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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

chatting with Archie and more

My chat with the little guy continues over at 'Julius Katz and Archie'.

Also, 'Julius Katz' is reviewed at the Drowning Pool.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

chewing the fat with Archie and more

Over at Julius Katz and Archie I continue chewing the fat with the little guy. Also, the ever generous (and terrific writer) Ed Gorman profiles Julius and Archie.

Monday, June 28, 2010

shooting the breeze with Archie

Over at Julius Katz and Archie, I'm interviewing probably the most unique detective to ever grace a mystery story. Btw. While I have a kindle version of 'Julius Katz' on sale for $0.99, if you don't have a kindle and would like a pdf version of this, let me know and I'll email you one.

I'd also like to thank Gav over at NextRead for picking Killer as one of his most worthwhile reads so far this year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pariah over at Ransom Notes

The ever generous Jedidiah Ayres examines Pariah and it's relationship with its true crime influences over at Barnes & Nobles Ransom Notes, and Jedidiah also interviews me over Hardboiled Wonderland. Jed is one of the true good guys in this business doing what he can to promote hardboiled/noir crime fiction.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All about Archie

Over at the Julius Katz and Archie blog, I've added a new post to introduce readers to maybe the most unique hardboiled PI folks have ever seen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Julius Katz blog and Amazon Kindle Download

To celebrate putting my 'Julius Katz' novella up as $0.99 Kindle Download, I've started a blog that I'll be writing with Archie about Julius Katz and his private eye investigations.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

and the cover that I've settled on...

I'd like to thank Laurie Pzena for all the work she did on these covers, and everyone for all your feedback. In the end all your feedback was extremely helpful in coming up with something that was less hardboiled/thriller-like and more lighthearted. Again, thanks everyone, all of your comments both here and elsewhere helped a lot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Killer in Brookline

I'm going to be at Brookline Booksmith Thursday night (June 24th) from 7pm-8pm, reading and signing Killer, and also reading a fun short story, The Mentor, which will be in an upcoming issue of Ellery Queen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Autographed books available

I had a really nice visit yesterday at Kingdom Books up in Waterford, Vermont, where I read from both Killer and The Caretaker of Lorne Field, and we gave out some ARCs with the old cover for Caretaker. I also signed a lot of books, and Kingdom Books has stacks of autographed books of just about all of mine except for Fast Lane. So if you're looking an auographed copy of most of my books:

contact David Kanell at Kingdom Books at: dknel@charternet, 802-751-8374

Also, for Killer, you can contact:

Back Page Books --- info@backpagesbooks.com, 781-209-0631

Buttonwood Books, www.buttonwoodbooks.com, 781-383-2665

And I'll be adding more bookstores and other information on my web-site.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Cover for Caretaker

Overlook Press has come up with a new cover for Caretaker. So what do people think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Man out of Prison' noir trilogy now Available!

"(Small Crimes) There's a new name to add to the pantheon of the sons and daughters of Cain: Dave Zeltserman." NPR's Top 5 Crime and Mystery Novels of 2008

"(Pariah) A doozy of a doom-laden crime story that not only makes merry with the justice system but also satirizes the publishing industry" Washington Post, Best Books of 2009

"(Killer) Dave Zeltserman is at it again writing about ex-con antiheroes with the kind of panache that would make Jim Thompson, king of the psycho killer novels, proud." Boston Globe

With Killer now out, my 'man out of prison' noir trilogy is now complete. Here's an article I wrote a while back explaining my trilogy:

Three dangerous men released from prison.

Each man on a different quest.

The three distinct noir journeys which follow.

That’s the premise for my ‘man just out of prison’ noir trilogy which Serpent’s Tail is publishing. The first of these, Small Crimes, was published in 2008 and ended up being named by both National Public Radio and The Washington Post as one of the top crime novels of the year. In Small Crimes, my anti-hero, Joe Denton, is a disgraced ex-cop who is being paroled after eight years for violently disfiguring the County DA who was building a police corruption case against Joe. When Joe was on the force, he was a bent cop, a degenerate gambler, and a coke user. Now that he’s out and back in his fictional hometown of Bradley, Vermont, Joe finds nobody much wants him around anymore, not his parents, his ex-colleagues, or his ex-wife. Joe wants redemption for his past crimes, but the problem is there are too many old ghosts and too much anger for that happen, at least not without a significant cost. The damage that Joe and his releases end up causing the town is staggering.

The inspiration for Small Crimes came from two newspaper article I read. The first was about a cop who committed a similar crime as Joe’s, and like Joe, was able to serve out an amazingly short sentence in a County Jail. This cop also started collecting his pension shortly after being released! The second article was about a corrupt Sheriff’s office in Denver in the 60s where they were robbing stores blind, even going as far as carrying safes out of stores to bust open later. Merging both these stories together, I started playing what-if games and built a scenario in my mind of how a cop could be treated as lightly as Joe for such a heinous crime within an utterly corrupt small town atmosphere. And so Small Crimes was born.

