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

Monday, January 31, 2011

On the Web: Outsourced, Blood Crimes, Julius Katz Mysteries

Over at the Big Thrill, I explain what prompted me to write Outsourced.

Bookgasm today is publishing my guest blog post, Blood Crimes Explained! where I talk about Blood Crimes and offer up a big bite of it.

Mystery author and Julius Katz fan, Joe Barone, talks about my $0.99 Julius Katz Mysteries e-book over at his blog.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Taste of Blood Crimes

I'd like to thank the ever affable and accommodating Paul Brazill for letting me take over his blog and write about Blood Crimes, with my guest post: Vampires in a noir universe. I've included with that post an NC-17 rated excerpt from Blood Crimes to give readers a taste of the novel.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What people are saying about Julius Katz and Archie

The silhouette shown in the book cover is of both Julius and Archie. If you look carefully, Archie is being worn as a tie clip, and if you enlarge the cover even more, you can see the glint in Archie's eyes.

The reaction of mystery readers to these stories has been remarkable. First the Shamus and Derringer for 'Julius Katz', then winning the Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award for 'Archie's Been Framed'. While readers might like Julius, they love Archie, and who can blame them? Now that I have these two stories together in a $0.99 e-book, I thought I'd collect some of the things people have been writing about Julius and Archie since they first graced the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine back in 2009.

Peter Leonard over at The Man Eating Bookworm reviewed Julius Katz Mysteries, writing in part:

My only exposure to Zeltserman's writing is The Caretaker of Lorne Field: A Novel and Blood Crimes: Book One. Both are intense, somewhat serious reads. Both are also vastly different from one another but are executed wonderfully. One was my favorite novel of 2010 and should be studied in school. The other is just good bloody fun.

But Julius Katz Mysteries is something else entirely. These two stories (a novelette and short story) are indeed lighthearted, charming and very fun. I think they are also the best thing I've read from Zeltserman to this point. I enjoyed these two tales so much that I find it a bloody shame there aren't more for me to hunt down and read.

Ed Gorman on his blog wrote after the first Julius Katz story: I'm a big fan, along with many other people, of Dave Zeltserman's character Julius Katz.

Naomi Johnson on The Drowning Machine:

Rex Stout fans must be over the moon, at least those who've read Dave Zeltserman's Derringer Award-winning novella, Julius Katz. In style, wit and charm, this story comes closer than anything I've read to capturing Stout's bloodless but entertaining riddles. Considering that Zeltserman is probably best known for his twisted noir and his New Age detective novels, this story ranks as one of the biggest surprises for me this year. This isn't a story you have to worry about your eight-year-old reading. No overt violence, no profanity, no abuse stronger than the occasional raised voice, this one can be read by the whole family.

Julius Katz is the requisite resident genius detective, which takes some doing, because Julius's sidekick, Archie - you can guess where the name derived - is no slouch in the smarts department. But this Archie... Well, let's just say that this Archie's physical characteristics are a shade closer to KITT than to Archie Goodwin.

David Cramner at Education of a Pulp Writer writes: Dave Zeltserman’s Julius Katz mysteries are some of the most fun you will ever have reading detective short fiction. Elements of Nero Wolfe abound but Mr. Zeltserman adds a unique twist in the form of Katz’s assistant, Archie, who is a marvel of high tech wizardry.

Joe Barone writes:

If you want to read an amazing story, go to your library or bookstore and pick up a copy of this month's Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Read Dave Zeltserman's "Julius Katz."

Zeltserman evokes Rex Stout, Nero and Archie in the most fascinating way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie ratings to my books

I thought it might be helpful for folks to see what movie ratings my books would probably get:

Julius Katz Mysteries -- PG-13 for sly innuendos

The Caretaker of Lorne Field -- PG-13 for its horror atmosphere and thought provoking themes

A Killer's Essence (was Essence, out in the Fall by Overlook Press) -- PG-13, some horror (especially to Yankees fans as it dredges up many memories of the Yankees 2004 ALCS choke job), thought provoking themes

Bad Karma -- R, for sex, violence, and adult themes

Bad Thoughts -- R, for language, violence, gore and intense horror

Small Crimes -- R, language, nudity, violence, and adult themes

Outsourced -- R, violence and adult themes, misfit software engineers trying to rob a bank, scenes of extreme social awkwardness

Killer -- R, violence, adult themes

Fast Lane -- R, violence, sex, nudity, intense psychic meltdown, uncompromising deconstruction of hardboiled PI genre

Blood Crimes -- NC-17, violence, sex, nudity, intense horror, scenes of horrific nature

Pariah -- NC-17, violence, sex, language, intense adult themes, subversive social satire

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Award-winning Julius Katz Mysteries now $0.99

My Julius Katz Mysteries is now available on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. The book description hasn't made it up to Amazon yet, so here's what I have:

These award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted thousands of mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009. ‘Julius Katz’ introduced readers to Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Julius Katz, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny piece of whizbang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI. In Julius and Archie’s second adventure, ‘Archie’s Been Framed’, the little guy is framed for murder and Julius needs to use all his wits to keep his inimitable assistant out of the slammer.

