Paul D. Marks is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning noir mystery-thriller White Heat, set during the Rodney King “riots” and its sequel Broken Windows, mystery-thrillers that take place in the 1990s, though the issues they deal with, racism and immigration, respectively, are still things firing up the news today. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn.” Broken Windows, deals with the contentious immigration issue. Publisher’s Weekly says: “Fans of downbeat PI fiction will be satisfied…with Shamus Award winner Marks’s solid sequel to 2012’s White Heat.”
Asked about his new novel, Marks said, “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.”
His short story Windward, has been selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler, and has also been nominated for both a 2018 Shamus Award and Macavity Award for Best Short Story. Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea. His story Howling at the Moon (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) was short-listed for both the 2015 Anthony and Macavity Awards for Best Short Story, and came in #7 in Ellery Queen’s Reader’s Poll Award.
His short fiction has been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Akashic’s Noir series (St. Louis Noir), Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Crimestalker Casebook, Hardboiled, Weber: The Contemporary West, several anthologies and more. He is co-editor of the Coast to Coast: Sea to Shining Sea mystery anthologies from Down & Out Books.
Vortex, a standalone novella, is also set in Los Angeles and updates the noir theme of an alienated soldier returning home from war. Both are heavily influenced by the Los Angeles region and vibe. Midwest Review calls Vortex “…a nonstop staccato action noir.”
A native of Los Angeles, much of Marks’ writing is inspired by the city’s history and culture. Los Angeles and Southern California is often as much a “character” in his work as the human characters. Novelist and Anthony Award finalist, S.W. Lauden has said of Marks’ work: “…[it’s] almost as if the region was one of the main characters.”
His stories often deal with the changing nature of the city and the displacement it causes people. His characters are frequently people who time has passed by or who no longer fit in today’s society.
His Ellery Queen Reader’s Choice Award-winning short story, Ghosts of Bunker Hill, is set in the Angelino Heights community of old Victorian houses and LA’s downtown Bunker Hill neighborhood, and was inspired by his explorations of the area before it was torn down for redevelopment.
Marks’ influences include Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis, Dorothy B. Hughes, John Fante, Ross Macdonald, Walter Mosley, James Ellroy and even artist Edward Hopper. He’s also been influenced by film noir, Los Angeles history, including the Hollywood “dream factories,” and various styles of music.
Though Paul writes about other places, he considers himself an L.A. writer and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, dogs and cats. He has served on the board of the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime and currently serves on the board of the SoCal chapter of Mystery Writers of America. He also blogs for 7 Criminal Minds ( http://7criminalminds.blogspot.com/ ) and SleuthSayers ( https://www.sleuthsayers.org/ )
He also has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos. According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.” www.PaulDMarks.com