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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Roger Smith on 'Julius Katz and Archie'

“Julius Katz and Archie is a charming and sophisticated drawing room mystery from the pen of the multifaceted Dave Zeltserman. Although the book harks back to the classic whodunits of the Nero Wolfe era, eccentric detective Julius Katz’s sidekick, Archie, is a character straight out of tomorrow: the brilliantly conceived spawn of our digital world. The clever plotting will satisfy mystery aficionados, while long time Zeltserman fans will be pleased to hear that there is a fist of steel lurking under the elegantly tailored velvet glove.” Roger smith, author of Wake Up Dead and Mixed Blood

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thanks are in order!

First here on Memorial Day, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to all the service men and women past and present who've risked their lives for our freedom, my sister being one of them.

now for thanks regarding far less important stuff involving writing and books...

Al Guthrie for interviewing me over at his new site, Criminal-E

Andrew Leonard for hosting a whole week about my books over at his site The Man Eating Bookworm

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another excerpt from 'Julius Katz and Archie'

Here's another excerpt from 'Julius Katz and Archie'. To set up this excerpt, Julius had earlier been approached by a client to participate in a potentially embarrassing charade for a large fee. When Julius turns this client down, a bottle of ’78 Montrachet is later added to the fee to induce him, and well, what can Julius do but accept?

“I thought your dignity and reputation weren’t for sale?” I asked.

A wry smile pulled up the edges of Julius’s lips. “I don’t believe I ever said anything about my reputation being priceless,” he said.

“Okay, your dignity then.”

More of his wry smile. “Technically, Archie, I don’t believe I as much sold my dignity as bartered it away.”

It was a clever joke, but I wasn’t much up to joking then. More of that excess heat began to burn again in me. “For a lousy bottle of wine! That’s what you did it for!”

“I hardly think you can call a ’78 Montrachet a lousy bottle of wine.” Julius’s smile faded as he sat straighter in his chair and rubbed his thumb along the knuckles of his right hand. With others, Julius kept his emotions and thoughts impenetrable, with me he didn’t bother. Right now he was showing his annoyance, but I didn’t care. “The man is a philistine,” Julius continued. “He was going to mix soda water with a ’78 Montrachet to make a wine spritzer. It would’ve been a crime to let that happen.”

“So you were just saving humanity from an outrage?”


“Okay,” I said. “I understand. For a bottle of wine, you’ve agreed to play a stooge.”

Julius stopped rubbing his knuckles. He took in a slow breath and with a forced attempt at humor, said, “And of course, twenty-five thousand dollars.”

“Of course, we can’t forget the twenty-five thousand dollars. So for that money and the Montrachet, you’ll be looking like a dunce to the world.”

“Again, Archie, things are not always what they appear.”

“Yeah, well, as far as the TV and newspaper reporters are going to be concerned, Kenneth J. Kingston will be trumping you at your own game. Should I be ordering you a dunce cap now for the occasion? I might be able to find a good deal.”

Julius slowly began rubbing his knuckles again. “Enough of this, Archie.”

I should’ve taken the hint, but I couldn’t help myself. “Sure, of course,” I said. “I understand. But Boss, should I get a jump on updating your biography to reference that you’re no longer Boston’s most brilliant detective, but have slipped to the second-most? Or should I wait until after Kingston plays you for a chump? Now that I think of it, after that happens I’m not even sure you could legitimately claim that title since probably every other working private investigator in Boston would be able to prove themselves intellectually superior to Kingston, so by the transitive property that would in effect make you Boston’s least brilliant detective. Not as compelling a title for you to hold, but I guess we’ll have to deal with it. If you want I can order stationary now to that effect, or I can wait until—”

I pushed him too far. Julius cut me off, saying, “Goodnight, Archie.” And blast it! My world went black as he turned me off!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Latest review for Dying Memories

This one held me captive from the first page and I couldn't put it down until I finished the final page. Highly recommended, explosive and action packed from beginning to end.

