Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Having some fun - a 145-word flash fiction crime story

This year's Crime Bake is having a flash fiction contest with the following rules: 150 words or less, and must use 10 of the following words: basement, butterfly, charcoal, cinnamon, dress, devil, dog, evil, faith, fear, fortunate, fry, kiss, mistake, outnumbered, pieces, river, sea, thrill, wave.

As a panelist, I can't submit to the contest, but it sounded like a fun way to procrastinate, so after a half hour, here's what I came up with:



Cinnamon Girl

The job was a bad one from the beginning. Dougherty had gotten careless and didn’t realize there was a witness until she ran naked from the basement apartment clutching her dress. All Red Mahoney could tell me was that she was small and skinny with straight cinnamon-colored hair reaching halfway down her back, and a pink butterfly tattooed on her right ass cheek. There was no point in me complaining about having to clean up Dougherty’s mistake. He's Mahoney’s brother-in-law.

That was three weeks ago. Her hair’s been cut short and dyed to the color of charcoal, but her kiss still tastes like cinnamon, and I’ve seen the butterfly up close and personal.

It would be an evil thing for me to finish the job. If Mahoney knew, he’d have me cut up and the pieces thrown in the river.

I’ll take my chances.
 ##

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Today's publishing reality

When Small Crimes was published in 2008, most of its sales--at least before NPR picked it as one of the top 5 crime and mystery novels of the year--came from crime fiction readers working at mystery and independent bookstores handselling the book to their customers. Flash forward 10 years to 2018 and the publishing reality has become something completely different. Many of the mystery bookstores that handsold Small Crimes are gone, and the chances of a book published by a small, independent press like Serpent's Tail  getting reviewed today in NPR, Washington Post, Boston Globe, etc. is close to zero. Independent presses rely more now on ebook sales as there is less shelf space in bookstores for their books than 10 years ago and just about no newspaper review space available. Reading habits have also changed--I think this goes hand-in-hand with there being less handselling of smaller press books at bookstores, but readers are driven more to the bigger books, and in some ways it has become more of a social activity where readers want to join in on the most active conversations on Goodreads, leading even more to only the biggest (i.e. most heavily promoted) books getting read. With these changes, the majority of  books being published live and die with their number of Amazon reviews, and this is especially true for book series. The reason for this is one of the few ways to get book sales and attract new readers is through BookBub ads, and that's where you have a Catch-22 that a book needs a large number of Amazon reviews before a publisher can buy a Bookbub ad. This is what I'm experiencing now with my Morris Brick crime thriller series. From the emails I'm receiving, I know readers are digging the series, but the number of Amazon reviews are woefully low, which has kept my publisher, Kensington Books, from being able to buy a Bookbub ad. The 4th book in the series CRUEL came out last month, and a 5th book (and one of the best crime novels I've written) UNLEASHED will be  out next March, but whether the series continues past that depends on readers leaving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. That's the new publishing reality.



Saturday, September 22, 2018

"HUSK may be Zeltserman’s best book to date"

Bookreporter on HUSK:"HUSK may be Zeltserman’s best book to date.... Many of the twists and turns are saved for the final third of the novel, but they come hard, fast and heavy, right up to the last sentence, which is one of the best I have read this year." You can read the entire review here.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

With CRUEL, 20 novels published!


With CRUEL being published on Sept. 18th, I've now published 20 novels, with 3 more in the pipeline!

  • Fast Lane (2004)
  • Bad Thoughts (2007)
  • Small Crimes (2008), selected by NPR as one of the 5 best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and the Washington Post as one of the best books of the year. Now a Netflix film.
  • Bad Karma (2009)
  • Pariah (2009), selected by the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2009.
  • Killer (2010)
  • The Caretaker of Lorne Field (2010), short listed by ALA for best horror novel of 2010 and Black Quill Nominee for Best Dark Genre novel of 2010.
  • Outsourced (2011)
  • Blood Crimes (2011)
  • Dying Memories (2011)
  • Julius Katz and Archie (2011)
  • A Killer's Essence (2011)
  • Monster: A novel of Frankenstein (2012), selected by Booklist for their 2013 list of top 10 horror novels and WBUR for their favorite novels of 2012
  • The Boy Who Killed Demons (2014)
  • The Interloper (2014)
  • Deranged (written as Jacob Stone, 2017)
  • Crazed (written as Jacob Stone, 2017)
  • Malicious (written as Jacob Stone, 2018)
  • Husk (2018)
  • Cruel (written as Jacob Stone, 2018)


Friday, September 7, 2018

Want a free copy of CRUEL?


