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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hunted -- Free Today!

"Stark meets Ludlum meets Forsyth in this tight and tricky opener to a new novella series from the always-innovative Dave Zeltserman. The set-up is all too contemporary (unemployment, economic woes, rogue capitalists) but the spare prose and rollercoaster pace hark back to the glory days of Gold Medal Books: the paperback originals that changed 20th century publishing, just as e-originals like Zeltserman's Dan Willis series are changing the game today." Roger Smith, author of Dust Devils and Wake Up Dead

"The Hunted rockets along, never boring for a second... of interest to the Parker fan who is in the mood for an exciting, entertaining, and efficient read somewhat along the lines of the Grandmaster’s darker material." The Violent World of Parker

Download The Hunted now for free!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blood Crimes, Fast Lane & Bad Thoughts on sale!

From now thru Sunday (Dec. 16th) Kindle downloads for Blood Crimes, Fast Lane and Bad Thought are all on sale.

"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

"I'd call it the anti-Twilight, and in my book that's a good thing." Bill Crider, author of Sheriff Dan Rhodes series

"The prolific and wildly talented Dave Zeltserman serves up a fast, furious, frightening and (yes) funny orgy of bloodletting. Makes "Grindhouse" look like "Little House on the Prairie." Roger Smith, author of Vile Blood and Dust Devils

"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, author of The Guards

 "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

"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

"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, Edgar-award winner for The Lock Artist

"Dave Zeltserman's Bad Thoughts is a fast moving occult thriller, with taut dialogue and smart, likeable characters. Darkness pervades the Bay State in the late 1990's and Detective Bill Shannon will be lucky to solve a standard missing person's case in one piece. In fact as the story unfolds we see that death and dismemberment could be the least of Bill's worries. Pour yourself a fifth of Scotch, get an easy chair, grab a protective talisman and enjoy." Adrian McKinty, author of Dead I Well May Be and Hidden River

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


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My book covers: Outsourced (Suhrkamp)

I find this 3-D effect of the book cover as a bank vault being opened amazingly clever and just brilliant. There's a somewhat long story for why the title for the German edition is '28 Minutes' instead of Outsourced.

When I was trying to sell the novel, I had far more enthusiasm in Hollywood than I did with NY publishers who were afraid back in 2004 that outsourcing wouldn't be an issue of interest to the public by 2005. Hollywood was different as I had a high-level Hollywood producer pushing this hard and eventually getting a deal in 2008 with Impact Pictures and Constantin Film. By this point I had changed the title to '28 Minutes', stripped out a good amount of the outsourcing commentary, and made the book more into a pure bank heist thriller. Serpent's Tail ended up buying this version, and the title was going to be '28 Minutes', but the film people decided they were going to keep the Outsourced title (which has since changed to avoid confusion with the short-lived TV show), and so Serpent's Tail went back to Outsourced.

Suhrkamp also came up with a second edition of the book, and for this cover they use a safe deposit box that had been violently ripped open. Another excellent cover from them!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My book covers: Outsourced

Serpent's Tail's choice of cover for Outsourced is an interesting one. It's hip and cool and witty, and I understand why Serpent's Tail used it, but it also hides that the book is as violent and dark as it is. Computers aren't used to rob the bank, as the cover implies. Guns are used, and it's a violent robbery, and the aftermath is as bloody and violent as anything in Small Crimes, Pariah or Killer.

"a dark gem of a story...a macabre delight to read" NPR

"A dark, lightening-paced read" Financial Times

"A small gem of crime fiction" Booklist

"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

"And here again, Zeltserman manages to tell a riveting story in the straightforward, personality-driven manner at which he’s so accomplished. There’s no purple in his prose even though he obviously has learned lessons of the genre from masters like Jim Thompson." Boston Globe

Monday, December 10, 2012

My book covers: Killer (PulpMaster)

PulpMaster has come up with another work of art. For the German edition of Killer, the cover plays up the quieter, more meditative aspects of the book, which fits well since Killer is very much a meditation into the mind of a killer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

NPR's review of Outsourced

I've taken the audio of NPR's review of Outsourced and added an assortment of my book covers to it to make this video.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My book covers: Killer

Next up for my book covers is, Killer, which Serpent's Tail came up with a beaut for, and was one of the covers featured on a CBS Sunday Morning segment on book covers. Dark, foreboding, but with a quietness to it, which captures my best crime novel perfectly.

Boston Globe review of Killer

Spinetingler review of Killer 

TheBookBag review of Killer

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing: The Interloper

I was tagged last Wednesday by my friend and fellow Top Suspense author, Libby Hellmann for this--

What is the working title of your next book?


