Friday, December 22, 2017

A taste of Blood Crimes

“I’ve just read the manuscript of Dave Zeltserman’s new novel, Blood Crimes. This is one of the few fresh takes on vampirism I’ve read in years. It’s as if Charles Bukowski sat down and said, OK, Bram Stoker, how about this?” Ed Gorman

“The prolific and wildly talented Dave Zeltserman serves up a fast, furious, frightening and (yes)funny orgy of bloodletting. Makes “Grindhouse” look like Little House on the Prairie.” Roger Smith

BLOOD CRIMES is a genre-bending collision of horror, dark urban fantasy and crime that rides shot-gun with Jim and Carol as they carve a homicidal path cross-country. Jim is infected with the vampire virus. Carol isn’t. Yet. But they’re united in their hunt for society’s most dangerous predators for Jim’s dinner — so he can feed without harming the innocent. What they don’t know is that they’re not alone. There are others on their trail, and the climax of BLOOD CRIMES is a shocking jolt of pure mayhem and rock ‘n roll violence.

A short taste:

After her first few weeks together with Jim, he bought her a lady’s handgun, a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver. It was funny that it was considered a lady’s handgun since it still had enough firepower to stop a two hundred and fifty pound NFL linebacker in his tracks. It wasn’t pink, and it didn’t have little hearts decorating it, but Carol figured it was because the gun could fit in her purse and only weighed twenty ounces. Whenever she helped Jim lure a predator to feed on, he always insisted that she bring her gun along in case he lost track of her. She now had the gun laying on the bed and stared transfixed at it for what seemed like an eternity, all the while an evangelical preacher from the TV rambled on about how Jesus suffered each day for their sins and if the good people listening could only dig deep into their hearts, and even deeper into their wallets, the Lord’s pain could be eased. A hardness froze Carol’s face. Earlier she had cracked open the cylinder and dumped the bullets onto the bed sheet.

Almost from the beginning she’d been wanting Jim to infect her so they could go through this together. Wasn’t that what true love was all about—to share everything each other went through, the good and the bad? He refused to, though, saying that their life together always on the move was difficult enough; that at least if Carol were uninfected she’d be able to drive during the day and run the other errands they needed. She didn’t buy his explanation. They could move from city to city just as easily at night. She knew he was trying to protect her from what he was going through, but as far she was concerned, that wasn’t good enough. She wanted him to share his pain with her. If they were really each other’s soul mates, there shouldn’t be anything between them.

She picked up the revolver. For something that only weighed twenty ounces, it felt heavy in her hand. She slid a bullet into one of the chambers, then spun the cylinder.

If Jim came back and found her dying, he would have to infect her to save her life. No matter all the things that he’d said to the contrary, he would have to save her.

Carol, he’d tell her in that tired voice of his he’d fall into whenever they had this argument, you don’t know what you’re asking me. This is not something I could ever let you go through. Fuck, I can’t think of a worse curse to wish on anyone, let alone something that I would ever inflict on someone I loved with all my heart. Please, let it drop, it’s never going to happen.

Bullshit. If he really loved her as much as he claimed he did, how could he ever let her leave him?

She pushed the muzzle of the gun against her belly, felt the coldness of the steel. There were five chambers. Four empty, one with a .38 caliber bullet. A twenty percent chance. Her muscles tensed as she squeezed the trigger. An empty click, nothing else.

Oh, fuck.

She almost vomited the shots of tequila and greasy burger and fries from before. Somehow she kept it all down.

If he really loved her he would save her. No matter what else, he would have to save her. If the situation were reversed, she wouldn’t think twice. She spun the cylinder again, hearing the metallic clicks. Again, she pushed the muzzle hard against her bare belly. The preacher was rambling on about how Christ loved all of them. She started laughing. It sounded like something that could’ve been coming out of a wounded animal.

Christ loved her, huh? What about Jim? Did he love her enough? Could he let her die?

Her face hardened with resolve. If he could then she didn’t want to fucking live.

Calmly, her hand steady, she squeezed the trigger. Another empty click. This time, though, everything in her stomach came rushing up, and she made a dash for the bathroom. It all came out quickly, easily. Minutes afterwards, her stomach empty and swollen, she gargled with mouthwash, then stood at the bathroom sink splashing cold water over her face. She avoided looking at her reflection in the mirror. She didn’t want to see what she looked like, but could imagine her eyes rimmed with red and her skin waxy and unnaturally pale. Headlights from outside flashed through the room, then died. Carol grabbed one of the threadbare towels from a rusted metal bar and wiped her face dry. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and broke out giggling at how drawn and tired she looked. She was out of the bathroom and still giggling when Jim opened the motel room door. Their eyes locked for a moment, then she stumbled forward and buried her face in his chest and held him as tight as she could and tried to hide that she was now sobbing.

He put an arm around her thin shoulders and ran a hand through her hair.

“Are you crying or laughing?” he asked in a soft whisper.

“A little of both. Oh fuck, I’m glad you’re back.”

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