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Marcia Clark’s Trouble in Paradise

May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hoping to get a taste of Rachel Knight’s world before Clark’s newest, KILLER AMBITION, hits bookstores June 18th? Try out this digital short featuring Rachel Knight and her “besties” Bailey and Toni!

It’s the perfect way to gear up for the upcoming Rachel Knight novel, already acclaimed in starred reviews from Publishers Weekly (“suspenseful and gripping…. the best yet in the series”) and Booklist  (“Legal thrillers don’t get much better than this…KILLER AMBITION finds Clark at the top of her game”).

So what are you waiting for? It just might be the best 99 cents you ever spend!

Kindle | Nook | iTunes

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The Lineup: Links for David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art

May 09, 2013 in Mulholland Authors, Weekly links

David Morrell’s Victorian thriller MURDER AS A FINE ART features Thomas De Quincey and his irrepressible daughter, Emily, matching wits with a killer the likes of which London has never before seen. With less than a week on sale, Morrell’s newest has been raking in amazing reviews.

Tina Jordan raved of the book in Entertainment Weekly: “MURDER AS A FINE ART is masterful . . . brilliantly plotted . . . evokes 1854 London with such finesse that you’ll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill call of vendors.” Janet Maslin of the New York Times Book Review remarked of the book: “Morrell writes action scenes like nobody’s business.” And in a rave Associated Press review that ran far and wide, Waka Tsunoda praises the novel as “shockingly real…Morrell’s thorough and erudite research of the people and culture of the British Empire’s heyday informs every page. A literary thriller that pushes the envelope of fear.”

For more MURDER AS A FINE ART, check out the lushly rendered book trailer below, created from original artwork by Tomislav Tikulen, an interview with Morrell on the writing of his Victorian thriller, and an illuminating conversation between Morrell and De Quincey biographer Robert Morrison. You’ll doubtless encounter more great reviews—and in the meantime, visit Morrell’s website to find out when the author will be reading near you!

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An Excerpt from Murder as a Fine Art

May 07, 2013 in Uncategorized

Happy publication day to David Morrell’s Victorian thriller MURDER AS A FINE ART! A critical darling raved by Douglas Preston, Dan Simmons, and featured in Entertainment Weekly, Morrell’s newest features notorious essayist Thomas De Quincey and his irrepressible daughter, Emily, matching wits with a killer the likes of which London has never seen before. Enjoy an excerpt right here–more on MURDER AS A FINE ART later this week!

From the Journal of Emily De Quincey

Sunday, 10 December 1854

This morning, I discovered Father again pacing the back courtyard. Once more, he had wakened much earlier than I, probably before dawn. Last night, I am certain that I heard his footsteps creaking past the door to my room, descending the stairs so that he could roam the dark streets. He claims that this is the only way he can avoid indulging in laudanum—by distracting himself with the effort of walking as much as fifteen miles each day.

Father’s short stature emphasizes how thin he has become. I worry that his obsessive exercise will harm him more than help. The way he talks also worries me. Before we left our home in Edinburgh to journey here to London and promote his newly collected writings, his practice was to waken groggily no earlier than noon. For a long time, he refused to make the trip at all. Then abruptly he called it essential and surprised me by filling his hours with walking to prepare himself. Soon he wakened at nine. In a matter of weeks, he backed to eight o’clock, to seven, to six. On the train bound for London, he walked in place, his cheeks red from exertion.

“To avoid the laudanum,” he kept insisting, although I know that he hasn’t abandoned it entirely. Two decanters of the wretched liquid are among the clothes and books that he packed.

I was especially troubled when he said, “As my waking hour retreats from five to four to three, I fear that I am backing into yesterday.”

Yesterday, though, is what I am convinced he wants to back into. His journey to London seems about his past more than his collected writings—or perhaps the two are disturbingly intertwined.

Our income from Father’s work is too little for us to afford the splendid town house in which we are staying. A middle-aged woman who serves as maid and cook has been supplied to us as well. Father claims that he doesn’t know who pays the bills, and I believe him. Perhaps one of his old acquaintances secretly provided the means for us to make this journey, although I can’t imagine whom, since so many of those acquaintances, Wordsworth and Coleridge, for example, have passed over, or as Father says, “have joined the majority,” since far more people died over the centuries than are currently alive.

