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Mulholland Books Unveils Strand Originals Publishing Program in Conjunction with Strand Magazine

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Anthony Goff, Senior Vice-President of Content Development & Audio Publisher of Hachette Book Group, Josh Kendall, VP, Editorial Director, Mulholland Books and Executive Editor, Little, Brown, and Andrew Gulli, Managing Editor of Strand Magazine, announced today the co-publication of The Strand Originals Program. Strand Originals will consist of twenty of the best and most popular Strand Magazine short stories of all time, now being published by Mulholland Books as simultaneous e-book and audio digital downloads. The debut of Strand Originals begins with the publication of “Where the Evidence Lies” by Jeffery Deaver, “Meet and Greet” by Ian Rankin, “Jacket Man” by Linwood Barclay, “The Voiceless” by Faye Kellerman, and “Start-Up” by Olen Steinhauer, all published on April 19th, 2016.

The remaining 15 titles in the program, to be published throughout the remainder of 2016, include stories by Tennessee Williams, Michael Connelly, Ray Bradbury and Joseph Heller. The full list of titles and publication dates is below.

Josh Kendall said, “We at Mulholland Books have tried to make a lasting impression in our five years; Strand Magazine has been doing so for ages. We’re therefore more than proud to have formed a partnership with the Strand, publishing digital and audio versions of some of their best short stories. I’d say that we’re lucky to have them part of our family, but we’re lucky to now be part of theirs.”

Anthony Goff said, “A couple of years back Andrew Gulli came to me to discuss the possible digital distribution of Strand Magazine’s short story gems. Mulholland books had at this time really begun hitting its stride in establishing itself as a rising star in the suspense genre, and I saw this as a perfect home for Strand to team up with Hachette Audio. Much like some of the plot lines in the stories we’re publishing, it’s been a complex and windy road to get here. But, I could not be happier to roll this program out as a part of Mulholland’s 5th Anniversary celebration this spring.”

Andrew Gulli said, “The first place we had in mind for finding a company that would distribute a curated list of short stories that we’ve published was Hachette and Mulholland. I have nothing but respect and admiration for how they’ve published high quality works of fiction that are also commercially successful. Also, from my relationship with Anthony Goff, Josh Kendall, and Michael Pietsch; they’ve always proven to be loyal and determined group, so we’re happy to work with them.” Continue reading “Mulholland Books Unveils Strand Originals Publishing Program in Conjunction with Strand Magazine”

Canceling “Dead Pig Collector” by Warren Ellis

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.

Download Jim Thompson’s The Grifters for $1.99

Did you luck out and receive an eReader or tablet over the holidays? If so, it’s time to fill those digital bookshelves, and we have a low-price suggestion for you: The Grifters by Jim Thompson (Kindle | Nook | Other Retailers).

If you’ve never read Jim Thompson, you’re missing out a classic American crime writer. You know how we lament the overlooked gem? This guy is one of them. In his forward to The Killer Inside Me, Stephen King says, “This anonymous and little-read Oklahoma novelist captured the spirit of his age, and the spirit of the twentieth century’s latter half: emptiness, a feeling of loss in a land of plenty, of unease amid conformity, or alienation in what was meant, in the wake of World War II, to be a generation of brotherhood.”

Andrew Gulli, the managing editor of Strand Magazine adds, “It’s a pity that Thompson’s legacy has been overshadowed by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett; both those authors were giants in the world of noir, but Thompson was every bit their equal. His books, though dark, gloomy, and at times nihilistic, probe the depths of human weakness and excess better than anyone else. Yet, despite his dim worldview, his books are addictive page-turners; it’s easy to know what the ending will be like, but the journey to the ending is captivating.” Despite raves like these, and despite being a sensation in Europe, Thompson has become nearly-forgotten here.

It’s time to change that. Join the Jim Thompson club. Let’s be the discerning readers who bring this great writer back into the spotlight. You’d only be risking $3 to dip your toes into this ingenious story about short cons…and when you’ve blazed through that, we’ve got 24 more eBooks for you:

Thompson eBooks

Already a Jim Thompson fan? Decidedly not a fan? Let me know in the comments!

