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Year End Review: When Children Don’t Come Home

discovering ways of moving onWith 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!

Everyone reacts differently to the disappearance of a child. Some husbands and wives look straight into each other’s eyes without needing words, while others are like strangers lying side by side at night, still as corpses, staring at the ceiling.

There are men who want to beat someone so badly they can’t walk right for a month, while others drink themselves into oblivion or pretend nothing has changed. And there are women who can’t look at another child or family without remembering what they’ve lost.

As a journalist working in Australia and the UK, I reported on far too many stories that involved missing and/or murdered children. Right from the outset, I was thrown into the deep end by a grizzled old chief of staff, who decided to use my young, fresh-faced innocence to illicit photographs from grieving relatives. I was designated as the ‘death knock’ specialist and I once did twelve in a day after a mining disaster in Cobar in western NSW in 1979.

One of the things I discovered was that people react differently to tragedy. Some invited me into their homes, sobbed on my shoulder and took me through every photograph in the album, wanting to tell me about the loved one they had lost. Others showed no emotion at all and appeared almost detached and untouched, as though nobody had told them the news or they were in denial. Many shut the door in my face and once or twice I was threatened with violence, including have a gun pointed through a crack in the door.

Grief, I discovered, is an individual as a fingerprint. Continue reading “Year End Review: When Children Don’t Come Home”

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Contrasted ConfinementWe made it out to Bouchercon last weekend to see Duane Swierczynski’s FUN AND GAMES win the Shamus for Best Paperback Original PI Novel–congrats, Duane! All the more reason to look forward to April of next year, when POINT AND SHOOT, the final in the now accolade-winning Hardie trilogy, hits bookstores… The Rap Sheet has a great write-up of the festivities if you were unable to attend. Here’s looking forward to next year’s event in Albany!

Michael Robotham embarked on a US tour straight from the convention and can be seen this Friday at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and on Saturday at Scottsdale, Arizona’s Poisoned Pen.

While Robotham’s been on tour, SAY YOU’RE SORRY has been raking in rave reviews from the likes of Kirkus, John Valeri at Examiner.com, Publishers Weekly, P.G. Koch of the Houston Chronicle. More to come!

Don’t let all the great news about SAY YOU’RE SORRY distract from the fact that THE HOUSE OF SILK is now out in paperback. Some guests posts from Horowitz here and here from our initial hardcover publication. “An intricate and rewarding mystery in the finest Victorian tradition” (Vanity Fair)–what’s not to like?

Asbury Park Press reviewed Mischa Hiller’s SHAKE OFF, and the Washington Post reviewed Chase Novak’s BREED, calling it “the best American horror novel since Scott Smith’s The Ruins.”

Speaking of BREED, don’t miss Chase Novak in discussion with Barry Lyga, Daniel Kraus, Jonathan Maberry and more at the New York Comic-Con this Saturday. Austin Grossman will be at the Con earlier that night, talking about his forthcoming novel YOU with Evan Narcisse of Kotaku.

Looks like someone on the set of NBC’s CHICAGO FIRE, co-created by our own Derek Haas, intercepted the shipment of a certain thriller from our warehouse…

That’s it for now. See you all next week!

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.

Start Reading Say You’re Sorry

Eager to get started on Michael Robotham’s newest Joe O’Loughlin novel SAY YOU’RE SORRY, which Kirkus calls “subtle, smart, compelling and blessed with both an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing,” but can’t make it  to Murder By the Book in Houston tonight to meet Michael and hear him read? We’ve got you covered–

My name is Piper Hadley and

I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago. I didn’t disappear completely and I didn’t run away, which is what a lot of people thought (those who didn’t believe I was dead). And despite what you may have heard or read, I didn’t get into a stranger’s car or run off with some sleazy pedo I met online. I wasn’t sold to Egyptian slave traders or forced to become a prostitute by a gang of Albanians or trafficked to Asia on a luxury yacht.

I’ve been here all along—not in Heaven or in Hell or that place in between whose name I can never remember because I didn’t pay attention at Sunday scripture classes. (I only went for the cake and the cordial.)

I’m not exactly sure of how many days or weeks or months I’ve been here. I tried to keep count, but I’m not very good with numbers. Completely crap, to be honest. You can ask Mr. Monroe, my old math teacher, who said he lost his hair teaching me algebra. That’s bollocks by the way. He was balder than a turtle on chemo before he ever taught me.