“Dave Zeltserman is one of the best suspense writers in the business, and his Jacob Stone thrillers are not to be missed.” Steve Hamilton

"Jacob Stone is equal parts Thomas Harris, Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo, and Stephen King. CRUEL will leave you shaking . . . with fear, excitement, and the uncontrollable compulsion to keep on reading.” Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author of True Fiction
  
Rarely is an author so skilled at portraying such unremitting evil and the poignant, human side of his characters in a single tale.” Jeffery Deaver

My 4th Morris Brick crime thriller CRUEL will be out Sept. 18th and I'll be giving away ebook copies to the first 10 fans of the series who point me to a review they have posted on Amazon for book #3 MALICIOUS.

 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

HUSK: An American Cannibal Love Story

My working title for HUSK was 'American Cannibal: A Love Story', and that fit the book perfectly, but as former detective Adrian Monk would say, heres's the thing, nobody would've published the book if I kept that title. The editors who responded to my queries all came back with something along the lines of 'no thanks, I don't do cannibals.' And so I flipped a coin between using HUSK and THE CRAVINGS, and the coin came up heads. It wasn't until I changed the title that I had editors willing to look at it. After selling the book, I suggested that we go back to my original title, and my publisher rightfully decided that as perfect as that title might be, they wouldn't sell many copies with it.

HUSK is certainly a horror novel, albeit a very unusual and different one. A sense of dread permeates the book. It's also in some ways very noirish. As Just A Guy Who Likes To Read writes about it: "There is a simmering danger lurking around every corner; an omnipresent threat of violence and bloodletting bubbling away through each chapter as Charlie Husk, a character like no other, struggles with the person he is and the person he wants to be." Horror is always at the edges until it's front and center.  But at the same time at its core is a love story. A very unusual one.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Publishing day for my horror novel HUSK!

"Tender, brutal, fantastic, and vibrantly real. A unique and splendid novel" Booklist, starred 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

"There is a simmering danger lurking around every corner; an omnipresent threat of violence and bloodletting bubbling away through each chapter as Charlie Husk, a character like no other, struggles with the person he is and the person he wants to be." Just A Guy Who Likes To Read

Today is publishing day for my latest horror novel HUSK and to celebrate, I have a short interview up on The Big Thrill.

First paragraph:

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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Malicious reviewed

From Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's The Jury Box:

Readers of EQMM are probably familiar with the name Dave Zeltserman, who earned two EQMM Readers Awards for his computer-age Nero Wolfe pastiches. Under the name Jacob Stone he writes thrillers featuring former LAPD homicide detective Morris Brick, an expert in serial killers, now running a Hollywood-based security consulting firm. A killer with a penchant for Rube Goldberg devices has been leaving calling cards for Brick as he slaughters Hollywood actresses once by one, with the goal of destroying all of Los Angeles. Zeltserman’s writing is smart, witty, and edge-of-your-seat thrilling. A fourth title, Cruel, is due out later this fall.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Starred review for HUSK

Booklist weighed in on HUSK, giving it a starred review, and saying (among other things): "... the story is at once tender, brutal, fantastic, and vibrantly real. A unique and splendid novel."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

CRUEL (Morris Brick #4) is available now for review





“Rarely is an author so skilled at portraying such unremitting evil and the poignant, human side of his characters in a single tale.”
—Jeffery Deaver

“Jacob Stone is equal parts Thomas Harris, Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo, and Stephen King. CRUEL will leave you shaking . . . with fear, excitement, and the uncontrollable compulsion to keep on reading.”
—Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author of True Fiction

“17.” L.A. detective Morris Brick knows the number all too well. It was the gruesome signature the Nightmare Man left next to his victims’ bodies. Brick’s father was the first to investigate the killings. Five women were butchered before the perpetrator vanished. Seventeen years later he resurfaced—to kill again in the same depraved ways. Now another seventeen years have passed. Brick knows in his gut that it’s time for the Nightmare Man to reawaken. But even Brick can’t imagine the madman’s true agenda. Or just how terrifying the sleepless nights are going to get in the City of Angels . . . 

My 4th Morris Brick thriller CRUEL is available now for review at Netgalley.  Either request the book there or email me for a fast link that will get you the book right away.