My latest novel, Something More Than Night, out from Titan Books.
Hollywood, the late 1930s.
Raymond Chandler writes detective stories for pulp magazines, and drinks more than he should. Boris Karloff plays monsters in the movies, and is a genial, cricket-playing member of the British filmland colony on the shores of the Pacific.
Both understand that these streets are dark with something more than night. Together, these English public school men in exile investigate mysterious matters in a town run by human and inhuman monsters.
Under Home House, the mock gothic mock mansion of a film mogul, is a mad science dungeon just like in the movies – where an experiment has gone dangerously wrong, or even more dangerously right. Fiery death spills onto Sunset Boulevard.
Joh Devlin, an investigator for the District Attorney’s office who scores high on insubordination, and Laurel Ives, a woman with as many lives as a cat and names to match, barely escape Home House.
Fired by the DA, Devlin enlists Ray and Billy – Raymond Chandler and William Pratt (Boris Karloff) – to work the case, which threatens to expose Hollywood’s most horrific secrets.
These people will find out more than they should about the way this town works. And about each other.
And, oh yes, monsters aren’t just for the movies.
Advance word from early readers …
‘Newman’s noir teams Boris Karloff with Raymond Chandler to solve gothic crimes in a 1930s Hollywood full of man-made monsters, dodgy movie studios, and ice-cold gimlets. Written in a James Ellroy rat-a-tat it’s the perfect book for a summer afternoon by the pool with plenty of cocktails. If more mysteries were written like this, I’d read more mysteries.’ Grady Hendrix, author of The Final Girl Support Group
‘Monsters and mobsters and movie sets, oh my! Only Kim Newman could have written this glorious, insane noir mash-up.’ M.R. Carey, author of The Book of Koli
‘Kim Newman is the first to spot that between the worlds of Philip Marlowe and Frankenstein’s monster is an LA-noir sweet spot where crime and horror overlap. His odd-couple pairing of Boris Karloff and Raymond Chandler is a genius crime-solving idea that pays off big time; hard-bitten, tender and a killer double bill for film lovers.’ Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant & May Mysteries
‘Movies, monsters and Kim Newman’s sharp wit – what a treat!’ Sarah Pinborough, bestselling author of Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes
‘Something More Than Night is what happens when an encyclopaedic knowledge of film collides with pulp noir and turns Raymond Chandler’s already mean streets into something altogether more eldritch and nasty. Classic Kim Newman.’ Jon Courtenay Grimwood
‘Kim Newman is slowly making his way into the canon of English literary greats, where he’d be both entirely at home and deeply uncomfortable. He describes perfectly the way fiction has invaded our real lives, and he got there first.’ Paul Cornell, author of Witches of Lychford
‘A monstrously inventive romp through the backlots, cults and conspiracies of Old Hollyweird, in the company of the best odd-couple pairing since Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.’ Paul McAuley, author of War of the Maps
‘Newman audaciously essays his own spin on the whipcrack wit of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, carrying it off with panache’ Barry Forshaw, Financial Times
‘An homage to a golden era of storytelling, with the chemistry between Karloff and Chandler rivalling any Hollywood double act. Intelligent, atmospheric, written with passion and wit, Something More Than Night is a must for fans of classic monsters and mysteries. A pure joy to read.’ Rio Youers, author of Lola on Fire
‘Lights! Camera! Murder! As Kim Newman brings his immense knowledge and love of literature and movies to his latest, genre-breaking novel, Something More Than Night. Nobody but Newman could pull off such an audacious and high-concept story, in which pulp writer Raymond Chandler and horror actor Boris Karloff team up to solve a murder mystery in 1930s Hollywood. For lovers of hard-boiled crime and all us “Monster Kids” out there, this is simply the perfect entertainment.’ Stephen Jones, World Fantasy Award-winner
‘Kim Newman is a national treasure. No one is better able at mixing horror and comedy, real history and dread fantasy. Something More Than Night is part film noir parody, part a delightful celebration of the heyday of Hollywood, and all imaginative epic – it’s as strong, heady and dangerous as the bathroom gin of the Prohibition speakeasys he recreates so well.’ Robert Shearman, World Fantasy Award-winning author of ‘We All Hear Stories in the Dark’
For all my novels, I make a file of images as a mood board. This one relied more than most on that … I thought I’d share some of the pictures I found most useful.
Boris Karloff on This is Your Life (1957). It’s one of the few filmed records of Karloff being himself – the moment I found most telling is when someone wants to talk about his extensive charity work and he changes the subject because he feels it’s a duty not a publicity opportunity.
Thrilled. This is right up my nightmare, the kind I want to live in and it will be a great pleasure to immerse oneself into the Sunset Boulevard swimming pool of this eagerlay awaited dream. The Billy-Ray pairing is inspired. Not everybody’s dreams interest everybody else, but some do, intensely – and the same is true for mood boards (I’ll call it a Dream Dossier since it’s for a novel and not a kitchen renovation). My, Bogey looks cool. I love those 1970-ish Penguin Noir reissues, very hip, post Pop, post New Wave appreciation. Karloff/Pratt grew plump and happy in Hollywood, is my impression (The Terror is marvellous). A kind of Science Fiction city, sprung up out of nothing in the desert, peopled by exiles and escapees. A city of replicas. Comes as no surprise to find a ‘perfect’ (in the minds eye) replica of an English Country Pub resting amid the red dust and rocks of Mars. Here, the aliens drew on their own failing memories to produce the simulation, and between the sun and the swimming pool couldn’t help but idealise, improve and simplify – all that toil and hardship, rigid (arthritic, even) social orders … here, they who pretend the best get all the golden eggs …
Just the knowledge that Chandler had been at a public school makes the cruel hopelessness of his works’ universe more comprehensible.