‘Julius Katz’ attracted a devoted following from mystery readers when it first came out, and has since won the Shamus Award for best story from the Private Eye Writers of America, as well as the Derringer Award for best novelette from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. ‘Archie’s Been Framed’ won 1st place in Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award, with their readers choosing it as their favorite story published by the magazine in 2010. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Julius and Archie yet, now’s your chance to get caught up in these charming, delightful and very unusual mystery stories.

If you previously bought 'Julius Katz' at B&N and Smashwords, you can download this new version for free to get 'Archie's Been Framed'. Amazon Kindle doesn't have this feature so I had to create a new e-book on the Kindle store, but it's only $0.99.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Julius Katz Mysteries coming

I'm in the process of bundling my two award-winning Julius Katz stories, 'Julius Katz' and 'Archie's Been Framed' as a $0.99 e-book--and this is available now at both Barnes&Noble and Smashwords. Since the Nook supports reloading an e-book from the Nook store, I've replaced the old 'Julius Katz' e-book that was there with this one, so anyone who had previously purchased 'Julius Katz' for their Nook can download this new version now for free. Same as with Smashwords. Amazon Kindle gets trickier. Since they don't have a reload feature and instead require the user to call customer service, what I'm doing there is removing my old 'Julius Katz' e-book and adding 'Julius Katz Mysteries'. It takes time for new new books to be added on Amazon's Kindle store, so this probably won't be available for a few more days.

More Blood Crimes

"From here on in Zeltserman's vamp/crime thriller takes off at a breakneck speed. The action that follows is intense and blood drenched. There are also unexpected twists that will take you by surprise and leave you gaping at your Kindle in shock."

Peter Leonard over at The Man Eating Bookworm reviews Blood Crimes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blood Crimes and 21 Tales

Jim Mcleod reviews Blood Crimes over at Ginger House of Nuts, and digs it:

Dave, has managed to meld the two genres of crime and horror into one one hell of a ride, PI's, crime lords, drug gangs, sultry babes and more low life scum than you can count all collide with explosive results in this genre bending master piece. If you like crime buy this book, if you like horror buy this book, if you like well written books, buy this book.

You can read Jim's entire review here.

Bruce Grossman over at Bookgasm reviews 21 Tales, saying:

I’ve become a big fan of Dave Zeltserman for one simple reason: The man can write. 21 TALES, a collection of his short stories, surely will satisfy the most die-hard fan, while also giving bite-size tastes to the unconverted. It’s broken down into five sections that range from the semi-autobiographical to the brutal, but are dark tales of noir.

You can read Bruce's entire review here.

I'd like to thank Bruce and Jim for reading and reviewing these books.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blood Crimes, Outsourced, Killer

Mindy MacKay over at Protect your Sensibilities is the first to review Blood Crimes, saying:

Okay. Let's see if I can explain this. Take today's typical vampire fiction, shove it into Bedlam House and whip it with a cat-o'-ninetails to force it to breed with your grittiest crime thriller. That's what you'll get when you open up this book.

Blood Crimes is fast. It's visceral. It's definitely not your fourteen-year-old sister's dreamy vampire fantasy. This book grabs you by the guttiwuts, wrenches hard, and doesn't let go.

But don't get me wrong, this isn't your run-of-the-mill shock literature. Zeltserman weaves a disturbing noir with a passionate craftsman's hand over his characters.

You can read Mindy's entire review here.

David Rachels discusses Outsourced at Noirboiled Notes, saying:

Dan Wilson is out of work and on the verge of losing his eyesight. With a mortgage to pay and a family to support, he is an ordinary guy desperate for money. He conceives a can’t-miss bank heist, enlists the help of some friends, and then—surprise!—things don’t go exactly as planned. Dave Zeltserman cleverly and effectively engineers the plot with a steady supply of action and surprises. In sum, Outsourced is thoroughly entertaining noir in a traditional vein. Grade: A-

Jildy Sauce reviews Killer here, and comes up with the following conclusion:

This is a novel that I’d class with Devil Take the Blue Tail Fly, The Bad Seed (whose author, William March, shares a surname with Zeltserman’s protagonist) and a stack of Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith titles. If you revere any of these works, you’ll dig Killer.

