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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A deeper look at Monster

With the paperback edition of Monster hitting stores now, I thought I'd write about what Monster is really about. The premise behind Monster is what if the story Victor Frankenstein told in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was an outrageous lie to protect his reputation. What if the real story involved Frankenstein in league with the Marquis de Sade to bring Sade's most horrific work to life to demonstrate what they believe is the true nature of man? And what if the monster was originally a poor unfortunate who was framed for murder by Frankenstein and retained all his memories after his transformation, and is finally now about to tell the real story?

That's the premise behind my novel, and in writing Monster I overlayed the story with Shelley's original so the same journey takes place, but the reasons for each destination are very different. So is Monster simply a retelling of Frankenstein? No. It's also very much a reworking of Marquis De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom, and thematically it's an exploration of Sade's philosophy of man being a base creatures like all other animals, and hence morality is only an invented concept with no true meaning. And eventually Monster is a repudiation of this philosophy.

Monster is also very much a horror novel with vampyres (the spelling taken from John Polidori's The Vampyre, whose genesis came from the same rainy day challenge at the Lake Geneva home in which Shelley's Frankenstein also took birth), witch burnings, satanism, dark magic, evil murals, and other horrors. While Monster is a loving tribute to Shelley's Frankenstein, it also is to a lesser degree to the great German fantasy and horror writer, E. T. A. Hoffmann (hence the monster's name before his transformation, Friedrich Hoffmann). While Hoffmann's influence can be found throughout Monster, one of his tales was the inspiration for my nightmare mural.

Finally Monster is also very much a historical novel. I had spent 9 months researching Monster, and the book is filled with small tidbits taken from this research.  Here's a short excerpt from where the monster is roaming the dark streets of London that is based on a gang of thugs I came across in my research who for sport collected the noses of the poor unfortunates they met:

I kept walking north, using the few stars I could make out in the sky to guide me. Mostly I made my way through cramped alleyways and streets, although at times I would come across small parks and gardens and buildings of remarkable grandeur. I was no more than a few miles from where I had freed that man from the pillory when I spotted five men standing together in the darkness. Somehow they sensed me and they moved quickly so that they surrounded me. They were big men, although nowhere my size. But each of them were over six feet tall and were thick shouldered, and each of them held long knives. They reminded me of the wolves that attacked me when I traveled to Leipzig.

One of them addressed me. “Aye, mate. If you are going to pass, you got to pay our toll.”

“What is your toll?”

He laughed at that. “Listen to his accent. A foreigner.” This was said to his companions. Then to me, he said, “Your pig snout. That is what we collect, and that’s why we are members of The Pig Snout Club. So remember that for when you tell stories of how you lost your pig snout!”

While I had studied English, I hadn’t spoken or heard it much in my life, and I wasn’t sure if I heard right. “I do not have a pig with me,” I said. “So I am afraid you will have to collect your snout from someone else.”

“That’s not how it works, friend. We’ll collect the snout from you. From your own face, mind you. So stand still and be prepared to pay your toll. Or put up a fight if you wish.”

Monday, December 23, 2013

"even better than RD-D2 or 3CPO"

From Book Savant: Shades of Nero Wolfe – Julius Katz shares the famed Rex Stout detective’s love of good wine, good food and interesting women. Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Katz, has as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of whiz-bang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI. Famous Boston mystery writer, Kenneth Kingston, tells Julius he wants to find out who’s planning to kill him. The problem is almost everyone in Kingston’s life has good reason to want to kill him, and this case soon plunges Julius and Archie deep into the world of murder and publishing. If you enjoyed Nero, you will love Julius and Archie is even better than RD-D2 or 3CPO as an android partner. 8/12 Jack Quick

Buy JULIUS KATZ AND ARCHIE now! It's the next best thing to having your own Archie!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monster gets a new look

Here's the cool cover for the paperback version of Monster which should be in stores everywhere over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Countdown sales underway for THE DAME, BAD THOUGHTS and BLOOD CRIMES

Three very different style of crime fiction, all on sale now!

