Dark and, at times, amusing fiction from award-winning author Dave Zeltserman

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Interloper on sale now!

"action-packed, darkly witty thriller" Publishers Weekly

"The Interloper is a blast of quick reading...the cold deadness of Willis is right on target with Richard Stark's Parker" Bookgasm

"dark tour-de-force of non-stop action and tension" Vincent Zandri, bestselling author of The Remains

"a swiftly paced story that rewards with tension, suspense, and surprise." Bill Crider, author of the Dan Rhodes mystery series

"Stark meets Ludlum meets Forsyth in this tight and tricky opener to anew series from the always-innovative Dave Zeltserman." Roger Smith, author of Wake Up Dead

"A damn fine piece of work" Ed Gorman, author of Stranglehold and Bad Moon Rising

Sunday, January 5, 2020

nightmare face...

Another short excerpt from my new horror/fantasy/PI/noir novel EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL. PDF arcs available to anyone wishing to review this.

The next morning it was business as usual at the Busted Grill Diner with another squatter taking over Charlie’s role as short order cook and Doris acting as if the guy had always been there. The new cook, whom Doris called Max, was a tall and skeleton-thin sort, with a scrawny neck and the bony, ravaged arms of a drug addict, but what was most prominent about him was his face, which must’ve been either been set on fire at one point or doused in acid. It wasn’t just the grotesque scarring, but that almost all of the skin had been burnt or melted off, and his lips were nearly completely gone. What especially gave me the willies was how large and liquid his eyes seemed as they floated within that mostly skull-like face. Whatever was done to cause the damage must’ve been what killed him, which made it unusual that he appeared this way. Whether you’re an aware or unaware, when you’re in hell you’re projected the way you envisioned yourself in life, and it’s seldom the way you looked at the time of your death. This guy must’ve had to live long enough with those injuries where he grew to think of himself that way, and it was his bad luck he had to bring his nightmare face to hell.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

You never fully die in hell...

A 30-second excerpt from my new PI/noir/horror/fantasy novel EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL:
You never fully die in hell. You might feel as if you’re dying for all eternity, but your existence never ends. I forced myself to look at the severed heads decorating Al Zaoud’s stallion, and I could see their eyes locked on me. Some of their mouths were moving as they silently pleaded with me to help them. Or maybe they were damning me. I was never any good at lip-reading so I couldn’t tell which it was. I looked away from them.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Favorite movies of the decade

An only slightly biased list of my 10 favorite movies of the decade:

1) Small Crimes 
2) Isle of Dogs 
3) Ex Machina 
4) Personal Shopper 
5) Moonrise Kingdom 
6) The Babadook 
7) Grand Budapest Hotel 
8) Edge of Tomorrow 
9) Get Out 
10) Inside Llewyn Davis

Sunday, December 29, 2019

my blood chilled...

A 3-minute excerpt from my new PI/noir/horror/fantasy novel EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL

We were only a half a mile from the entrance to the tunnel when all of lower Manhattan to the right of me disappeared, and my blood chilled as I realized that Al Zaoud must have found a way around
the ravine. I heard the pounding of the horses as if they were right on top of me and then I saw him and his cutthroats out of the corner of my eye. Everything changed then as I was absorbed into his reality. I still had on my cheap suit, but the cab and the rest of my reality was gone.

I went hurtling through the air the same as if Edwin had slammed his cab into a brick wall and I had crashed through the windshield. It made sense since we’d been traveling at forty miles an hour before our abrupt stop. After a hundred feet or so, I landed shoulder first against the rocky terrain and flipped over half a dozen times before my body came to a stop. I knew I didn’t really have any
bones and tendons and internal organs. That it was all part of the illusion. But as I lay there in a heap, I felt as if the shoulder I landed on had been torn apart, that my hip had been shattered into a dozen
pieces, and that my insides had been put through a Cuisinart. I tried to lift my head, and as I shifted weight onto my right arm I clenched my mouth shut to stifle a scream as I realized the bones in the arm had all been snapped.

I collapsed fully on the ground then, and as I moaned in my misery I heard the snorting and hoof beats from dozens of Al Zaoud’s demon horses and could sense that I was surrounded by them. A powerful hand the size of a large ham hock grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and lifted me off the ground, and I found myself staring directly into Al Zaoud’s eyes and all the ancient insanity that they held.

“I should gut you and wear your intestines as a necklace,” he growled.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A deafening crashing...

A 30-second excerpt from my new PI/noir/horror/fantasy novel, Everybody Lies in Hell

A deafening crashing noise exploded behind me, and it sounded as if lightning had struck within feet of me. The whole diner seemed to shake from it. I twisted my neck around and looked out the plate
glass front window, and sure enough the sky had turned an ominous bluish-purple with jagged streaks of lightning bursting through the air. That didn’t make any sense. In my reality the sky was always a
grayish white, and there was never any change in weather. As my gaze shifted toward the horizon, I could see that my Brooklyn was melting away and was being replaced by a harsh mountainous landscape.