Our lodging is near Russell Square, and after we arrived four days ago, Father puzzled me by asking me to walk with him before we unpacked. Within a few blocks, we reached the Square, where I was delighted to find a wonderful park in the middle of the tumultuous city. A breeze had chased the fog away. In what Father told me was rare December sunlight, he surveyed the grass and the bare trees, the intensity of his blue eyes indicating his memories.

“When I was seventeen,” he said, “I lived on the streets of London.”

I knew that, of course, because Father had included some of those terrible events in his Opium-Eater book.

“I lived on the streets for the entire winter,” he continued.

I knew this, too, but I have learned to let Father say what is on his mind.

“In those days, cows wandered this square. Many nights, a companion and I slept here, a rag that could barely be called a blanket wrapped around us. I’d been lucky enough to find an old bucket. When the udders on the cows were full, I did my best to milk one of them. The warmth of the milk helped us not to shiver.”

Father spoke without looking at me, his attention focused totally on his memories. “So much has changed. Coming from the train station, which didn’t exist then, I hardly recognized much of the city. There are so many places I need to see.”

His tone suggested that he didn’t want to see some of those places, even though he needed to.

“Ann,” he murmured.

My mother’s name was Margaret. Mine is Emily.

“Ann,” he repeated. Continue reading ›

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Karin Slaughter’s Story from Vengeance Anthology Wins Edgar Award

May 06, 2013 in Fiction, Mulholland News, Short Stories

Mystery Writers of America Presents VengeanceWe were beyond thrilled to hear that Karin Slaughter’s propulsive story “The Unremarkable Heart” won Best Short Story at last week’s Edgar Awards. This story appears in our anthology, Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance, which is just out in paperback.

In the spirit of Short Story Month—which is, you guessed it, May—we’d like to give you a chance to win this star-studded story collection. Simply comment below with your favorite mystery story for a chance to win. See below for our terms and conditions.

While you’re waiting to the sweepstakes to close, we encourage you to visit our mystery story advent calendar, which recommends a chilling new story every day in May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Songs That Evoke The Shining Girls

May 02, 2013 in Guest Posts, Music

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Writers find inspiration everywhere: at the movies, through their headphones, or unfolding before them in real life. Lauren Beukes, whose forthcoming novel The Shining Girls has been recommended by the Evening Standard to those with “a Gone Girl shaped hole in your life,” has assembled here a playlist of songs that brought her book to life. You can listen to all the songs above in the Spotify player.

“Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues” by Skip James (1931)
A song about the Depression and people drifting from door to door.

“Talkshow Host” by Radiohead
I think this is my all-time favourite song. It’s so dark and beautiful. It really captures the mood of the book.

“Torched Song” by Claudia Brucken (feat. The Real Tuesday Weld)
Harper carries a bit of a torch for all his shining girls. And Kirby definitely has one for him.

“Qu’est-ce Que C’est” by Mad Rad
It’s a song that seems to have been written for The Shining Girls. The lyrics are ridiculously perfect.

“Rabbit In Your Headlights” by UNKLE
I love the sense of impending doom, the dark, luscious beauty of the song.

“Private Lawns” by Angus & Julia Stone
Love this sultry remix of Windy City and Chicago’s private lawns, public parks.

“Black Heart” by Calexico
Dark and lovely and haunting and some of the lyrics are perfect: “Scratched in metal, name erodes away / hands are scarred, heart is charred / burnt through, and ashen.”

“The Fragile” by Nine Inch Nails
“She shines in a world full of ugliness… I won’t let you fall apart.” I think Dan Velasquez and Trent Reznor are on the same page, although don’t tell Dan that.

“Splitting the Atom” by Massive Attack
The lyrics pick up on some of the key parts of the novel: the mention of incandescent light at doors, the needle sticks, as on Harper’s gramophone, “We killed the time and I love you dear” and all the talk of particles is very time travel.

“All Hail Me” by Veruca Salt (1994)
I think Kirby would have loved Veruca Salt and Chicago’s alt rock scene in general.

“And He Slayed Her” by Liz Phair (2012)
Murder songs about girls are easy to find, but I love Liz Phair’s “And He Slayed Her,” a vigilante justice song that also questions what kind of man would do this. And hey, another stalwart of the 90s Chicago alternative scene.

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Start Reading Point & Shoot

Apr 30, 2013 in Excerpts, Mulholland Authors

The day has finally come–the long-awaited conclusion to the Charlie Hardie series, POINT & SHOOT, is now on sale in bookstores everywhere. Can’t wait until the workday ends to get your fix? Take a sneak peek at the opening pages of the award-winning Hardie trilogy’s slam-bang final chapter. Then go pick up a copy already!

