Friday, April 19, 2019

I am now a Black Mask author

There's no crime writer I admire more than Dashiell Hammett. The Continental Op stories are a gift to all of us, and Hammett's five novels in a way created five different subgenres of crime fiction: The Maltese Falcon, the search for the MacGuffin, Red Harvest, the stranger cleaning up the crime-ridden town, The Glass Key, the political crime novel, The Dain Curse, the supernatural crime novel, and The Thin Man, the screwball crime novel. There's never been a writer who has had more influence on the crime fiction genre than Hammett and whose works I revere more. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is the premiere crime fiction magazine, and I never take it for granted being published within its hallowed pages, but it's because of Hammett's connection with Black Mask that having my 18th EQMM story be published as a Blask Mask story means something extra special to me.

You can read an excerpt of my story Brother's Keeper.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Investigator has been Investigated!

Publishers Weekly has conducted a thorough investigation of The Julius Katz Collection, and their conclusion: fresh and funny … There’s good fun to be had along with the brainteasers in this sprightly volume. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

About my Morris Brick serial killer thriller series


I’d had fourteen novels and dozens of short stories published by the time I sold my first Morris Brick thriller, Deranged, to Kensington Books, and my editor, Michaela Hamilton, thought it would be a good idea to differentiate this new thriller series by using a pseudonym. It made sense. While the Julius Katz mystery stories published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine turned into an accidental series, and my ‘man out of prison’ books published by Serpent’s Tail could be looked at as a noir trilogy, this will be my first planned thriller series. The tone of these books are also going to be different than my darker crime noir novels, or my moody and supernaturally-tinged A Killer’s Essence, or my metaphysical crime thrillers Bad Thoughts and Bad Karma. My Morris Brick thrillers will be suspenseful crime thrillers with a dark edge, humor, lots of surprises and twists, and rapid-paced plots. They’re also going to be written more along the lines of the stories I write for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: little to no profanity, no onscreen sex, and while the violence will by horrifying and gruesome it will either take place off screen or be described with minimal detail. Also the protagonist, Morris Brick, will be someone the reader will want to root for, as will his bull terrier, Parker.



So how did I come up with the pseudonym Jacob Stone? Well, it was a team effort with Kensington Books! I also liked the symmetry between Brick and Stone, and that Stone suggests someone solid. Also, after using my long and somewhat difficult name, Zeltserman, with my other books, I liked the idea of a simple author name for these thrillers. Why Jacob for the first name? No idea. It just sounded right.


A little bit about these books. My protagonist, Morris Brick, will be a former LAPD homicide detective who has recently started his own investigative firm, Morris Brick Investigation (MBI). When Deranged begins, Morris is working as a consultant on a serial-killer film. Morris is smart, tough, resourceful, and dogged when he’s on a case. He is described physically as follows: ‘Well, he certainly wasn’t handsome, not with his big ears, thick, long nose, spindly legs and short, compact body. Maybe more comical looking than unattractive. In many ways Morris proved the old adage about a dog owner resembling his pet, since he looked quite a bit like his bull terrier, Parker.' Hollywood, the film industry, and the obsessive desire for fame and notoriety will be an undercurrent running through these books.


While Morris, the supporting cast, and Morris’s inimitable bull terrier, Parker, remain constant, I’ve written a very different type of crime thriller with each book in the series. The first, DERANGED, flips the readers expectations halfway through. CRAZED uses my favorite plot device—an interloper that messes everything up for everyone. MALICIOUS is constructed as a devious Rube Goldberg machine. CRUEL is written as a series of cascading mysteries. The final book in the series (so far) UNLEASHED is more psychological suspense and crime-oriented. While they’re very different from each other, I use the same structure for each of them, mixing in chapters from past and present, and by doing this I can dig deeper into the killer’s evolution and his motivations.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

My 5th Morris Brick crime thriler UNLEASHED out today!

Scream Magazine on UNLEASHED: "This was my first experience with a Stone novel, but it’s made me an instant fan. His writing style reminds me of Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, and other veterans of hard-boiled detective and mystery stories. His style is no frills, tough, and gritty, and he’s not averse to breaking a few conventional rules and unleashing some unexpected surprises. As far as detective mysteries go, Unleashed is a winner that keeps you on your toes and guessing throughout."

My own opinion--this has some of my best writing and is one of my best crime thrillers.

Jeffery Deaver on UNLEASHED: “A roller coaster ride between covers! A skillful blend of psychological and investigative thriller writing, Unleashed brings back the great Morris Brick and his crew, who have to stop a horrific series of murders in L.A. Rarely is an author so skilled at portraying such unremitting evil and the poignant, human side of his characters in a single tale.”

UNLEASHED has been unleashed today. I hope folks give it a read.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Get THE TENTH WISH Today!

Mystery author Clea Simon calls The Tenth Wish "Fun and Fanciful." That certainly couldn't be said about any of my horror and crime novels. But this book is something from me. I look at it as a charming and, at times, thrilling mix of contemporary fantasy and adventure built around a love story. And while this is very different than anything else I've written, it's also not in a way. While it's several ticks lighter than my Julius Katz stories (except for the times in veers into very dark territory) it has a similar humor as my Julius Katz works, and the interplay between Emily and the genie will remind my readers (at least a little bit) of Julius and Archie. And there's more than a little bit of Archie in the genie. And while I think "fun and fanciful" is a good way to describe The Tenth Wish, it has characters in it who'd be right at home in my darkest noir.