Where did the idea come from?

I had this preposterous  idea for a government conspiracy thriller that I just couldn't let go of, and this led to me writing the novella  THE HUNTED, which led me to wanting to write a series of novellas where some would be part of the same conspiracy idea with a Spillane/Destroyer feel, while others would be pure crime heist with more of a Richard Stark/Parker feel and others a mix of the two. So the next one up was THE DAME. And that led me to wanting to write a 3rd, THE INTERLOPER, and wanting to see if I could package the three of them as a novel.

What genre best defines your book?

men's action, crime, conspiracy, thriller

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Dan Willis -- Clive Owen

The Dame -- Milas Kunis

Martin Luce -- Jeremy Renner

 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Shadowy government agency, hitmen, double-crosses, and crime heists gone very bad.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The first two novellas have been self-published, but my agent is now shopping all 3 as a book.
How long did it take you to write the first draft?

6 months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The first part, THE HUNTED, will remind readers of both The Destroyer books and Mickey Spillane. THE DAME and THE INTERLOPER parts will remind readers of Richard Stark books, such as The Seventh.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Partly my love of the Richard Stark Parker books, partly wanting to do a similar series, and partly having this preposterous conspiracy idea I couldn't let go of.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The first part, THE HUNTED has a shocker of a secret, and the 2nd and 3rd parts are for readers who love violent crime heists novels.

Now for the tags: 
Look for their posts next week and consider trying…their Next Big Thing!
Howard Shrier, Paul D. Marks and Jason Stuart


Monday, November 26, 2012

My book covers: Pariah (Fanucci Editore)

My Italian publisher, Fanucci Editore, was originally going to publish Pariah as a standalone novel, but they decided instead to publish all three of my 'man out of prison' books in a single volume under their new TimeCrime imprint. The artwork they used for the cover was the artwork they were going to use for Pariah. While Serpent's Tail and PulpMaster made Kyle Nevin (rightfully) more demonic on their covers, Fanucci went more for a bad ass look, which is still fitting.

It's possible there's a fiercer and more ruthless first-person narrator in a crime novel than Kyle, but if there is, I haven't come across the book yet.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My book covers: Pariah (PulpMaster)

My German publisher for Pariah, PulpMaster, create very distinctive paintings for their covers, all modern pieces of art that could be hung in galleries, and their cover for Pariah is no different. What they've done with Kyle Nevin, is make him part man and part demon, which is extremely apt!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My book covers: Pariah

Serpent's Tail did a fantastic job with this cover for Pariah. An ominous Kyle Nevin in the shadows with the cabin beginning to erupt in flames. This cover not only captures the darkness and explosiveness of the book, but it was a great choice using Red Mahoney's cabin, which in the book was a place of evil and abomination.

Washington Post's review of Pariah

The Bookbag's review

Boston Globe's review

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My book covers: Bad Karma

Next up is Bad Karma, which beat Pariah to publication by a month. My publisher's original cover wasn't very good, but they were willing to work with me to come up with this cover. Unfortunately the earlier rejected cover got submitted to Amazon and stayed up there until recently.

This cover still doesn't really work for the book, which is a hardboiled and somewhat new agey PI novel set in Boulder, Colorado dealing with cults, gangsters, and evil yoga studios. But at least the mountains being shown are the Flatirons, and the image superimposed in the right upper corner is the Hindu god Kali, who is related to karma.

At some point I'm going to put Bad Karma back up as an ebook, but with a new title and a cover more relating to the cult aspect of the book.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My book covers: Small Crimes (Fanucci Editore)

The Italian edition of Small Crimes went in a very different direction  for its cover than  the US and French editions. This cover is straight from a scene from late in the book.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My book covers: Small Crimes (Rivages)

The French edition for Small Crimes went for a similar design as the Serpent's Tail cover, but even darker and more noirish.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My book covers: Small Crimes

I like what Serpent's Tail came up. The overall look is attractive and the nighttime shot and the police lights flashing gives an indication of darkness and crime. Serpent's Tail is a UK publisher so I can't hold it against them that this looks a lot more like California than a small Vermont town. Of course, I think it would've made the cover even better if Serpent's added how the book made both NPR's and Washington Post's best of the year lists.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My book covers: Bad Thoughts

My publisher for my second book, Bad Thoughts, came up with a cover which, being kind, wasn't very good, but they agreed to let me provide my own artwork. My friend (and my wife's cousin) Laurie Pzena is an extremely talented painter, graphic artist and photographer, and I asked her if she could come up with a cover, suggesting taking a photo at a cemetery, and what she came up with for Bad Thoughts I think is great. My publisher ended up darkening it, changing the color and font, but I always liked her version better, so  when I put Bad Thoughts out as an ebook I went back to her original version for the cover.

