Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Interloper on sale!

I've put my crime heist/conspiracy thriller THE INTERLOPER is on sale for $0.99. This is really 3 connected novellas (The Hunted, The Dame, The Interloper) although the 3rd is more the length of an old Gold Medal novel. I think these are a fun read written with a nod to the Richard Stark Parker novels although operating in this near-future dystopia which is explained in the first part, The Hunted.
"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

"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

“The Dame reads like a Reader’s Digest Condensed Parker, with all of the elements that we know and love crammed into a scant 70 pages. There are the team assembled to do the job with weaker and stronger members, the execution of the heists, the crosses, and the violence. Zeltserman even plays around with point-of-view shifts similar to those in the Parker novels.” The Violent World of Parker

“Everything Dave Zeltserman writes is gold, and his new Hunted series is no exception.” Evan Lewis

Thursday, May 17, 2018

First paragraph: HUSK

Labor Day weekend is always a good time to pick up students hitchhiking, but that wasn’t why I pulled into the rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike. While I had fourteen empty burlap sacks in the back of the van that needed to be filled before heading back home, along with more than enough rope and gags to take care of things, I didn’t expect to be picking up any of them here. While there’s always the chance of finding a hitchhiker at a place like this, it’s a small one and I was expecting that most of the stragglers I’d be getting would be in cities off the Turnpike. Hartford, Bridgeport, and if need be, New Haven. For this trip I hoped to get mostly students. They were generally healthier and leaner than the usual types – the prostitutes, drifters, homeless, and other such stragglers that I’d often have to collect. Students also tended to carry more books, clothes, and money on them than those others, all of which was good to bring back to the homestead. If I ended up needing those others to fill up the back of the van, I would. But I was hoping for mostly students.

Review copies for HUSK are available now at Netgalley

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Glass Floor by Carlos Orsi

The Glass Floor by Carlos Orsi in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is an intriguing locked-room mystery. Orsi is a Brazilian author who usually writes in his native Portuguese, but he wrote this story in English for EQMM, and with its grittiness and tone it reminded me of many of the Italian crime fiction I enjoy reading. While this story has the tone of a crime story, it's a locked-room mystery involving a man who is home for his father's funeral who finds himself being asked to solve a seemingly impossible murder--a man who'd been stabbed to death found alone in a room that was locked from the inside. Orsi for the most part plays fair with the reader--there's some stuff that's pulled out of midair, but the crucial elements to solve the mystery are all fair-play. As interesting as the mystery is, what makes this such a fun story to read is the writing and tone. Recommended.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Upcoming horror novel HUSK available for review

“Dave Zeltserman’s Husk is a compelling, quirky, twisty, smart, page-turner mix of horror, satire, and even a little romance with (yeah, I’ll say it) bite. A brutal love story perfect for our dark times.”
Paul Tremblay, author of Cabin at the End of the World

My upcoming horror novel HUSK can be requested by reviewers, librarians, bloggers, etc. now on Netgalley.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Suspect Zero by Benjamin Percy

Suspect Zero by Benjamin Percy in the latest issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is a compelling suspense story featuring a railroad train, a serial killer, and a woman alone in a house. Since this is a story about discovery, there's not much more I can say about it without ruining it. But this is a well-crafted story that kept me turning pages wanting to see what would happen next, and it's also a story that demonstrates how versatile Ellery Queen is as a mystery magazine- -this May/June issue has everything from noir, literary crime, amusing crime, traditional mysteries, hardboiled PI tales, and page-turning suspense.

Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Never Just the Wind by Hollis Seamon

It's Never Just the Wind by Hollis Seamon in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is more literary fiction than a crime or mystery story. There's a crime of sorts, but this is more a story about the harsh consequences of one's actions. The reader can guess early on how the story is going to progress and end, but that's okay, and it's really the point of the story--the inevitability of it all. One person's bad, reckless choice leading to someone else's worse choice, and so on. Whether this is crime fiction or literary fiction, it's still a strong, powerful story. Recommended.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The King of Gonna by Rick Helms

The King of Gonna in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is a hardboiled PI story that's much more Continental Op than Philip Marlowe, which is fitting because the PI (Eamon Gold) operates in the same San Francisco streets that the Op once worked. The case involves tracking down a miscreant who has skipped bail and is reminiscent of the type of case the Op might've found himself in once upon a time, and the same with Gold's dogged pursuit of his prey, and the mean-streak he shows at the end. While this is in no ways a pastiche, I did at times almost feel like I was reading an Op story, and it doesn't get any better than that! Recommended.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Fires of Hell by Paul Halter

