Madhouse Fog is my third novel and fifth book overall. I wrote the first draft of it in 2007. Within weeks of finishing that draft, I started working on my doctorate. Whenever I could carve out a little extra time for myself, I worked on revising the book between 2007 and 2011.
Manic D Press accepted the book for publication in January of 2012. It was released on June 11, 2013.
I really love this book. I really hope you read it. If you don’t want to pay for it, just contact one of my current or former students. They’ve been passing around a bootleg copy of the ebook for years.
You can buy it from Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or directly from Manic D Press.
Here’s a description of the plot:
Fleeing a troubled marriage, the narrator takes a seemingly benign grant-writing position at a psychiatric hospital in Southern California. Once the grounds of a scandal-ridden private university, the hospital now houses a menagerie of lost souls including a wandering academic who still believes he works at the university and Lola, the narrator’s long-lost second love. Soon, the narrator is enmeshed in a struggle between Dr. Bishop, a brilliant, batty research psychologist, and Frank Walters, a dapper blind advertising executive who believes that Dr. Bishop’s research has lucrative implications. It is up to the narrator to make sure that Frank Walters is unable to harness the findings for questionable ends, as he begins a metaphysical journey that may lead him to murder.
In the tradition of Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy and Haruki Murakami’s early novels, Madhouse Fog bends the boundaries of noir and invites the reader to regard the world in an entirely new way.
Here are a couple of early blurbs:
“I’m a huge fan of Carswell’s fiction: he’s intelligent, hilarious, incisive, and his ear for dialogue is extraordinary. Nevertheless, I found Madhouse Fog to be a geometric progression of his talent—besides being compelling and wonderfully strange (I lost sleep over it; it’s a damn hard book to put down), it is the epitome of literary sophistication. I loved this novel!” —Patricia Geary, Philip K. Dick Award-Winning author of Strange Toys
“Sean Carswell is full of surprises. He’s funny, frightening, madcap, philosophical. His writing has a real warmth of spirit, and the kind of deft observation that changes the way you see things long after you leave the page.” —Scott O’Connor, author of Untouchable
Here are a couple of reviews:
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Thoroughly enjoying this book. It’s so good that I’m getting up at 5.30am to get some reading in before I have to get the kids ready for school and head out to work.
I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it. Thanks for letting me know.
Congrats on your “new” novel, Sean (1.75 years belated)! And, congrats on completing(?) your doctorate, also. I admire your commitment to writing, as is evident on your website. I look forward to reading this book, especially because of the presumably familiar psychiatric hospital/university setting. Hope you’re well,
Tamara (a former student from CSUCI)
Thanks, Tamara. I hope you enjoy the novel.