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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pariah--Pulp Master

Here's the painting that the German publisher, Pulp Master, has come up with for Pariah. It's a beauty, and captures Kyle Nevin's soul perfectly.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Caretaker of Lorne Field as a Rorschach test

Here we have what appears to be a straightforward horror story about a 300 year-old legend that demands a caretaker diligently weed a field in a small New England town from Spring thaw until first frost, or the world will come to an end. The story set in modern times has the current caretaker, Jack Durkin, believing what he pulls out from the ground each day are Aukowies—creatures who if left unattended will, according to the 300 year-old Book of Aukowies, grow into blood thirsty creatures that will ravage the world. Some of the older townspeople still believe this legend, most believe that all Jack is pulling out of the ground are ugly weeds. And there’s the rub. Jack either knows something most of these other people don’t, or he’s delusional, and which one it is is left up in the air, at least until the end of the story.

The Caretaker of Lorne Field has unexpectedly become a kind of Rorschach test where no two readers seem to take it quite the same way. Publisher’s Weekly called Caretaker in a starred review a ‘superb mix of humor and horror’. Booklist calls it a ‘superbly crafted horror story [that] explores the dichotomy between belief and rationality’. Kirkus found it harrowing, Library Journal, a nail-biter, and Stefan Dziemianowicz for Locus Magazine, ‘a very darkly funny dark fantasy’. Ed Siegel for Newsday writes it’s a ‘delicious horror-ish novel’ that explores sub-themes of belief vs. logic, sacrifice vs. selfishness and one generation against another. Joe Hartlaub for Bookreporter.com believes Caretaker succeeds as a horror novel, as a psychological thriller and as a haunting parable. Naomi Johnson found Caretaker layered with dread and unease, and saw it as a religious parable, with Jack enduring as Job had endured. Author Paul Tremblay views Caretaker as a horror novel and also a parable of society’s current meanness, unease and ambiguity. Other readers and reviewers see the book as a political parable, as a fable mirroring modern society, as a fascinating character study and as a poignant blending of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. A reviewer for the Dallas News, David LaBounty, even saw it as camp.

So what is it about this deceptively simple story that seems to affect readers so deeply, and yet has each reader taking this novel so differently? That is something that each person is going to have to discover for themselves.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Caretaker of Lorne Field Book of the Day

I'd like to thank the fine folks over at Red Room for making The Caretaker of Lorne Field their book of the day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Drowning Machine on The Caretaker of Lorne Field

Naomi Johnson over at the Drowning Machine (one of my favorite review sites for discovering new books to read), gives her thoughtful analysis and review of The Caretaker of Lorne Field, summing the book up as such:

This is just the kind of book that someday will be on high-school reading lists, and this is the kind of thought-provoking book that will then be challenged by both parents and church leaders, possibly even banned in some ultra-fundamentalist communities. But every reader, and particularly fans of Stephen King, should take a peek into this odd, sad fable. What you find there will forever be a secret between just you and Jack Durkin. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Read the entire review here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And the award goes to...

This is maybe the most creative, ambitious, and ultimately dumbest email scam letter I've received. I tip my hat to the scam artists who came up with this, at least for its originality. Hard to believe anyone could fall for this, though. Btw. This is the email address these scamsters came up with: fbi.publicinformationoffice@gmail.com



in collaboration with

We the Federal Bureau of Investigation earnestly apologize for notifying you with this confidential information via e-mail rather than a Certified Mail Order,or a conversation in person.it was as a result of the Exigency inherent in this notification,owing to transparency and accountability enshrined in the constitution.

In the quest to cushion the affect of the global financial shock,The American Government under the surveillance of the (FBI)saddled with the responsibility of sundry investigation,alongside the Cyb er Crime Complaint Center(CC-CC)has entered a bi-lateral agreement with the Federal republic of Nigerian Government for an onward release of all overdue remittance fund deposited in the treasury of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)in charged with the mantle of onward payment to the legitimate beneficiaries across the globe.

In light of the foregoing,we hereby crave your indulgence on this sensitive matter,In which the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledge is total commitment to dispense all through it's Apex Bank(CBN).

Prior to this mutual agreement,our team of experts has swung into action based on Ethics and Protocols,in regards to this commendable scheme.The (FBI)global intelligence,cyber unit saddled with the responsibility of monitoring cyber crime activities has in possession of a copy of your file in custody of you unremitting fund which was sent to them through our operational database system.

in our capacity as an Investigative Agency,we have sufficiently been able to tap into global information technology super highway of E-banking and E-transfer of overdue remittance payment funds and upon our findings,we discovered that the sum of ($50:OOO USD)unremitting fund has been voted and endorsed in your favor for immediate transfer to your designated location.

You are to reconfirm this information for Cross-Examination by the ad-hoc verification panel set up the Government to forestall any form of illegality.

NAME IN FULL.................................................................................................
DATE OF BIRTH...................................................................................................
MARITAL STATUS..............................................................................................
CONTACT ADDRESS.............................................................................................
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER..................................................................................

Further findings revealed that some corrupt ex- government officials are conniving with some officials of Nigeria Federal Ministry of Finance to change your account and transfer your inheritance funds to a strange account in Canada through a man by the name Mr. Andrew Stevenson who purported to be your cousin, he presented some necessary documentations evidencing your claim purported to have been signed by you for to the release of your remittance fund.

Mr. Andrew Stevenson bank details:

Scotia Bank
314 Harwood ave. s unit
Hpo5 Ajax, ont. l1s 2ji, Canada.
Account Number: 321020072923
Account Name: Andrew Francis Stevenson

As a matter of urgency, you are requested to contact the Central Bank of Nigeria to confirm that Mr. Andrew Francis Stevenson is your true representative, so that Central Bank of Nigeria will disburse the inheritance fund to the bank account above and update their payment record but if this Mr. Andrew Francis Stevenson is not your cousin/representative ensure you send a disclaimer to the executive governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and instruct him to remit your fund to you without delay via an ATM digital card which is the most secured way to receive fund of such magnitude. Below is the officially established email address of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Name: Sanusi m.lamido
Office Address: Central Bank of Nigeria,
Tinubu Square, Lagos - Nigeria.
EMAIL: sanusilamido10111@live.com

We advise that you go ahead in dealing with the Central Bank of Nigeria with the address above and be assured that we are monitoring all their activities as well as your correspondence at all level. If you are presently dealing with any financial institution(s) or person(s) claiming to have relevance to the payment of your overdue funds out-side the above financial institution you are warned in your own interest to stop further communication.

Be informed that any delay in reaction to this letter will be assumed that Mr. Andrew Francis Svenkeson is your legal representative and the funds will be remitted into the nominated bank account that he has provided.

The Central Bank of Nigeria will not be held responsible for any mis-represented transfer made due to your inability to furnish them with accurate information. If you need further assistance and direction, contact us via our free domain network email address;

fbi.safetywatch@fedbureau-ofinvestigation.org .


Agent Shawn Henry,
Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Caretaker a classic? And Hollywood rumors...

Is The Caretaker of Lorne Field a classic? Bookreporter believes it deserves to be!

And I have to admit it was kind of cool seeing myself mentioned in this Hollywood rumor. And it will be even cooler if it turns out to be true! I'm not trying to be coy here--I don't know, but with the little information I do have it's definitely a possibility (although not with Small Crimes).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bad Thoughts, #126 and counting

Bad Thoughts as a gateway drug "to a full-blown Zeltserman addiction." I'd like thank Paul Hochman for this very generous blog post over at bn.com. And it's working. At last check Bad Thoughts was ranked #126 at bn.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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)