What I’m Reading: Matthew Quinn Martin

Here on XOXO we sometimes like to throw something new into the mix and the perfect way to do that is with suspense and thriller author Matthew Quinn Martin! He shares with us his go-to reads and what he’s looking forward to!


When people ask me “what are you reading?” My response is usually a semi-snarky “not enough.” And while I am reading quite a bit…the fact is sadly a true one. As any writer can tell you, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to read everything on one’s ever-growing TBR pile.

That said, here’s a cross-section of the compositions I’ve been consuming of late, and a few that I’m very excited to get to soon.

First off there are the “vegetable books” (that’s what I like to call stuff that’s essential to research). My current WIP takes place in an old NYC hotel, so I’ve put aside a lot of time for studying the workings of hotels on all levels––staff, infrastructure, architecture, etc. Most of this was dead boring, but Jacob Tomsky’s HEADS IN BEDS: A RECKLES MEMIOR OF HOTELS, HUSTLES, AND SO-CALLED HOSPITALITY, was a lot of fun. I spent three years working in a Manhattan hotel myself (which will remain nameless), so in a lot of ways it was like listening to and old friend swap war stories.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be a beta reader on my best friend/writing partner/frequent co-conspirator Libby Cudmore’s debut novel THE BIG REWIND (February 2016, William Morrow). Libby is a monster talent and I’m convinced that that book is going to make major waves…like tsunami sized ones.

On my nightstand is an almost-finished copy of Harlan Ellison’s ANGRY CANDY, which is my bedtime reading. I make no secret that Ellison is a big influence on my work (perhaps the biggest), but somehow this collection eluded me until now. Apparently, Ellison wrote the majority of the stories contained within while dealing with a number of deaths (of friends and speculative fiction luminaries alike). This is detailed in his touching and extremely raw (raw in a way only he can pull off) introduction “The Wind Took Your Answer Away.” I haven’t quite made it to the end, but the stand out story for me was “The Region Between.” It was absolutely spellbinding.

For a treat, I’ve been working my way through Matt Wagner’s four-volume GRENDEL OMNIBUS. I’ve been a fan of that storyline since I was a teen and first discovered Hunter Rose in the back pages of Wagner’s MAGE. Over the years I’ve read most of the Grendel stories. But since they were published out of chronological order, it’s neat to watch the epic unfold in “real time.” I’ve been pacing myself, though, only reading and episode here and there…pretending I’m a kid again and waiting for the next issue to hit the comic book shop.

I teach at the university level part time, and this semester I had a screenwriting course. I thought it would be fun to include some “real world” anecdotes about “the biz” so I had my students read THE DEVIL’S GUIDE TO HOLLYWOOD: THE SCREENWRITER AS GOD, by Joe Eszterhas. Reading this again, I’m shocked at how quick Ezsterhas can cut right though the bullshit and get to the heart of it all. It’s not as poignant as his memoir HOLLYWOOD ANIMAL…but then again, few things are.

I’m a huge fan of audiobooks as a way to “squeeze in” story when my eyes are on other tasks, so that’s my go to source when I’m driving or on the treadmill. Right now, my iPod is queued up to a marathon of Charles De Lint’s “Newford” stories. I’m sad to admit that I hadn’t discovered his work earlier. He’s got a very deft touch when it comes to blending the fantastic and mundane that I find reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton at his best.

And then there are two books I’m anxiously awaiting the releases of. One is Jason Starr’s ANT-MAN: NATURAL ENEMY. Jason has a real flair for both domestic thrillers and high-concept super-heroic action tales. I’m very excited to see how he pulls them both together in this novel. The other is John Dixon’s DEVIL’S POCKET. His first novel PHOENIX ISLAND was so tense and full of fun twists (especially at the end…no spoilers though) I just can’t wait to see what’s in store for Carl Freeman.

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Heads in Beds

Heads in Beds

JACOB TOMSKY

n the tradition of Kitchen Confidential and Waiter Rant, a rollicking, eye-opening, fantastically indiscreet memoir of a life spent (and misspent) in the hotel industry.

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The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood

The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood

Joe Eszterhas

Mike Ovitz told him his Wilshire Blvd. "foot soldiers" would hunt him down. He's antagonized almost everyone at the top in Tinseltown. And now, Joe Eszterhas tells everything he knows -- in brief, quotable bursts -- about the business, the history of Hollywood, and how to write screenplays that make millions. Idiosyncratic, gruff and as shaggy as Eszterhas himself, The Devil's Guide to Hollywood makes a character/leitmotif of Eszterhas' fellow Hungarian Zsa Zsa Gabor ("Money is like a sixth sense that makes it possible for you to fully enjoy the other five."), and makes the case that Marilyn Monroe was the sharpest tack in Hollywood ("Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents."). Refreshing, dirty, tough, there's no book like it.

HEAT METER
Devil’s Pocket

Devil’s Pocket

John Dixon

The follow-up to the critically acclaimed Phoenix Island, which reads like “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack) and inspired the CBS TV show Intelligence. With a chip in his head and hundreds more throughout his body, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman was turned from an orphan with impulse control issues into a super-soldier. Forced into the mercenary Phoenix Force group, he begins to fear he’ll never escape. Sent to a volcanic island to fight for them, he’ll compete in a combat tournament that awards teens with survival for merciless brutality. But just when all looks lost, he spies a friendly face…and possibly a way out.

HEAT METER
Phoenix Island

Phoenix Island

John Dixon

The inspiration for the CBS TV show Intelligence—a thrilling adventure that’s “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack). A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble—using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island. -

HEAT METER
Nightlife: Night Terrors

Nightlife: Night Terrors

Matthew Quinn Martin

Enter the world of Nightlife, where the streets crawl with unimaginable demons, and a monster can lurk behind every friendly face...Night Terrors bundles short story Hazardous Materials with MQM's first novel, NIGHTLIFE...and a never-before-published full-length novel, AS THE WORM TURNS!

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Nightlife: Hazardous Material

Nightlife: Hazardous Material

Matthew Quinn Martin

Take a short stroll down one of Nightlife's darkest streets in this horror e-novella praised as "thrilling, edgy, and scary as hell" (Jason Starr, internationally bestselling author of The Pack).

HEAT METER
Nightlife

Nightlife

Matthew Quinn Martin

An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

HEAT METER

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