Want a sneak peak from the Classified Edition of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ INCOGNITO, but can’t make it out to your local comics store? Marvel was kind enough to provide us a few pages below–now go grab yourself a copy! You won’t regret it.
This week The 500 by Matthew Quirk hits bookstore! Can’t wait to get started on the debut Joe Finder has called “An absolutely phenomenal, kickass thriller”? Check out an excerpt of the novel below. Comment for a chance to win your copy today!
Miroslav and Aleksandar filled the front seats of the Range Rover across the street. They wore their customary diplomatic uniforms — dark Brionis tailored close — but the two Serbs looked angrier than usual. Aleksandar lifted his right hand high enough to flash me a glint of his Sig Sauer. A master of subtlety, that Alex. I wasn’t particularly worried about the two bruisers sitting up front, however. The worst thing they could do was kill me, and right now that looked like one of my better options.
The rear window rolled down and there was Rado, glaring. He preferred to make his threats with a dinner napkin. He lifted one up and dabbed gently at the corners of his mouth. They called him the King of Hearts because, well, he ate people’s hearts. The way I heard it was that he’d read an article in the Economist about some nineteen-year-old Liberian warlord with a taste for human flesh. Rado decided that sort of flagrant evil would give his criminal brand the edge it needed in a crowded global marketplace, so he picked up the habit.
I wasn’t even all that worried about him tucking into my heart. That’s usually fatal and, like I said, would greatly simplify my dilemma. The problem was that he knew about Annie. And my getting another loved one killed because of my mistakes was one of the things that made Rado’s fork look like the easy out.
I nodded to Rado and started up the street. It was a beautiful May morning in the nation’s capital, with a sky like blue porcelain. The blood that had soaked through my shirt was drying, stiff and scratchy. My left foot dragged on the asphalt. My knee had swollen to the size of a rugby ball. I tried to concentrate on the knee to keep my mind off the injury to my chest, because if I thought about that — not the pain so much as the sheer creepiness of it — I was sure I would pass out.
As I approached, the office looked as classy as ever: a three-story Federal mansion set back in the woods of Kalorama, among the embassies and chanceries. It was home to the Davies Group, Washington, D.C.’s most respected strategic consulting and government affairs firm, where I guess technically I may have still been employed. I fished my keys from my pocket and waved them in front of a gray pad beside the door lock. No go.
But Davies was expecting me. I looked up at the closed-circuit camera. The lock buzzed.
Inside the foyer, I greeted the head of security and noted the baby Glock he’d pulled from its holster and was holding tight near his thigh. Then I turned to Marcus, my boss, and nodded by way of hello. He stood on the other side of the metal detector, waved me through, then frisked me neck to ankle. He was checking for weapons, and for wires. Marcus had made a nice long career with those hands, killing.
“Strip,” Marcus said. I obliged, shirt and pants. Even Marcus winced when he saw the skin of my chest, puckering around the staples. He took a quick look inside my drawers, then seemed satisfied I wasn’t bugged. I suited back up.
“Envelope,” he said, and gestured to the manila one I was carrying.
“Not until we have a deal,” I said. The envelope was the only thing keeping me alive, so I was a little reluctant to let it go. “This will go wide if I disappear.”
Marcus nodded. That kind of insurance was standard industry practice. He’d taught me so himself. He led me upstairs to Davies’s office and stood guard by the door as I stepped inside.
There, standing by the windows, looking out over downtown D.C., was the one thing I was worried about, the option that seemed much worse than getting carved up by Rado: it was Davies, who turned to me with a grandfather’s smile. Continue reading “An Excerpt from The 500”
Damp, salty ocean air is hell on everything. Especially evidence. If we hadn’t lucked out and found the car so fast, we’d never have had a shot at getting DNA results out of that little drop of blood on the passenger seat of the SUV. But a young surfer looking for a new break near Point Mugu had spotted the vehicle and decided to call the police; the sight of the abandoned car had given him a “bad feeling.” I found out what he meant when I went out to the scene. And I got that same bad feeling every time I looked at the photograph that’d been taken that night—something I’d done often and was in fact doing right now.
