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Start Reading Marcia Clark’s Killer Ambition

Jun 18, 2013 in Excerpts, Mulholland Authors

Marcia Clark’s third Rachel Knight novel KILLER AMBITION is now on sale in bookstores everywhere! Read on for an excerpt in the novel which the Hartford Books Examiner calls “the best entry yet in a young but exceptionally strong series”  and which caused Booklist to declare, in a starred review:”Legal thrillers don’t get much better than this.”

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Bailey got off the 405 freeway and headed east on Sunset Boulevard. I was about to ask where we were going when she turned onto Bellagio Road—which led to the heart of Bel Air. If I were a billionaire director I’d live there too.

Bel Air is in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, and it’s the highest of the three legs known as the Platinum Triangle—the other two being Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills. The most expensive homes in the world occupy real estate in that wedge of land, and most of those homes are in Bel Air. The biggest and most lavish are usually closest to Sunset Boulevard, but you’d never know that, because massive trees and dense shrubbery hide all but the gated entries, and even those gates are tough to find, hidden as some are by deliberately overgrown leafy climbers.

Which explains why Bailey was frowning and muttering to herself as she scanned the road for house numbers. But when we reached Bel Air Country Club, she made a U-turn and pulled over. “Do me a favor and look for this number. The navigation says we’re there, but I don’t see a damn thing.” She handed me a scrap of paper with an address and headed back down the road. One minute later I told her to stop and peered closely at a set of massive black iron gates that were almost completely obscured by towering elm and cypress trees. The tops of the gates met in an arc, and there in the apex, woven into the iron scrollwork, was the number.

“This is it.” If I hadn’t been parked in front of it and looking hard, I’d never have seen it.

I pointed out a discreet black metal box mounted on an arm in the brick wall and Bailey pushed the button. A voice that sounded like a British butler’s said, “Yes?” Bailey identified us, and he told us to hold out our badges. I couldn’t see any cameras, but I didn’t imagine he’d have asked us to do that just for giggles, so I held them outside the window, not sure where to aim them. After a couple of seconds the gates swung open, and Bailey steered up the brick-lined road.

Los Angeles has some of the most outrageously opulent manses in the country and Bailey and I had seen our share over the years, but nothing compared to this. The road opened to a bricked-in area that was the size of half a football field, in the middle of which was a massive Italian Renaissance–style fountain, complete with cherubs’ and lions’ heads that spewed water. Towering over the grounds was a palatial two-story Tudor-style house all in that same matching brick. It was tastefully covered in ivy that obediently climbed where it best accented the archways and latticed windows and formed a large L around the perimeter of the front area. Judging just by what I could see from the outside, that “house” was at least thirty-five thousand square feet if it was an inch.

Bailey parked and we both stepped out of the car and took in the view.

“Damn,” said Bailey under her breath.

“A quaint little ‘starter.’”

By the time we’d made it up to the arched brick entry, the door was open and a slender man in his fifties, with thinning hair combed neatly back and dressed in a cardigan and dark slacks, beckoned us in.

“Right this way, please.” Continue reading ›

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Lauren Beukes’s Top 10 Movies About Serial Killers

Jun 14, 2013 in Film, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesLauren Beukes is the author of The Shining Girls, a novel about a time-traveling serial killer…who’s being stalked by his sole survivor. The genre-bending thriller has earned raves from Entertainment Weekly, who calls it “a heart-thumping tale,” and The New York Times, who deems it a “strong contender for the role of this summer’s universal beach read.” Below is Beukes’s Top 10 list of movies about serial killers. How many have you seen?

1. The Silence of the Lambs

2. Se7en

3. Zodiac

Continue reading ›

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Lauren Beukes’s Film and TV Inspirations

Jun 07, 2013 in Film, Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Television, Uncategorized

The Shining Girls is a mash-up of a thing: part serial killer thriller, part old-fashioned romantic buddy caper, part time-travel twister. The TV shows and movies that had a major influence on me generally, which I think played into the writing of this book, are:

Memento for its twisty out-of-order storytelling

Memento

True Grit for a young bolshy heroine set on justice

Continue reading ›

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Canceling “Dead Pig Collector” by Warren Ellis

Jun 06, 2013 in eBooks, Mulholland News, Short Stories

It is with regret that we announce that we’re canceling our publication of Warren Ellis’s digital short story, “Dead Pig Collector.” We were and continue to be very excited about the story—it’s brilliant, savage, and funny, and we hope you will have the opportunity to read it soon. However, we will not be coordinating its release with Mr. Ellis.