While there are no scenes in a cemetery, Laurie's photo expresses the grim nature of the book and that it's horror, even though the description and first 50 or so pages might make it seem like it's a police procedural.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My book covers: Fast Lane (Meridiano Zero)

Meridiano Zero's cover for Fast Lane went in a different direction by focusing on the detective angle as opposed to the psycho noir aspect of the book, although this black and white photo still has a noirish feel.

Interestingly, I sold the Italian rights for Fast Lane about a year before selling the US rights to Point Blank Press.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Looking back at my book covers: Fast Lane

Over the next 3+ weeks I'll be looking back at my book covers in the order of their publication dates, including the foreign edition covers. First up is Fast Lane.

J.T. Lindroos, graphic artist and publisher of the legendary Point Blank Press, came up with this brilliant cover--an apocalyptic scene of a man rushing towards a city bursting into flames. Not only does this capture the essence of this psycho noir novel, but it's also very close to one of the scenes from the book.

A quick story about the writing of Fast Lane. I wrote the first draft in 1992, and in '96 I was working with an agent who wanted me to start the book earlier in the story to show Johnny Lane in a more positive light so the reader could be more sympathetic to him by the time he has his psychotic break. I'd heard the same from other early readers, so I wrote around 45 additional pages. At the time I was using an early version of Microsoft Windows, and just as I was finishing these 45 pages my computer crashed and I lost these pages (I hadn't made a backup, or printed them out yet). I wouldn't be able to swear in court that I retyped those 45 pages from memories exactly as I originally wrote them, but I'm pretty sure I did, and there's no way I'd ever be able to do that again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

UK cover for MONSTER

Duckworth's cover is similar to the US cover with some small tweaks, but I like what they did. I also like the book description they came up with:

Monster cleverly – and chillingly – reanimates a classic tale. Friedrich Hoffman, the so-called monster, recounts how he was falsely accused of killing his fiancĂ©e, tortured and killed for his ‘crime’, and awoke on the lab table of Victor Frankenstein – a man with all manner of gruesome plans. We see inside Friedrich’s mind as he embarks on a single-minded quest for vengeance; but at what cost to the remnants of his humanity?

Intense and gothic, Monster depicts nineteenth-century Europe in a blaze of depravity, excess and supernatural terrors, in an ingenious tribute to one of literature’s greatest works.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How my short stories have fared

I don't write many short stories. Sometimes I'll write one when I have an idea burning inside me that needs to get out, but usually I write a story only when a magazine or anthology ask me for one. Still, over the last couple of years my stories have been faring pretty well. Here's a quick summary:

Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America

Julius Katz (winner)

Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award

Archie's Been Framed (winner)
Julius Katz (3rd place)

Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society

Julius Katz (winner)
More Than a Scam (nominated)

Thriller Award from the International Thriller Writers

A Hostage Situation (nominated)

Notable stories in Best American Mystery Stories

More Than a Scam
Julius Katz
Emma Sue

Inclusion in Ed Gorman's and Martin Greenberg's best mysteries of the year anthologies

Julius Katz
Archie's Been Framed (which Publisher's Weekly in their review cited as the best story in the anthology)

Julius Katz and Archie's Been Framed can be found in Julius Katz Mysteries

A Hostage Situation and Emma Sue can be found in One Angry Julius & Other Stories

 More Than a Scam can be found in 21 Tales

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A "notable" Emma Sue

I was happy to see my story, Emma Sue, was named a notable story by this year's Best American Mystery Stories. Emma Sue was originally published in ON DANGEROUS GROUND: STORIES OF WESTERN NOIR, and is available in my Kindle ebook collection, ONE ANGRY JULIUS & OTHER STORIES. This makes the second story in my ONE ANGRY JULIUS collection to be recognized this year as A Hostage Situation was earlier nominated for a Thriller Award.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Killer's Essence -- first chapter

A KILLER'S ESSENCE is now out in trade paperback, and is currently in film development from Braven Films. Here's the first chapter.