The white SUV glowed in the moonlight, a ghostly beacon on an outcropping above a rocky stretch of beach north of Point Mugu. The “soccer mom” vehicle wouldn’t have merited a second look had it been in the parking lot of any shopping mall in the San Fernando Valley. But there, in the limitless darkness of a remote overlook on the Pacific Coast Highway, it was an ominous misfit. A car like that did not wind up in a place like this. Not overnight. And not in the dead of winter.
I couldn’t help being transfixed by the sight of that Ford Explorer, iridescent and isolated, in the endless black maw of ocean and night sky. Chilling, eerie, the photo emanated a sense of menace, a prelude to a violent demise.
At least I hoped it did. I planned to use that photograph—now enlarged to poster size—in my opening statement. I figured it would help me hit the ground running with the jury. Get their minds in the right place. I’m Rachel Knight, and I’m a deputy district attorney assigned to the Special Trials Unit—a small group of prosecutors that handles the most high-profile, complex cases in Los Angeles. Unlike most deputies, we get our cases the day the body is found and work alongside the detectives throughout the investigation. And the detective I’ve been working with almost exclusively for the past few years, who also happens to be my best friend, is Bailey Keller, one of the few women to gain entrée into the elite Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD.
The white SUV had belonged to Melissa Gibbons-Hildegarde, the only daughter born to Bennie and Nancy Gibbons, who combined old family money (hers) and a real estate empire (his) to wind up one of the most wealthy, influential couples in Los Angeles. Which, of course, meant that Melissa stood to inherit a very sizable fortune upon their demise. They may as well have painted a bull’s-eye on her back. The arrow that found that target came in the form of Saul Hildegarde, a charismatic community activist whose passion for welfare reform inspired Melissa to abandon her jet-set lifestyle and devote herself to higher pursuits. Unfortunately, it was only after they’d married that Melissa realized the welfare Saul was most passionate about was his own. But while Saul discovered a taste for the easy life of tennis, clubs, and parties, Melissa discovered a burning desire to help the impoverished, and so she dedicated herself to the support and founding of charities around the world. Especially those devoted to the welfare of children. And it wasn’t enough for her to just send money. Melissa took the hands-on approach and accompanied her checkbook around the world, helping to build huts in Somalia and set up clinics in Nigeria. She’d even spoken of adopting some of the children she’d helped during her travels. Her friends were uniformly stunned at Melissa’s transformation. It seemed as though she’d gone from party girl to Mother Teresa virtually overnight. But Melissa didn’t see much of her friends anymore; her charity work kept her plenty busy—likely too busy to ask for a divorce. Right up until the day she’d come home early from a trip to Botswana to find Saul in flagrante with a young coed who’d apparently volunteered to work on a more personal style of welfare reform. Melissa had announced her intention to get a divorce that same night.
Three weeks later, Saul reported her missing. And when her SUV had been found abandoned on a lonely stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, the contents of her purse strewn across the passenger seat and the glove compartment rifled, it was initially believed that Melissa had been the victim of a robbery-murder, and that her body had been dumped in the ocean.
Joe R. Lansdale’s EDGE OF DARK WATER is now on its way to bookstores around the country…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 more of the novel that had Dan Simmons raving: “the strongest, truest, and most pitch-perfect narration since Huck Finn’s….real genius….a masterpiece.”
Missed the first excerpt? Start reading here.
May Lynn didn’t have a mama anymore, cause her mama had drowned herself in the Sabine River. She had gone down with some laundry to soak, and instead wrapped a shirt around her head and walked in until the water went over her. When she came up, she wasn’t alive anymore, but she still had that shirt around her noggin.
May Lynn’s daddy was someone who only came home when he got tired of being any other place. We didn’t even know if he knew his daughter was missing. May Lynn used to say after her mama drowned herself her daddy was never the same. Said she figured it was because the laundry around her mother’s head had been his favorite snap-pocket shirt. That’s true love for you. Worse, her brother, Jake, who she was close to, was dead as of a short time back, and there wasn’t even a family dog to miss her.
The day after we found her, May Lynn was boxed up in a cheap coffin and buried on a warm morning in the pauper section of the Marvel Creek Cemetery next to a dried patch of weeds with seed ticks clinging to them, and I suspect some chiggers too small to see. Her mother and brother were buried in the same graveyard, but they hadn’t ended up next to one another. Up the hill was where the people with money lay. Down here was the free dirt, and even if you was kin to someone, you got scattered—you went in anyplace where there was room to dig a hole. I’d heard there was many a grave on top of another, for need of space.
