Monday, September 6, 2010
Fast Lane is back!
I've brought Fast Lane back as a $4.99 Kindle download, and I'm including the first chapter from Vampire Crimes, which I'm planning to make my first originally published eBook later this year (think an ultra noir, ultra violent rock 'n roll Sin City with vampires).
A little bit about the history of Fast Lane. I originally wrote Fast Lane back in 1992. This was not only the first book I wrote, but the first piece of fiction I wrote with the expectation of publishing. The publishing world was very different in '92; an unknown author could send query letters directly to the big publishing houses and actually get responses back. I probably had a dozen editors request Fast Lane from my query letter, and I had a few close calls and a lot of positive responses, but it kept coming down to the same thing--they found Fast Lane too different, and several editors told me I needed to write a more formulaic novel as my first book. So while I sold some short stories around then, the book sat, and in my gut I knew this was a book noir fans would dig.
In 2002 I decided to self-publish Fast Lane with iUniverse for free with my MWA membership, with my reasoning being that I wouldn't sell any copies of Fast Lane, but it I could use the book as a kind of a resume and get enough positive responses to help sell Bad Thoughts. The title then was 'In His Shadow'. I got the positive responses I had hoped for from some very generous and talented writers, including Vicki Hendricks and Bill Crider, and this ended up causing the following to happen: In His Shadow to be discovered by members of the noir/hardboiled discussion group Rara Avis, the Italian publisher Meridiano Zero publishing it in Italy, and a new small press, Point Blank Press, publishing it in the US with the title Fast Lane.
Fast Lane is a much different noir novel than my 'man out of prison' books (Small Crimes, Pariah, Killer). It's rougher, far more psychotic, but in some ways it's also a very ambitious book--some readers just narrow in on the psychotic noir aspect of it, others have picked up that it's also every bit as much a deconstruction of the hardboiled PI genre, and others have also picked up its thematic core of the damage abuse causes as it's passed from one generation to the next. And as I suspected once Fast Lane was published, noir fans who found it ended up digging it, although the book did horrify others readers who didn't realize where the book was going to be taking them.
So now's your chance to get Fast Lane as a $4.99 Kindle download from amazon. It is also available up on Smashwords in a variety of formats, and should be available soon from bn.com, the Apple iBooks stores and elsewhere.
Here's what some folks had to say when Fast Lane first came out:
"For those of us who believed Jim Thompson would never be equaled, great tidings, he's back in the form of Dave Zeltserman. Hilarious in the darkest fashion, violent, bitter, psychotic and unputdownable... FAST LANE left me bruised, battered and exhilarated ... Tough, violent amoral with that compelling first narrative that has you rooting for a lunatic and crazy he is, in the most entertaining debut since, well, Jim Thompson." KEN BRUEN
"Boston native Zeltserman takes the classic, first-person narrated private eye novel and steers it off in dark new directions..." -- ThisWeek Newspapers
"In the last few years there have been a number of writers, such as Ken Bruen and Victor Gischler, who've taken the classic PI novel and tweaked the hell out of it, creating something fresh and unique. Add Dave Zeltserman to the list. Several pages into his debut, I knew that I was reading something special." Poisoned Pen's Book News, Hardboiled Crime Club Selection
"Johnny Lane—the protagonist from hell--to know him is not to love him. He’s that rare blend of greed, gluttony, lust, anger, and psychopathic rationalization that in real life would make you want to shoot first and never bother to ask questions. With tremendous skill, Zeltserman lures you to a wild ride on the shoulders of a grizzly. You can’t let go." Vicki Hendricks
"FAST LANE has everything I relish in a noir novel--an ingenious, twisting plot, characters I took to heart though I wouldn’t want to take some of them home, and a pace that kept me riveted to a book I couldn’t tear away from in one long, deep-into-the night reading. Dave Zeltserman, you’re a treasure!" Seymour Shubin
"FAST LANE has plenty of shocks, and as P.I. Johnny Lane's life begins to spin out of control, Zeltserman leads the reader on to the bleak conclusion with smooth prose and a sure hand. This one's a noir keeper." Bill Crider
"FAST LANE is a wild ride on the darkest noir side of the street. Zeltserman has updated Jim Thompson themes of character and situation to forge a private eye novel where everything that can go wrong, does...with highly entertaining, if very grim results." Jeff Gelb
"David Zeltserman’s Fast Lane is fast all right, and in all the good ways ... Parts of this book reminded me of my favorite Orwell book, his memoir Down and Out in Paris and London, where Orwell, though sympathetic to the destitute people he meets also functions as a spy. If he hadn’t brought some distance to his travels the book would have turned into socialist mush. Zeltserman operates the same way. Johnny Lane doesn’t use the stand patter, think the standard p.i. thoughts, or even cry and bleed as we expect of all righteous private ops to. Zeltserman is too smart for that. There’s a distance, even an irony, on the hell he takes us through. Zeltserman’s is a new and different take on all the traditional tropes and set pieces. He's a unique and accomplished writer. I sure want to read more." Ed Gorman
"What begins as rather standard and Chandleresque masks a tale that spirals downward into a pit of noir, lies, betrayal, murder... and worse! Private eye Johnny Lane helps a woman find her birth parents but things soon get out of hand. A likeable PI with a hidden Jim Thompson darkside that gets out of control and seems to know no depths. It's there!" Gary Lovisi, Hardboiled Magazine
"Fast Lane, a stunning, wild, psychotic ride of a debut by Boston’s own Dave Zeltserman ... Prediction -- fifty years from now, reviewers will be saying that the new noir guy on the scene is channeling Zeltserman’s Johnny Lane! Johnny Lane is the psycho PI from hell and I cannot recall when I last enjoyed reading a character (and a writer) quite as well!" Kate's Mystery Bookstore's Newsletter
"FAST LANE is a fast and furious read. Packed with confrontation and insights into the characters that beautifully illustrate the inherent good and evil in us all. Johnny Lane is an amoral, nasty man and his downward spiral is slick with blood and gore. A perfect example of each deadly sin. FAST LANE peels back the layers on a complicated character, wholesome on the surface, but rotten at the core. And it's cunningly composed." CrimeSpree Magazine
"IN HIS SHADOW concerns Johnny Lane, a private investigator who has his own newspaper column and a boatload of secrets. Lane is not the rumpled knight in tarnished armor that Archer, The Continental Op, or Marlowe wore. He seems to be cut from that cloth, at least at first, when he is retained by a young woman named Mary Williams to locate her birth parents. Zeltserman sets his readers up quite well; Lane is not your typical private eye of detective fiction. It's more than the fact that he's not a nice guy; he's a bad, bad man. The reader has no idea how bad of a guy he actually is until IN HIS SHADOW methodically unfolds and Lane's investigation begins to take him places that he wishes it had not. The reader learns how Lane conducts his business, treats his clients and lives his life. This is a guy who is corrupt and Zeltserman expertly peels off the layers of that corruption to reveal the depths of it below. He also, along the way, breaks a taboo. Yet, as shocking as IN HIS SHADOW is in places, Zeltserman never uses sex or violence gratuitously, but only as a plot vehicle to move things along toward their inevitable conclusion as Lane's recent and remote past begins to catch up with him." Bookreporter.com (reviewed as In His Shadow)