Year End Review: A Few Thoughts on Jim Thompson and The Grifters

With 2013 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to sit back and reflect on another year of great content and great books. Check back twice daily in the last days of 2012 for a selection of our favorite MulhollandBooks.com posts from the past year!

There are those moments in life so powerful and disturbing that they defy definition.  For me, Jim Thompson’s novels provide such moments.  Or maybe it’s more fair to say they knock me into them backwards—ass over applecart.

Apparently, I’m not alone in that.  Read what’s been said about Thompson, and you see that everyone is grasping: “If Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich could have joined together in some ungodly union and produced a literary offspring, Jim Thompson would be it….His work…casts a dazzling light upon the human condition.”

This is the first quote about Thompson’s work that many readers encounter, the Washington Post blurb splashed on the back of the Vintage Crime/Black Lizard editions that came out in the 1990s, after years when it was hard to find Thompson’s novels.  It’s evocative, and for fans of hard-boiled it has a dreamlike feel.  But ultimately it’s not very helpful.

Why?  Well, the problem with any definition that works by comparison is that it can only sketch around a thing: a chalk mark on a sidewalk, it misses the heart of the matter entirely—the heart that is so raw, so terribly visible, it forces you to work through analogy in the first place. “What does Hammett have to do with anything?” you might argue.  “There is none of his carefully-controlled and sleekly-styled disillusion here.  Surely the reviewer should have said Chandler, Cain, and Woolrich.  Or better, Cain, Woolrich and Chandler, in that order.”  In no time, what is Thompson’s is lost.

Yet such an approach is understandable, for to look at the heart of Thompson’s work… Well, it’s a hard place to look.  But in the end, the only way to get at it is to read, and then live with the consequences for a while. Continue reading “Year End Review: A Few Thoughts on Jim Thompson and The Grifters”

Start Reading Joe R. Lansdale’s Edge of Dark Water

Joe R. Lansdale’s EDGE OF DARK WATER will be in bookstores later this month…but we’re so excited to be publishing this amazing book, we’ve decided to share part of it with you now. Read on for one of the best first sentences you’ll ever read, the beginning of the novel that had Dan Simmons raving: “the strongest, truest, and most pitch-perfect narration since Huck Finn’s….real genius….a masterpiece.”

 

Part One

Of Ash and Dreams

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That summer, Daddy went from telephoning and dynamiting fish to poisoning them with green walnuts. The dynamite was messy, and a couple years before he’d somehow got two fingers blown off, and the side of his face had a burn spot that at first glance looked like a lipstick kiss and at second glance looked like some kind of rash.

Telephoning for fish worked all right, though not as good as dynamite, but Daddy didn’t like cranking that telephone to hot up the wire that went into the water to ’lectrocute the fish. He said he was always afraid one of the little colored boys that lived up from us might be out there swimming and get a dose of ’lectricity that would kill him deader than a cypress stump, or at best do something to his brain and make him retarded as his cousin Ronnie, who didn’t have enough sense to get in out of the rain and might hesitate in a hailstorm.

My grandma, the nasty old bag, who, fortunately, is dead now, claimed Daddy has what she called the Sight. She said he was gifted and could see the future some. I reckon if that was so, he’d have thought ahead enough not to get drunk when he was handling explosives and got his fingers blown off.

And I hadn’t ever seen that much sympathy from him concerning colored folk, so I didn’t buy his excuse for not cranking the phone. He didn’t like my friend Jinx Smith, who was colored, and he tried to make out we was better than her and her family, even though they had a small but clean house, and we had a large dirty house with a sagging porch and the chimney propped up on one side with a two-by-four and there were a couple of hogs wallowing out holes in the yard. As for his cousin Ronnie, I don’t think Daddy cared for him one way or the other, and often made fun of him and imitated him by pretending to bang into walls and slobber about. Of course, when he was good and drunk, this wasn’t an imitation, just a similarity.

Then again, maybe Daddy could see the future, but was just too stupid to do anything about it. Continue reading “Start Reading Joe R. Lansdale’s Edge of Dark Water”

Dave Robicheaux: A Character Sketch

We kick off 2012 with a blast from the past: two early Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee Burke, now available as eBooks: A MORNING FOR FLAMINGOS and BLACK CHERRY BLUES. Keep reading for a short character sketch of Robicheaux. This character sketch was originally published on ThrillingDetective.com.

