Dark and, at times, amusing fiction from award-winning author Dave Zeltserman

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cast of Small Crimes, part 2

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

some short crime fiction

Some of my short crime fiction that's either been published recently or will be available soon:

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

Cast of Small Crimes, part 1

Before I sold my noir novel, Small Crimes, to Serpent's Tail, Jean-Pierre Jacquet and I were pitching it to a French graphic novel publisher. Jean-Pierre is a professional artist who has done among other things commercials, animation for SNL, and regularly has art shows for his paintings. We collaborated together on a noir comic book, Nothing But Jerks, that I published on my Hardluck Stories web-zine, and Jean-Pierre has also done the artwork for Hardluck's Psycho Noir and the upcoming Femme Fatales issue. We almost sold Small Crimes as a graphic novel--we went through a number of board meetings until the publisher finally decided that Small Crimes was too mature for their audience. Anyway, I have all these great drawings that Jean-Pierre did for the proposal, and he has graciously given me permission to post them here, which I'll be doing over the next couple of weeks, along with a short description of the characters. And don't worry, no spoilers will be given--only details that you'd be able to get from the first few pages of the book.

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

A good friend of mine, Laurie Pzena, who is an amazingly talented artist (and did the logo for my web-zine Hardluck Stories), took the photo and made this layout for my Bad Thoughts book cover, and my publisher Five Star has decided to use it. They might end up changing the font, but this is for the most part going to be the cover, and I couldn't be happier about it. I finished going over the copy edits for the book, and it's on track for a July 2007 release. Bad Thoughts is more crime thriller than noir, and is a completely different style than my first book, Fast Lane. Here's the decription from the front cover flap, and a few comments from some authors I respect immensely:
When he was thirteen years old, Billy Shannon came home from school one day to find his mother being murdered in their California home. Dying slowly of asphyxia, she is drowning in her own blood; a knife protruding from her open mouth and impaling her to the kitchen table. Twenty years pass, and Bill Shannon is a cop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living with his wife Susie and trying to get a handle on the nightmares that have plagued him for most of his adult life. Every year, as the anniversary of his mother’s death approaches, the nightmares of his mother’s killer, Herbert Winters, get progressively worse until the blackouts come, and then Shannon simply disappears from sight to return home days later without a clue of what he has done while gone. The 20th anniversary of his mother’s death is quickly approaching and Shannon desperately needs to figure out what he has been doing during his black outs, especially since women have recently started dying in the same grisly manner as his mother. His nightmares are getting worse and the evidence against him is stacking up... Everything seems to be pointing to one of two possibilities: Shannon has gone insane or Herbert Winters is back to his old tricks. The problem is if it’s Herbert Winters, then he’s come back from a long way to torment Bill Shannon… back from the grave which Bill Shannon had sent him to twenty years earlier.

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


"Dave Zeltserman's Bad Thoughts is a fast moving occult thriller, with taut dialogue and smart, likeable characters. Darkness pervades the Bay State in the late 1990's and Detective Bill Shannon will be lucky to solve a standard missing person's case in one piece. In fact as the story unfolds we see that death and dismemberment could be the least of Bill's worries. Pour yourself a fifth of Scotch, get an easy chair, grab a protective talisman and enjoy."
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


I used to have a blog called Hardluckwriter. It was kind of pointless and meandering (and as my friend Vicki Hendricks kept telling me--too negative a name), and I decided to get rid of it. The hardluckwriter blog still exists but its not mine--as soon as I dumped it someone else grabbed the name. Those weird esoteric posts over there ain't mine. People have asked me about those, and I don't have a clue what they mean.

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.