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10 September Releases for Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Fans

Instead of being sad that we are saying goodbye to summer let’s focus on these mysteries, thrillers, and horror books publishing this September. Basically, we’re stockpiling what we’ll soon be reading under cozy blankets as nature’s colors change outside our windows, and we’re excited!

 

 

 

Discover a Bestselling Mystery & Suspense Series

Start the first book in a bestselling mystery or suspense series today.

 

Love thrillers, too? Don’t miss our favorite thriller series.

 

 

 

 

 

What Is a Mystery?

fascination*Every once in awhile, when my (ahem) amazing job comes up in conversation, someone will ask me, if not: “What is a mystery?” outright, another question along similar lines. Could be someone curious how the category has evolved in the years since Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Dupin and Hercule Poirot. Or it could be an avid reader just discovering a love of suspense, yet finding themselves somewhat flummoxed by all the subcategorization—with police procedurals, cozies, psychological thrillers, and so many more, the permutations can at times seem endless.

So what is a mystery? I’m sure for Mulholland Books readers, the answer comes easy. A mystery involves a crime, and centers around the investigations of a protagonist who endeavors to bring justice to its perpetrators. We often refer to this as the “solution” to the mystery, despite the fact that the crime most commonly depicted—murder—is irrevocable and, thus, unsolvable. (See: Detective Ramone’s penultimate speech in Pelecanos’s The Night Gardener.)

The other, slightly more slippery version of this prompt: What’s the difference between a mystery and a thriller?

Conversationally, readers often use the terms interchangeably to discuss any novel that engages the tropes of the crime fiction genre, or operates within the suspense paradigm. But the terms aren’t actually as exchangeable as we make them out to be. The answer has a lot to do with Hitchcock’s famous speech on the art of creating suspense—the bomb under the table, a very neat example from a master storyteller and a useful example for also highlighting the differences in the genres:

We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!”

Hitchcock’s version of events is a classic thriller premise—a crime is about to be committed, one which readers have been alerted to. But begin this story fifteen minutes later, just as the bomb explodes, and you have yourself a crime and mystery—the identity of the perpetrator—in need of a solving.  It’s all in the timing—start in one place, and you have a novel centered around anticipation, a thriller. Start later and you’ll find yourself in classic mystery territory.

Does this mean a mystery can’t be suspenseful? Certainly not—the path to each mystery’s solution is often littered with mid-novel scenes just like the thriller premise that Hitchcock describes, in which our protagonist’s life has been placed in danger and the survival, or successful unveiling of the truth itself, has been placed in suspense. Which is where the term mystery/thriller comes in handy, and why the two categories have become more and more confused in the past few years. Many of our most successful crime novelists have become masters at blending the categories so that suspense is as much the name of the game as the investigation at hand.

Take, say, Lee Child’s Reacher series. Most if not all of his novels are actually mysteries, despite Child’s reputation as one of our best thriller writers around. The Affair finds Reacher wrapped up in an unsolved murder case that will change the course of his life—and readers don’t discover the identity of the murderer until the novel’s climactic scenes. The Hard Way finds Reacher in New York City, investigating the kidnapping of a wealthy paramilitary figure’s wife–and we as readers won’t find out why or how she was taken until very late in the game. We often talk about these stories as thrillers, and quite understandably—they both certainly thrill—but given the unsolved crimes at their center, both are actually mysteries, strictly speaking. If Reacher were just a six-and-a-half-foot-tall, gorilla-faced guy who happens to be an ace in a fight, would readers really care for him in quite the same way? I doubt it—he’d still be in Carter Crossing, Mississippi, interviewing murder suspects, having never quite resolved the events of The Affair in the first place!

All of which begs the question, Mulholland Books reader: How do you prefer your bombs? Still ticking? Or already gone off?

Wes Miller is Mulholland Books’ Associate Editor and Marketing Associate. If Mulholland were a crime novel instead of an imprint that publishes them, Wes would be its PI—the stalwart presence resolving its issues, making sure at the end of the day, justice gets served and good prevails—at least until tomorrow comes. Reach him through the Mulholland Books twitter account (@mulhollandbooks), on Tumblr (mulhollandbooks.tumblr.com) or right here on the Mulholland Books website.