Back in 1972 I was seven years old and always tagging along after my older brother, Mike. This was back before the attention you have today on child abductions and pedophiles—that evil existed, shit, it has probably always existed, but it wasn’t on TV or the news much, if at all. You didn’t have CNN and the Internet to focus on it twenty-four seven, and as a result a lot of parents didn’t think about it. Back then it wasn’t all that unusual for a seven-year-old and a bunch of ten-year-olds to spend their afternoons hanging around their Brooklyn neighborhood unsupervised. And that was what Mike and his friends and I used to do, at least when he and his friends couldn’t shake me, and I was a tough little bugger to shake back then, just as I am now.
This one afternoon it was just Mike and me. We had just spent a half hour in Bob’s Drugstore thumbing through the comic books until the owner got fed up with us and told us to buy something or leave. Mike spent a dime on a Sky Bar candy bar. He broke off the caramel piece for me, and we left anyway. While we were walking past the fish market a man came out and offered us five bucks to clean up the backroom. Mike wanted that five bucks, but something about the man made me grab onto Mike’s arm and pull him back while shouting “No!” repeatedly as if I were demon possessed. Mike looked at me as if I was nuts, and I thought he was going to punch me, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from what I was doing. A couple of older men from the neighborhood wandered over to see what the commotion was about, and the man from the fish market started to look nervous. He told us to forget it and he went back into his store.
“What’d you do that for, Stan?” Mike demanded, his narrow face taut and angry. “Five bucks! You know what we could’ve bought for five bucks? Are you stupid?”
At this point I was crying. I couldn’t explain to him why I did what I did. I couldn’t say it out loud. I couldn’t have him think I was even nuttier than he already thought I was. Anyway, all I wanted was for us to get away from there, so I kept pulling on his arm, using every ounce of strength I had to drag us away from that store. One of the neighborhood men gave me a concerned look and told Mike that he should take his little brother home. Mike looked pissed, but he did what the man asked him to. All the way home he kept asking what was wrong with me.
Later at dinner Mike told our folks what had happened and how I cost us five bucks. Pop asked why I did what I did, but I couldn’t explain it to him. He shook his head, disappointed-like, and gave me a lecture about the value of money, but left it at that.
The next night while we were eating dinner, Mr. Lombardi from down the hall knocked on our door. Chucky Wilson, who was a year older than Mike, hadn’t come home yet from school and he wanted to know if either Mike or I had seen him or knew anything. We didn’t. He looked tired as he apologized for interrupting our dinner. Pop asked him if they needed any more help looking for Chucky. Mr. Lombardi thought about it, but shook his head and told Pop to finish his dinner and if they still hadn’t found Chucky in another hour he’d let Pop know. After Mr. Lombardi left I told Pop that Chucky was with that man from the fish market.
“That man from the fish market must’ve promised Chucky five bucks also. That’s where Chucky is!”
“Stan, quit talking nonsense,” Mom said.
“I’m not! I’ll bet anything that’s where Chucky is!”
“Stop it now!” Pop ordered. “Christ, I don’t know how you get these ideas.”
None of us had much of an appetite after that, Mike and me mostly pushing our food around our plates and Pop staring off into space. After a while of that he got up and left the table and then the apartment. He didn’t bother saying anything to Mom about where he was going. She looked like she was fighting hard to keep from crying.
It turned out that Pop collected other men from the neighborhood and they visited the fish market. They broke into the store and found the man who had offered Mike and me five bucks. He was in the back room chopping up what was left of Chucky. I didn’t learn that part until recently, but that’s what they found. It was days after that when Pop asked me how I knew where Chucky would be. I couldn’t explain it to him, so I shrugged and told him I just knew.
For years I had convinced myself that none of that happened. That it was a dream I once had, or maybe a story I heard, or something from a movie or TV show that I saw as a kid. After meeting Zachary Lynch, I started remembering more about that day back when I was a seven-year-old kid and thinking that maybe it wasn’t just a dream. I found the old newspaper stories about that man in the fish market and what he did to Chucky Wilson, and then dug out the police reports. My pop had died when I was twenty and Mom is in no shape these days to remember anything, but I talked with Mike and he confirmed what happened. All those years we never talked about it, both of us pretending it never happened.
“What did you see that day, Stan?” he asked.
I shook my head and told him I didn’t know, and from the look on his face he seemed relieved to hear that. The fact is I did see something. When that man came out of the fish market wearing his stained apron over a pair of dirty khakis and even dirtier T-shirt, for a moment I didn’t see a man but something ghoulish, something from out of a nightmare. It only lasted a second, if that, and then he turned back into a balding and scrawny middle-aged man, but for that moment I saw something else.
Later, after talking with Mike, I sat quietly and remembered everything I could about that day and wrote it all down. After all those years I finally accepted what I saw. I still have never told anyone about this other than Zachary Lynch, and he’s the only person I know who would possibly understand.


