Paul Madonna: The Commisions

October 3rd, 2023


In our community, he hardly needs an introduction. Bookshop West Portal is incredibly excited to welcome back Paul Madonna!! This event is in celebration of his latest book, The Commissions. It is the most recent installment of Paul Madonna's wonderful Emit Hopper mystery series and includes his trademark illustrations. The characters, the plot, and the art will all amaze. You won't want to miss this!

This event is free to attend and will take place at Bookshop West Portal. No registration is necessary, but early arrival is encouraged to get your seat. 


Get ready for a rollicking and irresistible new mystery from award-winning artist and author Paul Madonna.


Amsterdam, 2019--following the conclusion of Come to Light. Former rock star-turned-artist Emit Hopper's life has taken yet another strange turn. His old friend, the legendary San Francisco private detective Ronnie Gilbert, is dead, and his killer has just been acquitted. But when a disheveled acquaintance from Ronnie's past walks into Emit's shop, a puzzling mystery resurfaces, twenty years cold.

We're transported back to San Francisco, 1999, when Emit and Ronnie first met. Emit has returned to taking commissions drawing people's houses, only to be strong-armed by a shady police lieutenant into acting as her off-the-books spy. On top of that, a strange young woman claiming to be his daughter refuses to leave him alone. From there unfolds an intricate tale of corruption and murder that leads to an explosive scandal, with consequences that, two decades hence, are finally revealed.

From the world of the Emit Hopper Mystery series, The Commissions kicks off the origin story of what promises to be an unforgettable new eccentric detective, Ronnie Gilbert. In a mystery filled with suspense and surprises around every corner, Paul Madonna brings to life the last days of San Francisco before the turn of the millennium with dozens of his signature pen-and-ink drawings.




Unique to this series is the inclusion of drawings. Known for his lush pen and ink drawings, Paul Madonna applies his hand to the fictional world by making Emit Hopper the man behind the drawings. Each book includes a subplot of images, making their presence within the story an integral part of the plot. In The Commissions, Emit is mistaken for a spy when he unknowingly finds himself standing on the street, drawing the house next door to a secret criminal enterprise, leading him into a world of corruption and murder. And the images we see throughout the book follow his ongoing work taking commissions to draw.




PAUL MADONNA is an award-winning artist and writer whose unique blend of drawing and storytelling has been heralded as an “all new art form.” He is the creator of the series All Over Coffee, which ran in the San Francisco Chronicle for twelve years, and the author of seven books, including Everything is its own reward, which won the 2011 NCBA Award for best book, and the Emit Hopper Mystery Series. Paul’s work ranges from novels to cartoons to large-scale public murals and can be found internationally in print as well as in galleries and museums, including the Oakland Museum of California, the William Blake Association in France, and the San Francisco International Airport. Paul was a founding editor for, has taught drawing at the University of San Francisco, and frequently lectures on creative practice. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and was the first (ever!) Art Intern at MAD magazine. His current release, The Commissions, a rivoting mystery set between San Francisco and Amsterdam, is available in hardback on Spetember 5th.







Event date: 
Tuesday, October 3, 2023 - 7:00pm
The Commissions By Paul Madonna Cover Image
ISBN: 9781513139289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: West Margin Press - September 5th, 2023

Come to Light By Paul Madonna Cover Image
ISBN: 9781513263052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: West Margin Press - October 6th, 2020

Close Enough for the Angels By Paul Madonna Cover Image
ISBN: 9781513260815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Petty Curse Books - September 5th, 2017