Killer is a stone cold read. It hits.

I'd like to thank Mindy MacKay, David Rachels and Jildy Sauce for all reading and reviewing these books.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Man Eating Bookworms and Ginger Nuts of Horror!

I'd like to thank Peter Leonard at The Man Eating Bookworm and Jim Mcleod at the Ginger Nuts of Horror for interviewing me about Blood Crimes, The Caretaker of Lorne Field and about horror and crime writing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Software Engineers and Outsourced

From reviews in London Times, Financial Times, Morning Star, The Australian, and reader reaction, plus Booklist ("a small gem of crime fiction"), it's clear that fans of crime fiction--especially those of bank heist books, are going to really dig Outsourced, but my gut has always been from the moment I started working on this book that software engineers in particular are going to enjoy it as they see situations all too familiar to them unfold as well as identify themselves and their co-workers in Dan, Shrini, Gordon and Joel (and yes, I identify very strongly with one of them). I just found a small bit of confirmation for this when I discovered the following discussion started on Amazon:

"Fantastically written and a great yarn, I found this book hard to put down and would recommend it to anyone. But for me it was close to home: as an engineer, close to 30 years in the industry, the past 10 years in one company that went bust and didn't pay out to most employees .... I can relate to the poor ba*tards in this book! I can see many of my old colleagues in here - a great laugh, and a really entertaining story. Well done, Dave! Anyone else see themselves in this book?"

While I'd love to hear reaction from all readers, I'd particularly like to hear from software engineers and other technology professionals. Let me know what you think and whether you were able to recognize yourself and/or your co-workers in the motley group of misfit engineers populating Outsourced.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank you Jildy Sauce!

"In Dave Zeltserman’s superb crime novel a bunch of software engineers, unemployed as a consequence of the financial crisis, plan to rob a bank. Somehow, it seems apt."

The new trend continues with readers & reviewers really digging Outsourced. You can read Jildy Sauce's complete review here. And for those of you with Kindles who are snowbound today in the Northeast by this storm dumping a foot plus on us, what better way to spend the day than with Dan, Shrini, Gordon and Joel as they plan out what they think is the perfect bank heist?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The trends continue

There are two trends now. The longer term trend is the one where folks are digging the hell out of Caretaker, and the latest example of this is the American Library Association shortlisting Caretaker for best horror book of 2010.

“The Dead Path” by Stephen M. Irwin, Doubleday (9780385533430)
Guilt-ridden Nicholas Close retreats to his family home in Australia after the tragic death of his wife, only to encounter an ancient malevolence lurking in the nearby woods. Childhood nightmares and fairytale motifs combine in this emotionally powerful tale of implacable evil. Arachnophobes beware!

Short List:
“The Caretaker of Lorne Field” by David Zeltserman, Overlook (9781590203033)
“The Frenzy Way” by Gregory Lamberson, Medallion Press (9781605421070)
“Horns” by Joe Hill, William Morrow (9780061147951)
“So Cold the River” by Michael Koryta, Little Brown (9780316053648)

The second that also seems to be going strong is folks digging Outsourced, which is leaking into stores now and is available from Amazon. Ron Clinton reviews it for Spintingler, summing up his review with:

"Zeltserman was employed in the software industry for twenty-two years, and this intimate familiarity adds an authenticity to the explosive drama of the novel and, in particular, to the IT engineers who struggle within its construct. The author’s mastery at characterization is as honed here as it’s ever been, and the narrative thrust displays furious cinematic pacing. Caper and heist novels of the sort exemplified by Lionel White and Richard Stark, respectively, have spurred a number of imitators throughout the decades, but few match the thrills present in Zeltserman’s contemporary offering. Highly recommended."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Outsourced leaking into stores now

My Serpent's Tail books always tend to leak into stores weeks before their release dates, and that's happening with Outsourced, which is now in stock at Amazon. Here's a review for Outsourced that just popped up today from CrimeSquad.

I can't guarantee that Outsourced will be the best bank heist book you read this year (although it might be!), but I can just about guarantee that it's going to be the best bank heist book you read where the bank robbers are ex-software engineers who've been made obsolete thanks to outsourcing. I can also just about guarantee that you've never read a character quite like Gordon Carmichael in a crime novel before!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Outsourced has an official release date in the US of Feb. 1st, but is already beginning to leak into stores, and is available now as a Kindle download. And yep, the movie is still looking good with the script + financing approved.

