Saturday, December 29, 2007
Librarians’ Choice 2007
The Best Books of the Year
A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson
Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
False Impression by Jeffrey Archer
Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits
When Darkness Falls by James Grippando
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield
The Water Devil by Judith Merkle Riley
The Family That Couldn’t Sleep by D.T. Max
World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war by Max Brooks
Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Wayward Muse by Elizabeth Hickey
The Dogs of Windcutter Down by David Kennard
Withering Heights by Dorothy Cannell
Red Dahlia by Lynda LaPlante
Savage Garden by Mark Mills
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
Dog Days by John Katz
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Innocence by David Hosp
The Glass Devil by Helene Tursten
Keeping Mum DVD
18 Seconds by George Shuman
Bad Thoughts by Dave Zeltserman
Agnes & The Hit Man by Jennifer Crusie,
Night Birds by Thomas Maltman
Brilliance by Rosalind Laker
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Down River by John Hart
The Abduction by Mark Gimenez
Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood
Cormac: the tale of a dog gone missing by Sonny Brewer
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Guynd: a Scottish Journal by Belinda Rathbone
Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
In the Woods by Tara French
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
...Zeltserman builds upon the events to a bloody climax that will make readers cheer. BAD THOUGHTS is one of those books that has been under the radar all year, yet deserves to be discovered by a wider audience.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Five years ago I started studying Hung Gar Tiger/Crane Kung Fu. I had no martial arts background, and my goals were modest--stick with it for 6 months, and maybe earn my yellow belt. Watching the black belt students in the school, the idea of progressing anywhere near that level seemed impossible. Well, I stuck with it those first six months and continued with my training. A funny thing happened, I started getting better and at some point the idea of earning my black belt didn't seem quite so out of reach. Five years after starting my training, which works out to roughly 1000 classes, 3000 hours of studying on my own, and countless bruises and sore muscles, I tested for my black belt yesterday and earned my degree.
In my school, when you first start you hold your hands to your side to signify that there's no body/mind connection yet. After you earn you brown belt, you bow with your right hand as a fist and your left hand pressed against it with your fingers held straight to signify that the mind/body connection has started. As a black belt you bow with your right hand as a fist and your left hand wrapping around it to signify that there is now a mind/body connection. There's a lot to that. My black belt test was by far the most physically demanding of any of the belt tests--over 2 and a half hours of demonstating punches, kicks, the five animal forms, self defense techniques against attacks, and holding postures--but in some ways it was the easiest of the tests because for the first time taking a belt test the mind and body worked in syncrony and there was none of the feeling of being "scattered and confused" (as my head instructor likes to call it).
Thursday, December 6, 2007
FRIDAY, DEC. 7TH, from 5:30-7:30
(* means author has a new book, the title of which follows in parenthesis)
Jim Barlett* (Death in a Green Jacket, $14.99)
Richard Marinick* (In for a Pound, $24.95)
Charles O'Brien* (Cruel Choices, $27.95)
Robert Parker* (Now and Then, $24.95)
Clea Simon* (Cries and Whiskers, $24.95)
David Stern* (Hot Tea...Cold Case, $14.95)
Susan Conant* (All Shots, $22.95)
Jessica Conant-Park (Simmer Down, $22.95 with Susan Conant)
Joe Finder* (Power Play, $24.95)
Katherine Hall Page
Vicki Steifel* (The Bone Man, $7.99)
William Tapply* (One-Way Ticket, $23.95)
Dave Zeltserman* (Bad Thoughts,$25.95)
Leslie Meier* (The Candy Cane Murders, $16)
Hank Phillipi Ryan* (Face Time, $5.50)
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
November 6, 2007, 7:00-8:30 pm, Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Boston University, 660 Beacon Street, Boston, MA (Kenmore Square). I'll be signing books and talking about both Bad Thoughts and strategies for newer writers to crack into the publishing industry.
If you're in the area I hope you drop in and say hello!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
"Like Goodis, Zeltserman can bring a minor character to life in a few precise sentences. Like James Ellroy, he can smoothly crank up the tension as the story progresses. You can feel them sweat. Probably the most striking parallel is with the works of Jim Thompson. Like Thompson, Zeltserman excels at invoking an almost hypnotic fascination with a character's hand basket ride into his own private hell.
One thing worth mentioning is the juxtaposition of humor and horror. Without some sort of relief, a noir work risks losing the reader by drowning in its own morbid ooze. Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man is a good example. Dark humor is the writer's preferred choice of relief. Willeford understood this. Same with Al Guthrie and Vicki Hendricks. But the technique is not risk-free. Humor can negate the desperation of the noir condition and turn reader empathy to apathy. What it takes is a graveyard, irony-dripping humor that complements the text rather than contradicting it. In this arena, Zeltserman is a master. He has not only read Jim Thompson. He has improved on him. Thompson's Pop. 1280 is almost always in danger of devolving into a farcical joke. Fast Lane avoids this with a wicked humor integrated perfectly into the increasingly dark world of Johnny Lane."
