Dark End of the Street Release

I haven’t blogged or written on my website in a very long time and I apologize. It just got away from me. But I’m back and I’m going to try and keep this going. So, first off, TONIGHT is the launch party for “THE DARK END OF THE STREET,” the anthology SJ Rozan & I put together for Bloomsbury Publishing. It seems like yesterday that SJ and I were sitting in Grand Central Station talking about why crime fiction is considered 2nd rate, what we were going to do about it, and what we did: Invited crime fiction and literary writers to share a book, to write original stories on the twin subjects of crime and sex. At first we weren’t sure if the writers would agree, but just about everyone we asked not only said yes, but did so with enthusiasm, and they all turned in amazing stories. It took a year to put … Read more

The Murder Notebook Trade Paperback Is Here!

When NYPD forensic artist Nate Rodriguez is called in to identify the skull of a “John Doe” burned beyond recognition it is just the beginning. As more bodies turn up he is the only one who sees a common thread among them, but Nate has no idea that he has stumbled into something bigger and more evil than he ever imagined. “The Murder Notebook blends the striking visual impact of a graphic novel with the gritty realism of a crime-fiction thriller… Santlofer’s fluid, almost poetic writing, coupled with its extraordinary artwork, places him at the forefront of cutting-edge crime fiction.” Chicago Tribune The second Nate Rodriguez novel takes off from the Nero Award Winning “Anatomy of Fear,” and ratchets up the emotion, the intensity, and the fear. “Santlofer keeps the pace going at a rapid clip and fools the reader right up to the end.” Baltimore Sun

Catching Up

I don’t know how it happened, how it ever happens, how the time speeds by and you barely notice. It’s winter in New York. Last I looked it was summer. Next it will be spring and I will have a new book out, THE MURDER NOTEBOOK. It’s the second Nate Rodriguez book. When I wrote ANATOMY OF FEAR I wasn’t sure I would write another, but there was more to say about Nate. Now I’m thinking there could be many Nate books. He’s a man who cares about humanity, and he leads me into unexpected places. THE MURDER NOTEBOOK was a challenging book to write. The research intense. It’s a big, complex, thrilling murder mystery. But it also deals with the tragedy of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which plagues many returning soldiers. It used to be referred to as shell shock or battle fatigue, but it’s the same thing: soldiers who are psychologically and emotionally … Read more

Santlofer’s Novel More Graphic Than Most – USA Today

By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY Self-portraits aren’t unusual — unless the artist is using himself as the model for a corpse. In Anatomy of Fear (William Morrow, $24.95), author and artist Jonathan Santlofer does just that. “It is a little creepy,” concedes Santlofer, whose genre-defying, sketch-filled work of fiction, subtitled A Novel of Visual Suspense, will be published Tuesday. “But I do my best work when I’m looking at my subject. I have this very big mirror in my studio. I’d lie on the floor with my pencil, get into position, and start to draw.” His 20-year-old daughter, Doria, was the model for the portrait of a murdered young woman in the novel, he says, but she took the assignment in stride. She spent much of her modeling time sprawled on the floor “talking on her cellphone.” Santlofer says he considers Anatomy of Fear “a bridge” between a traditional novel and a graphic novel. The … Read more

A Writing Life Imitates Art – Publishers Weekly

By Karen Holt Jonathan Santlofer writes his heroes tall. “I’m 5’7″ so I like to compensate,” he says. And he writes them brave, something else he insists he’s not. “I’m a big baby. If I see a knife on the table, I think it’s going to jump up and stab me.” But Santlofer and his characters do have one thing, a big one, in common—a preoccupation with art. In his mysteries, art fuels everything that matters. Killers conflate violence with artistic expression, while the good guys look to visual art for clues to catch the villains. As for Santlofer, he was a successful painter for decades before he became an author. He has been pursuing both careers since publishing his first mystery, The Death Artist, in 2002. With his fourth book, Anatomy of Fear (Morrow, Apr.) he combines his two talents, in what the publisher is calling “a novel of visual suspense.” A police sketch … Read more

Mask of the Critic – Guernica – Interview with Peter Schjeldahl and Jonathan Santlofer

Peter Schjeldahl and Jonathan Santlofer have been fixtures in the art world for decades, yet before Guernica brought them together for the “impromptu” conversation that follows, they’d never met. The art critic for The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl was born in Fargo, North Dakota, settled in New York in the mid-60s and began writing criticism for Art News. Before joining The New Yorker in 1998, he was the regular art critic for The Sunday New York Times, The Village Voice and 7 Days. Between 1967 and 1981, he published six books of poetry. His five books of criticism include The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected Writings (University of California Press, 1991). Of Schjeldahl’s work, The Times Literary Supplement writes, “[Schjeldahl] has a masterly personal voice, flamboyant, witty, lyrical yet often precise; more important, he has an open-hearted attentiveness to the subjects of his criticism and the imaginative spaces around them.” Jonathan Santlofer was first known as an … Read more

An Artistic Mystery – New York City Daily News

by Deidre Stein Greben Breezing down the LIE with no traffic may sound like the stuff of fiction, and in Jonathan Santlofer’s new thriller, “The Killing Art,” it is. The road trip in question, from Manhattan to the tony hamlets of the East End, occurs a little past daybreak in the dead of winter. It is one of several taken by the novel’s protagonist, Kate McKinnon, a Queens cop turned art historian, to visit the Springs studio of the fictional artist Phillip Zander, the last surviving member of the New York School’s “Ab-Ex Big Boys.” Long Island topography is a prominent motif in “clue paintings” created specifically for the new book by author and artist Santlofer, 58, whose works are in collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Painting hints The black-and-white illustrations serve up hints for McKinnon (and Santlofer’s readers) to decipher about a series of murders and … Read more

A Painter Writes of Murder Among the Abstract Expressionists – The New York Times

By Carol Kino Can artists control the way history records them? How do some manipulate their legends – and what fate befalls those who can’t, or who loathe the very idea? Such questions, fodder for much contemporary art gossip and art historical research, fuel “The Killing Art,” by Jonathan Santlofer, a New York painter who has increased his own fame and fortune recently by writing murder mysteries set in the New York art world. Unlike his previous two books, however, Mr. Santlofer’s new tale is rooted in a real-life art historical episode: a gathering of Abstract Expressionist artists in April 1950. There, the unpleasant reality unfolded that by the end some artists would be in and some out. And the anointed were depicted a few months later in an iconic photograph in Life magazine. That meeting has been documented, most recently in “De Kooning: An American Master,” a 2004 biography by Mark Stevens and Annalyn … Read more

Brush With Death – Slate Magazine

by Carol Kino There’s a terrific art world novel out this season, and it isn’t Updike’s. American art novels tend to come in two varieties—commercial and literary. The commercial kind tends to focus on chic-but-sleazy openings and socializing, which are undoubtedly the most vapid, least interesting aspect of the scene. The literary kind usually gives this cliché-ridden territory a twist by interpolating the life story of another cliché—some saintly personage who seeks bliss far from the madding crowd, in plain old traditional painting. It goes without saying that both kinds are usually penned by people who seem to have little insight into the world they attempt to conjure. John Updike’s Seek My Face, this fall’s leading entry into the art novel sweepstakes, falls straightinto the same traps as so many other literary art novels. It’s a roman à clef that uses a semi-invented artist character to re-imagine the story of postwar American art. Happily, though, … Read more