New Orleans Police Department detective screw-up turned New Iberia, LA Police Detective DAVE ROBICHEAUX is the Great Lost P.I , no matter whether he wears a badge or not. For all the attention he pays to the regulations, it’s a wonder he’s a cop at all.

The guy just doesn’t fit in, doesn’t follow the rules, takes the law into his own hands when it suits him, and gets personally involved in every case he’s ever worked on, it seems. And he doesn’t give a fuck. And yet, somehow, despite the odds, he’s still a cop. Author James Lee Burke even lets him be a private op for a while, teaming him up with his former NOPD partner Cleetus, but then he let it slide. Too bad — Dave is a natural P.I.

Burke writes like a dream, offering a keenly evocative sense of place rarely matched in crime fiction (the closest I can come up with is Chandler’s Los Angeles), and his depictions of the the back roads and bayous of rural Loiusiana verge on poetry. You can smell the bayous, taste the spices of the food, hear the wind whistle through the trees and the canebreaks.

Sure, the series has at times devolved into formula. The number of ex-girlfriends wandering back into Dave’s life, desperately needing his help, for example, is staggering. And every book seems to have a scene where Batiste, Dave’s handyman, heading down to the boathouse to prep the barbeque for the day while Dave slurps an ice-cold Dr. Pepper, watching the condensation bead on the can, as the sun burns off the mist rising on the bayou.

And ever since the pivotal and genre-hopping In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead (1993), in which Dave, having fallen off the wagon, begins to believe a dead Civil War general is guiding him from the grave, one might quibble that there have been a few too many dead people popping up in the books to offer him help on his cases.

But that’s really nitpicking, because when he’s on his game, Burke is a powerful and masterful writer. No matter how many times he describes that boathouse scene, my mouth still starts to watering, and I swear I can almost smell the bittersweet woodsmoke. And every dead person that refuses to stay dead is just one more reminder that the past is always with us, and that even the most damned of us might, just might, have a shot at redemption.

Kevin Burton Smith is the Editor/Founder of TheThrillingDetective.com where this piece was originally published.

Fractured Reflection: Representations of the Psychopath and Society in Mary Harron’s Film Adaptation of American Psycho and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me

The below article initially appeared on www.CrimeCulture.comand is reprinted here with the kind permission of the sites’ administrators and the author.

There have been numerous representations of the psychopath or serial killer in crime literature. Many texts depict this figure as a metaphorical embodiment of society’s moral deviations, or consciously use his killings as part of an elaborate social critique of the world’s corruption and emptiness. According to Lee Horsely, “He moves amongst ordinary people unrecognized, ‘abnormally normal’… in his appearance and behavior” [1], critiquing his society by indulging in schizophrenic and often homicidal activities. Patrick Bateman, of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (1991), and Lou Ford, from Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me (1952), are two examples of this type.

What sets these texts apart from standard crime fiction, however, is that neither adheres to traditional detective story. Instead, they both buck this narrative trope by “stay[ing] within the mind of the killer” in such a way that makes them “effectively disturbing” [2]. To an extent, there appears to be no moral voice that balances out the serial killer’s viewpoint in either American Psycho or The Killer Inside Me. At least, not in the same way that Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot might. On the contrary, narrative is subjective for Bateman and Ford, and absolutely restricted to the “disordered imagination” [3].

Adapted for the screen in 2000, American Psycho is grounded in the cocaine-addled, consumer-crazed Wall St. America of the early 1990s. Very much a reflection of the period, there are many characters, mostly investment bankers, who enjoy abundant wealth, wear almost identical designer suits and “even go to the same barber” [4]. This jungle of inseparable young urban professionals (a.k.a. yuppies) therefore provides the perfect anonymity for the psychopath alienated in a loveless, greedy and money-driven “commercial oversaturation to which the most common reaction is one of ‘total and sheer acceptance’” [5]. Continue reading “Fractured Reflection: Representations of the Psychopath and Society in Mary Harron’s Film Adaptation of American Psycho and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me”

How L.A. Noire Changes Everything (Just Not in the Way They Thought it Would)

The Game

There’s some kind of irony to be found in the fact that one of the main pursuits of L.A. Noire is to reconstruct, in exact detail, a few square miles of 1947 Los Angeles, because everything else about the game is so modern. Ahead of its time, even.