To the readers who have already preordered “Dead Pig Collector,” please accept our apologies for this cancellation. The vendor with which you placed your order will reverse the transaction.

Keep an eye on Warren Ellis’s many online platforms for developments about the story’s release. We wish Mr. Ellis the best on his future projects.

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Rogue Review: Angel Baby by Richard Lange

Jun 05, 2013 in Guest Posts

Today we welcome Ro Cuzon, a contributor for The Rogue Reader, as he reviews Richard Lange’s critically acclaimed new novel, Angel Baby.
Angel Baby by Richard Lange
There may be more talented crime fiction authors working today than at any time in history, and I enjoy reading the great varieties of books they produce. Much too rarely, though, do I stumble upon that novel which seems to have been written especially for me. Stories where Voice, Character, Plot, and Setting, all combine to create a perfect, elating cocktail that instantly catapults me to the white-hot center of the narrative, messing with my mind and body as if I was personally involved in the events on the page, triggering heart palpitations, dry mouth, clammy hands, etc.

These novels all tend to be about criminals or people who have committed a crime (there’s a difference, I think), and the intensity of my reactions to their protagonists’ predicaments is always directly related to one thing: the degree of realism that the authors bring to their stories.

Enter Angel Baby by Richard Lange.

The novel opens with Luz, a beautiful Mexican young woman running away from her husband Ronaldo, a powerful and sadistic Tijuana narco known as El Principe. Her plan: cross the border and reunite with her daughter Isabel whom she left behind three years earlier. She crosses paths with Kevin Malone, an alcoholic drifter from San Diego with a tragic past, and together they set out for the border.

After learning of Luz’s escape, El Principe sics one of his most ruthless enforcers on his runaway wife. Jerónimo Cruz, aka El Apache, was planning to go straight and take care of his family once he got out of prison—that is, until El Principe pulls him out and orders him to bring Luz back, making him an offer he can’t refuse. Meanwhile, Thacker, a crooked Border Patrol agent, gets wind of the cash Luz is carrying and wants to steal it from her.

Angel Baby is a straightforward chase story, masterfully executed and beautifully written. It’s the complexity of each character, however, and Lange’s empathy for each of them (even the most depraved), that makes the novel such a unique read, pushing and pulling you in all directions. You root for Luz to be reunited with Isabel, of course, but also, maddeningly, for Jerónimo to catch her, because the alternative for him is simply too horrible to contemplate.

Many Mystery/Thriller/Noir authors’ insights into crime come from other books and movies of the genre, as well as news events and research on the Internet or at the library. And there’s nothing wrong with that. God knows writing is hard and time-consuming enough without having to risk one’s life going on a nature walk across gang territory to scope out a drug corner just to get it right on the page. But we are talking about crime here, so there is something to be said about the value of firsthand interaction with (or at least observation of) certain people and settings, and what the thrill or fear associated with that lifestyle can do for one’s writing.

I was never a violent criminal but I did spend the first half of my adult life gravitating toward trouble and the type of people who caused it. This shaped both the way I write today and the way I read, especially crime fiction. I didn’t know anything about Richard Lange when I opened Angel Baby but his true-to-life writing was instantly familiar to me, as was his vivid portrait of the seedier side of the world we live in, evoked with the dead-on ease of Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Richard Price, or George Pelecanos.

While Lange may not have actually served time in Tijuana’s La Mesa—he is a recipient of a Guggenhein Fellowship, after all—he has most definitely roamed the gritty streets of Compton and felt the grimy TJ sun beating down on his back, and interacted with gang members and illegal immigrants alike. His keen observations of Southern California’s have-nots on both sides of the border, combined with a complete understanding of his characters’ motivations, make Angel Baby as brutal and real a novel as you will read this year, a fantastically paced page-turner with prose that both sings and cuts.