The Tenth Wish is available today as either a kindle ebook or paperback. Yes. It's different.  It's "fun and fanciful" (actually Clea said about it: "Fun and fanciful, The Tenth Wish finds love and magic in this bitter old world.") But I think readers who've enjoyed my other books, even my darkest noir, will like this one also.

Monday, February 18, 2019

PW on THE INTERLOPER: "action-packed, darkly witty thriller"

Publisher's Weekly on THE INTERLOPER: "Zeltserman creates characters who, while at times amusing, still maintain their terrifying aura of unleashed fury."

The review can be read here.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Julius Katz readers might want to pre-order The Tenth Wish

The Tenth Wish isn't a PI novel or mystery. Instead it's a contemporary fantasy in which a young woman finds a genie's lamp and the adventures that follow. So why might Julius Katz readers like this book?

The Tenth Wish is a tick or two lighter than my Julius Katz stories (although it veers at times into territory that's every bit as dark as my noir novels), but given everything I've written it compares closest in tone and humor to my Julius Katz writings. I think readers are going to find this book a lot of fun and exiting, and my genie, Jack, has more than a bit of Archie in him (as well as some Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny and some James Bond.)

The kindle version will be released on Feb. 21 and is available for pre-order now . A paperback edition will also be made available Feb. 21st (maybe a day or two earlier). The price for the kindle version will be $2.99 until Feb 28th, and then will be set to $5.99.


Friday, January 18, 2019

The Tenth Wish available now for kindle preorder

From acclaimed crime and horror author Dave Zeltserman (Small Crimes) comes something very different. A charming mix of fantasy and thrilling adventure.

Emily Mignon recently moved to New York and finds herself frustrated romantically, professionally, and financially. When she comes into possession of a genie's lamp, she's tempted to wish for her biggest dream to be fulfilled, but she knows from literature that a genie's wish can be maliciously twisted. Even the genie--who is quite handsome and looks like a young lawyer dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit and black leather oxfords--admits to her how disastrously some of his previous masters' wishes turned out. He seems sincere when he promises her that this time will be different and she wants to believe him. Except there's a warning engraved on the bottom of the lamp. Do not trust him.

"Fun and fanciful, The Tenth Wish finds love and magic in this bitter old world." - Clea Simon

Paperback and kindle versions of The Tenth Wish will be available February 21. Kindle copies can be preordered now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Something very different from me

I wrote this book about 7 years ago, but it was so different from the darker crime and horror novels I was writing and publishing that I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't want to send it out to publishers and I wasn't even sure what genre it was. It's charming, and it somewhat a love story, or at least a search for love, but it doesn't fit in the romance category since there's no sex. It's also somewhat a paranormal fantasy in that it features a genie, but there's also a realism that I think pushes it out of that category. In a way it's an adventure, but probably not what most people would expect from an adventure novel. I ended up self-publishing it under a different title and pen name, but it was all very dissatisfying throwing it out there with no marketing, and I ended up taking it out of print soon after.

This book has always been my wife's favorite of mine, and I recently gave it another look, and decided I liked it also quite a bit, and gave it a careful edit, made a few other changes, and prepared it to be self-published as The Tenth Wish. Even though it's not my typical dark crime or horror novel, I think folks who like my writing will like this book. And even though the best I can describe it is as a charming mix of fantasy and adventure, the book has it's hard edges. There's a biker gang in it that could've come straight out of BLOOD CRIMES, and the other thugs and villains would be right at home in my crime noir novels. And while the genie is very different than Archie, he has a certain quality that I think will appeal to Julius Katz fans.

I haven't figured out a publishing date yet, but will probably make it available end of February. I'll let folks know when I figure that out. Also, I think Oliviaprodesign did a tremendous job on the cover, and I highly recommend Olivia to any other writer looking for a book cover design (and her fees are extremely reasonable.)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Upcoming Morris Brick thriller UNLEASHED available for review at Netgalley

My 5th Morris Brick crime thriller UNLEASHED will be out March 5th and is available to reviewers now on Netgalley.

Jeffery Deaver on UNLEASHED: “A roller coaster ride between covers! A skillful blend of psychological and investigative thriller writing, Unleashed brings back the great Morris Brick and his crew, who have to stop a horrific series of murders in L.A. Rarely is an author so skilled at portraying such unremitting evil and the poignant, human side of his characters in a single
tale.”

Book description:  There’s a new demon in the City of Angels. The Cupid Killer targets couples in love, unleashing on them a pure animal savagery.

L.A. detective Morris Brick has never hunted a psycho who’s taken such sadistic pleasure in destroying people’s lives. The surviving victims have all identified the killer’s snarling wolf tattoo. Now Morris knows he’s on the trail of a brutal predator who’s taunting him. But there's a dark secret behind the Cupid Killer and the danger is closer to home than Morris imagines . . . 

Expertly alternating between past and the present day, Unleashed is the very best kind of suspense thriller, one where the twists and surprises will shock even the savviest reader.


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I think this one works well as both a thriller and a crime novel. I also got to unleash my inner Richard Stark writing it, especially writing the back story chapters. I hope folks check it out!