Friday, October 26, 2012

One Angry Julius & only $0.99 until Halloween!

Several of the stories in this collection would make perfect Halloween reading, especially the Thriller Award nominated, A Hostage Situation, so I'm putting this on sale for only $0.99 as a Kindle download until Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MONSTER, featured title

I'd like to thank Dayton Metro Library for making MONSTER their featured title

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More MONSTER on the web + New England Book Fair this Wednesday!

"Award winning novelist Zeltserman currently writes crime and horror books and his latest creation, “Monster,” is a compelling read which sensationally seizes the senses."

You can read the rest of the RohnertPark-CotatiPatch excellent review of MONSTER here.

I'd like to thank the Urbana Free Library for making MONSTER one of their weird and frightful picks for Halloween.

At Barnes & Noble, MONSTER has made it into a monster literary trivia quiz.

And finally, I'm going to be at the New England Book Fair (Newton, MA) tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 24th) at 7pm reading & signing for MONSTER.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

20 quick reasons to get MONSTER for Halloween

1) "You don't get much more gothic bang for your buck." Los Angeles Times

2) "juicy material for Franken-fans" Booklist, starred review

3) "chilling and captivating" ForeWord Magazine, pick of the week

4) "Magnificently horrific" Barnes & Noble

5) "a must-read" Historical Novels Review

6) "a rich and fun response to Shelley's classic" Publisher's Weekly

7) "there’s plenty going on thematically" NPR (Boston)

8) "imaginative" Newsday

9) "every page a joy to read" Bookreporter

10) "likely one of the best books of 2012" Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm   

11) "gripping retelling of a classic favorite" Style Magazine

12) "I flat out loved it" Crimespree Magazine

13) "A masterpiece of originality, beauty, ugliness, eloquence, wisdom and power. And it's one hell of a page-turner as well." Ed Gorman

14) "a brilliant reimagining of Frankenstein" Roger Smith

15) "MONSTER shocks and rampages as well as it deftly entertains." Paul Tremblay

16) "When awards season rolls around, this one's going to be a major contender." Bill Crider

17) "Monster is a dark, harrowing tale steeped in grue" Frankensteinia

18) "I'm not usually a fan of retellings of the classics, but this one is terrific—a story well told." Fang-tastic Fiction

19) "Monster is a gripping gothic horror tale, brilliantly told." Between the Covers

20) "If you’re a fan of Frankenstein and the mythos that surrounds it, and love literary horror, this one’s for you. Highly recommended!" MyBookishWays


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The film company working to make A Killer's Essence

A Killer's Essence is currently in development at Braven Films

About A Killer's Essence (from publisher): In A Killer’s Essence, already optioned for the movies, Zeltserman's unique talent (“deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy” –Publishers Weekly) is back with full, sinister effect. Stan Green is a jaded New York City cop assigned to the most shocking homicide of his career–and he finds only one witness, a neurologically damaged recluse subject to demonic hallucinations. Then the murderer strikes again. Stan’s best hope is a man who claims to be surrounded by ghoulish apparitions. And there’s just a chance this witness isn't insane, but instead terrifyingly perceptive…

Dave Zeltserman's grisly crime novel is backgrounded by the 2004 ALCS playoffs, when the Red Sox triumphed over the Yankees. A knuckle-whitening, surprising, and compelling trip into Stan’s obsession with a brutal case, this serial-killer mystery is Zeltserman's darkest, most gripping work yet.

What the reviewers have said:

"a memorable winner" Boston Globe

"Zeltserman’s signature creepiness is available here and there, but what really drives this novel is the engaging portrait of an honest, hardworking cop who, on the job and off, gives the best he’s got, knowing how rarely it will be enough." Kirkus Reviews

“Detective Green is a believable character, down on his luck with little going for him but his job. Nonetheless, he meanders through life, precariously balancing all its myriad and conflicting facets, and coming out on top in this chilling page-turner attuned to the most discerning of avid crime lovers. Well written and well paced. Recommended.” New York Journal of Books

"A scary, keep-you-guessing thriller not to be missed."  Elliott Swanson, Booklist

Friday, October 12, 2012

Horrors tonight in Scituate with Paul Tremblay and myself

As a way to help get people ready for Halloween, Paul Tremblay and I will be at Front Street Book Shop in Scituate tonight at 7pm reading & signing our latest horror and fantasy novels. I hope folks show up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Archie's all abuzz!!