A Conversation with George Pelecanos: Part I

The paperback edition of George Pelecanos’s THE CUT hits bookstores today. THE CUT introduces Spero Lucas, an ex-Marine and Iraq vet who specializes in recovering stolen property – no questions asked – in return for forty percent of its value. Spero’s first case involves an imprisoned drug lord, and drops him dead center into the midst of the Washington, D.C., underworld which Pelecanos has chronicled so vividly in all his novels. Spero is Pelecanos’ first series character since Derek Strange, the DC PI who appeared in four novels, most recently 2004’s HARD REVOLUTION.

In a series of e-mail exchanges with Wallace Stroby, Pelecanos talked about THE CUT, his influences, and what’s next:

WALLACE STROBY: After four stand-alone novels that in some ways mirrored your TV work – multilevel stories with a broad array of characters and social concerns – THE CUT feels like a return to your early, leaner and meaner crime novels. What led to that?

GEORGE PELECANOS: On a whim I wrote a short story (“Chosen”) about a married couple who adopt a bunch of kids, and wind up with an interracial family. The story ended with a few sentences about the current status of two of the brothers: Leo Lucas, a teacher at a public high school in Washington, and Spero Lucas, a Marine fighting in Fallujah. That led to me meeting several Marine vets of Iraq and Afghanistan who had come home and were working as private investigators for criminal defense attorneys here. It hit me that some of these guys weren’t interested in desk jobs, and maybe never would be.

Then one day, when I was doing some work at a local correctional facility, I met a man who had lost a leg in Fallujah, and was picking up a relative who was being released from jail. We had a very interesting, enlightening conversation. There are a lot of stories to tell about these veterans, and I felt like I had one cooking in my head. THE CUT came forward.

I guess I was ready to write a straight-ahead crime novel. On the internet some people were making comments that I had gone soft or literary, whatever that means. It puts a chip on my shoulder when people think they have me figured out. I write the book that knocks on the door of my imagination.

WS: Spero’s chosen profession has echoes of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee, in that he recovers lost goods in exchange for a cut of what he salvages. Do you see yourself going down the road with him?

GP: THE DEEP BLUE GOODBYE was on the syllabus of the University of Maryland crime fiction class that pretty much changed my life.  Eventually I read all the titles in that series.  I even named one of my dogs Travis, and she was a bitch.

Spero Lucas, in some respects, is me tipping my hat to Mr. MacDonald and McGee and to the physical-and-flesh spirit of those books. I’m not much for long-range plans, but I will definitely write another Lucas novel. The character stuck with me. I want to know more about him myself.

 WS: The McGee books also ruminated a lot about what it meant to be a man in today’s world. That’s a major theme in your books as well – manhood and what it entails, fathers and sons, mentoring.  You don’t see a lot of that in crime fiction. Is it something you felt was lacking in the genre?

GP: The subject of manhood and masculinity is underserved in all types of fiction, and when it is touched on it’s not always done with complete honesty. Meaning, it becomes wish fulfillment, giving the readers what they want to believe, rather than what’s true. You can add the subject of race and class to that, too.

Male father figures are a critical element in the shaping of young lives. When I go into a juvenile facility I can almost guarantee that nearly all of the boys I talk to had no significant male guidance when they were raised.  What you see around here now are coaches, teachers and mentors stepping up and taking on that role. My last three books were about fathers and sons. We’ve raised two sons and a daughter, so I felt like I was qualified to go deep into the subject.

Continue reading “A Conversation with George Pelecanos: Part I”

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Contrasted ConfinementWILD THING, Josh Bazell’s sequel to the breakout hit BEAT THE REAPER is in bookstores now. Check out reviews from  The Daily Beast, which proclaims the book “comes with the funniest footnotes and appendix (no kidding) ever written,” the National Post, which calls the book “a welcome return…with a grim and funny plot filled with a whole mess o’ violence, double-crossings, drug abuse, flamboyant lies and sexual tension.” Bazell also received a rave review in The Washington Post, which says: “Bazell’s mix of violent lunacy and social commentary should appeal to fans of Carl Hiassen…WILD THING doesn’t so much end as explode.” And don’t miss the blog reviews from the likes of BookHounds, Rhapsody in Books, The Review Broads, The IE Mommy, and more.