Mike is one of a half dozen members of RARA AVIS whose postings and critical examinations I look forward to reading--both because of his knowledge and passion for crime fiction, and to get that type of reaction from him for Fast Lane is something that made my day--fuck that, my week!
Friday, August 24, 2007
If you like mysteries told from a killer's perspective and don't mind a lot of blood and murder you may want to look into a little known subgenre called "noir fiction". These crime novels often combine obsessive passion with murder and always involve evil, weaving together just enough of the dark side to make one wonder. Most recently I came across an entertaining mystery that included all the noir characteristics, "Bad Thoughts" by Dave Zeltserman. I was so enticed by the tense, fast pace I immediately wanted another like it.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Tony, who runs the show over at Pulp Pusher and almost overnight has turned his site into one of the premiere crime fiction publications either on the web or in print, is a very cool guy, and decided he wanted to publish my pulp story, Nothing But Jerks. This is one of my really early stories--I wrote this one when I first started writing, and a couple of years ago Jean-Pierre Jacquet and I adapted it to a comic book for Hardluck Stories Bank Job issue. It also features Manny Vassey who also appears in Triple Cross and Next Time (Hardboiled #22). In these early stories, Manny Vassey was mostly a two-dimensional caricature of a malevolent thug who was always eager to put his butcher's table to use, but I always had a soft spot for the guy and brought him back for Small Crimes, except fleshing him out into someone very real. Actually, I brought back two of him, both Manny Sr. and Manny Jr., but you'll see when Small Crimes is out next March. In the meantime there's a small dose of him in Jerks, a story about the problems that can happen when you have a bank robber with hurt feelings. And, yeah, there are plenty of jerks in this story...
Saturday, August 11, 2007
"The hardboiled savant's second novel (after HB club pick FAST LANE) is an ambitious genre-bender combining the paranoia and existential dread of the best noir with a liberal dash of The Twilight Zone. Bill Shannon, a cop in the Boston area, is still plagued by nightmares years after coming home from school as a boy to witness his mother's brutal murder. Every year, as the anniversary of her death approaches, Shannon's nightmares get progressively more severe until he ultimately blacks out and disappears from sight for a few days. Funny thing is, women have recently ended up dying in the same manner as his mother during these little spells. Could her killer be back...? It seems unlikely, since Shannon put him in the grave two decades back. Not to be missed. Zeltserman runs a fine online hardboiled zine called "Hardluck Stories" and is himself an up-and-coming star in the noir firmament." --Patrick Milliken
Monday, August 6, 2007
As far as how it pertains to literature, especially for Jim Thompson's great noir books (Hell of a Woman, Savage Night, Killer Inside Me, Pop. 1280, etc.) I posted the following definition on my Hardluck Stories web-site when I was requesting submissions for my psycho noir issue:
"...where the protagonists perceptions and rationalizations are just off center enough to send them to hell."
The esteemable James Winter posted the following definition on his Northcoast Exhile blog, which I think spells it out pretty well:
"In psycho noir, the protagonist is, quite frankly, a scumbag, knows he's a scumbag, yet deludes himself that he is not."
My own first novel, Fast Lane, fits both of these definitions, and I think sits squarely in the psycho noir category.
As far as standard noir goes, I look at books like James M. Cain's "Double Indemnity" and "Postman Always Rings Twice" where the protagonist crosses a line and there's no turning--basically the equally esteemable Jack Bludis's definition of noir==screwed.
Anyone who has a different definition for psycho noir, I'd like to hear it. Also, let me know your favorite examples of it.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Bad Thoughts was reviewed this past Sunday in the Virginian-Pilot by Timothy Lockhart, who had a lot of nice things to say about the book, including a comparison to Silence of the Lambs:
"Fans of Thomas Harris' "The Silence of the Lambs" and other novels featuring killer/cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter will enjoy "Bad Thoughts." Although he is not as brilliant or cultured as Lecter, Zeltserman's killer is as frightening and cruel and has certain powers that Lecter lacks. Moreover, because Zeltserman is careful to show the reader why his character became and remains a killer, the murderer in "Bad Thoughts" is in some ways more believable than Lecter.."
Jim Winter also examines Bad Thoughts in January Magazine, and finds it a compelling horror novel, particularly enjoying the smell of it. Romance Review Today also examines Bad Thoughts, and comes to the following conclusion:
"A fast paced psychological thriller, BAD THOUGHTS has many graphic descriptions, but even so, turning the pages is effortless all the way to the climactic end. Every page pulls pull the reader deeper into Bill's nightmares, leaving you wondering who the bad guy really is. Trust no one...If you like hard-edged drama and tense mystery, BAD THOUGHTS is the just the ticket!"