The second book in my series, Pariah, was published in 2009 and also named by the Washington Post as one of the best books of the year, and is written on two levels—one level being a fierce crime story, the other a darkly subversive and satirical look at the New York publishing industry and all their follies, as well as the celebrity-crazed culture in our society. Like a lot of people in Boston, I was fascinated for years by the Whitey Bulger/Billy Bulger story, and read everything I could about it. Here you have the most feared mobster in Boston, with his brother being the State Senate President. Stories would come out about how Whitey would lean on other pols to keep his brother in power, and Billy would squash state police investigations into Whitey, going as far as ruining the careers of state police who would try to bring Whitey in.

After Whitey goes on the lam it then comes out that he was an informant for the FBI, that he corrupted several FBI agents, including his childhood friend, John Connolly. Connolly would tip him off if anyone went to the FBI to give up Whitey, and Whitey would use the FBI to weaken his competition. He'd also give up his own people at times to help Connolly and these other corrupt FBI agents advance their careers.

I knew there was a great crime novel in all of this, and I was mulling over what angle to go at when several things happened--first was a Harvard student who had a reported 500K 2-book deal with Little Brown being vilified for plagiarizing other chick lit books when writing hers. The other was the release of a couple of tell-all books around early March 2006, by South Boston mobsters (Brutal by Kevin Weeks, Rat Bastard by John “red” Shea). I now saw my angle, as well as getting excited about the idea of a "man just out of prison" trilogy, with Small Crimes being the first, Pariah the second. I wanted Pariah to start the same as Small Crimes--a man just getting out of prison, but have this man (Kyle Nevin) be the polar opposite of Joe Denton, my noir ‘hero’ in Small Crimes. While Joe, for all his weakness and self-delusion, is still someone who wants to go through life without causing anymore damage, Kyle is a force of nature; utterly ruthless and remorseless, and someone who leaves death and destruction wherever he goes. I wrote Pariah early in 2006, and finished the book months before the OJ Simpson "If I did it" book story came out--which was all a bizarre coincidence. Anyone reading Pariah will probably think I was inspired by Simpson’s failed book. Not at all. At the time I thought the behavior of my fictional publisher in Pariah was beyond the pall and would be too extreme for any actual publisher, but I was proven wrong. In writing this book I wanted to work in as much history of Whitey and the South Boston mob as I could, and I also wanted to write what could be considered a great crime novel--even with the satirical elements, I wanted to write this straight up, and not for laughs.

Killer rounds out this trilogy. Killer was inspired very loosely on the idea that Boston mob hitman, John Martorano, could murder 20 people, then end up striking a deal for a 12 year prison sentence in exchange for becoming a government witness against Whitey Bulger and the South Boston Mob. With Martorano, he is now out of prison and back in Boston where he’s living among the shadows of his victims.

My anti-hero in Killer is Leonard March. Like the real-life Martorano, March was also a hitman for the mob, in his case performing 28 hits. When he’s picked up on a racketeering charge, he strikes a deal for 14 years in exchange for testifying against the mob and immunity for all his past crimes. It’s only when the deal is struck that the authorities learn about his murders.

Just as Joe Denton and Kyle Nevin have there quests on leaving prison, so does March. His is a search for self-discovery. The chapters of Killer alternate between past and present, with the past chapters showing Leonard as a cold-blooded killer, while the present chapters show him as an older man trying to understand himself and his role in the universe. Since his release from prison he’s working as a janitor and living in a low-rent dirty pest-infested apartment. Any former glory is gone, as well as any fear he might have once have struck in the hearts of the Boston underworld. He has been reduced to a toothless wolf left howling futilely at the moon. March wants to believe that his past job was just a job, that things could have been different for him. That he could have been a good husband and father. In many ways, Killer is a meditation on the mind of a killer, and in the end when Leonard’s past collides with his present the mystery of how these two sides of March can be reconciled is at last answered.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kirkus on Caretaker

"Harrowing. Zeltserman (Killer, 2010, etc.) colors it black with the best of them."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hingham Library June 17th + Boston Globe profile

Paul Tremblay, Raffi Yessayan, Margaret McLean and myself are going to be at the Hingham Library Thursday, June 17th fron 7pm to 8:45pm to talk about writing crime and mystery novels (if Margaret wasn't part of it I'd be labeling us a motley crew). The Boston Globe is running profiles so far on myself, Paul and Raffi.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bad Thoughts for Kindle