As for George Pelecanos’s WHAT IT WAS, The Washington Times ran a wonderful feature on Pelecanos’ career and his title of “DC’s Own.” The Philadelphia Inquirer runs a rave review for the novel,  writing that “Be warned! Don’t start at 10pm if you want to get any sleep…The writing is noir: spark, dark, and evocative of time and place…more than marvelous.”

Don Mann, author of INSIDE SEAL TEAM SIX and Mulholland Books’ forthcoming HUNT THE WOLF, was recently quoted in Newsweek’s front page story on the Navy SEALs, on the importance of training for the operators that have impressed President Obama with their precision and professionalism.

The TV spot for Max Payne 3, presented by our friends at Rockstar Games, has been running prominently on different channels in the past week. Check it out below:

Did we missing something sweet? Share it in the comments! We’re always open to suggestions for next week’s post! Get in touch atmulhollandbooks@hbgusa.com or DM us on Twitter.

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Contrasted ConfinementDuane Swierczynski’s FUN AND GAMES has been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Paperback Original! Go Duane!

Papers like the New York Times have been covering the shopping of Amanda Knox’s book proposal. What do you think?

George Pelecanos’s WHAT IT WAS continues to receive great reviews–don’t miss coverage from the New York Times Book Review, which called the novel “great and breathless,” and USA Today, which selected the “rip-roaring introduction to Derek Strange” as a weekend pick. And at Spinetingler, Gloria Feit agrees.

With Michael Robotham’s BLEED FOR ME soon on its way to bookstores, great blog reviews have begun popping up–don’t miss the ones at Caite’s Day at the Beach and Bestsellers World.

And Donato Carrisi’s THE WHISPERER received another great blogger review from Martha’s Bookshelf!

Did we missing something sweet? Share it in the comments! We’re always open to suggestions for next week’s post! Get in touch atmulhollandbooks@hbgusa.com or DM us on Twitter.

Want to be a literary rock star? Live like a boy scout. A conversation with George Pelecanos.

The below guest post originally appeared on Allison Leotta’s site and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

George Pelecanos is an author at the top of his game. When he’s not writing bestselling crime novels, he’s creating some of America’s finest TV dramas: shows like “The Wire” and “Treme.”Stephen King called him “perhaps America’s greatest living crime writer”; Esquire anointed him “the poet laureate of D.C. crime fiction”; Dennis Lehane said, “The guy’s a national treasure.” In short, George Pelecanos is a literary rock star. So how can a new writer capture a little bit of that magic?

George’s answer surprised me.

I recently sat down with him for lunch, and that question was at the top of my mind. My debut legal thriller, “Law of Attraction,” got positive reviews and some nice buzz – but no one’s calling me “a national treasure.” I’ve read George’s earliest books, written before he was nationally treasured himself. They showcase considerable raw talent, but they’re unrefined and inconsistent. Like the evolution of cell phone technology, George’s writing has developed from an interesting conversation piece to a body of work so smart and sophisticated, it makes you shake your head with wonder. I wanted to know: how do I make that happen to my own writing? Will I need a more apps and better ringtones, or just some writing seminars?

None of the above, George answered. To be a good writer, be a good person.

That’s not exactly what he said – more on the specifics below – but that’s what it boiled down to.

It wasn’t the advice I expected from this author. If you’ve read his novels, you know George Pelecanos creates worlds that are dark, testosterone charged, and dangerous. “King Suckerman” opens with a disgruntled employee using a shotgun to blow a hole through his boss. In “The Sweet Forever,” one man proves his love for another by brutally murdering a rival. “Drama City” features a female probation officer who’s straight-laced by day and driven to risky one-night stands by night. George’s novels are full of violence and retribution, the grimmest side of humanity, and plenty of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.