Joe DeMarco at Mysterical-E and Kevin Tipple at Mouth Full of Bullets also weigh in positively on Bad Thoughts, as does Midwest Book Review, calling Bad Thoughts "a must read for thriller fans." Finally, Patrick Milliken at Poisoned Pen Bookstores makes Bad Thoughts one of his July hardboiled picks.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
If you're looking for a hardboiled anybody-can-die-at-any-time book that's a change of pace from the usual, look no further. --Bill Crider (read whole review)
This book is an often graphic and intense read that delves deep into the psychology of evil and sanity. -- Kevin Tipple (read whole review)
For a dark, metaphysical thriller with very real characters, give Bad Thoughts a run. -- Frank Zafiro
THIS IS HIGH OCTANE NOIR, DAZZLING IN IT'S SHEER VIVACITY........I DIDN'T LIKE THIS BOOK, I ADORED IT—Shamus-award winning author, Ken Bruen
Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
"...And it's at this point that the genre gets bent. After that, it's a wild ride. I was reminded a little of Blood Dreams, a novel by the late Jack MacLane, published by Zebra just after the era of the knives-in-fresh-fruit covers. Joe Lansdale's Act of Love had one of those covers, come to think of it. Zeltserman's book would rest comfortably on the shelf beside them. If you're looking for a hardboiled anybody-can-die-at-any-time book that's a change of pace from the usual, look no further. Just check this one out when it appears in July."
You can read the whole review here, and I'd like to thank Bill for taking the time to read Bad Thoughts, reviewing it, and putting it in such fine company.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Punk by Ken Bruen
Beauty by Ed Gorman
"One Step Closer" by Iain Rowan
What's in a Name? by Robert Wm. Wagner
I'm No Killer by Allan Guthrie
Evil Forces by Gary Lovisi
A Handful of Dust by Harry Shannon
Keely Sings The Blues by Sarah Weinman
No Hablo Ingles by Manuel Ramos
Lost in the Water by Trey Barker
Coyote's Ballard by Mike MacLean
Church Social by Pearce Hansen
Friday, April 20, 2007
"Hardluck Stories announces a call for stories for its upcoming Five Star Publishing edition:
Hardluck Stories, the noir fiction e-zine edited by Dave Zeltserman, is announcing a call for story submissions for a future edition that will celebrate the Five Star Mystery line. Edited by Dave and guest editor John Helfers, who oversees the Mystery Fiction line for Tekno Books, and packager of the Five Star Mystery line, this special edition of Hardluck stories will be open to any Five Star author who wishes to submit, whether they've published in the Mystery, SF/Fantasy, or Expressions lines.
Of course, stories must be noir, the darker the better, and the overarching theme of the edition will be Crime in the City. Stories should be no more than 5,000 words long, are due by July 1, 2007, and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors of the chosen stories will be notified by e-mail. For more information on Hardluck Stories, please visit the website at http://www.hardluckstories.com"
So why a Hardluck Five Star issue? For a lot of reasons, really. One is I have a book coming out with them July 18th. But that's only a small part of it. Without the support of people like Ed Gorman (who created the Five Star Mystery Line), Michael Black, Harry Shannon and Trey Barker, Hardluck wouldn't be what it is today. All of them have of them have been guest editors (in Michael's case, twice), all of them have been contributers, and they all helped shaped Hardluck's vision. There have been other links between Hardluck and Five Star--Jeremiah Healy, who gave Hardluck a much needed boost in the early days by guest editing a special issue of Hardluck, had one of his standalone books published by Five Star and gave me the privilege of publishing one of his stories in the Western Noir issue, as did Bill Crider, who's been a great friend of Hardluck, and also has a standalone coming out through Five Star. Other Five Star authors who've been published on Hardluck include Julie Hyzy and Dave Case. Anyway, Five Star is putting out some terrific crime fiction by some amazingly talented writers, and they deserve any attention Hardluck could provide it. Plus, I'll end up publishing a terrific collection of noir stories in the process. Can't beat that.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
Danny Smith by Dave Zeltserman
I can’t get Danny Smith off my mind…
He was a good-looking kid. Well-mannered, soft-spoken, just an overall good kid. Only twenty-four years old. Six months ago he hired me to find his birth parents. You see, he was adopted, had great parents, but he wanted to know his roots. There was something familiar looking about him, made me think I had seen him before. The reason for that was his birth dad turned out to be Sam Lombardo, top guy in the Boston Mob. It didn’t take me too long to find that out. It turns out Lombardo had a one-night fling with a dancer, never knew he had this other son. When I told him about Danny, he told me what he would do to me if this kid ever bothered him.