1

This isn’t going to have a happy ending.

Morgan Freeman, Se7en

Near Brokenland Parkway, Columbia, Maryland—Seven Months Ago

A twenty-three-year-old hungover intern with a broken heart saved the day.

The intern’s name was Warren Arbona, and he was in a stuffy warehouse along with five other interns scanning endless pieces of paper and turning them into PDFs that nobody would ever, ever fucking read. The whole operation was strictly cover-your-ass. The interns’ bosses wanted to be able to tell their government liaisons that, yes, every page of the flood of declassified documents they released had been carefully read and scanned by an experienced member of their legal team.

“Experienced” = interns who’d been on the job for at least two months.

The new president had made a big deal about declassifying everything, the shining light of freedom blasting through the deceptions of the previous administration. A democracy requires accountability, he said, and accountability requires transparency. Which sounded awesome.

But before the PDFs could be uploaded, the president’s intelligence advisers insisted that no sensitive secrets harmful to the security of the United States would be leaked to the general public. This still was the real world.

So a white-shoe law firm specializing in government intelligence was retained to painstakingly review every line on every scrap of paper.

Nobody in the firm wanted to deal with that bullshit, so they put the interns on it.

And Warren Arbona, the intern in question, wouldn’t have noticed a thing if it hadn’t been for his cunt ex-girlfriend. He couldn’t help it. The name just jumped out at him.

He stopped the scan and looked at the paper again. Were his eyes playing tricks on him?

Nope. There it was.

Charlie Hardie.

No, it wasn’t Christy’s dad. Her dad was named Bruce or some such shit. Balding. Big asshole. Deviated septum and beady eyes. But this Charlie guy was an uncle, maybe? Some other relative? Warren had no idea.

And really, who the fuck cared. Christy didn’t matter anymore; he’d do best to put her out of his head and finish up with this scanning so he could go home and get good and drunk again.

They were all working inside the abandoned warehouse set of a canceled television show, Baltimore Homicide. The rent was absurdly cheap, and the set already had the delightful bonus of real desks and working electrical outlets, thanks to a subplot featuring a fake daily newspaper office.

So all the law firm had to do was arrange for the reams of paper—nearly three trucks’ worth—to be backed into the building, plug in a bunch of laptops and scanners, and then set the interns loose. See you in September, motherfuckers.

The working conditions were less than ideal. While an industrial AC unit blasted 60,000 BTUs of arctic air into the fake office via ringed funnels, the warehouse itself had diddly-squat in the way of climate management. So every time you left to drag in another set of files, you baked and sweated in the stifling summer heat. And then when you returned, your sweat was flash-frozen on your body. No wonder everybody was sick.

Warren had been fighting a cold since May, when he first started scanning the documents. He believed that if he polluted his body with enough tequila, the cold virus would give up and abandon ship. So far, it hadn’t worked.

But the tequila also helped him forget about Christy Hardie.

Almost.

Now the name popped up, and Warren couldn’t help but be curious. He started to read the document, which was a deposition.

Seems Charlie Hardie was an ex–police consultant turned drunk house sitter who was later accused of snuffing a junkie actress named Lane Madden.

Warren kind of wished someone had snuffed Christy after she confessed that she’d been blowing his best friend for, oh, the entire first year of law school.

Anyway, Warren remembered the Lane Madden story from a bunch of years ago. Apparently she’d been raped and killed by this house sitter guy who used to be a cop and kind of lost his mind. But the rest of the deposition was kind of boring, so Warren stopped reading and fed the pages into the scanner. Yes, they were all supposed to eyeball each page—even the partners weren’t foolish enough to tell the interns to actually read them. But Warren and his colleagues dispensed with the eyeballing crap somewhere in late May. If fingers touched a page, it was considered read. Osmosis, they decided.

Warren looked at the clock. Just two more hours until his brain went south of the border.

But at fifteen minutes until closing, something strange happened. Continue reading ›

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J.J. Abrams’ Next Project, a Novel, to be Published by Mulholland Books

Apr 29, 2013 in Books, Industry News, Mulholland Authors, Mulholland News

S.
A NOVEL
Written by Doug Dorst, based on a story by J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

J.J. Abrams has created, written, produced, or directed groundbreaking television shows such as the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning Lost and Alias, and Felicity and blockbuster films such as Star Trek, Cloverfield, Super 8, and Mission: Impossible. His work is renowned for its sense of wonder and invention, and for helping reshape what’s possible in film and television today.