So what's Outsourced about? Well, you've got four software engineers made obsolete due to outsourcing and their technology skills fading. They're out of work and desperate. Their middle class lives are crumbling apart. They come up with what they think is a brilliant plan to rob a bank, and you can probably guess the rest, but it's how everything gets all screwed up that's the fun!

"A small gem of crime fiction" Booklist

"A dark, lightening-paced read" Financial Times

"Bodies mount up as the double dealing and revenge gather apace. The blurb on the book describes it as a "fast-paced, edge-of-your seat crime novel," and it really does live up to the hype. Add this to your holiday reading list for a piece of escapism." Morning Star

"Back in the “real” world, Dave Zeltserman’s Outsourced is a dryly witty take on the heist caper genre with a gaggle of reluctantly redundant software engineers planning the perfect bank robbery. He brings together crazed hitmen, Russian mafiosi, Iraqi antiques smugglers and domestic angst in a fast-paced action romp that has the inestimable advantage (or not) that its characters are actually human." Peter Millar, London Times

"DAVE Zeltserman is one of the new, highly original voices in crime fiction, his writing spare, disciplined and concrete. His plots are as original as anyone writing hard-boiled fiction with an attractive noir edge, and always grimly entertaining. Like his characters. Outsourced, already being turned into a movie, follows an all-too-human bunch of outsourced software engineers who have no job prospects and no long-term insurance but do possess a plan. They are going to use their computing skills to rob a bank, and Zeltserman delivers a finely paced, witty and stylish take on the heist caper novel. More than most authors churning out mysteries, Zeltserman is fully steeped in the conventions of crime fiction. He remains absolutely his own hard man." The Australian

"Dave Zeltserman's OUTSOURCED is a speedy, gritty, hardboiled bank robbery tale that bops and weaves along as a group of out-of-work computer programmers decide to get their hands dirty and find they like it a lot. As with Zeltserman's previous novels SMALL CRIMES, PARIAH, and KILLER, his greatest storytelling skill is in the small true, emotional details that every reader will understand. He will definitely keep you flipping pages as fast you can, and once you finish one book you'll be racing on to the next." Tom Piccirilli, author of Shadow Season and The Cold Spot

"It's a bleak book with a bleak ending, one you're likely to keep reading past your bedtime to get to. Zeltserman had a breakout year in 2010, and this book will just add to his growing reputation." Bill Crider, author of Murder In The Air

"Outsourced is not only a good read, but also a sobering one that makes you wonder about the nature of the human being: if driven to the edge, would an average law-abiding citizen commit a crime in order to survive? And once having done that, can that same person face the consequences with a clear head? The answers are not easy, and Zeltserman repeatedly turns to the reader, who in the end has to answer them on his own." X2TheL

"No one likes being laid off, but some people rebound in more creative ways than others. "Outsourced" tells the story of four software engineers who when faced with being outsourced, plan their profitable vengeance on their former employers, but soon find playing on the other side of the law has far more complications than simply being caught. A riveting thriller all too topical in today's job market, "Outsourced" is a read that shouldn't be overlooked for thriller readers." Midwest Book Review

"Desperation in the face of mounting economic hardship is a theme many can sympathize with and Dan makes a convincing protagonist as readers are drawn into his life." Monsters and Critics

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Easy Way to Sample Blood Crimes

Blood Crimes has been added to TopSuspense. Now here's the cool thing--we have this automatic kindle browser--so if you go to TopSuspense, all you have to do is click on Crime (or Horror or Thriller), then click on the Blood Crimes cover, and you can start sampling right away. It's that easy. Cool site or what?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Readers digging Blood Crimes

I've been getting terrific early reaction from readers who've picked Blood Crimes. Here's what Dan Vanderkooi has to say on amazon:

If I would compare this to another Vampire series it would have to be the the Charlie Huston Joe Pitt casebooks. That was also a 5 book series, which I thought started out brilliantly but as a series was hit or miss and in the end did not deliver for me. Unlike that series, Blood Crimes easily stands on it's own and if Dave can keep packing the punches with the remaining books like he does here, this series is going to be a knockout! Another good comparison for me would be the From Dusk Til Dawn movies. I recommend to fans of those and really you just can't go wrong with the price, check it out!

I heard from Dan on Facebook, and Blood Crimes got him to read Caretaker, with Pariah next on his plate. Thanks Dan!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some of my favorites...

This is one of the reasons why Rob Kitchin's The View from the Blue House is one of my favorite crime fiction literary blogs

Same with the Drowning Machine

And Bookgasm + Bruce Grossman

And one of many reasons why the Nerd of Noir rocks!

As does Jedidiah Ayres!

