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Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale: The Illustrated Edition

case6.140x9.210.inddJoe Lansdale’s epic, rollicking Western was one of our favorite publications of 2015. And we’re not the only ones who think so—the Houston Chronicle named Paradise Sky one of the 15 Best Books of 2015. Early next year, we’ll get to experience Nat Love’s adventures in a whole new way when Short, Scary Tales Publications releases the illustrated edition of Paradise Sky. Check out the panoramic dust jacket illustration:

Paradise Sky Illustrated Edition Dust Jacket

And here are three interior illustrations from the book by Ben Baldwin:

Interested in receiving the illustrated Paradise Sky as soon as it’s available? Preorder your copy today.

Meet Camaro from The Night Charter by Sam Hawken

The Night Charter by Sam HawkenCamaro Espinoza is unlike any other action heroine you’ve ever read. First off, she’s not interested in saving the world. She’d prefer a simple, solitary life—like the one she has chartering catch-and-release fishing trips off the Miami coast. But trouble has a way of finding Camaro. In The Night Charter by Sam Hawken, which Mulholland is publishing today, we have the great pleasure of introducing our readers to “the deadliest female protagonist since Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander” (Booklist). Some advice? Read the first chapter below and stay on Camaro’s good side—this won’t be the last you see of her.

CHAPTER ONE

Camaro Espinoza awoke before dawn. She had fled New York City after the killing of five men exactly 364 days before.

The bright fluorescent bulb in the bathroom hurt her eyes, so she switched it off, choosing instead to shower in the dark. She left the bedroom unlit afterward, putting on her clothes without a shred of
sunlight passing through the slightly parted curtains. Her small backyard, only just visible, was a square of blackness because there was only the sliver of a moon.

She packed a small ice chest with a couple of beers and a lunch she’d made the night before, then let herself out onto the carport where a Harley-Davidson snuggled up against the shadowy bulk of her pickup. A pair of bungee cords secured the chest to the back of the pillion seat, and she walked the bike down the driveway and out onto the street. When it started up, the rumble of the engine was remarkably loud on the quiet street. She gave the throttle a twist and pulled away. The morning air stirred her dark, honey-brown hair.

Her home was in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, and she lived fifteen minutes from the water. A pair of lights illuminated the sign at the marina, and beyond the open gates were the steady rows of silent boats waiting patiently for their time on the waves. Camaro parked up against the side of the marina’s office. She took the ice chest with her out onto the pier.

The fifty-nine-foot Custom Carolina waited about halfway down, bobbing slightly as the water shifted beneath her hull. The boat was named the Annabel. It had taken nearly all of the money she had for Camaro to get it. The flying bridge stood tall and white against the slowly lightening sky. Camaro boarded onto the aft deck and lightly touched the fighting chair mounted there.

She stowed the ice chest in the cabin and cast off before she climbed the ladder to the bridge. The boat had an even throatier noise than the Harley did, but there were no sleepers to disturb. The marina was utterly still.

Camaro navigated out of the forest of boats and onto open water. She drove toward the rising sun and found a spot in the blue just as the last of the bright orange disk cleared the horizon.

There were poles on board and bait in a cooler she had stocked a day ago. Camaro let the Annabel drift in the Gulf Stream and cast a line. The bait sank a thousand feet. She sat in the fighting chair and relaxed with the pole in the holder between her legs, listening to nothing and feeling only the feathering morning breeze that carried across the waves.

She carried on until noon, pausing only to slather sunscreen on brown arms and drink a beer. She hid beneath a cap and a pair of wraparound sunglasses. Nothing bit, but she didn’t much care one way or the other. Today was an empty day with nothing scheduled, no clients to meet, and no responsibilities. If she went ashore without a single catch, she would at least have spent the hours with the splendor of the sea around her and the luxury of absolute quietude.

By two she’d had a couple of nibbles but no solid hits. These were swordfish waters, but swordfish hunted by night. It wasn’t unheard of to catch them in the full glare of the sun and see them rear out of the water at the end of the line, battling the hook and the tension of the rod. She could have set the bait lower, all the way down to two thousand feet, and maybe find a little action, but she preferred to let the fish come to her today. If there was going to be a fight, then there would be one, but she wasn’t looking for it.

She reeled in at three and took her lunch inside on the vinyl-surfaced galley counter. The second beer went down cold and good, and even her sandwich tasted better for the wait. There was a bed in the bow, good for naps, and she considered it, but in the end she went back to the water and rod and line and the glare of the cloudless sky.