Anyone who follows the news will know that I didn’t disappear alone. My best friend Tash was with me. I wish she were here now. I wish she’d never squeezed through the window. I wish I had gone in her place.

When you read those stories about kids who go missing, they are always greatly loved and their parents want them back, whether it’s true or not. I’m not saying that we weren’t loved or missed, but that’s not the whole story.

Kids who blitz their exams don’t run away. Winners of beauty pageants don’t run away. Girls who date hot guys don’t run away. They’ve got a reason to stay. But what about the kids who are bullied or borderline anorexic or self-conscious about their bodies or sick of their parents fighting? There are lots of factors that might push a kid to run away and none of them are about being loved or wanted. Continue reading “Start Reading Say You’re Sorry”

Why I Became a Psychologist

Victorian HouseJoe O’Loughlin, protagonist of Michael Robotham’s acclaimed O’Loughlin series, was kind enough to stop by the office today on a connecting flight to Bouchercon, where he’s meeting Robotham to promote his newest, SAY YOU’RE SORRY. We’re happy to report that not only is Joe a beacon of morality in dark times, he’s also a really cool guy, and was kind enough to jot down the below recollection which appeared in the UK edition of his first appearance SUSPECT, but was cut for the US edition.

SAY YOU’RE SORRY, which Kirkus calls “subtle, smart, compelling and blessed with both an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing,” is now available in bookstores everywhere.

Sunday morning is normally my time. I bury myself under the combined weight of four newspapers and drink coffee until my tongue feels furry. But today is different. The calendar says so. My memory serves me well.

Charlie is rugged up in jeans, skivvy and a ski jacket because I’ve promised she can come with me today. After gulping down her breakfast, she watches me impatiently – convinced that I’m deliberately drinking my coffee more slowly.

When it’s time to load up the car, we carry the cardboard boxes from the garden shed, along the side path and put them next to my old Metro. The boxes are so light I can balance three on top of each other. Charlie makes do with one at a time.

Julianne is sitting on the front steps with a cup of coffee resting on her knees.

‘You’re both mad, you know that?’

‘Probably.’

‘And you’ll get arrested.’

‘And that’s going to be your fault.’

‘Why is it my fault?’

‘Because you won’t come with us. We need a getaway driver.’

Charlie pipes up. ‘C’mon, Mum. Dad said you used to.’

‘That’s when I was young and foolish and I wasn’t on the Committee at your school.’

‘Do you realise, Charlie, that on my second date with your mother she was arrested for scaling a flag-pole and taking down the South African flag.’

Julianne scowls. ‘Don’t tell her that!’

‘Did you really get arrested?’

‘I was cautioned. It’s not the same thing.’

There are four boxes on the roof racks, two in the boot and two on the back seat. Fine beads of sweat, like polished glass, are decorating Charlie’s top lip. She slips off her ski jacket and tucks it between the seats.

I turn back to Julianne. ‘Are you sure you won’t come? I know you want to.’

‘Who’s going to post bail for us?’

‘Your mother will do that.’

Her eyes narrow, but she puts her coffee cup inside the door. ‘I’m doing this under protest.’

‘Duly noted.’

She holds out her hand for the car keys. ‘And I’m driving.’

She grabs a jacket from the coat rack in the hallway and pulls the door shut. Charlie squeezes herself between boxes on the back seat and leans forward excitedly.

‘Tell me the story again,’ she asks, as we swing into light traffic along Prince Albert Road, alongside Regent’s Park. ‘And don’t leave anything out just because Mum’s here.’

I tell people that the reason I became a psychologist is because I wanted to know what Julianne was really thinking – but that’s not true. The real reason was great aunt Gracie, who died at the age of eighty, having spent sixty years never setting a foot outside her house. Continue reading “Why I Became a Psychologist”

The Beauty Queen Killer

Michael Robotham’s BLEED FOR ME, which Booklist called “crime fiction of the highest order” in a starred review, is now available in paperback in bookstores everywhere. Join the celebration with the below guest post by Michael Robotham on the chilling, real-life inspiration for the novel’s villain.

Villains are more fun to write than heroes. They get to wear cooler clothes and stroke cats and have monkey paws or steel hooks instead of hands. They also get to date dirty girls with names like Pussy Galore, Solitaire, Honey Rider and Mary Goodnight.