That was six months ago.
Two weeks ago I heard Lombardo was on his death bed, dying of congestive heart failure, and word was he was going down fast. His goons brought me to to see him. Lombardo wanted to know about Danny. I thought he just wanted to make peace with his son before he died.
A week ago Danny’s parents called me. They were frantic. Danny had disappeared. They had no idea where he was.
Three days ago I heard through the grapevine that Lombardo had found a heart donor. A good match, too. Transplant looks like its going to be a success.
I can’t get Danny Smith off my mind…
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Manny Vassey, a 56 year-old local mobster who's dying of stomach cancer, and if the DA is able to coax a death-bed confession out of him, Joe and a lot other people are going away to prison.
Manny has long been a been one of my favorite bad guys, appearing in three earlier short stories: Next Time (Hardboiled #22), Triple Cross, and Nothing But Jerks. Here I've turned him into more of a flesh and blood character, taken him out of Chicago and moved him to fictional Bradley, Vermont.
Monday, February 26, 2007
DA Phil Coakley, the man Joe Denton stabbed 13 times in the face, and now that Joe's out of jail he wants his pound of flesh back! When I was writing Small Crimes I pictured Coakley looking somewhat like Billy Bob Thorton . Jean-Pierre drew him almost as a younger Whitey Bulger. Here's how Joe describes the damage he did to Coakley's face when he finds Coakley waiting for him outside of jail:
When I moved closer to him, I could see the scarring along his face more plainly, and it was all I could do to keep from looking away. The damage was far worse up close. He looked almost as if someone had played tic tac toe on his face. As if he were some grotesque caricature from a Dick Tracy comic strip. Parts of his face were uneven with other parts, and that chunk of flesh missing from his nose, Jesus Christ. As tough as doing so was, I kept my eyes straight on him.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Dave Stevens, I Presume? -- March 2007 Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine --read review
Nine-Ball Lessons -- Bullet #7, one of my more thuggish stories about life lessons gleaned from a game of nine-ball between two mob guys.
A Rage Issue -- Thuglit #11 -- another of my more thuggish stories, this one inspired when a Phil Leotardo look-alike backed into me in traffic.
A View from the Mirador -- March/April 2007 Futures -- this one is written in a light, bantering cozy-type style, but is easily the sickest story I've ever written.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Pictured above is my noir hero, Joe Denton. Jean-Pierre named him Danton for the graphic novel to give him a more French sounding name. When I wrote the book, I was picturing someone physically resembling Bruce Willis when he had hair, but Jean-Pierre drawing him with more of a Clive Owen look works well.
A little bit about Small Crimes; it's a completely different vision of noir than FAST LANE, more modern and with little of the psychotic, self-delusional aspects. It takes place in a small, rural Vermont town and centers around Joe Denton, a disgraced ex-cop. When Joe was on the force he drifted into payoffs and graft and other crimes, not the least of which was emotionally abandoning his family. When his crimes escalate, he ends up maiming the County DA who's been building a police corruption case against him. The book opens with Joe being released from jail after serving seven years for what he did to the DA.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Bad Thoughts is reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs and Darkly Dreaming Dexter, a terrifying vision of evil that straddles the razor-thin line between horror and crime. The story will leave readers breathless as it races towards a shocking conclusion that few, if any, could anticipate.
"Dark, brutal, captivating -- this is one hell of a book, the kind of book that doesn't let go of you once you start it. Dave Zeltserman is clearly the real deal."
Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award-Winning Author of A STOLEN SEASON
"THIS IS HIGH OCTANE NOIR, DAZZLING IN IT'S SHEER VIVACITY........I DIDN'T LIKE THIS BOOK, I ADORED IT" --Shamus-award winning author, Ken Bruen
Adrian McKinty, author of Dead I Well May Be and Hidden River
"I'm not sure I ever truly understood the concept of 'evil' before reading Bad Thoughts. In chilling prose and dialogue, Dave Zeltserman paints a portrait of a serial killer who surpasses Hannibal Lecter in 'creativity' and substitutes astral guile for intellect: a villain who not only toys with his victims' minds but also can enter both his victims' and the hero's dreams. Stunning, though definitely not for the faint of heart."
Jeremiah Healy, author of TURNABOUT and THE ONLY GOOD LAWYER
What I'm going to do with this blog is simply post news about my writing. I have two books coming out this year, Small Crimes and Bad Thoughts, along with an anthology of western noir stories that I'm co-editing with Ed Gorman, and some short stories. As information about my books and stories are available, I'll be posting it here.