But his advice on how to create these worlds is akin to what a thoughtful father might advise his daughter on the larger question of how to live her life. The melding of these dark worlds with more wholesome introspection may be what makes his novels so finely textured and morally complex.

Here’s George Pelecanos’ advice for becoming a great writer: Continue reading “Want to be a literary rock star? Live like a boy scout. A conversation with George Pelecanos.”

The Lineup: Wednesday links

Police lineup Janet Rudolph offers a comprehensive list of Labor Union-related mysteries for your post-Labor Day reading.

Crimespace fan? You might want to check out the ongoing discussion about crime novels that have pushed the envelope into literary territory. Don’t be afraid to chime in!

The Millions has a post earlier from Kim Wright about nearly the exact opposite–literary writers who have turned to genre fiction.

Speaking of The Millions, here’s Michael Bourne’s review of George Pelecanos’s THE CUT in case you missed it last Wednesday.

A new international trailer for DRIVE, based on the James Sallis novel, is up with new content. Plenty more where that came from.

In Mulholland Books news, THE MULHOLLAND BOOKS APP HAS ARRIVED! Download it for free now.

And in some of the great reviews of Mulholland books this week, Thomas Mullen’s THE REVISIONISTS received a starred Library Journal review, Jedediah Ayres has high praise for Matthew F. Jones’s A SINGLE SHOT in the B&N Ransom Notes blog, and a blogger crosses genres to find out A SINGLE SHOT is of her favorites of the year.

Did we missing something sweet? Share it in the comments! We’re always open to suggestions for next week’s post! Get in touch at mulhollandbooks@hbgusa.com or DM us on Twitter.

The Big Gundown

A couple of nights ago I caught Sergio Solima’s The Big Gundown on Encore’s Western channel. I had seen it back in the late 60’s when I was a kid, in one of the movie palaces that had gone exploitation/blaxploitation/Spaghetti Western in post-riot Washington, D.C. It’s difficult to find on DVD, and is rarely shown on television, so I was excited to have the opportunity to watch it again after so many years. I had good memories of this one, and I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed; in fact, after this viewing, my regard for it has only grown stronger.

The Big Gundown stars Lee Van Cleef as Corbett, a bounty hunter/quasi lawman who’s hired by a corrupt railroad baron to capture and kill Cuchillo, (spunky, feral Tomas Milian, Pacino before Pacino) a Mexican accused of the rape and murder of a child. This was Van Cleef’s first role after Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and though he would later sleepwalk through many sub-par Italian Westerns, he gives one of his most charismatic performances here. The man had steel and presence. As for the direction, Sergio Solima is not as highly revered as Leone, but this is a film that can stand alongside the work of the Maestro. It’s that good.

Continue reading “The Big Gundown”

The Lineup: Wednesday links

Police lineupA whole lotta awesome went up this week to celebrate the publication of George Pelecanos’s THE CUT. George Pelecanos’s Book Notes post at Large Hearted Boy is sure to get a few tunes stuck in your head.

Speaking of music and George, check George’s Tour Music Playlist on Spotify!

USA Today‘s interview with George, with video, is most definitely worth a look-see.

Tom Rob Smith’s interview on NPR‘s Crime in the City rules.

At The Rap Sheet, Linda L. Richard’s reflections on the postmodern mystery as defined by Ted Gioia’s new site is sure to get you thinking decontructively.

In a really nice Central Crime Zone piece, Ruth Jordan reflects on her Baltimore hike with Laura Lippman on the pub date of her newest THE MOST DANGEROUS THING.

Also this week, the New York Times Books Review‘s Marilyn Stasio loved Mark Billingham’s Bloodline, and so did Blood of the MuseMonsters And Critics calls Matthew F. Jones’ A Single Shot “absolutely authentic” and “excellent,” and Spinetingler is nuts for Duane Swierczynski’s Fun and Games.

And check out this awesome trailer for THE DOUBLE starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace, co-written and -produced by Mulholland author Derek Haas!


Did we missing something sweet? Share it in the comments!

We’re always open to suggestions for next week’s post! Get in touch at mulhollandbooks@hbgusa.com or DM us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mulhollandbooks).

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