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Noir and White

Jan 03, 2011 in Books, Film, Guest Posts

Dialogue Between Mountain and Tree...Noir in Fest, the Italian-based international film and literary mystery festival, has now been going for 20 years. Initially based in Cattolica on the Adriatic and then making a brief sojourn in Viareggio on the Mediterranean (before most of the town hall dignitaries were impeached for fraud, thus cutting off one of the festival’s principal sponsorship strands…this is Italy after all…), the festival moved from summer to winter and to the picturesque ski resort of Courmayeur, in Val d’Aosta in the shadow of Mont Blanc, and has thrived here ever since. Run by Giorgio Gosetti and Marina Fabbri, the festival is both an exciting event and a most convivial place where filmmakers and writers over the past two decades have met, become friends, and enjoyed not just films and conversation but an ever-flowing series of gourmet meals and latter night bar marathons. Without being elitist about it, it’s the equivalent to a certain extent of Bouchercon but without the fans, an occasion for professionals to meet and light a much creative spark.

I have attended all the years of the festival since being invited at the outset as the then British publisher of Jim Thompson, on whom the event focused that initial year, and was thereafter made the British delegate of the festival and supplied films, authors, and recommendations ever since, in addition to using the event as a platform for the launch of my own books when translated into Italian. I was even parachuted onto the film jury in 2002, whereby my fellow jurors elected me to the presidency of said jury in my absence one morning when I was late for breakfast. So consider me rather prejudiced when it comes to singing the praises of Noir in Fest.

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Year End Review: A Conspiracy to Believe

Jan 02, 2011 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.
Anti-helicoidalAs an novelist, the question I’m most often asked actually isn’t where I get my ideas (a shame, as I’ve got a peppy answer to that), but when I’m going to write another book like Only Forward. It happened twice the other night. As this was my first novel, written over a decade and a half ago, I have to fight not to come back with a tetchy “When I work out a way of being twenty-six again, okay?” The question I get asked almost as much, however, is why my work so often features a conspiracy. This is since I’ve been a thriller writer. Before that, when I wrote noir science fiction, I was asked why my novels always revolved around a hidden realm.

They’re the same thing, I eventually realized. And so is the supernatural. And so is crime.

It took me a while to understand this. I tend to write with wide-eyed naivete, blurting what’s in my head rather than trying to promulgate any long-term agenda or plan (short-term plans are ambitious enough: I’m seldom sure what I’m having for lunch). I’ve gotten used to being apologetic for having written in a variety of genres, and for publishing under two names. Only in the last few years have I started to become bullish in declaring that I’ve been writing the same thing all along. I’ve been trying to pull aside the veil, basically, to show there’s another veil right behind—and to keep going through veil after veil, in fact, until I find what I’ve been looking for: the sense of wonder that comes from finally confronting a question that has no answer, and never will.

I’m not claiming this to be a ground-breaking insight. I recall having conversations somewhat along these lines years ago with Ralph, my extraordinary agent, who died a month ago, suddenly and far too young. Ralph Vicinanza was a rare agent (and man) in very many ways, including the profound spiritual faith he had in the power of storytelling. He understood that trying to grasp and celebrate the ineffable was fiction’s fundamental purpose, whatever guise that story took, which is perhaps why he was prepared to be tolerant of me skipping back and forth between genres like some crazed mountain goat with a sugar rush.

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Year End Review: Jess Walter and Thomas Mullen on Character, Crime, Class, and the Whole Genre Thing

Jan 01, 2011 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.

Jess Walter writes about cops and feds, hapless realtors and laid-off journalists, poets and hit men. The protagonists of his three most recent novels are a mob informer living under Witness Protection and obsessed with his new voter registration card (Citizen Vince, winner of the Edgar Award), an NYPD survivor of 9/11 with a memory problem who gets mixed up in a shadowy intelligence organization (The Zero, nominated for the National Book Award), and a struggling journalist-poet who starts dealing pot to save his mortgage (The Financial Lives of the Poets, which was showered with acclaim last fall and was just issued in paperback).

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Year End Review: Why Crime?

Dec 31, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.

The Burning of BooksWhy crime? This is the question most crime writers get asked more than any other. For a long while I couldn’t answer it. Honestly, I had no idea. To start with I didn’t read crime, which is a weird confession to make and one that could see me strung up by my thumbs above a bonfire of copies of The Wreckage, a very combustible read.

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Year End Review: Hey, Sinner Man, Where’d You Go?

Dec 30, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.

You’ve probably heard the song. It’s a spiritual, and it starts out something like this:

Hey sinner man, where you gonna run to?
Hey sinner man, where you gonna run to?
Hey sinner man, where you gonna run to?
All on that day . . .

In the verses that follow, we learn that ol’ Sinner Man has run to the north, the east, the south, and the west, to the rock and to the hill and to any number of other sites, and nowhere can he find a place to hide from divine judgment. Then he runs to the Lord, and that turns out to be the answer.

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Year End Review: Sinking the Titanic

Dec 29, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.
Man with Tommy GunBest interview question I’ve ever been asked: What’s the worst thing your parents think you’ve done? Not actually done, but that they think you’ve done.