An icy fear froze me. Without any conscious thought, I murmured “Oh shit” under my breath, and then I was running as fast as I could to get out the door.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

PW on Everybody Lies In Hell

Publishers Weekly weighs in on my upcoming (Oct. 1st) EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL:

This clever depiction of hell explores the lies that people tell, both to others and to themselves. Mike Stone dies and wakes up in a flawed simulacrum of Brooklyn within the afterlife, created from his patchy memories. He passes eternity by acting as a private investigator for other people who are aware of being dead, finding out how they died or answering questions they still had from when they were alive. Stone moves among the hells created by stronger personalities, such as warlord Al Zaoud and the White Devil of Wallachia, and lesser ones, searching for answers for his clients, as well as for himself. Although the constant repetition of details occasionally grates, it doesn’t detract from the strength of the premise or the power of the story’s resolution. Zeltserman (Husk) has developed a rich world with a complex protagonist, and the stated stagnation of hellish eternity doesn’t stop his story from moving briskly along.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

On sale for $2.99!

The Kindle Edition for A Killer's Essence is on sale now for $2.99! Things could've worked out so differently for this book if Penguin hadn't delayed the printing by months, which caused B&N to cancel not only their co-op but their order. It had strong film and TV interest at the start, and I went with the film option with a company that got hit hard by the financial meltdown and never recovered. Now that it's on sale I hope folks check out this supernaturally-tinged crime novel which has a good part of it taking place during the 2004 ALCS between the Sox and NY (and sox fans get to watch the Yankees meltdown from eyes of a diehard Yankees fan). This may or may not be my best book, but I think it's my best written.

“Zeltserman’s lean but muscular style, so evident in “Killer’’ and “The Caretaker of Lorne Field,’’ is just as sharply honed here. His ability to juggle Green’s story and Lynch’s, develop a riveting murder mystery, and even mix in some Brighton Beach ex-KGB sleazeballs, all in less than 250 pages, is a pretty neat page-turning trick.” Boston Globe

“This eerie thriller deftly blurs the lines between madness and the perception of reality.” —The Star-Ledger

“[A] chilling page-turner attuned to the most discerning of avid crime lovers. Well written and well paced. Recommended.” —New York Journal of Books

“Zeltserman’s signature creepiness is available here and there, but what really drives this novel is the engaging portrait of an honest, hardworking cop who, on the job and off, gives the best he’s got, knowing how rarely it will be enough.” —Kirkus Reviews 

"A scary, keep-you-guessing thriller not to be missed.” Booklist

“Highly recommended for those interested in the suspence/noir/thriller genre” A Momentary Taste of Being

“A KILLER’S ESSENCE is complete in itself, but Zeltserman leaves just enough plot threads dangling at the end that a sequel, while not necessary, would be appropriate. And Green? I was screaming at the guy halfway through the book, but by the conclusion, I wanted to buy him a beer. And a ticket to a baseball game. Sequel or not, you need to meet Green and read A KILLER’S ESSENCE.” BookReporter

“It’s here: another entry into the gritty and grim world of Dave Zeltserman. For those unfamiliar, Zeltserman has crafted some of the darkest crime novels to have come out in the past few years, and A KILLER’S ESSENCE shows it’s still a world with no sunshine in sight.” Bookgasm

“Dave Zeltserman takes more risks than any other writer I know. With each book he pushes harder against the comfortable definitions of genre fiction: A Killer’s Essence brilliantly blurs the lines between police-procedural and horror/ paranormal. So forget about pigeon-holing Zeltserman, just grab this book and immerse yourself in the brutal world of an author who is a true original. Then (if you haven’t already) go and read all his others.” Roger Smith

Sunday, June 2, 2019

My next novel

My next novel EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL will be published by Eraserhead Press October 1st. From the back cover copy:

Hell can be a tricky place with all of its rules. Mike Stone, hell’s lone practicing private eye, thinks he has it figured out, and more often than not, solves the cases that come his way. It’s not easy, though. Not with the fact that everyone in hell lies. And not with having to worry about a barbaric warlord from a long-forgotten time after his head. Or a compatriot of Vlad the Impaler wanting to purify his soul in a chamber of horrors for all eternity. Or that his circa 1992 Brooklyn private hell might be absorbed at any moment by a more aware soul. And then there’s that creepy Mortuary Man and whatever his agenda might be.

When Stone takes on a young woman as a client who wants him to find out who murdered her, it turns out to be his most dangerous case yet, and what he discovers might just be Hell’s biggest secret.

"In Everybody Lies in Hell Mike Stone's eternal damnation is a private detective's office in a re-imagined Brooklyn. In Hell, the beautiful woman with a case opens a literal Pandora's Box, and Stone is soon inundated by all-too-recognizable evils and lies of Hell's tortured souls, powerful ancient demons and devils, and haunting personal ones. Classic pulp, noir, and horror--think James N. Cain and Bukowski and Palahniuk--are all ground up in a blender and the result is a nasty, wild, and ultimately redemptive novel that only Dave Zeltserman could write."
--Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts

"Everybody Lies in Hell is a wild adventure centered on confronting our demons--literally and figuratively. At once compulsively entertaining and bizarre, Zeltserman has written a metaphysical masterpiece. Hell has never been so much fun."
--Jon Bassoff, author of The Drive-Thru Crematorium

EVERYBODY LIES IN HELL is available for preordering now from Amazon.