Ro CuzonNamed by George Pelecanos as a “rising stars of the new generation of noir novelists,” Ro Cuzon is the author of Under the Dixie Moon, a Library Journal Staff Pick for Best of 2012, and Under the Carib Sun. His third book in the Adel Destin crime series, Crescent City Stomp, will be published later this year by The Rogue Reader. He lives and writes in New Orleans.

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Lauren Beukes’s Writing Music

Jun 04, 2013 in Guest Posts, Music

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

It’s publication day for The Shining Girls, and after you tear through Lauren Beukes’s genre- and time-bending thriller, you might ask yourself, How did she do that? We’ll leave the full explanation to Beukes—it involves “murder walls” and a mind-boggling amount of research—but we can share the music that propelled her writing. Below, she tells us what she listened to while writing The Shining Girls. You can listen to some of these songs through the Spotify player above.

Working with words means I can’t listen to music that has words. I like up-tempo electronica with a dark, lush verve and the capacity to surprise you. Nothing too glitchy or doef-doef or monotonously predictable. These are albums rather than individual songs and I know I’ve left off a whole bunch, not least because Pandora isn’t available in South Africa, so I’m stuck with the albums I’ve bought. These were the ones that were on heaviest rotation while I was writing the book.

  • Amon Tobin: Foley Room
  • Markus Wormstorm: Not I, But A Friend (by my friend Markus Wormstorm)
  • The Parlour Trick: A Blessed Unrest (by my friend Meredith Yayanos)
  • Aperture Science: Portal 2 Soundtrack
  • The Chemical Brothers: Hanna Soundtrack
  • Haezer: Yazi
  • Massive Attack: 100th Window
  • The Real Estate Agents: 1
  • Sibot: In With The Old

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The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes to be Adapted for TV by MRC and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way

Jun 03, 2013 in Mulholland News, Television

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesMulholland Books is thrilled to announce that MRC (House of Cards) and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way will team up to adapt Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls for TV. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, “The project marks a rare but splashy foray into TV for Appian, which previously made the environmental reality show Greensburg.” The Shining Girls, a stunning thriller about a time-traveling serial killer, is garnering remarkable praise as this summer’s must-read book, and it is the third novel from South African writer Lauren Beukes. Julian Friedmann at Blake Friedmann and Michael Prevett at the Gotham Group negotiated the deal.

Mulholland Books will publish The Shining Girls in the U.S. tomorrow, Tuesday, June 4, but critics around the world have already emphatically praised the book: the New York Times’s Janet Maslin calls it an “expert hair-raiser” and a “strong contender for this summer’s universal beach read,” and the New York Post says The Shining Girls “has got everyone
talking…and some say it’s this summer’s answer to last year’s mega-hit Gone Girl.” The book is already a London Times Top Ten Bestseller.

Josh Kendall, Editorial Director of Mulholland, said, “I haven’t been this excited about a thriller since first reading The Silence of the Lambs or dazzled by an author’s feel for character and plot since first reading Margaret Atwood. The Shining Girls reimagines what great commercial fiction can do.”

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As I Lay Dying

May 16, 2013 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Angel Baby by Richard Lange
A number of characters die in my new novel, Angel Baby. Ooops! Was that a spoiler? Well, it’ll be the last one, I promise.

Anyway, from the beginning I knew that I wanted one particular death in the book to stand out, to resonate, to hurt. For inspiration, I returned to a few literary “last moments” that had moved me over the years.

Savage Night by Jim ThompsonSavage Night by Jim Thompson
Probably my favorite Thompson novel. The final chapters are particularly hair-raising and, at the same time, heart-rending.

The darkness and myself. Everything else was gone. And the little that was left of me was going, faster and faster.

I began to crawl. I crawled and rolled and inched my way along; and I missed it the first time – the place I was looking for.