My answer: Heroin.

I love doing research. It’s like cheating, but with permission.

Here are some of the things I have done in the name of Research: learned to ride a motorcycle; became a certified EMT for both New York State and Monterey County, California; had my sneakers stick to the floor in a peep-show booth back when Times Square was not a place where you took the kids; drunk tea with nuns; crawled through the Portland Shanghai Tunnels; watched a domme flog her sub in an S&M club while he hung on a St. Andrew’s Cross; visited the Oregon State Police Crime Lab; learned to play

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Year End Review: Thank You For Smoking

Dec 28, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

It has often been said by crime writers (this one included) that the community of mystery writers is uniquely clubbable, and, while there are one or two crime writers of whom I would use that word in the same way it is applied to baby seals, I think that, generally speaking, this description is true. It may be, of course, given that one or two crime writers are rather fond of a drink, that this reputation owes more than a little to alcohol. When a legend of the crime-writing community throws his arms around a relative newcomer and says, “I love you. I love your books. You’re my best friend!” it’s easy enough for the newcomer to believe all she has heard about what a warm and welcoming bunch mystery writers are and overlook the twelve beers and the bottle of tequila that the legend has poured down his throat.

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Year End Review: This Land is Noir Land

Dec 27, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

This week, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.

The Devil's HighwayI’ve always wanted to drive cross-country. Would have done it in college, except for two small things: (a) no car, and (b) no money.

But now that I own a motor vehicle (granted, a minivan) and have a little more folding green, I decided to take my family on a cross-country drive this past summer. We spent twelve days trekking from Philly to the Pacific Ocean, stopping at whatever caught our eye.

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Christmas eBooks: It’s no mystery what you should read next

Dec 25, 2010 in eBooks

Merry Christmas, Mystery Readers! If you got an eReader under the tree today, we’re here to recommend have some excellent Little, Brown thrillers that will keep you clicking at a furious pace (because that’s how you turn pages now. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it).

The Reversal by Michael Connelly
The Reversal, Connelly’s new novel, might be his best: a crackling-good read, smart and emotionally satisfying. It manages to condense decades of time and reams of information into a compelling narrative that adeptly explores various elements of L.A.’s own version of what passes as a criminal justice system.”
— Jonathan Shapiro, Los Angeles Times
BooksonBoard | Diesel | eBooks.com | iBook |Kindle | Kobo | Sony | Nook | Powells |
Pre-order The Fifth Witness for your Kindle app or reader, it will be automatically delivered to your device in April 2011.

Exit Music by Ian Rankin
“This has been one of the best police procedural series ever written.” -Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
BooksonBoard | Diesel | eBooks.com | iBook | Kindle | Kobo | Sony | Nook | Powells |
Love Ian Rankin? Stock up! This week only, Resurrection Men is available for the low price of $2.99 wherever eBooks are sold.
Pre-order The Complaints for your Kindle app or reader, it will be automatically delivered to your device in March 2011.

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta
“A chilling supernatural tale. . . . Michael Koryta’s novel is being compared to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub. He lives up to the comparison in this dark novel.” — Carol Memmott, USA Today
BooksonBoard | Diesel | eBooks.com | iBook | Kindle | Kobo | Sony | Nook | Powells |
Pre-order The Cypress House for your Kindle app or reader, it will be automatically delivered to your device in January 2011.

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
“As a reader, I was charmed. As a novelist, I was staggered by Atkinson’s narrative wizardry.” -Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
BooksonBoard | Diesel | eBooks.com | iBook | Kindle | Kobo | Sony | Nook | Powells |
Love Kate Atkinson? Stock up! This week only, Case Histories is available for the low price of $4.99 wherever eBooks are sold.
Pre-order Started Early, Took My Dog for your Kindle app or reader, it will be automatically delivered to your device in February 2011.

Visit the Little, Brown website, Facebook page and Twitter account for more reading suggestions. Happy Holidays!

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Year End Review: How Much Ozarks Is In Me?

Dec 23, 2010 in Guest Posts, Year End Review

Over the next few days, we’ll be re-featuring our favorite posts by forthcoming Mulholland authors. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting in January 2011.

Two hours before beginning this essay we had yet another encounter with residents of the meth house on the corner, our nearest neighbor to the west. The lead male over there is a cutter, dozens of little slashes have made risen scars on his arms. He has a ponytail, is known well by all cops in town, and never wears a shirt. He accused us of “eyeballing” him as we passed his house, something we have no choice but to do many times a day. The derelict shack has in the past been home to sex criminals, rapists, and pedophiles, other meth users, and some criminals who would have to be called general practitioners—whatever crime looks easiest tonight is what they will be arrested for tomorrow. Meth-heads are the worst to deal with. They are unpredictable and frequently violent after they’ve been sleepless for a few days. We are dedicated to minding our own business about most things, legal or not so much, but cooking meth releases toxins and is a peril to the whole neighborhood. A decade ago there were several houses much like this operating nearby, but they’ve been weeded down to this, the last one, and these tweakers should start packing.

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