You can read the entire review at Reviews From the Heart

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paul Levine on 'Julius Katz and Archie'

"It's a nifty change-of-pace for the usually hard-boiled Dave Zeltserman. Clever, sophisticated and witty, 'Julius Katz & Archie' will thrill fans of Nero Wolfe...and readers who never heard of him! Zeltserman knows how to mix character, action, and plot and create a pitch-perfect, modern mystery. More, Sir! The sooner the better." -- Paul Levine, author of "Flesh & Bones"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Crider on 'Julius Katz and Archie'

“Julius Katz may be the titular star of Dave Zeltserman's new novel, but it's the voice of his AI assistant, Archie, that carries the day. Archie's more human than most "real" people, and funnier, too. The satire bites, and the mystery satisfies. Julius and Archie became favorites of mine when they first appeared in Zeltserman's award-winning short stories, and they're even better in novel form. Long may they thrive.” Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series

Monday, May 23, 2011

All About Julius!

Julius Katz gets a nuce endorsement from the Wolfe Pack

This intriguing mystery series evidences some similarities to Rex Stout's detective pair, Nero & Archie, but only some. This modern-day duo from Boston's Beacon Hill, are well worth a try. One of the more striking similarities is the humor evoked by first person narrator, Archie Smith.

Some people reading this might wonder if you need to have read Nero Wolfe to appreciate 'Julius Katz and Archie'. My experience with both the short stories and the novel is not at all. Fans of Nero Wolfe enjoy Julius Katz (and especially Archie), but readers unfamiliar with Nero Wolfe but familiar with Sherlock Holmes also tend to enjoy this series a lot, thinking Julius and Archie are a modern day Sherlock and Watson. And readers who haven't read either Nero Wolfe or Sherlock Holmes also tend to like it a lot. So what it comes down to is if you like mysteries, you're probably going to like my Julius Katz mysteries.

'Julius Katz and Archie' also gets a very nice review from Joe Barone.

In other words, this book is just good fun with a lot of clues and enjoyable characters.

And finally, I have a blog post over at Patti Abbott's blog explaining how I came about writing my first Julius Katz story.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Naomi Hirahara on 'Julius Katz and Archie'

"Fans of Donna Andrews's Turing Hopper artificial intelligence mysteries, rejoice! Award-winning author Dave Zeltserman has created silicon chip Archie, the high-tech sidekick to Julius Katz, Boston's most famous and laziest wine-drinking detective. Here is a delightful traditional mystery that follows in the footsteps of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey series.” --Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award winning author of the Mas Arai mysteries

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gerry Boyle on 'Julius Katz and Archie'

"Julius Katz and Archie are the Holmes and Watson of our times. Dave Zeltserman serves up his crime-fighting duo with assurance and nary a word misplaced. An addicting read that did what the best noir does: takes you back to the archetypes of the past and propels you into the future. Open Julius Katz and Archie and enjoy."
Gerry Boyle, author of Port City Black and White and the Jack McMorrow mysteries

Thursday, May 19, 2011

That Publishing Theme...

Over at Literal Exposure I talk about how the publishing industry and the business of writing keep working their way into my books.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

“Why not shoot all your clients then?”

In Julius Katz and Archie, Julius facetiously asks one of the murder suspects this question, a literary agent. The agent's response:

Marriston pursed his lips as he mused on that. “Not a bad idea,” he said. “But that’s only if I could shoot them with impunity. One or two of them I’d spare, the rest I wouldn’t shed too many tears over. Let me explain to you about writers. There are a few normal ones in the mix, but the majority have the most fragile, bruised egos you could imagine. Maybe it comes from all the rejection they have to suffer, especially since in their minds they’re such delicate geniuses. I’m not exactly sure why so many are like that, but Ken was the worst. A preening prima donna when things were going well, and an absolute misery when things started to fade on him.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Julius Katz and Archie: review and excerpt

A new review by Barry Ergang is out for Julius Katz and Archie:

The Bottom Line: A clever new approach to the mystery format made famous by Rex Stout, Julius Katz and Archie works as a solid detective story in its own right. Very entertaining.

Here's a short excerpt from the start of the novel:

What do I want from you? Simple. Find out who’s planning to kill me.”

These words were spoken by one Kenneth J. Kingston as he sat across from Julius, his voice having a thick nasal quality that bordered on whining. Kingston’s legs were crossed, his manner seemingly casual and unconcerned, his mouth compressed into a curious smile that seemed at odds with what he had just told Julius.

