MurderLand is Joseph Mark Glazner's eighth mystery novel. He has written seven others under his own name and his pen name, Joseph Louis, including the Shamus and Arthur Ellis nominated Madelaine (Bantam Books, NY, 1987). Glazner's new thriller, MurderLand, marks his return to some of his favorite themes-revenge, greed, conspiracy theories, love, hate, and desperate characters willing to commit murder. This time, he writes from inside the head of Harry Holiday, his antihero and most irreverent character yet. Harry is an out-of-control, young businessman, gambler, and ladies' man, planning the perfect murder to save the family's business and himself. The family business-MurderLand-is a landmark but failing museum of murder and gangland exhibitions located in the heart of the old amusement and casino district of Niagara Falls, Canada. The idea for a museum housing a world-class collection of shocking, murder-related objects grew out of memories of Glazner's mother, the beautiful, eldest child of immigrants, who supported her parents and siblings as a Seventh Avenue dress designer and sketcher during the Great Depression. In the late 1940s, after Glazner was born and the family had moved to rural Warrenville, New Jersey, his mother reinvented herself as a businesswoman, small-town politician, civic volunteer, and inveterate collector of antiques, vintage clothes, costume jewelry, art glass, and anything broken that she thought might one day be repaired but never was. Following in his mother's footsteps, young Glazner collected old swords and guns to display on the walls in his basement. He also collected contemporary guns to shoot in the fields and woods around his family's home. Unlike Harry Holiday, he had no heart for hunting or killing. He ruled out the military, left home at eighteen for Los Angeles, and became a writer. The struggles of the small business owner in MurderLand are a backhanded homage to Glazner's father, a charismatic, high-school dropout from the mean streets of Brooklyn, who became a manufacturer of gloves during the Great Depression in New York City. Glazner's father moved the shop to Plainfield, New Jersey when gangsters tried to extort money from the business in the early 1940s. As a teenager, young Glazner worked on the line in the New Jersey shop as a presser and cutter in the early 1960s. From that vantage point, he witnessed firsthand his father's valiant but doomed efforts to keep the business alive while battling early onset Parkinson's disease. Glazner's interest in Niagara Falls as a setting for MurderLand can be traced back to his first visit there when he was ten. On a family trip to the falls, Glazner crossed his first international border and was amazed and intrigued by the little bit of Canada he saw on the other side. Years later after moving to Toronto, he began to visit the Niagara region regularly as an escape from the big city and soon realized it was the perfect place to locate his fictional MurderLand. Niagara was a border region dividing America and Canada, each with its own subtly different but overlapping cultures. Its world-renowned natural wonder-the falls-was both exciting and dangerous. As a tourist region, it catered to the rich-and-famous and commoners alike. The old amusement district at the falls reminded Glazner of the amusement parks, country fairs, traveling carnivals, sideshows, and roadside museums of his youth in America. Glazner is a graduate of the University of Southern California (BA, psychology, magna cum laude, 1967) and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He lives in Toronto, Canada where he continues to write crime novels and memoirs. His most recent memoir, Life After America, recounts his arrival and his first two years in Canada (1967-1969) as a war resister, FBI fugitive, new Canadian immigrant, and John Lennon's early collaborator on John and Yoko's "War Is Over" peace initiative.
"A black, comic, highly suspenseful literary thriller of the mob and conspiracy-theory myths that permeate American pop culture. MurderLand is a hugely entertaining look at the dark side of the American dream, particularly through the author's invention of MurderLand--a landmark tourist trap of murder-related memorabilia set in the center of the old, tacky, Coney Island-like entertainment district overlooking Niagara Falls. Definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time. You'll never see the picturesque innocent honeymoon capital of the world again in the same way after reading this unique, gritty literary tour de force which is both wacky and profound."
James Dubro, Past President, Crime Writers of Canada; Author of Mob Rule: Inside the Canadian Mafia, Dragons of Crime, and Other True Crime Bestsellers; Derrick Murdoch Award Winner and two-time Arthur Ellis Award Nominee
"Think of MurderLand as Joseph Heller, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen meeting up in Niagara Falls at an episode of the Antiques Roadshow gone wrong. Glazner's antihero, Harry Holiday, is a fascinating train wreck. Glazner may well have written the crime novel equivalent of Catch 22. An absolute treat from beginning to end."
Al Abramson, three-times Chair of Bouchercon, the world's leading annual international conference of crime fiction
"Beautiful, lean writing; rich, original characters, and the fresh and unusual location of MurderLand made me think of John Berendt's novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I loved it."
John Beck, Actor (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Sleeper, Rollerball, Dallas)
"I loved MurderLand. It is an original, gripping, and funny as hell story. More twists than a snake on drugs. I liked its weird characters and connection to JFK's assassination. What makes Harry Holiday totally believable and memorable is that he is refreshingly irreverent and politically incorrect. This is noir writing at its best. A masterpiece of edgy, smart literature."
Christopher G. Moore, Shamus and German Critics' Award Winner, author of the Vincent Calvino series
"Joseph Mark Glazner has produced a relentlessly intense ride full of hairpin turns that make MurderLand a compulsion from the first page. Inverting all the usual narrative touch points of the sleuthing thriller, he gives us a new kind of lead character in a deliciously rendered subterranean world. Meticulously researched and incisive, MurderLand casts disturbing shadows across its characters, their turbulent world, and America itself."
Salem Alaton, Journalist and Literary Review of Canada Reviewer
"Love him. Hate him. Love him. Hate him. Just when you think you've made up your mind about Harry Holiday, hero of MurderLand, he spins you around with another exceedingly good or bad deed. It makes for a thoroughly involving, interesting and entertaining read from start to finish."
Phil Haynes, Founder and Creative Director, Joe Hill Communications, Toronto
"A wonderful, contemporary walk on the wild side with edgy, unpredictable characters, dark, penetrating insight and humor, and set in a part of Niagara Falls that the tourists never see. In its own unique way, MurderLand is put together with as much care, brilliance, and originality as such classics as The Confederacy of the Dunces [John Kennedy Toole] and Slaughterhouse-Five [Kurt Vonnegut]."
Bruce Beery, Architect/Designer, Central Coast, California