There were oaks and elms to shade the rest of the graveyard, but May Lynn’s section was a hot stretch of dirt with a bunch of washed-down mounds, a few with markers. Some of the markers were little sticks. Names had once been written on them, but they had been washed white by the sun and rain.
The constable ruled on matters by saying she had been killed by a person or persons unknown, which was something I could have figured out for him. He said it was most likely a drifter or drifters who had come upon her by the river. I guess they had been carrying a sewing machine under their arm. Continue reading “Continue 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.”
Of Ash and Dreams
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”
He loses sense of time and objectivity. He sits down on a small rock next to the body and, as the sun heats his naked back, declares himself a murderer. For the moment, he forgets that the body is even there. He focuses only upon his act of killing another human being. He would like to spread the blame around, but can find no one else to fault, not even the dead girl for wearing tan and white in the woods, because it’s not even hunting season and John, after all, is a trespassing poacher.
He picks a small stick up from the quarry floor and doodles with it in the dirt. The blue jays perched above him begin to sing again. A red fox wanders into the quarry, stops and sniffs the deer carcass, then, possibly sensing John’s presence, turns and bounds out again. A hog snake slithers over the dead girl’s feet. The crows caw, alerting others to the death.
John thinks about how he has grown up in and around these woods—on the Nobie side of the mountain—and, like his father and grandfather, has hunted them since he was a boy, and though they fought in wars and he didn’t, he is the first among them to kill someone. He thinks that if his father hadn’t lost the Moon family farm, with its rolling meadows and three hundred acres of game-rich forest, John would not have to trespass and poach to feed his wife and son. They might even still live with him. He looks at his watch. Almost an hour has passed. His left shoulder throbs. His shirt is damp around the wound, but the bleeding, for the most part, seems to have stopped.
He forces himself to stand up, walk over to the dead girl, look down at her lying in the grass like a rag doll casually tossed aside. Boiling with black flies, wine-colored blood slowly oozes from her open chest. John reaches down, brushes several of the flies away, then pulls back his hand wet with blood starting to congeal. He thinks of the hundreds of animals he has shot, gutted, and cut into strips of meat. All the blood he has seen. The wounded deer that he chased for miles to kill. Blood is blood, he thinks, wiping the girl’s on his pants. And dead is dead.
He moves his gaze from her chest to her face. She is beautiful, he thinks, not like a greenhouse flower, but like a wild rose raised in bright sunshine, bitter cold, torrential rain. Sun-chapped lips, parted as if to speak, a bent nose, slightly running, make her seem still alive. A tiny anchor-shaped birthmark mars her right cheek. Kneeling down near her head, John smells orange-blossom perfume, the same three-dollar-a-bottle fragrance he used to buy for his wife. What is your name? he silently asks her. Where are you from? What were you doing in the quarry by yourself? He bends forward and tenderly kisses her lips, then, shocked at his own behavior, quickly rears back and glances around the canyon, up the rock walls, into the white-pine and cedar-tree forest orbiting the upper rim, as if someone might be watching him. Suddenly John feels certain someone is. The thought hits him like a punch: she wasn’t alone. He sees nothing to substantiate this, though. He reaches down and with his index fingers gently closes the girl’s eyes.
In just ten short days, we’ll be publishing FUN AND GAMES, the kick-a$$ first book in the kick-a$$ Charlie Hardie series. Continue reading the novel Josh Bazell called “insanely entertaining,” and which Booklist called “so bloody satisfying.”
Missed Chapter 1? Read it here.
“California is a beautiful fraud.”—Marc Reisner
WHEELS WERE supposed to be up at 5:30 a.m., but by 5:55 it became clear that wasn’t gonna happen.
The captain told everyone it was just a little trouble with a valve. Once that was fixed and the paperwork was filed, they’d be taking off and headed to LAX. Fifteen minutes, tops. Half hour later, the captain more or less said he’d been full of shit, but really, honest, folks, now it was fixed, and they’d be taking off by 6:45. Thirty minutes later, the captain admitted he was pretty much yanking off / finger-fucking everyone in the airplane, and the likely departure time would be 8 a.m.—something about a sensor needing replacing. Nothing serious.