Kingston was a well-known Boston-area crime writer. I’d say he was a bestselling writer, but he wasn’t, at least not with his last several books. He was forty-nine and physically almost the exact opposite of his fictional private eye, and he certainly had no resemblance to tough guy crime writers like Mickey Spillane or Robert B. Parker. Dressed in an Armani suit and wearing expensive Italian loafers, he was five feet eight inches tall, and thin with a slight build. I had seen his publicity photos, so I thought I knew what to expect, but those must’ve been carefully posed because in real-life he didn’t resemble them very much. From his demeanor you could tell that he believed himself to be good-looking, but he wasn’t. Even if his tight curly hair hadn’t begun receding up his forehead, he wouldn’t have been. Not with his thin nose being as pointy as it was, and not with his chin being even pointier, and certainly not with that mouth of his being too big and wide for his angular face when it wasn’t compressed into a curious smile. If I had olfactory senses, I would have been able to describe the cologne he was wearing, but since I don’t, I could only guess it was some sort of dense musk. Of course it was possible he wasn’t wearing any cologne, but he seemed like the type that would.

Kingston wasn’t the first person to ever sit in Julius’s office and speak those words, or at least words to that effect, but those other prospective clients appeared anxious and worried as they did so. I found Kingston’s smile and his overall behavior confusing, maybe even disconcerting. If it confused Julius, I couldn’t tell. Julius didn’t respond to Kingston’s bombshell. Instead, he sat expressionless, although the fingers of his right hand began drumming lightly on the top of his antique walnut desk, which indicated an annoyance on his part.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Julius Katz and Archie -- the results are in!

The first full-length Julius Katz mystery novel, Julius Katz and Archie, is now available as a $2.99 Kindle or Nook download, and the results are in--and not just from Bill Crider, Naomi Hirahara, Paul Levine, Roger Smith, Ed Gorman and Paul Brazill, who all chose to blurb or review it, but also a dozen other early readers: If you like the award-winning stories, you'll love the novel!

Julius Katz and Archie are back, along with Lily Rosten, Detective Cramer, Tom Durkin and Saul Penzer in this charming new mystery, and the stakes have never been higher--both with the poker game Julius engages in and a murder investigation that he finds himself in the middle of.

With this book I hate providing any excerpts since I don't want to give any of the story away, but here's a short excerpt where Archie is commenting on Cramer's recent behavior:

“Watch yourself, Katz,” he warned, and then he turned to leave. Julius didn’t bother getting up. He stayed seated at his Coraille granite island counter and picked up his coffee cup so he could take several sips. While he did this, his stare shifted away from the homicide detective. I made sure Cramer removed himself from the townhouse without causing any trouble. Once the front door slammed shut behind him, I informed Julius that his guest had left his home.

“The man’s a fool,” Julius said.

“Possibly,” I said. “I’m guessing he’s too in awe of your genius to act properly in your presence. Still, though, someone needs to tell him you can catch more flies with honey than with what he’s using, which I have to admit is a little surprising because what he was tossing around usually does attract flies also. Maybe I’ll give him a call later and try to help the poor guy out.”

Julius made a face at that but didn’t bother to respond.

“You intimidate him almost to tears. You know that, right?”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Double Z's

My double e-book with bestselling author, Vincent Zandri (Vincent's The Innocent was recently #4 for Amazon Kindle books), is now available from Amazon. My latest, Dying Memories, and Vincent's latest, Godchild, for only $3.99. Check it out!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Which movie would you compare Caretaker to?

I'm getting a lot of serious film interest for The Caretaker of Lorne Field all of a sudden (more about that soon), and one of the interested parties asked me a question which stumped me--if I was going to compare Caretaker to any movie, which would it be?--and I couldn't think of any. So if you've read Caretaker, what would be the first movie that comes to mind that you'd compare it to?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Smashing review for Julius and Archie, blog touring for Dying Memories

My first full-length Julius Katz novel, Julius Katz and Archie, has been getting a tremendous response from early readers, and today Paul Brazill wrote a smashing review for it, summing up his review with the following:

"I’ll say no more but rest assured this is another zesty page turner choc full of smart twists, colourful characters and laugh out loud moments. Katz is a great creation and he and Archie, the heart of the book, are a smashing team."

Also, yesterday I started blog touring for Dying Memories. This is a fun book, one that I think both my readers and thriller readers in general will like. Here are my first two blog appearances for it:

My interview at Beyond the Books

My interview at Blog Critics