It was close to seven o’clock when she brought the bait in for the last time and set course for the marina. She’d drifted some forty miles, and the trip back was slow, the Annabel cresting the waves and carving them, the engine keeping her high. Eventually, the shoreline came into view, and the glitter of Miami was visible in the distance. Camaro felt a delicate sadness at returning to people and roads and cars and all of that. It was better out here beyond the skyline, absent all demands. She could stay here forever if the opportunity came. She’d buy a sailing vessel and take to the high seas and be free of it all.

The sun was failing, and already the lights were on as Camaro entered the marina, closed on her berth, and spotted the man coming down the pier.

Read Chapter Two on Sam Hawken’s website

Buy The Night Charter: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Indiebound

Start Reading Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell

Inspector of the Dead by David MorrellThomas De Quincey is a real person. He really was addicted to opium, and in 1821, he really did scandalize all of England with his first-person account of addiction, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He really was the first to advance the idea of a subconscious (70 years before Freud), and he really was an expert in murder, publishing a masterful report of the Ratcliff Highways killings of 1811 called “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” But in David Morrell’s hands, Thomas De Quincey becomes the insightful, provocative hero of a bestselling historical thriller series. In 2013, Mulholland Books published Murder as a Fine Art. Today, we publish the sensational sequel, Inspector of the Dead. Read the shocking first chapter—in which we meet a vengeful killer—below.

CHAPTER ONE: THE KILLING ZONE

London, 1855

Except for excursions to a theater or a gentlemen’s club, most respectable inhabitants of the largest city on earth took care to be at home before the sun finished setting, which on this cold Saturday evening, the third of February, occurred at six minutes to five.

That time—synchronized with the clock at the Royal Greenwich Observatory—was displayed on a silver pocket watch that an expensively dressed, obviously distinguished gentleman examined beneath a hissing gas lamp. As harsh experiences had taught him, appearance meant everything. The vilest thoughts might lurk within someone, but the external semblance of respectability was all that mattered. For fifteen years now, he couldn’t recall a time when rage had not consumed him, but he had never allowed anyone to suspect, enjoying the surprise of those upon whom he unleashed his fury.

Tonight, he stood at Constitution Hill and stared across the street toward the murky walls of Buckingham Palace. Lights glowed faintly behind curtains there. Given that the British government had collapsed four days earlier because of its shocking mismanagement of the Crimean War, Queen Victoria was no doubt engaged in urgent meetings with her Privy Council. A shadow passing at one of the windows might belong to her or perhaps to her husband, Prince Albert. The gentleman wasn’t certain which of them he hated more.

Approaching footsteps made him turn. A constable appeared, his helmet silhouetted against the fog. As the patrolman focused his lantern on the quality of clothing before him, the gentleman made himself look calm. His top hat, overcoat, and trousers were the finest. His beard—a disguise—would have attracted notice years earlier but was now fashionable. Even his black walking stick with its polished silver knob was the height of fashion.

“Good evening, sir. If you don’t mind me saying, don’t linger,” the constable warned. “It doesn’t do to be out alone in the dark, even in this neighborhood.”

“Thank you, constable. I’ll hurry along.”

Continue reading “Start Reading Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell”

Mulholland Books at New York Comic Con: Join Us for Discounts and Giveaways!

I’m thrilled to be representing Mulholland Books at this year’s New York Comic Con. Find us at the Hachette Book Group booth (#2218). We’re selling a handful of our favorite new books, and all purchases will get you a free Mulholland Books tote bag:

Mulholland Books tote bag
Free with the purchase of any Mulholland book

Is that all? NO, that is emphatically not all! If you buy a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling or The Silkworm, written by Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling), you’ll get a free Strike! t-shirt:

Silkworm t-shirts
Free with the purchase of any Galbraith book

If you’re looking for a terrifying horror novel to read for Halloween, Booth 2218’s got you covered. When you buy Brood, the new book by Chase Novak, we’ll throw in a paperback of Novak’s Breed. If you haven’t read the first book in Novak’s series, here’s your chance to get both books with a single purchase. If you’ve already read Breed, this is your chance to spread the scares around by giving your free copy to a friend.

Breed and Brood by Chase Novak
Buy one get one free!