No, of course not. Continue reading “Continue Reading Duane Swierczynski’s FUN AND GAMES”
In just a few short weeks, we’ll be publishing FUN AND GAMES, the kick-a$$ first book in the kick-a$$ Charlie Hardie series. Start reading the novel Josh Bazell called “insanely entertaining,” and which Booklist called “so bloody satisfying.”
THE PIERCING screech of tires on asphalt.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. —Popular saying
SHE DISCOVERED Decker Canyon Road by accident, not long after she moved to L.A. A random turn off the PCH near Malibu shot her up the side of the mountain, followed by twelve miles of stomach-flipping twists and hairpin turns all the way to Westlake Village. And she loved it, hands gripping the wheel of the sports car she’d bought with her first real movie check—because that’s what you were supposed to do, right? Blow some of that money on an overpriced, overmuscled convertible coupe that popped a spoiler when you topped 75. She never cared she was going thirty miles faster than any sane driver would attempt on this road. She loved the ocean air smashing into her face, the feel of the tires beneath as they struggled to cling to the asphalt, the hum of the machine surrounding her body, the knowledge that one twitch to the left or right at the wrong moment meant her brand-new car, along with her brand-new life, would end up at the bottom of a ravine, and maybe years later people would ask: Whatever happened to that cute actress who was in those funny romantic comedies a few years ago? Back then, she loved to drive Decker Canyon Road because it blasted all of the clutter out of her mind. Life was reduced to a simple exhilarating yes or no, zero or one, live or die.
But now she was speeding up Decker Canyon Road because she didn’t want to die.
And the headlights were gaining on her. Continue reading “Start Reading Duane Swierczynski’s Fun and Games”
Galleys of Thomas Mullen’s incredible, genre-defying new novel THE REVISIONISTS are being given away at BEA first-thing tomorrow morning! Couldn’t make it out to BEA this year? Just don’t think you’ll hit the floor in time? Fret not! Start reading Mullen’s book right here on the Mulholland website–and the first twenty comments about it will receive a galley in the mail! (US and CA only, please.)
A trio of bulbous black SUVs passes sleekly by, gliding through their world like seals. The city shines liquidly off their tinted windows, the yellow lights from the towers and the white lights from the street and the red lights they ignore as they cruise through the intersection with a honk and a flash of their own beams. People on the sidewalk barely give them a glance.
I cross the street, which is empty in their wake. Most of the National Press Building’s lights are still on, as reporters for outlets across the globe type away to beat their deadlines. Editors are waiting in Tokyo, the masses are curious in Mumbai, the public has a right to know in London. The sheer volume of information being churned out of that building is unfathomable to me, the weight of it, and also the waste. As if people needed it. Continue reading “Start reading Thomas Mullen’s THE REVISIONISTS”
WE SAT ACROSS from each other in a booth in a diner on Twenty-third Street. He took his coffee with a lot of cream and sugar. Mine was black. The only thing I ever put in it was bourbon, and I didn’t do that anymore.
He remarked again on my having recognized him, and I said it worked both ways, he’d recognized me. “Well, you said your name,” he said. “When you gave your day count. You’ll be coming up on ninety pretty soon.”
Ninety days is a sort of probationary period. When you’ve been clean and dry for ninety days, you’re allowed to tell your story at a meeting, and to hold various group offices and service positions. And you can stop raising your hand and telling the world how many days you’ve got.
He’d been sober sixteen months. “That year,” he said. “I had a year the last day of September. I never thought I’d make that year.”
“They say it’s tough right before an anniversary.”
“Oh, it wasn’t any more difficult then. But, see, I more or less took it for granted that a year of sobriety was an impossible accomplishment. That nobody stayed sober that long. Now my sponsor’s sober almost six years, and there’s enough people in my home group with ten, fifteen, twenty years, and it’s not like I pegged them as liars. I just thought I was a different kind of animal, and for me it had to be impossible. Did your old man drink?”
“That was the other secret of his success.”
“Mine too. In fact he died of it. It was just a couple of years ago, and what gets me is he died alone. His liver went on him. My ma was gone already, she had cancer, so he was alone in the world, and I couldn’t be at his bedside where I belonged because I was upstate. So he died in a bed all by himself. Man, that’s gonna be one tough amends to make, you know?”