S., conceived of and developed by Abrams and written by award-winning author Doug Dorst, is Abrams’s first foray into publishing and will be released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013. At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.

“We are thrilled to be publishing J.J. Abrams, in partnership with someone as critically acclaimed as Doug Dorst,” says Mulholland Books editorial director Josh Kendall. “S. will be a literary event, and is truly a love letter to the printed word.”

Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, will be promoting the book leading up to and at publication time.

The cover of S. will be released at a later date.

J.J. Abrams is a multiple Emmy Award–winning producer, writer, and director. Doug Dorst is the award-winning author of Alive in Necropolis and The Surf Guru, as well as a former Jeopardy champion, one of only two novelists in the show’s long history.

Preorder S.: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Other Retailers

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Thomas De Quincey and Murder as a Fine Art: A Conversation with David Morrell and Robert Morrison

Apr 29, 2013 in Fiction, Mulholland Authors

Murder as a Fine Art

Robert Morrison: I love the idea behind Murder as a Fine Art. John Williams commits a series of sensational killings in 1811. Thomas De Quincey writes his most powerful essay about the killings in 1854. Somebody reads De Quincey on Williams and decides to produce his own version of the killings, far exceeding them in terror. How did this idea come to you?

David Morrell: Robert, coming from a De Quincey scholar, your enthusiasm means a lot to me. I studied De Quincey years ago when I was an undergraduate English student. My professor treated him as a footnote in 1800s literature, giving him importance only because De Quincey was the first to write about drug addiction in his notorious Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. I forgot about him until I happened to watch a movie about Charles Darwin, Creation, which dramatizes the nervous breakdown Darwin suffered while writing On the Origin of Species. In the movie, someone says to Darwin, “You know, Charles, people such as De Quincey believe that we’re controlled by elements in our mind that we’re not aware of.”

Robert: It sounds like Freud.

David: Yes. But Freud didn’t publish until half a century later. In fact, because De Quincey invented the word “subconscious,” Freud may have been influenced by him. Anyway, I took down my old college textbook, started reading De Quincey, and became spellbound. I read more and more of his work. Then I got to his blood-soaked essay about the terrifying Ratcliffe Highway murders, “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” The idea came to me that someone would read the essay and, for complicated reasons, replicate the murders on a more horrifying scale. De Quincey, the Opium-Eater who was obsessed about murder, would then be the logical suspect. You wrote a terrific biography about De Quincey, The English Opium-Eater. What caused your own interest in this brilliant author?

The English Opium-Eater

Robert: I first heard of De Quincey many years ago when I was a graduate student at Oxford. My tutor was Jonathan Wordsworth, the great, great, great nephew of the poet.

David: What an experience that must have been.

Robert: For one of my tutorial assignments, Jonathan asked me to read De Quincey’s Confessions. I had no idea what to expect, and certainly no idea that I was going to spend the next thirty years “hooked” on him. Of course I found the drugs and addiction part of the narrative very interesting. But what really grabbed me was how well De Quincey wrote. He could be, by turns, humorous, conversational, elaborate, or impassioned. And this great ability as a stylist made it possible for him to chart his experience with remarkable depth and energy. After that, and like you, I just kept reading. One of the wonderful things about Murder as a Fine Art is how vividly it brings De Quincey to life, and how compellingly it exploits his fascination with dreams, violence, memory, and addiction. It’s not only a superb thriller, but it also packs an intellectual punch. How did you bring these two elements together so successfully?

David: A reviewer once called me “the mild-mannered professor with the bloody-minded visions.”

Robert: Ha!
Continue reading ›

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The Lineup: You by Austin Grossman Edition

Apr 19, 2013 in Mulholland Authors, Weekly links

Austin Grossman has been all over the ‘net this past week to celebrate the publication of YOU, his new novel of mystery, videogames, and the people who create them.

Check out Austin’s photo essay “Seven Myths about Videogames and the Seven Games that Prove them Wrong” on Huffington Post for Austin’s picks on some of the most influential video game narratives of the past twenty years. Austin also has an interview up with Kotaku’s Evan Narcisse about YOU, his work as a game design consultant, and more.