I have always taken a lot of care with the villains I write. None of them are evil because I don’t think evil exists. They do terrible things, but they have reasons. Mitigating circumstances. Nothing excuses their behaviour, but I do attempt to explain it.

In my new novel BLEED FOR ME I have created a number of villains but by far the most interesting are those who seem completely normal. Better than normal. Nice. Charismatic. Handsome. Popular. Loved.

We often assume that we would recognize a true psychopath. We see photographs of serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and we think, ‘Yeah, they look like bad’uns,’ but the truth is, until their crimes were revealed we could have walked past any of these people in the street and not looked twice. They could have been living next-door, or working at the local garage, or teaching our kids piano.

My first experience of this dissonance between perception and reality occurred more almost thirty years ago when I was a young journalist working on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney. I was sent cover a committal hearing at a local magistrate’s court. A man called Christopher Wilder was appearing, charged with the sexual assault of two schoolgirls.

Wilder had grown up in Australia, the son of an American naval officer and his Australian bride. He was educated at good schools and given every opportunity in life, but found trouble in his teens when he pleaded guilty to the gang rape of a girl on a Sydney beach and was given probation.

He married at the age of twenty-three, but the union lasted only a few days. His new bride complained of sexual abuse and found photographs of naked women in Wilder’s briefcase, as well as items of underwear that weren’t her own. In 1969 Wilder avoided prison again after blackmailing a student nurse into having sex with him by taking compromising photographs. She complained to the police, but the charges were dropped when she refused to testify in court.

Wilder’s father told him he should go to America and start afresh with a clean slate in a new country. He moved to Boynton Beach in Florida and found his calling as an electrical contractor and construction engineer, making millions from the property boom. By his mid-thirties he was worth millions with a luxurious bachelor pad and a string of sports cars. Continue reading “The Beauty Queen Killer”

The Disapearance of Lynette Dawson

Oceans, hearts and ghosts.Twenty-eight years ago, a young mother disappeared from her home in Sydney’s northern suburbs, leaving behind two daughters and a handsome football star husband.

 Lynette Dawson, a nurse and childcare worker, has never been seen since, but the mystery of her fate continues to haunt her family, friends and neighbours. It also provided the seed for bestselling author Michael Robotham’s thriller, BLEED FOR ME, now available in paperback in bookstores everywhere. Here, he explains how …

I was a young journalist working for an afternoon newspaper in Sydney when Lynette Dawson disappeared in January 1982. It didn’t make the headlines or cause a ripple of publicity, because nobody reported her missing at first.

Her husband, Chris Dawson, was a PE teacher at Cromer High School, on Sydney’s northern beaches. He was also a champion rugby league star for the Newtown Jets, playing alongside his identical twin brother Paul, who coincidentally taught at the same high school.

Former students say they were the coolest, most popular teachers and parents remember them as being incredibly charming and handsome. Both men had done modelling work and moved on to play rugby union.

According to his police statement, Chris Dawson dropped Lynette off at Mona Vale shopping centre on the morning of January 9, 1982. She had organized to meet her mother at Northbridge Baths that day, but didn’t show up.

Chris called his mother-in-law and said that Lynette ‘needed some time on her own’ and had gone off for a few days. On that same day he also called his 16-year-old lover, Joanne Curtis, and said, ‘My wife has gone away. She’s not coming back.’ Continue reading “The Disapearance of Lynette Dawson”

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Contrasted Confinement

At The Kill Zone, Joe Moore has an insightful post about the pros and cons of using a pen name that’s definitely worth your time.

The Rap Sheet has a great guest post from Brad Parks on the inspiration for his newest novel THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.

Michael Robotham’s newest Joe O’Loughlin thriller BLEED FOR ME is in bookstores now and continues to garner fantastic praise. Marilyn Stasio reviewed the novel in The New York Times Book Review, writing that “Robotham writes with grave tenderness about unhappy people caught in terrible situations…” CBS News ran a great interview with Robotham on Author Talk. And don’t miss this great Salon review, or online raves from Spinetingler, Murder By TypeAuntie M Writes, and the Murder by the Book Mystery Blog.

Bloggers are also loving Joe R. Lansdale’s EDGE OF DARK WATER, which is working its way into bookstores across the country as its March 27th publication date approaches. But don’t take our word for it–check out reviews from Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine, Demon TheoryMystery Scene, and B&N’s Ransom Notes.

