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Report from the Bookselling Front at The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles

mulholland drive somewhereMulholland Drive is notorious in our town and around the world as a street of significant history—some of it quite shady, some of it fictional, some of it quite real. All of it makes for great crime (fiction). When we saw the name of the new Little, Brown imprint, we were intrigued.

It was when we saw the lineup of the authors that we started doing various versions of chair dancing. Okay, I did some chair dancing and some instantaneous Facebooking and Tweeting; Store Manager Bobby McCue—aka Dark Bobby—raised an eyebrow, nodded his head ever so slightly, and said, “Hmmm…this will be cool.”

Mulholland Books has gathered authors ranging from legendary and established icons to up-and-coming talents, with everything in between. And they’re reaching beyond our own American shores to the UK and Australia, and to various subgenres within the field. Most of these authors will already be known to our customers; many of these authors have become good friends to The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles. All of these authors will be of great interest to our customers and staff.

The authors and the mission of Mulholland Books are so very much at the heart of The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles: to promote the best of crime fiction, whether it’s from old friends or newcomers to the field. When I saw the press release on an author friend’s blog, I immediately fired off an email to Miriam Parker, head goddess/marketing director of Mulholland Books, and said, “Whatever we can do to help, let us know!” This is a party we want to be in on, from the very beginning—a venture that has The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles written all over it!

At The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles, we pride ourselves on finding new and creative ways to attract attention to our authors and their books. And “party” is a pretty apt description of how we go about it. It might be a Friday night “Date Night with Crime,” such as the event with James Ellroy in September for The Hilliker Curse or a “Lunch Date with Crime,” where we bring in boxed lunches, and Lee Child or Jeffery Deaver come in to discuss their latest books. No one will forget the time the whole crew “tatted up” for Joe Pike, when Robert Crais came to sign The First Rule—crew and customers sported Joe Pike’s infamous red arrow tats. Once a year, we host an infamous party at our store the night before the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books—where, very often, authors outnumber fans, and everyone is excited about the upcoming weekend of book-signing blitzes!

But perhaps the most extraordinary thing about The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles is that each person who works here has an intense love for the crime fiction field. Each of us has our own particular flavors we enjoy most, but we also read outside those areas so we can help customers find their favorite flavors.

Most interesting of all, perhaps, we have customers who, upon hearing someone ask for a recommendation, will jump in and say, “Oh, you have to try Carol O’Connell or Charlie Huston or Duane Swierczynski or…” The conversations struck up among our customers are amazing, as we observe the community of crime fiction fans in action.

Like Mulholland Drive, The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles has a place in the history of crime fiction. The store has been mentioned in numerous thrillers and mysteries by Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and others; store employees have been cast as characters in books by Crais, Lee Goldberg, and Duane Swierczynski. (And let us tell you, more chair dancing ensues when that happens!) And that may be what makes a place like The Mystery Bookstore Los Angeles unique: it’s a place where people gather and browse, search out and learn, discover new treasures and old friends, and meet other mystery fans and amazing authors. It is at the very heart of a fascinating and ever-evolving community. We look forward to growing with Little, Brown’s newest adventure, Mulholland Books!