I've made Bad Thoughts available for the Kindle for $1.99. Bad Thoughts was the second book I wrote and was originally published as a hardcover in 2007 by Five Star. While I'm grateful for Five Star for publishing this, the reality is their business model is to sell to libraries, so this book never got into bookstores except for a few mystery bookstores, and as a hardcover was priced online out of most reader's budgets, and I'm happy now to make this book available at a substantially lower price so more people can try it. Bad Thoughts is a lot different than other crime novels of mine people might be familiar with. First off, it's really more a horror novel than crime. It's also grimmer and more horrific than my 'man out of prison' books. I've heard from some readers who found this book that this one gave them nightmares. I've also heard from readers, both the ones who got nightmares and others, that they liked this one a lot. I'm including below some of the reviews this one received when it came out. Again, with Five Star publishing it and the book not being in bookstores, I wasn't going to get reviews in the Boston Globe and Washington Post and higher profile sources that I get now with my later books, but I'm proud of these reviews for Bad Thoughts--I had no doubt that these were all heartfelt with the reviewers genuinely liking this small press book enough to review it. I'm also including below the copy copy I wrote for amazon for this book (and yes, in the sales copy, "an ending unlike any you’ve ever dreamed of..." is meant as a bad pun. for those of you who read the book, you'll understand).

if you're one of the few who were able to read Bad Thoughts when it was in print, please send in your thoughts, good or bad.



From acclaimed author Dave Zeltserman comes a dark, captivating thriller unlike any you’ve ever seen, a killer unlike any you’ve ever imagined, and an ending unlike any you’ve ever dreamed of.

One afternoon 13 year-old Billy Shannon comes home to a living nightmare. His mother being brutally murdered is only the beginning…

20 years later, Bill Shannon is now a cop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As the twenty-year anniversary of his mother’s death is approaching, women are being murdered in the same horrific grisly fashion. And while this is going on, he’s having blackouts which only seem to be getting worse…

Everything seems to be pointing to one of two possibilities: Shannon has gone insane or his mom’s killer is back to his old tricks. Except if it’s mom’s killer, he’s come back a long way to do these new killings… all the way from the grave.

Praise for Bad Thoughts:

"A compellingly clever wheels-within-wheels thriller. An ingenious plot, skillfully executed" Elliott Swanson, Booklist

"This fast-paced, gritty psychological tale balances the fine line between mystery and horror" Library Journal

“Bad Thoughts is an ambitious genre-bender combining the paranoia and existential dread of the best noir with a liberal dash of The Twilight Zone. Not to be missed.” Poisoned Pen's Booknews

"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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reviews Squared

Two new reviews, one for Killer, one for The Caretaker of Lorne Field.

"And it’s a voice that tugs at the reader’s emotions in subtle, contradictory ways, which makes it seem convincing and credible. In addition, the structure of the book, with chapters alternating between the present and past events, enables the reader to get a rounded grasp of March’s persona and his history of violence."

Rob Kitchin's review of Killer can be read over at his The View from the Blue House blog.

"KILLER follows SMALL CRIMES and PARIAH, and the three pack a good dose of nightmare as well as darkness. But it's wise to reserve the word "horror" for the next Dave Zeltserman novel, THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD, his true horror offering of the year. If you're putting in a garden or have ever been awestruck and a little creeped out by how rapidly and voraciously the weeds can grow -- think rainforest, think Scott Smith's THE RUINS -- then THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD is going to ride those images right into your subconscious. At least, it has for me, as well as for Publisher's Weekly and Booklist, both of which call the new work "superb.""

Beth Kanell's review for The Caretaker of Lorne Field can be found on the Kingdom Books blog.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Locus Magazine on Caretaker

"a very darkly funny dark fantasy"

In the June issue of Locus Magazine, Stefan Dziemianowicz has written a detailed and terrific review for The Caretaker of Lorne Field.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Trades 'superb' take on The Caretaker of Lorne Field

"Superb mix of humor and horror" Publishers Weekly, starred review

"superbly crafted horror story" Booklist

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Killer in Scotland

The fine folks at Crime Scene Scotland have put out their summer roundup of their favorite new books, including Killer, Johnny Porno by Charlie Stella and Florida Gothic Stories by Vickie Hendricks. Here's part of what they have to say about Killer:

"This short, sharp blast of a novel continues Zeltserman’s fearless exploration of criminal psychopathy with a strong narrative, a unique voice and a willingness to present the reader with protagonists who may not be inspirational or necessarily sympathetic, but are endlessly complex, fascinating and terrifying."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thuglit: new issue + praise for Pariah

"Another phenomenal outing for Zeltserman."

Thuglit is out with a new issue and high praise for Pariah.

And, oh yeah, Thuglit also has it's 3rd anthology, Blood, Guts & Whiskey out now in bookstores everyone, and it's a good one--and not just because they're including one of my stories, 'Bad Move'.