I circled the room twice before I found it, and there was hardly any of me then but it was enough. I crawled up over the pile of bottles, and went crashing down the other side.

And she was there, of course.

Death was there.

Warlock by Oakley HallWarlock by Oakley Hall
A “literary Western,” if you’re one of those who must label. I think it’s just a great damn book, period, and Tom Morgan’s last gasp is one of the reasons why.

He fell forward into the dust. It received him gently. One arm felt a little cramped, and he managed to move it out from under his body. In his eyes there was only dust, which was soft, and strangely wet beneath him. ‘Tom!’ He heard it dimly. ‘Tom!’ He felt a hand upon his back. It caught his shoulder and tried to turn him, Kate’s hand, and he heard Kate sobbing through the swell of a vast singing in his ears. He tried to speak to her, but he choked on blood. The dust pulled him away, and he sank through it gratefully; still he could laugh, but now he could weep as well. Continue reading ›

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You Are Here: Mapping Richard Lange’s Angel Baby

May 15, 2013 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Uncategorized

In my new novel, Angel Baby, Luz, the beautiful, young wife of a Mexican drug lord, makes a mad dash for freedom that takes her from Tijuana, Mexico to Compton, CA. The story unfolds in actual locations, and I’ve called out some of the more interesting sites on the map below. Body armor recommended if you’re visiting some of them.

(Tip: Zoom out on the map to view the pins. Click on the pins for Lange’s descriptions.)


View Richard Lange’s Angel Baby in a larger map

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Start Reading Angel Baby

May 14, 2013 in Excerpts, Mulholland Authors

Happy publication day to Richard Lange’s ANGEL BABY! In Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Lange’s explosive new thriller, a woman on the run, a brutal crime lord, and three desperate men collide. Praised in Mystery Scene as  “a truly great read [with] the momentum of rolling thunder,” raved in Kirkus as “sharply calibrated and affecting,” and hailed by Ron Rash as “suspenseful and surprisingly moving,” Lange’s newest is a major step forward for the already much-lauded author. But don’t take our word for it–take a sneak peek at the opening pages of ANGEL BABY below…

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Luz didn’t think things through the first time she tried to get away. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. One night Rolando beat her so badly that she peed blood, and the next morning, as soon as he and his bodyguards left the house, she limped downstairs and out the front door, across the yard, and through the gate in the high concrete fence that surrounded the property.

Barefoot and wearing only panties and a black silk robe, she stumbled down the street, trying to hail a taxi. The drivers slowed and stared, but none would stop. Tears of frustration blurred her vision. She tripped and fell but got quickly back to her feet. Scraped knees and skinned palms wouldn’t keep her from Isabel’s third birthday party. She was determined to be there, no matter what. She’d appear at the front door with a giant pink cake and an armful of gifts and, oh, wouldn’t Isabel be surprised to see her?

Maria, the housekeeper, stuck her head out of the gate and shouted for her to stop. Luz tried to run, but the pills that got her through the day back then made her feel like she was slogging through mud. Maria caught up to her before she reached the corner and grabbed her by the hair. Luz fought back, kicking and clawing, but then El Toro, the house guard, was there too.

“Help me,” Luz called to a man on a bicycle. “Please,” to a woman pushing a stroller, but they, like the taxi drivers, ignored her. This was Tijuana, see, and if you valued your life and the lives of your family, you minded your own business. El Toro and Maria dragged her back to the house. They locked her in her room and laughed at her vows to get even.

Rolando killed her dog when they told him that she’d run away. He stormed into the bedroom and yanked Pepito from her arms, placed the heel of his boot on the toy poodle’s head, and crushed its skull. Then he forced Luz to the floor, twisted her arms up behind her back, and raped her there on the white shag carpet.

“Why do you make me do these things?” he screamed at her when he finished. “Why do you make me hate myself?”

It will be different this time. In the year since she last made a run for it, Luz has been putting together a plan, and now, finally, she’s ready. Isabel turns four next Tuesday, and Mommy will be there to watch her blow out the candles on her birthday cake, or Mommy will die trying. Continue reading ›

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