And finally, here’s one killer promotion that requires no purchase for entry. If you come to Booth 2218 and say “BIG IN JAPAN” to one of the on-site booksellers, you’ll receive free copies of two Japanese thrillers in translation: Genocide of One by Kazuaki Takano and Confessions by Kanae Minato. Both novels are international bestsellers and deserve a wider, rapturous readership here in the U.S.

Genocide of One by Kazuaki Takano and Confessions by Kanae Minato
Say “Big in Japan” at Booth 2218 and get these books for free!

All items are available while supplies last…so don’t drag your feet! Drop by the Hachette booth (#2218), and let’s talk books.

Start Reading one of October’s Scariest Books: Brood by Chase Novak

Brood by Chase NovakPoor Adam and Alice Twisden. Those twins have been through a lot—the death of their parents, the decimation of their childhood home. Years have passed since the events of Breed, and the twins’ aunt, Cynthia, wants to make things right, starting with the cleanup of the Twisdens’ Manhattan townhouse. Only, as you’ll read in Brood’s opening pages below, cleaning up is a tall order.

PROLOGUE

They were not here to clean up a crime scene. That grisly work had been accomplished two years ago by RestorePro, when the town house on Sixty-Ninth Street was closer to hell’s ninth circle than it was to its former incarnation—a stylish, impeccable, historically correct Upper East Side town house, one of the few left in New York City that had remained in the same family since its construction. Its last owner had been Alex Twisden, who had lived there his entire life, first as a child, then as a playboy, then as a corporate lawyer obsessed with his work, then as a somewhat reclusive bachelor, then as the newly wed husband of a beautiful younger woman named Leslie Kramer, then as the father of twins, and, finally, stemming from the fertility treatments he and Leslie endured in order to procreate, as a kind of beast for which neither science nor folklore has a name.

RestorePro’s workers, decked out in muck boots, respirators, and HAZMAT suits, had swooped in. Of course, the worst
thing about the cleanup was the blood, the hair, the fur, the bones, and the teeth, the parts of bodies for which neither Alex nor Leslie had a taste—they both eschewed ears, and found feet as a rule inedible. But there was a lot more to do than simply remove the evidence showing that for a time the elegant old house had been an abattoir. There was disinfecting to be done. There were odors to be dispelled and others that could only be covered up. There were scratches in the plaster, claw marks deeply grooved into the wooden floors. There were piles of smashed furniture—it looked as if crazed vandals had gotten into the storeroom of Sotheby’s before an antiques auction. Once-precious Blackthorn wallpaper, brought into the house by William Morris himself, hung in long drooping curls. Sconces had been torn from the walls; sofas had become public housing for all manner of rodents. RestorePro’s motto was No One Will Know, but though the workers did their job diligently, and did not stint on labor or time, the house they left behind when they finally got to the end of their contract still bore the ineffable marks of a place where something hideous had happened. You did not have to believe in the spirit world to sense that an aura of misery and doom hung over the place, even after it had been scrubbed clean. Continue reading “Start Reading one of October’s Scariest Books: Brood by Chase Novak”

Start Reading Confessions by Kanae Minato

Minato_Confessions

Between household chores, Kanae Minato wrote a multi-million-copy international bestseller that’s now being hailed as “the Gone Girl of Japan” (Steph Cha, Los Angeles Times) and praised as an “implacable, relentless” and “stunning” read (Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal). CONFESSIONS is now available in bookstores and from e-tailers everywhere.

Once you finish your milk, please put the carton back in the box. Make sure you return it to the space with your number on it and then get back to your desk. It looks like everyone is just about done. Since today is the last day of the school year, we will also be marking the end of “Milk Time.” Thanks to all of you for participating. I also heard some of you wondering whether the program would be continuing next year, but I can tell you now that it won’t. This year, we were designated as a model middle school for the Health Ministry’s campaign to promote dairy products. We were asked to have each of you drink a carton of milk every day, and now we’re looking forward to the annual school physicals in April to see whether your height and bone mass come in above the national averages.

Yes, I suppose you could say that we’ve been using you as guinea pigs, and I’m sure this year wasn’t very pleasant for those of you who are lactose intolerant or who simply don’t like milk. But the school was randomly selected for the program, and each classroom was supplied with the daily milk cartons and the box to hold them, with cubbyholes for your carton to identify each of you by seat number; and it’s true that we’ve kept track of who drank the milk and who didn’t. But why should you be making faces now when you were drinking the milk happily enough a few minutes ago? What’s wrong with being asked to drink a little milk every day? You’re about to enter puberty. Your bodies will be growing and changing, and you know drinking milk helps build strong bones. But how many of you actually drink it at home? And the calcium is good for more than just your bones; you need it for the proper development of your nervous system. Low levels of calcium can make you nervous and jumpy.