Looking for some great Spring reads to look forward to? We can’t wait until Nick Santora’s amazing FIFTEEN DIGITS hits bookstores next month. Bestsellers World’s review should certainly whet your appetite; Julie Moderson raves that “Nick Santora has a unique style of writing that I can only compare to John Grisham or Harlan Coben or a wonderful combination of both.” Marcia Clark’s GUILT BY DEGREES, coming in May, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which says: “Clark humanizes her tough lead, and gets the mixture of action and investigative legwork just right, more than making the case for a long life for this West Coast analogue to Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper.”

Are you seeing The Hunger Games this weekend?

And hot dang–Seth Grahame-Smith fans everywhere take notice:

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.

Start reading BLEED FOR ME by Michael Robotham

Our celebration of the US publication of Michael Robotham’s BLEED FOR ME continues with an excerpt from the acclaimed novel. Don’t miss the psychological thriller that had Linwood Barclay raving: “Michael Robotham doesn’t just make me scared for his characters; he makes my heart ache for them.”

‘She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four-feet-ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.’

Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)

‘Everybody lies – every day; every hour; awake; asleep; in his dreams; in his joy; in his mourning; if he keeps his tongue still, his hands, his toes, his eyes, his attitude, will convey deception.’

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Sienna’s Diary

i should start by telling you my name, although it’s not really important. names are just labels that we grow into. we might hate them, we might want to change them, but eventually we suit them.

when i was very young i used to hide in the dirty laundry basket because i liked the smell of my father’s work clothes and it made me feel closer to him. he used to call me his ‘little red riding hood’ and would chase me around my bedroom growling like a wolf until i collapsed into giggles. i loved him then.

when i was eleven or twelve i took a stanley knife from my father’s shed and pinched a roll of flesh on my inner arm before slicing it open. it wasn’t very deep, but enough to bleed for a while. i don’t know where the idea came from, but somehow it gave me something i needed. a pain on the outside to match the inside.

i don’t cut often. sometimes once a week, once a month, once i went for six months. in the winter i cut my wrists and forearms because my school blazer will cover the marks. in the summer i cut my stomach because a one-piece swimsuit will hide the evidence.

once or twice i’ve cut too deeply but each time i managed to fix myself, using a needle and thread. i bet that makes you shudder but it didn’t hurt so much and i boiled the needle first.

when i bleed i feel calm and clear-headed. it’s like the poison inside me is dripping out. even when i’ve stopped bleeding, i finger the cuts lovingly. i kiss them goodnight.

some are new cuts on virgin skin. others are old wounds reopened. razor blades and stanley knives are best. they’re clean and quick. knives are clumsy and needles don’t produce enough blood.

you want to know the reason? you want to know why someone would bleed in secret? it’s because i deserve it. i deserve to be punished. to punish myself. love is pain and pain is love and they will never leave me alone in the world.

every drop of blood that flows from my veins is proof that i’m alive. every drop is proof that i’m dying. every drop removes the poison inside me, running down my arms, dripping off my fingers.

you think i’m a masochist.

you think i’m suicidal.

you think you know me.

you think you remember what it’s like to be fourteen.

you think you understand me.

you don’t.

i bleed for you. Continue reading “Start reading BLEED FOR ME by Michael Robotham”

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.

The Lineup: Weekly Links

Contrasted ConfinementDonato Carrisi’s THE WHISPERER received  a starred review from Library Journal that calls the novel:Exquisite.Readers will be enthralled.” Congrats, Donato! And don’t miss excellent blogger reviews of THE WHISPERER from HorrorTalk and The Mystery Reader, too.

The Washington Post reviewed WHAT IT WAS, calling it part of a body of work that amounts to “a profound meditation on good and evil in this city, mostly in parts of it that many of us pass through often but never really see.” Right on.

And hey, George did a bang-up job of a Reddit AMA appearance last week.

Michael Robotham’s novels have been receiving high praise from book bloggers recently. Check out this review of SHATTER from The Blog of Litwits and this review of BLEED FOR ME from Thinking About Books.

Duane Swierczynski’s HELL AND GONE also received a rave review from The Literate Kitty.

Some pretty good stuff out there this weekend if you’re in the mood to visit the theaters:

Some other good stuff coming up:

The first full-length trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man is out:

And we rather liked this post-apocalyptic Super Bowl commercial–did you?

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.

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