Thanks guys!

Steve Katsos show rescheduled for Jan 12th.

I just got a phone call. Tonight's show is being canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, but I'm being scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12th, and you can see me streaming live then.

Monday, January 3, 2011

News + Reviews

First, the trend just keeps rolling along for The Caretaker of Lorne Field. I'd like to thank Peter Leonard for writing such a thoughtful review, and really encapsulating so elegantly what I was trying to accomplish with this book.

A new trend seems to be forming for my upcoming book Outsourced (Feb 1st). London Times, Financial Times, Morning Star, The Australian, Booklist, author Tom Piccirilli, M&C, x2theL all digging it, and now author Bill Crider weighing in. Thanks Bill!

I'd like to thank one of my most avid readers + Facebook friend and all-around good person, Marry Cannon, for reading Blood Crimes so quickly and posting the following review on amazon. Mary did a hell of a better job getting to the heart of the book in her review than I did in my book description. Don't be surprised if there's a vampire biker chick in Blood Crimes Book 2 named after her!

"I enjoyed the heck out of this book....It's a wild ride by a master of noir and crime fiction - in this case, infused with some horror. What struck me about this book is that there is a little something for everyone - a stone cold sociopathic killer/mad scientist, a road trip, a PI story, a love story, biker drug gangs, great over-the-top violence, and vampires (or more accurately - people infected with a vampire emulating virus)! I mean - what's not to love???"

Now for the news--I gave Top Suspense the scoop on this yesterday, but now that the New Year has passed I'm allowed to report (and happy to do so!) that my second Julius Katz story, 'Archie's Been Framed' has won 1st place in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's Readers Choice Awards. This after the first story ('Julius Katz') won the Shamus + Derringer Awards. Not bad for Julius + the little guy!

Also, I'll be appearing tomorrow night on the Steve Katsos show, which is streamed live through the website, but also broadcast later over a number of different cable networks. According to the Boston Globe over a million people watch the show each week!

Finally, I've been only reposting here the best of the year lists that Caretaker has made, but I'd like to thank everyone who included Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer on their lists also. Its very rewarding seeing how many readers are enjoying these books, and is one of the big things that keeps me writing!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blood Crimes, original e-book by Dave Zeltserman, now available for $2.99

"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, author of Cage of Night and The Poker Club.

Blood Crimes is the first book of a planned 5-book original e-book series, and is now available for $2.99 as Kindle download, Nook download or from Smashwords.

Blood Crimes is a genre-bending collision of horror and noir that rides shot-gun with homicidal lovebirds Jim and Carol as they carve a bloody path cross-country. Jim is infected with the vampire virus. Carol isn't. Yet. But they are united in their hunt for degenerate scum for Jim's dinner menu -- so he can quench his bloodlust without harming the innocent.

Coming after them is Jim's ex, Serena, and her posse of heroin-snorting Eurotrash vampires - as campy and hilarious as they are terrifying. Serena has sworn vengeance: Hell hath no fury like a she-vampire scorned!

And then there’s Metcalf, a sociopathic monster unlike any you’ve met before who enslaves fellow vampires in a compound straight out of Hieronymus Bosch - a living hell where he conducts unspeakable experiments to find a cure for vampirism. Not because he's benevolent - but because he's bored with a diet of fresh blood, and wants to eat a grilled steak and down a case of cold beer.

Jim, Serena and Metcalf careen toward their inevitable collision in a climax of pure rock 'n roll violence that leaves other anemic vampire fables out in the twilight.

Part Sin City mayhem, part Stephen King terror, Blood Crimes is a blood soaked rampage you won't soon forget.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The trend continues with Caretaker

The trend continues with folks writing about how much they dig Caretaker. Peter Leonard on his Man Eating Bookworm Blog picks his top 5 reads of 2010, and topping his list is Caretaker, with Peter saying:

This paranoid, suspenseful, work is easily my number one book of the year. I was gripped by the story from the first page to the last. Look for a full review in the next day or two.

With Peter's list this makes about 15 or so best lists that Caretaker has shown up, with it topping a number of them.

Cincinnati Library list some of their recent favorites, and here's what they say about Caretaker:

For 300 years, Jack Durkin’s paternal line has honored a contract to save the world. Good thing Jack believes in his job because his wife, sons, and the local townspeople who support the family are not sure they aren’t being taken for a free ride and Jack is just a loony guy avoiding holding down a real job. But he insists those aren’t weeds he pulls up and burns every day, but Aukowies that make Little Shop of Horrors’ Audrey II look down right adorable. High creepy factor with subtle edge-of-your-seat suspense.