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December 9, 2011

The New York Times Picks Two by Michael Koryta as Best of 2011

In her Notable Crime Books of 2011 column,
MARILYN STASIO takes a look back at some of the best mysteries reviewed this year.   She chose BOTH of Michael Koryta's novels, The Cypress House and The Ridge, as her favorite supernatural mysteries of 2011.  

Bravo, Mr. Koryta.  What do you have up for your sleeve for your next trick?

September 29, 2011

The Haunting of Michael Koryta

Book Talk: Haunting image of lighthouse inspires thriller
Thu, Sep 22 08:43 AM EDT
By Elaine Lies
TOKYO (Reuters) - Michael Koryta was working on a completely different book when he became haunted by the image of a lighthouse built in the woods, despite the fact that he didn't have a story for it.
But the image persisted, eventually leading Koryta through numerous drafts to the book that became "The Ridge," a supernatural thriller that mixes elements of folklore with reality to create a Midwestern ghost story.
The 29-year-old Koryta, who has published eight novels -- the first written when he was 20 -- first thought he wanted to write detective novels and even interned with a private investigator during high school to gain practical experience.
In a telephone interview, Koryta spoke about his determination to be a writer and how he works.
Q: The idea for this came from an image of a lighthouse?
A: "I just had the image, I didn't have much of a story to go with it. 'The Ridge' is really about an eccentric person who's dismissed by others in his area as being crazy, and he builds this lighthouse in the woods. And once he's gone, the question arises, what if there really was a method to the madness? I liked that idea because I think it resonates with every one of us -- we all choose to hear certain people, certain theories on a daily basis, whether it's political or religious or merely ignoring that raving drunk in the corner. You're making that selection constantly. The question that fascinated me was, what if you tuned out the one voice you should hear?"
Q: You say this was an unusual experience. Did that make it harder to write?
A: "Absolutely. It took I think 2,500 pages -- how long's the book, I think 350 pages? I threw out more than 2,000 pages, and that's not standard. I originally thought the newspaper reporter was the protagonist, I thought that through about five drafts, and then Kevin Kimble steps forward on his way to visit the woman who shot him. I was well into the book before I realized that the heart of the book appeared to be with Kevin.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a little exhausting -- three months' work you just hit the delete key on -- but it is fun, too. I'm of the belief that there's a book there that your subconscious gets and the real challenge for the writer is to get your conscious mind out of the way to find the real story. I struggled with that on this one."
Q: Once you have an idea, where do you go from there and what do you emphasize: character, plot or setting?
A: "It's all of the above, particularly with the supernatural stories I've written of late. I'm trying three things: characters who draw an emotional investment from the reader. The second would be an atmosphere that feels real, but also feels a few clicks off, as though there's something wrong in this world. That allows the uncanny elements, when I begin to introduce them, to hopefully feel more organic. The third, which is really crucial for these books, is to add the elements of a procedural mystery, a detective story, so I have the reader invested in a pursuit of the truth."
Q: When you're working on something supernatural, does the world look different afterwards?
A: "I would say that when I'm working on a supernatural book, I do a lot of my thinking on hikes. When I run into plot problems, the first place that I go to fix those is take long hikes in the woods. I'm definitely capable of spooking myself out in the woods, but hopefully in a good, healthy way. The right sound of wind in the trees, the right look of the moon in the clouds, there's fuel for fiction -- no question. But I'm not seeing ghosts capering through my bedroom or anything."
Q: I heard that when you were a teenager, you interned with a private investigator?
A: "It was kind of a fascination with the business. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, and at the time I wanted to write detective novels. All the writers who really influenced me all worked in the world of the detective, and I thought what better way to understand it than to try and get a little taste of the real thing. I had the incredible good fortune of finding a mentor who was both really qualified and also really patient with the learning curve."
Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?
A: "Beyond the obvious -- read, read, read -- I'd just say writing every day is just really critical. You don't need to do 1,500 words a day, you don't even need to do 500 words a day. But I am a big believer in the fact that writers write. It requires a massive amount of self-discipline, particularly before you publish, and no one cares if you hand them pages or not. So you need to find that discipline to deliver pages and produce consistently from a place within yourself. And that can be really hard.
"Usually I write in the afternoons and evenings. I always listen to music and the 1,500 word minimum is the only rigid thing. It's a good way to keep my head in the story, and the closer I am to a story the better chance I stand of knowing when something's coming off the rails. In the last week, one day I got my 1,500 words in an hour and ten minutes, and on another day it took me eight hours. I'll crawl the 1,500 words on my hands and knees if I have to. I've done it many a time."
(Reporting by Elaine Lies, editing by Paul Casciato)

