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

Friday, November 21, 2008

only if you're a South Park fan

If you've never watched South Park you won't get this.

Picture Stan and Kyle shouting at AIG, Shearson Lehman, and the rest of these thieves:

"Oh my god. They killed the economy. You bastards!"

Thanks to my good friend, Matt, for sending this.

Forgotten books: He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond

"A gripping study in obsession and absolute, awful evil" Sunday Times

It’s hard to call Derek Raymond’s factory series books forgotten since the UK publisher, Serpent’s Tail, is reprinting new trade paperback editions. Underappreciated would be a better way to put it, although not by fans of hardboiled and noir literature who discover these gems. The first of the factory series books “He Died with His Eyes Open” was written in 1984. All these books feature a nameless Detective Sergeant from the Department of Unexplained Deaths. These books are grim stuff; meditations on death and dying and obsession, but they also sparkle with brilliant writing and pitch black humor.

“He Died with His Eyes Open” has our nameless detective investigating the extremely brutal death of a middle-aged alcoholic man. The victim had left behind cassette tapes chronicling his life, and as our Detective listens to these tapes, he grows to admire and like this gentle and brilliant and tormented man, and equally grow to detest the villainous sorts who were in his life. It doesn't take long before it becomes personal for him, and he's crossing a line he shouldn't be crossing.

Derek Raymond was the pseudonym for the English author Robin Cook who died in 1994. From his choice of his pseudonym, as well as his literary and at times wise-cracking style, he was clearly influenced by Raymond Chandler. Whether he surpasses his mentor with these great factory series books is up to each fan of hardboiled fiction to decide. But if you are a fan of the genre, these books are must reads.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making NPR's list for best crime and mystery novels for 2008

This is all very surreal. As of last week I was mostly flying under the radar with Small Crimes. I had gotten some great reviews in the London papers and trades, as well as some very enthusiastic reviews on line with the incredibly generous Ed Gorman leading the charge, but outside of an early review from The Lansing State Journal, it looked like that the US papers were going to ignore the book. Then late last week stuff started to happen: Small Crimes made IMBA's bestseller list, Sunday it received a rave review in the Washington Post, written by Maureen Corrigan, and now this.

There's so much luck involved in this business. There are so many books out there, and most authors are stuck with the same dilemma, how do you get your book noticed, and in today's world, even reviewed? I remember reading over the summer how a book that had sold I think less than a hundred copies was picked up by Richard + Judy's book club, which meant it was now going to sell over a couple of hundred thousand copies. Earlier on my blog I wrote how a book needs a champion to push it and the author to the next level, and having that happen is just such a random event. How many Richard+Judy's, Oprah's, and possibly in my case, Maureen Corrigan's, are there out there? I'm not exactly sure what this means having both the Post review and making the NPR list other than my book is being taken more seriously today than it was a week ago and that more people are now aware of it. But it is an exciting time now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Washington Post on Small Crimes: "a piece of crime noir genius"

"The plot of Small Crimes is a thing of beauty: spare but ingeniously twisted and imbued with a glossy coating of black humor. Zeltserman takes up all the familiar tropes of the formula -- femmes fatales, frighteningly dysfunctional families, self-destructive drives and the death grip of the past -- and shows how infinite are the combinations that can still be played on them. " Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post

read the whole review here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Small Crimes an IMBA Bestseller!!!

Yeah, this post title deserves a few exclamation marks. While Small Crimes is tied with 8 other books for 6th place for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Associations October bestsellers list for trade paperbacks, it still made the list right here!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back from Philly

Arrived back from Philly late last night. Nice city with maybe the most impressive City Hall I've ever seen, good restaurants, some very nice people--even if they did want to rub in their Phillies World Series win over the Red Sox ALCS elimination. Ff you're in the area, I'd recommend checking out Robins Bookstore on 13th Street near Walnut--Larry Robins who owns it is a good guy, and he has a terrific independent bookstore. And if you like chocolate you gotta check out Naked Chocolate Cafe at 1317 Walnut Street--they're the only place I've seen in the states that serves that thick European style of hot chocolate, and that stuff is about as good as it gets.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

As my invasion of Philly continues....

I'd like to thanks the good folks over at the Philadephia Metro for making Small Crimes one of their picks of the week, as well as the fine folks over at the Washington Examiner for doing the same a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Small Crimes in Philly

November 9th, 1-3 pm, I'll be at Les Bons Temps (114 S. 12th Street) in Philly, along with Cordelia Frances Biddle (Deception's Daughter) for a crime fiction book club brunch sponsored by Robin's Book Store. Deen Kogan, co-producer of Noircon, will be hosting. If you're in the area, hope you stop by!