forgives is Martinez’s solo show and this film—which has been compared to a vomitorium—is the furthest thing from derivative, excepting a few discreet borrowings from The Grifters. Refn has seemingly invented his own genre this time around; if not invented, then thrown so many together, from Leone and Jodorowsky to Hitchcock, that Martinez gets the opportunity to put his unique stamp on five different film scoring standards.

With tracks like “Sister Part 1” Martinez evokes his traditional eerily moving ambient sound that he’s patented during his years with Steven Soderbegh. In tracks like “Chang and Sword,” he creates a soundscape with twanging guitars and long plucks that sounds like electro-Morricone, or a Spaghetti Western unfolding on the banks of the River Styx. With “Mai Quits Masturbating”, we’re almost in Bernard Herrmann territory, with anxious, mournful strings providing a sonic analogue to distorted sexuality. With “Wanna Fight” we enter something akin to John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” with an Asian flair. However, the most stunning to my ears was Martinez’s descent into what can only be called Thai Hell, which consists of Mike Oldfield pianos, gongs, chimes, shrieking strings, and an avant-garde rumble—almost Pendericki—that truly sounds like sulfur spitting or tectonic plates shifting.

Whether or not you think Refn’s film will endure—I tend to think it will—I have no doubt that Martinez’s score will.

THOMAS NEWMAN – SIDE EFFECTS

The penultimate film in Steven Soderbergh’s mad pre-retirement dash (including Contagion, Haywire, Magic Mike, and Behind the Candelabra) was this unjustly overlooked thriller that takes place in the nebulous world of healthcare kept afloat on big Pharma money. It’s the type of movie that rarely escapes from Hollywood these days: mid-budget, actor-driven, provocative without being preachy, and R-rated for all the right reasons. And it’s the type of film Soderbergh tends to do best: rigorous formal control (bordering on icy) with a burning center.

Soderbergh has a stable of composers and tends to dole out scoring duties depending on the genre, illustrated in the brief breakdown below:

Cliff Martinez: Has been with Soderbergh from the beginning (1989’s Sex Lies and Videotape) and tends to be his stylistic soul mate. They both employ a hypnotic ambient arsenal of texture, misdirection, and tonal ambiguity. In fact, I’m shocked Martinez didn’t get the Side Effects job, but I’m going to bet it had to something to do with the fact that he already had three movies lined up to score this year.

David Holmes: Generally gets the job within the crime/thriller genre when Soderbergh wants a funkier, lighter, 70′s Schifrin-esque vibe to complement his Pop-Art visuals.

Alberto Iglesias, Marvin Hamlisch: The biopic composers. Both superlative talents brought in for Che, The Informant, and Behind the Candelabra respectively, and finally,

Thomas Newman: Tends to get Soderbergh’s—for lack of a better word—“prestige” projects: Erin Brockovich, The Good German, and Side Effects. Newman—more than any composer today, I think (outside maybe James Newton Howard), is a master of giving the director what they need musically to tie a film together. In fact, Newman’s music is so good that in some cases he can literally create the illusion of continuity and sense (see The Adjustment Bureau for example) where none exists.

Side Effects didn’t need his sonic glue to hold it together—Soderbergh’s craft has never been better—but let me allow the late Roger Ebert to say exactly what Newman’s spell-binding and spine-tingling music brings to the project, because I can’t put it any better:

The music tells us what kind of movie Side Effects is going to be. It coils beneath what seems like a realistic plot and whispers that something haunted and possessed is going on. Imagine music for a sorcery-related plot and then dial it down to ominous forebodings. Without Thomas Newman’s score, Side Effects would be a lesser film, even another film.

Continue reading ›

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Reason #356 to Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Jan 08, 2014 in Mulholland News

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Murder in a Strange Land: Books that Blend Science Fiction and Crime Fiction

Jan 07, 2014 in Fiction, Guest Posts

Our favorite books are the ones that surprise us, either by deviating from the clichés of crime fiction, reclaiming those motifs in fresh new ways, or blurring the boundary between genres. Thomas Sweterlisch—whose terrific debut scifi-noir novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow, will be published in July—shares with us a list of a dozen books that bridge the gap between science fiction and crime fiction.

Crime writers have perfected the art of fusing the mechanics of plot to explorations of the human condition, so it comes as no surprise that crime and mystery novels often serve as the primary influence for some of the greatest science fiction writing.  Narrowing down a list of novels that blend science fiction with mystery writing is difficult—so, please, if I’ve left out a great book, let me know!—but here is a list of twelve of my favorites:

The City and The City by China Miéville

The City and The City by China Miéville

A young woman’s corpse is found in a rubbish-strewn skate park near the docks of a city called Besźel.  he senior detective on scene is Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad, but what begins as an investigation into this woman’s death escalates into an international conspiracy involving Besźel’s neighboring city, Ul Qoma—two cities separated by fierce political and cultural differences. Or are they, in fact, the same city? Miéville’s brilliant procedural is set in this labyrinthine world of overlapping cities, lending a Borgesian complexity to a story of crime and conspiracy.

Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

Early in his career, Jonathan Lethem wrote genre-bending science fiction that was as equally bleak as it was comic. “Gun, with Occasional Music” torques Chandleresque P.I. fiction into a future California where Conrad Metcalf tracks the wife of a doctor who soon turns up dead—a classic set up for a private eye. Metcalf is forced to negotiate government-sponsored mind control, tracking his own “karma points” and dealing with highly evolved animals that can walk and talk, including a kangaroo hit man—problems Marlowe never had to deal with.

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems by Karyna McGlynn

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems by Karyna McGlynn

One of the most compelling collections of poetry I’ve ever read, this book has haunted my imagination for quite some time. These poems distill the essence of noir and the mind-bending sense of fragmented identity of the best time travel narratives. Highly recommended.   

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq

Houellebecq is among the most challenging and brilliant writers of our time—many of his works use science fiction tropes to explore sexuality, religion, science and death. The Map and the Territory is Houellebecq’s most accessible book, an examination of visual art told through the story of Jed Martin, a world-famous painter preparing for a show of new works. Although this book is neither science fiction nor a mystery novel per se, it uses elements of both—a near future setting that speculates on art’s role in our current and future society, and the investigation of a startling and gruesome murder that drives the book to its conclusion. Continue reading ›

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