July 20, 2011

Spinetingler Reviews The Adjustment

"Long-time Phillips readers will recognize Wayne Ogden from his prominent role in The Walkaway and relish the opportunity to spend a whole book with his heartless ass.  Wayne is Phillips’ greatest creation, a character who always gets what he wants through his cunning and balls while never making it look too hard.

Like all Phillips novels, you never know where The Adjustment is going and the storytelling is nothing less than completely compelling.  Phillips makes you yearn to learn more about any one of the many minor characters that appear in the novel, from the homeliest B-girl to the sharpest-eyed hotel dick, with just a few quick lines of dialogue or description.  His period details are always fascinating but never digressive and he captures in Ogden’s first-person voice both the character’s amoral worldview and his sick sense of humor.
If you’re not familiar with Phillips’ Wichita novels featuring the Ogden family (which includes The Ice Harvest, The Walkaway and Cottonwood) then The Adjustment is a great place to start catching up with some of my favorite novels of the last decade...The Adjustment the best novel I've read all year." - Spinetingler Magazine

June 29, 2011

Fantastic Huffington Post review of THE RIDGE!

“The Ridge by Michael Koryta is a strange and intense novel that has a touch of Stephen King thrown in for good measure…a fascinating study of good vs. evil...At one moment it is a legitimate drama and in a flash it becomes something supernatural. That is where the Stephen King influence shows its face. Koryta takes the drama then adds the supernatural…and when one portion begins to unravel the story beneath is an amazing one.  Michael Koryta is a name that is growing in stature with each new novel he releases. THE RIDGE indicates he will keep getting better and better. This is a chilling story that will have you burning the midnight oil and wishing you had a lighthouse to ward off any dark presence around you.”

June 2, 2011

Chris Columbus and 1492 Pictures have acquired screen rights to The Cypress House

Chris Columbus and 1492 Pictures have obtained the rights to adapt Michael Koryta's novel The Cypress House into a feature film. Columbus will write the script and produce, along with 1942 partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe.  The story is set along an isolated stretch of the Florida Gulf Coast during the devastating 1935 hurricane. The protagonist, Arlen Wagner has an awful gift: he can see death in the eyes of men before it strikes. He's never wrong.  He and his friend Paul Brickhill are traveling by train to a new CCC camp in the Florida Keys when Arlen’s supernatural sense tells him they have to get off the train if they want to stay alive. They find themselves at Cypress House, a strangely empty fishing resort on the Gulf Coast run by beautiful Rebecca Cady—and right in the middle of a vipers’ nest of small-town corruption and misery.  

Here is what some others have had to say about the novel:

"The Cypress House is a unique and entertaining blend of noir and paranormal suspense, with a tightly controlled supernatural thread as believable as the gunplay. Mr. Koryta is at the start of what will surely be a great career. He's now on my must-read list." (Dean Koontz, author of Lost Souls )

"The Cypress House is a dazzling blend of suspense, the supernatural, and superb storytelling. What a gifted writer. Michael Koryta is the real deal." (Ron Rash, author of Serena )

"Michael Koryta is one of our new dynamos in the world of books, and in The Cypress House he spreads his range, wedding suspense with the supernatural in the eeriness of 1930s Florida. He uses the psychology of place to penetrate the human heart and delivers his tale of hurricanes and love and hauntings with great narrative force. Koryta's becoming a wonder we'll appreciate for a long time." (Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone )

"Michael Koryta has fashioned a great character in his reluctant prophet, Arlen Wagner, a good man who ends up with an awful lot of blood on his hands before the denouement of this deliciously dark tale. Koryta is a fantastic storyteller, and the many admirers of his previous novel, So Cold the River, will find similar chilly pleasures awaiting them here." (Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins )

"Michael Koryta's command of story, character, and language put him in an elite group of writers at work today: Elmore Leonard, Michael Connelly and Lee Child to name a few. He is one of the very best writers out there. Don't try to label him, or stick him in a genre; that would be a disservice. Just read him, and soon you'll be saying Michael Koryta is among the best there is. And even that praise falls miserably short." (Ridley Pearson, author of In Harm's Way )

Over at Secret Dead Blog... check out Swierczynski's iFun & Games/i Giveaway!