It’s not just your bodies that are growing and changing. I know what you’ve been up to. I hear the stories. You, Mr. Watanabe, you grew up in a family that owns an electronics shop, and I know you’ve figured out how to remove most of the pixilation on adult videos. You’ve been passing them along to the other boys. You’re growing up. Your minds are changing as quickly as your bodies. I know that wasn’t the best example, but what I mean is, you’re entering what we sometimes call the “rebellious period.” It’s a time when boys and girls tend to be touchy, to be hurt or offended by the least little thing, and when they’re easily influenced by their environment. You’ll begin to imitate everyone and everything around you as you try to figure out who you are. If you’re honest, I suspect many of you will recognize these changes in yourselves already. You’ve just seen a good example: Up until a few moments ago most of you thought of your free milk as a benefit. But now that I’ve told you it was an experiment, your feelings about the milk have suddenly changed. Am I right?

Still, there’s nothing too odd about that—it’s human nature to change your mind, and not just in puberty. In fact, the teachers have been saying that your class is actually a good bit calmer and better behaved than the usual group. Maybe we have the milk to thank for that.

But I have something more important I wanted to tell you today. I wanted you to know that I’ll be retiring at the end of the month. No, I’m not moving to a new school, I’m retiring as a teacher. Which means that you’re the last students I’ll ever teach, and I’ll remember you for as long as I live.

Settle down now. I appreciate your response—especially those of you who actually sound as though you’re sorry to hear I’m leaving—what? Am I resigning because of what happened? Yes, I suppose so, and I’d like to take some time today to talk to you about that. Continue reading “Start Reading Confessions by Kanae Minato”

Don’t Miss “The Gone Girl of Japan”

Minato_Confessions

Kanae Minato, a former home economics teacher, wrote her debut novel, Confessions, between household chores. Now the phenomenal international bestseller is finally available in an English translation.

Think of Confessions as the Gone Girl of Japan
The most delightfully evil book you’ll read this year.”
—Steph Cha, Los Angeles Times

A nasty little masterpiece
. . . Books like Confessions can make you vibrate with happiness.”
—Kevin Nance, Chicago Tribune

Implacable, relentless and stunning
A reader is almost certain to be caught off guard more than once.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

Minato’s intricate plotting and unnervingly understated sentences make the horrors follow each other as logically as pearls on a string.”—Annalisa Quinn, NPR.org

Captivating… the murders grow bloodier and bloodier, the characters more and more twisted.” —Becca Rothfield, The New Republic

___

All schoolteacher Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. But after a heartbreaking accident takes Manami’s life, Yuko gives up and tenders her resignation. But first, she has one last lecture to deliver to her students… It’s a story about a death that was anything but accidental, about two students who know more than they admit, and about a teacher who will have her revenge.

Purchase the Book: BN.com | Amazon | Indiebound | Powell’s | iBooks

___

The New York Times reviews WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

David Shafer’s debut novel follows three young adults as they attempt to navigate their way through international intrigues, corporate cabals, and, well, life itself. Below please find a review from The New York Times.

Maybe There’s a Whole Other Internet
‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ May Be the Novel of the Summer

by Dwight Garner

Is it too late to nominate a candidate for novel of the summer?

David Shafer’s first book, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” is a paranoid, sarcastic and clattering pop thriller that reads as if it were torn from the damp pages of Glenn Greenwald’s fever journal. It’s about a multinational cabal that plans to subjugate humanity by privatizing all information.

In “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” there are trace elements of DeLillo, of Pynchon, of Philip K. Dick, of the Hari Kunzru of “Transmission,” of the Neal Stephenson of “Cryptonomicon,” those usual suspects from whom all would-be techno-dystopianists borrow. Which is to say that the author is highly in touch with how “paranoia can link up with reality now and then,” as Dick explained in “A Scanner Darkly.”