For a sneak peek at the world of YOU, there’s Austin’s essay up on Kotaku re: the classic games that inspired the canon (fictional!) mid-90′s game studio Black Arts. More at Black Art’s (quite real!) website.

Austin joined the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, presented by Wired.com, to discuss YOU, his first novel SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE, Dr. Horrible envy, Looking Glass Studios, and more. Finally, there’s Austin’s Polygon essay on learning to write through his career as a game designer.

Still craving more? Did you get a chance to read the Boston Globe review, the Harper’s magazine review by Tom Bissell,  the raves by  i09 and Boing Boing, not to mention bloggers including Bookgasm and The Review Broads? Or go pick up YOU from your favorite bookstore or e-tailer! Stay tuned–we’ll be back with an excerpt of YOU for Mulholland readers next week.

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The top five moments of my video gaming life, or, Du côté de chez Questor

Apr 18, 2013 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors, Mulholland News, Video Games

Austin Grossman’s YOU has been praised in the Boston Globe as “razor sharp…a smart meditation on the nature of gaming” and by Tom Bissell in Harper’s as “some of the most startling, acute writing on video games yet essayed.” Find it in bookstores everywhere or pick it up from your e-tailer of choice this week! We’ll have a full links post of the great coverage for YOU tomorrow–in the meantime, check out the below guest post from Austin on some of the most memorable moments of his gaming life.

This isn’t a top-five-games list, although there aren’t any bad games here.  Instead, it’s a list of the five best moments video games have given me.

Now that I’ve started writing at length about them, this is the part that interests me most. There’s a lot of debate as to whether video games are art, whether they deliver the kind of emotional or narrative or profound experiences associated with the idea of what an art form is.  But if we’re going to see clearly what video games are, we have to think about not just the “text” of the game, the art and code and game mechanics, but whatever it is that happens when game meets player, the ephemeral, collaborative experience that results.

You could say the same thing about any medium but for obvious reasons it has a special bite for interactive media. The best video games don’t just tell stories, they generate them.

Ritual caveats: It’s not really a top five, of course – I’ve done way too much gaming for that, and had too good a time doing it. I only have so much space. I could talk about Braid or SpyParty, but I think those are significant more because they’re good games than for a personal experience I had with them.

I’m also excluding games I worked on – no System Shock, no Deus Ex, no Trespasser (although I could – go ahead and call me on it).  In that regard I’m letting  Flight Unlimited in on a technicality, because I mostly just worked on the manual, and because part of what I’m writing about is the hardware peripheral.

1. Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie, 2004

It was a little ways after midnight. I was at a friend’s house in Oakland on the couch. It had been a couple of years since I had a proper gaming console and I was catching up with some Halo.

I’d been a little dismissive of Halo during the opening levels back on the Pillar of Autumn – I felt it was standard shooter stuff – but then I hit the outdoor levels, out on the Forerunner-built pseudo-planetary surface and I got the point.  Tactical combat moved outdoors, dynamically modeled vehicle physics, and glorious scenery of the Halo, the kind of vistas that induce a uniquely vertiginous awe, the Ringworld sublime.

I’d been living there a few weeks, house-sitting after bailing out of a living situation that – well we won’t debate the rights and wrongs at this point, but there I was.  I was still in the first half of a doctorate I would never complete, pretty lonely, and for three or four hours a day I needed to not be there in my head. I played every night until I fell asleep.

I was almost halfway through the single-player campaign, partway through “Assault on the Control Room” and bogged down in one of those endless canyons. Dying and re-spawning, frustrated, bombarded, I was getting tired and lazy.

It was snowing onscreen, my human squadmates were dying, and I felt like the miserable WWI infantryman in a Wilfred Owen poem, getting shot by enemies I didn’t even notice.  It took me maybe forty-five minutes of grinding shooter gameplay to figure out that I could knock an enemy off its vehicle, and – if the vehicle survived the crash – I could get on it myself, and fly.

That was the moment.  Part of it was just one of those satisfying clicks where you realize that the virtual world is simulated more thoroughly than I had assumed, that they had opted to make me, Covenant troops, and vehicles part of the same universe, with the kind of robust interoperability that makes a simulated world feel complete.

But then there was the absolutely unexpected somatic thrill of the ground dropping away, like I had torn free from something. I pulled back on the stick and streaked up along the cliff face momentarily free, above the rainy, slushy mess of dying Terran and Covenant troops, right out of myself and Oakland and regret and all the memories of a wasted year.

Continue reading ›

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