Duane Swierczynski is up to his mad promo tricks again....

Presenting... The iFun & Games/i Giveaway!

May 30, 2011

Team Swierczy on Edgar Night 2011

Team Swierczy on Edgar Night 2011
Originally uploaded by dhslit
SMP Editor Marc Resnick, Duane Swierczynski and David Hale Smith preparing to head in to the carnage of the Edgar Allan Poe Awards Banquet. Swierczynski was nominated for the Best Paperback Original Award for his novel, Expiration Date.

May 18, 2011

The Deputy Goes Italian!

Matteo Strukul in front of the Italian Promo display of The Deputy 
Victor Gischler's fast-paced crime novel The Deputy is off to Italy, where the author will be visiting in June and later this fall to promote the book. With the help of publisher Meridiano Zero, the amazing publicity work of Matteo Strukul (pictured) and, of course, all those avid Italian readers, we're looking at a hit!

May 4, 2011

Michael Koryta's The Ridge

The Ridge
Koryta, Michael. Jun 2011. 412 p. Little, Brown, hardcover, $24.99. (9780316053662).
“Koryta, who’s been a newspaper reporter and a private investigator, gets deep inside the minds of his protagonists, and the story is intriguing and frequently spooky. It’s a good book, effectively blending crime and horror…this one will definitely cross  over to fans of both genres.  HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Koryta’s crime-horror genre-benders, beginning with So Cold the River (2010), have secured the author of the Lincoln Perry PI novels a new and larger audience. Expect the trend to continue here.” -- Booklist

April 19, 2011

Starry Nights and Fun & Games for Mr. Swierczy and Games 

Duane Swierczynski. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-13328-9 (Severance Package) steps on the gas early in this pulse-pounding contemporary thriller, the first of a trilogy, and doesn't let up. After second-tier movie actress Lane Madden survives multiple attempts by aggressive fellow drivers to run her off some treacherous Los Angeles roads, she has the good fortune to meet Charlie Hardie, a peripatetic house-sitter with a violent past, at the house in the Hollywood Hills where she takes refuge. Hardie, a former police consultant who's haunted by the deaths of several innocents, is skeptical of the actress's claim that she's being pursued by the Accident People, a shadowy group of killers who stage their homicides to appear as accidents. An escalating series of violent encounters builds to an unforgettable climax. Fans of the Die Hard movies will find this a literary equivalent, and the author deserves credit for making what could be an over-the-top setup oddly plausible. The sequel's appearance won't be too soon for many readers. (June)  -- Publishers Weekly

April 11, 2011

Greg Rucka Earns Two More Eisner Award Nominations

Major double large sized kudos to our client Greg Rucka for earning TWO nominations for the 2011 Will Eisner Awards (considered the "Oscars" for comics).  One in the short story category and one in the limited series category.   His nominated series Stumptown even has a working PI office number that you can call.  Dial 503-389-2135 to reach Dex in her office. Try it!

March 22, 2011

Skiing with Blake Crouch Spring Break 2011

Spring Break 2011 121
Originally uploaded by dhslit
I went west with my family for spring break and had the great pleasure of skiing for a day at Durango Mountain Resort with client Blake Crouch. The man has mad skills on telemark skis, folks. And due to a late afternoon navigation error, we almost wrote the beginning of a new Crouch horror novel which would have involved two idiots stranded on overnight on the backside of a mountain with inadequate clothing, no supplies and a storm blowing in.

March 9, 2011

March 1, 2011

How totally cool.  The new Oni Press Mixtape – providing soundtracks to your favorite creators' comics, including Greg Rucka's Queen & Country and Stumptown, and Jen van Meter's Hopeless Savages. Now available for free download here.

January 19, 2011

Swierczynski's EXPIRATION DATE gets an Edgar nom!

Mystery Writers of America announces nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2010. Our man Duane Swierczynski is on the Best Paperback Original list for his novel, EXPIRATION DATE. Way to go, Duane!