What puts this novel across isn’t its lucid, post-Patriot Act thematics, however, as righteous as they are. Instead, it’s that the storyteller in Mr. Shafer isn’t at war with the thinker and the word man in him; he’s got a sick wit and a high style. Reading his prose is like popping a variant of the red pill in “The Matrix”: Everything gets a little crisper. The sunsets torch the horizon with increased fire.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” follows three characters, each in his or her 30s, each vivid and loose-limbed. Two of them, Leo and Mark, were best friends at Harvard. (Mr. Shafer graduated from Harvard and the Columbia Journalism School. He now lives in Portland, Ore.)

There’s a class element at work in their friendship, now broken. Leo came from money but fizzled out. He’s a stoner, an imbiber of gin at breakfast, a failed bookstore owner turned issuer of letterpress manifestoes about vast conspiracies. He may or may not have a clinical personality disorder. Mark, who grew up poor, is an accidental and fatuous self-help guru. He’s the life coach to an almost certainly maleficent Big Data C.E.O.

Finally, there’s Leila, an idealistic Persian-American nonprofit worker trying to import medical supplies into remote parts of Myanmar. She’s fierce, funny, wary. “She’d gone this long without getting raped,” Mr. Shafer writes about her time in Afghanistan, Myanmar and elsewhere, “and it was her daily, specific intention to continue that way.” Traveling deep in country, she sees something she isn’t supposed to see and ends up being tailed by supreme baddies.

It wouldn’t be polite to spill much of this book’s plot. Suffice it to say that some of these characters join a dissident underground group, one with some hippie élan — this crew might have popped, like a watermelon seed, out of a T. C. Boyle novel — that’s committed to fighting the data-mining goons.

There’s plenty to fight. “Was there another Internet besides the one she knew about?” Leila thinks at one point. Are our search engines the only search engines? The answers to these questions fill this novel’s sails. Once the oligarchy knows everything about you, after you’ve been willingly equipped with digital contact lenses that let them see what you see, it can fry the Internet we have and upload its own.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

This sort of narrative can tip, very easily, into a crude outline for a mediocre Tom Cruise or Matt Damon movie. (Note to Matt Damon: Make this movie anyway.) Mr. Shafer doesn’t let this happen.

There’s too much offbeat humor. Where are the resistance force’s nighttime dormitories? In the showroom bedrooms at Ikea stores. In one climactic scene, these characters are chased through Powell’s, the venerable Portland bookstore. When it’s time for a Schwarzeneggian action movie catchphrase, this novel’s “Hasta la vista, baby,” here’s what’s coyly delivered: “I told you that you shoulda voted for Nader.”

Leo, the trust fund kid, goes so far downhill early in the novel that a list of bummers in his life ends this way: “Then his pot dealer cut him off. Out of concern! Like pot dealers are bound by the Hippocratic oath.”

This is another way of saying that Mr. Shafer gets the playfulness-to-paranoia ratio about exactly right. He also delivers plausibly cool technology — remote seabed units called serve-whales, cloud computing that communicates with, and through, plants.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a page-turner, yet many more “literary” writers will, I suspect, envy Mr. Shafer’s tactile prose. His eye is hawklike.

A popular cookbook is full of “breezy instructions rich in kinetic verbs.” On a massive corporate ship, “there was a zing in the air, the kind produced when subjugated staff members move swiftly through corridors.” The doors at a rehab center “made a sort of sucky spaceship sound when they were opened and closed.”

Through Leila, Mr. Shafer delivers a memo to us all about why we all should understand something about the guts of the wired world: “Why didn’t she know more about computers? That knowledge suddenly seemed more important than feminist theory or ’80s song lyrics, both of which she was well acquainted with. Computers had risen around her all her life, like a lake sneakily subsuming more and more arable land, but she’s never learned to write code or poke behind the icons or anything like that. She was like a medieval peasant confounded by books and easily impressed by stained glass.”

This novel’s politics emerge from the anti-authoritarian left, but they’re not knee-jerk. One sympathetic character is vexed by “liberals who walked around all un-blown-up claiming that they liked their civil liberties more than their security.” Leila is keenly aware that she is “a big fat Western consumer.” This novel asks, “Who among us deserves all he has?”

Embedded in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is, finally, a satisfying love story, one so tangled in numbers and suspicious of malware that when one character locks eyes with another and says, “I’m your square root,” it seems romantic, not robotic.

Mr. Shafer has written a bright, brash entertainment, one that errs, when it errs at all, on the side of generosity, narrative and otherwise. It tips you, geekily and humanely, through the looking glass.

Originally published in The New York Times.

Order Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer here.