Produced by Team Bondi and Rockstar Games and intended to be part radical reinvention of the point-and-click adventure games of yore, part tech-demonstration for new performance capture breakthroughs, the game also winds up having something that nobody expected: an unprecedented amount of intelligence. I would imagine that the game’s intelligence presented one of Rockstar’s biggest problems when it comes to selling the game to a wide audience. The company’s name has become synonymous with violent, open-world action games. Games that may have grand, sweeping narratives, but also have lots of blood, guts and other “exploitable elements” to keep the more reptilian-brained of their audience satiated.

The bulk of the gameplay is comprised of searching crime scenes for evidence and then interviewing persons of interest. The intimate nature of the interviews is where the game’s performance capture is employed to its fullest extent, as the player is asked to judge the validity of a P.O.I’s statement based on their facial tics and tells. It’s not terribly hard to discern when a character isn’t telling the truth (there’s lots of eye rolling, furrowed brows, etc.) but a player does have to use their deductive skills when it comes to determining whether they have sufficient evidence to prove if a perp is lying or not. Because all the characters a player meets are motion captured by real world actors, expect to be staring down many a familiar face over the course of the game. Either the producers got some kind of package deal or they wanted to capitalize on the warm post-war period connotations of Mad Men, because it seems like the entire cast shows up in L.A. Noire.

Continue reading “How L.A. Noire Changes Everything (Just Not in the Way They Thought it Would)”

As Dark as Broad Daylight

We asked all the contributors to LA Noire: The Collected Stories to tell us about their story in the collection. Read Lawrence Block’s contribution “See the Woman” in LA Noire: The Collected Stories.

Available free (for a limited time) from your eTailer of choice. Amazon.com | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Sony

LA Noire?

I have to say it seems counter-intuitive.  After all, it never rains in Southern California, we have Albert Hammond’s word on that, and he’s always been reliable in the past.

Noir is the French word for black, but when we borrow it to categorize books and films, it morphs from color to mood.  It’s been defined in various ways; more often it’s left undefined, and one could say of noir what Potter Stewart famously said of pornography:  he knew it when he saw it.

The definition I like best is Charles Ardai’s.  He’s the publisher of Hard Case Crime, a line of books that is the very epitome of noir, and I can think of no one who’s more at home with the genre.  He defines it as crime fiction written by a pessimist, and the only change I’d make would be to tuck in the words “as if” between “written” and “by,” because the world of a novel does not necessarily reflect the world view of its author.

Dark crime fiction, pessimistic crime fiction.   It would seem to call for rain, or at the very least the threat of rain.  Dark streets, broken streetlamps, shadows in which something—anything!—might  be lurking.

But in Los Angeles?  Noir in the land of surf and sunshine?  Noir in Beach Boys Country?

You’re kidding, right?

Continue reading “As Dark as Broad Daylight”

Pure storytelling, pure action

We asked all the contributors to LA Noire: The Collected Stories to tell us about their story in the collection. Read Francine Prose’s contribution “School for Murder” in LA Noire: The Collected Stories.

Available free (for a limited time) from your eTailer of choice. Amazon.com | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Sony

LA Noir is a world that exists in our heads, eternal and universal but at the same time highly specific: Los Angeles, 1947. It’s a world of hard-luck PIs working in dusty offices with pretty receptionists and shifty clients; of gruesome unsolved murders; of crime films not so much about murder as about dark and light, the inky pools of fear in a victim’s eyes and the stripes from a pair of Venetian blinds on the killer’s face. I loved the experience of writing a story for the collection, imagining that place and time and then letting my imagination go wild. Pure storytelling, pure action. An excuse to enter another world without having to stay there very long. Also for me part of the fun was that, purely coincidentally, my son Leon’s company, Truth and Soul Records, was producing a cut for the LA Noire promotional music download, a remix of Gene Krupa’s “Sing Sing Sing.”

Francine Prose is the New York Times bestselling author of A Changed Man, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and fourteen other books.