The following from Publisher's Weekly's review of The Interrogator and Other Criminally Good Fiction (edited by Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Cemetery Dance) has left Archie all abuzz:

Heavyweights of the genre such as Lee Child, Laura Lippman, and David Morrell headline this strong anthology of 26 crime stories. Unsurprisingly, there’s not a dud in the bunch; surprisingly, the best entry may be a comic riff on Rex Stout—Dave Zeltserman’s “Archie’s Been Framed.” 

While people in the Boston area know that Julius Katz and Archie are very real, and that all I'm doing is cleaning up some of the language in the cases that Archie has been transcribing, for whatever reason people outside of Boston think that what I'm coming up with are fictional stories as opposed to nonfiction pieces of actual detective cases. What the hell. So far this confusion has been good to me, winning me a Shamus, a Derringer, an Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award, and both honorable mention and inclusion in three best of the year anthologies. So I'm not going to complain, and besides the whole thing has been giving Julius a good chuckle, although this latest review from Publisher's Weekly has left Archie so insufferable (according to Julius) that Julius had to turn him off for now. Eh, I'm sure Archie will be fine once Julius turns him back on.

For those who want to start reading these case, I've got as Kindle ebooks Julius Katz Mysteries, which cover the first 2 in the series (Julius Katz, Archie's Been Framed), Julius Katz and Archie, which is the Kingston case, Julius's most dangerous, and is the size of a typical novel, and One Angry Julius & Other Stories, which has the latest case I wrote up, plus five actual crime stories from me (as opposed to these nonfiction pieces!). Ellery Queen in their May 2013 issue will have the next case, Archie Solves the Case, and I still have a dozen or so more cases to write up from Archie's transcriptions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More MONSTER reviews

I came back from Cleveland/Bouchercon to find three more excellent MONSTER reviews.

Frankensteinia, which is the number #1 source for all things Frankenstein, said in part in their review:

"Author Dave Zeltserman is best known for his hard-hitting noir crime novels. He approaches horror with the same take-no-prisoners attitude. Monster is a dark, harrowing tale steeped in grue, and an unrelentingly grim alternate take on Mary Shelley’s classic, as the man who is made Monster seeks revenge, while still desperately clinging to the last shreds of humanity within himself."

Fang-tastic Fiction summarizes their review with "I'm not usually a fan of retellings of the classics, but this one is terrific—a story well told. "

And from Thommy Ford Reads offers as part of their review:

"The result is a fun read. The gloomy German settings have the right atmosphere. Zeltserman’s monster is a fully fleshed character—uglier, tougher, and less innocent than Shelley’s, but still sympathetic. Besides the nefarious Marquis, Zeltserman adds vampires and satanists to the mix as well, seemingly just for some added adventures. And if the end result seems a little too episodic and a little bit too seedy, I’m willing to set that aside as an homage to those earliest Gothic novels.  If you’re not the squeamish sort give Monster a try. It’s certainly appropriate October reading."

Friday, September 28, 2012

A MONSTER sighting in Baltimore

"Monster is a gripping gothic horror tale, brilliantly told."

I'd like to thank Jeanne over Baltimore County Public Library's blog, Between the Covers, for her review of MONSTER.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Monster in today's LA TIMES

MONSTER is reviewed in today's Sunday Los Angeles Times with Carlos Fuentes' Vlad (revisiting Frankenstein and Dracula).

More impressively, Zeltserman's plot maps almost perfectly onto the plot of Shelley's novel — the key word being "almost." In its departures, the novel provides more than its cover price in entertainment. Vampyres (Zeltserman's spelling) abound, as do Satanic cults and the Marquis de Sade, preparing to enact the 120 Days of Sodom in a remote mountain castle. You don't get much more gothic bang for your buck.

The prologue and first chapter are available here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

MONSTER -- Prologue + Chapter 1

Next Event: Sept. 21st 7pm Harvard Coop in Cambridge,  MA


For far too many years Victor Frankenstein’s outrageous fabrication has stood unchallenged. I can not blame Captain Walton for his role in this, for he was most likely an honorable man who was duped by Frankenstein’s egregious lies; lies told for no other reason than to save the reputation and name of a sinister and black-hearted man, a man who had willingly spent his life in the service of the devil. Nor can I blame Mary Shelley for further putting these lies to paper once they had found their way to her. The truth, though, is that Frankenstein was hardly the tragic figure that he so skillfully presented himself as to Captain Walton, nor did he create his abomination out of a youthful, but misguided obsession. Instead, he was a man of a most depraved nature and spirit; his true intention being to create his own hell on earth. I know all of this because I, Friedrich Hoffmann of Ingolstadt, am the very same abomination that Frankenstein brought forth into the world.