The Fires of Hell by Paul Halter in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) is an intriguing traditional mystery that has been translated from its original French. In the story, an army colonel seeks out a famed criminologist at a London club to tell him about a case he investigated years earlier when he was a police officer. The case involved a series of fires that were being predicted by a local clairvoyant. These appear to be arson except there was no possible way that these could've been set by an arsonist. Halter plays fair with the reader, and there is a rather elegant solution, yet Halter had me fooled. Halter also nicely demonstrates the use of misdirection. Recommended.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Where the Strange Ones Go by Steve Hockensmith

Where the Strange Ones Go by Steve Hockensmith in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June) takes place in 1995 at a shadier than shady video dating company, and focuses on its sleazy owner, a cynical and jaded video operator, and a fresh-faced, straight-laced college student hired to add some lipstick to this pig. There are crimes and amusing video profiles sprinkled throughout this fun and pitch-perfectly written story. Hockensmith doesn't disappoint!

Saturday, April 14, 2018


“Excuse me, Miss, do you have this in teal?”

For several minutes, Hannah Welker intentionally ignored the skinny man with the scraggly beard as he performed an assortment of pantomimes to get her attention. One of the perks of working for Hipster Dipster was that the sales personnel were required to be rude. It was considered part of the ironic charm of the store. But she also had an English Lit paper due tomorrow on Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, and she still had over a hundred pages that she needed to read before her shift ended, so she was planning to be more than just ironically rude to this guy. If she could get away with it, she was going to flat out act as if he didn’t exist.

“Wise Blood. Cool book,” the guy said. “Must be hard reading it with customers like me bugging you, huh, Miss?”

“It’s Ms.,” Hannah hissed under her breath.

“Ah ha! I got your attention. Finally. So will you see if you have this in teal? Twenty-eight waist, thirty-six length.”

Hannah had made the mistake of acknowledging his presence. He wasn’t going to leave now. She looked up from her book to see the skinny guy grinning widely. After all, treating him like dog poop was all part of the fun. Sighing and giving him her best put-upon look, she said, “If that’s the only way I can get you to leave me alone, fine, I’ll go check.”

She got up and flashed him an exasperated look. He giggled, thinking it was part of the act. It wasn’t. On her way to the stockroom, she gave an extra-long look at a mannequin she passed in the women’s section. This one was dressed in tan leather boots, plaid green and yellow pants, a gray blouse, and a flowery cotton sweater. It wasn’t the outfit that made her stare. She kind of liked it. But each time she had passed the mannequin that day something about it seemed off, and she couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

She found the teal-colored pants that the skinny guy was asking for. She almost went back empty-handed, because now she was going to have to spend time ringing up the sale. But doing something like telling that guy the store didn’t have an item that it did could get her fired, and this was a sweet gig, especially with all the time it gave her for her college work.

She stopped to look again at the mannequin. Something was definitely wrong about it. She decided after she finished Wise Blood she’d satisfy her curiosity and figure out what it was that bugged her.

“Your lucky day,” she told the skinny guy in her best bored voice as she handed him the pants.

“I’m sorry if I interfered with your reading pleasure,” he said, still grinning.

“English Lit assignment,” she said.

“Paper due?”


“Ah ha. You figure out yet what your paper’s going to be about?”

“I’m not sure yet. I  still have over a hundred pages to read. But something about sin and faith.”

A loud popping noise, like what a large firecracker might make, got both of them turning in the direction of the stockroom. This was followed almost immediately by a crashing noise.

“What was that?” the skinny man asked.

Hannah had no idea.

“I better go see,” she said.

“I’ll join you.”

She wasn’t going to turn down his offer of chivalry. What really spooked her was where the crashing sound came from. It might’ve only been her imagination, but she could’ve sworn it was where that creepy mannequin had been set up—the one that had something off-putting about it.

The skinny guy, who told Hannah his name was Josef, led the way toward the stockroom, and sure enough it was the mannequin that had crashed to the floor and now lay in two pieces—the upper torso and the lower half. The lower half was by far the bigger piece, and it didn’t look right to Hannah. Whatever the popping noise was, it had split the pants revealing not plastic, but instead what looked like bloodless, way-too-white flesh.

“That’s not blood, is it?” Josef asked.

He was pointing at a small puddle leaking out of the lower half. Hannah all at once felt woozy, and she would’ve collapsed to the floor if Josef hadn’t caught her.