Although the events that I put forth in this journal took place over two hundred years ago, they are still quite vivid in my mind. Victor Frankenstein’s villainous acts were numerous, as were his unfortunate victims, among whose ranks I can chiefly be included. I hope that I can now put his lies to rest and that the world will finally understand the true story, as horrible as it is.

As I write this, I can only pray that Frankenstein’s twisted soul is rotting in whatever crevice within hell it has surely sunk into.

--Friedrich Hoffmann

Chapter 1

First my feet were broken.

Then my ankles.

After that it was my shins. The cudgel’s next targets were my knees, shattering them as well.

I screamed, of course. I screamed with the first blow and I screamed with each additional one. How could any man being broken on the wheel not? Over my screams I heard the crowd that had been so exuberantly jeering for my blood silence themselves as if on command. For a moment it was only my screaming that filled the air. The moment did not last.

“Confess, Friedrich Hoffmann. Confess while you are still able to!”

The priest was once again demanding my confession. He had been the one to silence the crowd and momentarily stay the executioner’s hand.

Using every ounce of strength I had I stopped my screaming so that I could answer him.

“Am I to confess to a crime of which I am innocent?” I asked him through my ragged breathing. “Especially a crime as wicked as the one of which I am being accused? Would that not be a greater sin?”

I forced myself to meet the priest’s cold eyes. Eyes that held not a drop of pity.

“You will die without absolution if you do not confess,” he warned me in his thunderous voice. “Your unredemptive soul to be condemned to hell. Confess now!”

I looked away from him and did not answer. I could hear a grunt escape from the executioner’s lips and then my thigh bones were shattered. With that blow the roar of the crowd swallowed me up.

Madness would have been a welcome release, but somehow it never came. Even after the executioner had broken my hips and moved on to my upper body, the madness stubbornly refused to rescue me.

Deep within my heart I prayed.

My beloved Johanna, you must believe that I am innocent of what they claim. Death does not worry me, only the fear that these false accusations will keep me from you.

The blows from the cudgel had stopped. The priest kneeled by me so that his awful face was near mine, his lips moving in a cruel manner. I was beyond hearing his words. Instead I was swallowed up within a cacophony of sounds. The roar of the crowd, the priest’s words, my own screaming, all blending together into a deafening roar. Soon the priest disappeared and the executioner took his place. Just as all noises had blended together, so to did all my pain blend together. I wasn’t even aware that the executioner had sliced open my arms so that my mangled bones could be braided to the spokes of the wheel. It wasn’t until the wheel was lifted and I was suspended by my broken arms that I understood that this had happened, but the pain no longer mattered. I was beyond that.

I continued to pray.

Please, Johanna, I beg of you, be there waiting for me. This death will be a blessing if only I can look once more into your soft, lovely eyes…

The angry, hateful faces of the crowd dissolved into a gray blur. My eyes drifted upwards and I caught the flight of several black crows circling patiently overhead as they waited.

Johanna, always, I promise, always.
First the noises enveloping me disappeared. Then the pain. I found myself at peace and watched as the crows faded into blackness.

I know I died then. Nothing else would have been possible. So where was I? Purgatory? It had to be that. How could it be anything other than that? I couldn’t move. I couldn’t feel. I couldn’t see. Utter despair filled my being. If I were in purgatory how would I ever see my beloved Johanna again? But then as if to calm my fears a golden haze appeared before me and within it an image took shape. A face. My vision was too blurry for me to make out its details, but I knew it was a face. Of God? Who else could it be? As quickly as the despair had earlier come, so too now the joy and rapture that lifted me.

Words were spoken. The voice, though, was too soft for me to understand, and the words blurred together as if they were a hum intoned from far away.

And then I was in darkness again. Time crept intolerably slowly after that. It was agony as I waited to know what had happened to me. Worse even than what the executioner’s skillful cudgel had been able to inflict. Was that truly the face of God I’d seen before? And if it was, would I be reunited with my Johanna, or was I to spend eternity in purgatory, or worse!

My agony was suspended when once again a golden light filled my vision, and once again I was able to make out a face within its hazy glow, this time its features more distinct. The face appeared angelic, and my heart soared. And once more a voice spoke to me. While severely muffled, as if the speaker were under water, I could make out the words.

“How are we now, my magnificent creation? Still unable to move? Not to worry. That will pass as you grow stronger. You can see me, can you? Oh how I wish you could answer me!”

Although his words confused me, his angelic countenance soothed my fears. If I were indeed in purgatory, I would not be there for long. Darkness came quickly again, but this time I did not despair, although the loneliness I suffered had a heaviness to it that made me feel as if I were drowning. I concentrated to break this loneliness by picturing my Johanna. Her soft hazel eyes, the rosiness of her cheeks, her golden flowing hair, the way her face would light up when she smiled at me. I tried to remember the way her hand fitted so perfectly in mine as we would walk along the woods outside of town, and the warmth against my lips when I would steal a kiss from her cheek.

Something strange happened while I pictured my Johanna. I once again saw the same yellowish glow from before, but this time it was because I realized I had developed the strength to open my eyes. I let my eyes close and once again I was descended into darkness. I forced my eyes open and once more saw the same yellowish glow.

I had believed the angelic face that earlier had appeared and the darkness that followed were caused by heavenly forces, but I realized that instead my eyelids earlier had been forcibly opened. That was why I saw that face peering into mine. It was only a man who had pushed my eyelids open, not God giving me a vision.

As this knowledge became irrefutable within my mind, a horrible dread seized me. I had survived the executioner’s wheel. I wasn’t in purgatory, but instead still of this world. My body presumably lay wherever my host had brought me. Of course my body must be completely broken. But how was that possible? The executioner had shattered my bones, and yet I felt nothing. I knew the reason for this. My spine must have been broken as well as my limbs. I could open my eyes, but otherwise I was in a state of paralysis. But still, it made no sense. It was not possible to survive the injuries that the executioner had inflicted on me. I was a chemist, a man of science, and I understood that as well as anyone. And yet I was alive.

The golden glow that I had believed was the breath of God was in fact sunlight filtering in through a window. I struggled to keep my eyes open, and when the room later fell into darkness, I knew it was because night had arrived.

My host returned again that night. From the faint flickers of light that showed, I surmised that he had lighted candles and had placed them around me. My senses were growing stronger for although the odor was faint to me, I could smell something foul and wretched. Possibly it was a salve that my host had placed over my wounds. As a chemist I was familiar with many compounds and I tried to detect what this one could have been made from, but the odor came from substances I was unfamiliar with. While I tried to solve this vexing puzzle, I heard my host chanting. His voice was too low for me to understand his words or even the language being used, but the rhythmic chanting felt as if it were something thick and oppressive that weighed heavily on me. There was something unholy about it, something unnatural.

When the chanting ended and the candles were snuffed out and my host had departed, I understood the truth. That I was in the dwelling of a sorcerer.


"This is juicy material for Franken-fans, and Zeltserman is just faithful enough to the original that his many fresh contributions feel entirely normal. Well, abnormal, to be accurate, but deliciously so." Daniel Kraus, Booklist *Starred review*

"This reworking of Frankenstein is chilling and captivating!...A tale of justice, true love, and ultimate forgiveness, this gruesome novel is perfect for fans of Stephen King and similar horror stories." ForeWord Magazine, *Pick of the Week*

"a rich and fun response to Shelley's classic" Publisher's Weekly

"Magnificently horrific... a surprisingly profound reimagining of the Mary Shelley horror classic Frankenstein,... The obvious recommendation here is for horror fans and readers who loved Frankenstein but I would suggest Zeltserman’s Monster to literary and mainstream fiction readers as well. It’s an homage to Shelley’s classic, yes, but it’s also a powerful parable about having the courage to be ourselves" Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble

"Dave Zeltserman’s Monster is an ingenious interpretation of Shelley’s tale...[his] highly readable style harmonizes beautifully with its 19th century European setting. Monster is a must-read for anyone who enjoys horror stories, and shivers when Boris Karloff’s pale fingers twitch back into life." Historical Novels Review

"Zeltserman follows Shelley’s roadmap just enough to infuse the proceedings with a degree of familiarity, yet his point of view and unique deviations from the original story make every page a joy to read.... MONSTER is a book that horror fans and literature aficionados can read with equal gusto." BookReporter

"MONSTER is Gothic horror that pulls no punches — a brutal ride through a hellish tale... likely one of the best books of 2012" Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

"I flat out loved it... A graphic, brutal story with heart and soul"  Crimespree Magazine

"Zeltserman keeps the action moving relentlessly forward with minimal padding, either in terms of plot or prose. The action is tight and there’s no shade of purple in his style, but there’s plenty going on thematically." WBUR radio

"A masterpiece of originality, beauty, ugliness, eloquence, wisdom and power. And it's one hell of a page-turner as well." Ed Gorman

“This imaginative "revisionist" novel by thriller writer Zeltsersman is narrated by the man who woke up on Victor Frankenstein's lab table and found himself transformed into the monster.” Newsday