"The Dame reads like a Reader’s Digest Condensed Parker, with all of the elements that we know and love crammed into a scant 70 pages. There are the team assembled to do the job with weaker and stronger members, the execution of the heists, the crosses, and the violence. Zeltserman even plays around with point-of-view shifts similar to those in the Parker novels." The Violent World of Parker

 My crime heist novella, THE DAME, is on sale now for only $0.99

"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-winning author of THE LOCK ARTIST

"BAD THOUGHTS is one of those books that has been under the radar all year, yet deserves to be discovered by a wider audience" Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm.com

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

BAD THOUGHTS will be on sale for $2.99 for the next 2 and 1/2 days

"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

"Zeltserman, a noir author from deep in his bones, has always flirted with horror--his Caretaker of Lorne Field ranks as one of the best novels in that category back in 2010. Blood Crimes goes over the retaining wall and into the dark woods, throwing in delightful twists on reliable tropes... These aren't your sister's romantic vampires, to say the least." Harry Shannon

BLOOD CRIMES is on sale for the 2 and 1/2 days for $1.99

Monday, December 2, 2013

More on Bad Thoughts

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

"A compellingly clever wheels-within-wheels thriller, Zeltserman's new novel blends genres in a subtle mix that will appeal to both mystery and horror fans." Booklist on BAD THOUGHTS

Since I started my promotion on BAD THOUGHTS last Saturday, the book has sold well on Amazon and at one point made it asthe top best seller on Amazon for both horror and hardboiled mystery (last I checked it's been holding the #2 position in both categories), and I thought I'd write a little more about the book and how it came to be.

BAD THOUGHTS was my second novel, and I wrote this back in '96 (it was published by Five Star in 2007), and at the time I was dealing with the death of someone very close to me. One of the things I did to try to cope was take a workshop in inducing out of body experiences and experimenting fervently in the hope of being able to do this, another thing I did was write BAD THOUGHTS.

I'll say upfront that if you believe astral projection is pure hokum and are unable to suspend your disbelief in it, you're not going to like this book. Otherwise, though, there's a very good chance you'll find this an exciting and captivating thriller. It's very grim and brutal and very different from anything else I've written, even its sequel, BAD KARMA, and being my second book there are some parts in it that make me flinch now, but it also has the type of energy that you can only get in a first or second novel.  And as grim and violent as it is the ending moves like a bullet and should leave you cheering. Ultimately, the book is about surviving horrible stuff and being able to move on in your life.

The sale is still going on, and you can still grab this today for $0.99, or for $2.99 starting tomorrow for the second part of the countdown sale.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Two very different novels that merge horror & crime on sale now

I've written pure crime noir novels (Fast Lane, my 'man out of prison' noir trilogy, Outsourced) and pure horror novels (The Caretaker of Lorne Field, Monster), and also several novels than merge horror and crimes. Bad Thoughts and Blood Crimes, both on sale now, are very different examples of this.
Bad Thoughts was the second novel I wrote (after Fast Lane), and looks from the start like a police procedural, but drifts very much into horror. I've had more readers tell me this book has given them nightmares than any of my others. A kindle edition is on sale now for $0.99.

Blood Crimes was the 9th book I wrote (between Killer and A Killer's Essence) and is a very dark crime noir story merged with vampires. A good way to think of this book is Pulp Fiction with vampires. Here's how Jim Mcleod at Ginger House of Nuts described Blood Crimes:

"Dave has managed to meld the two genres of crime and horror into 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 masterpiece. If you like crime buy this book, if you like horror buy this book, if you like well written books, buy this book."

A kindle edition of Bloods is on sale now for $1.99.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Countdown sale underway for ONE ANGRY JULIUS

ONE ANGRY JULIUS & OTHER STORIES is on sale now for $1.99. This collection of 6 stories features the third story in the award-winning Julius Katz mystery series, One Angry Julius and Eleven Befuddled Jurors, as well as the Thriller Award nominated, A Hostage Situation, and the Best American Mystery Stories honorable nominee, Emma Sue.

Monday, November 11, 2013

More Than A Scam playing at CrimeCityCentral

My crime story inspired by those ubiquitous Nigerian email scams from a few years back, More Than a Scam, is the latest free podcast over at CrimeCityCentral (story introductions start at the 12 minute mark).  More Than a Scam received honorable mention in Best American Mystery Stories, and is one of the twenty-one stories in my 21 Tales collection.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Countdown sale underway for THE HUNTED

For the next 90 hours grab THE HUNTED for only $0.99!

"a damned fine piece of work" Ed Gorman, author of Stranglehold and Bad Moon Rising

"dark tour-de-force of non-stop action and tension" Vincent Zandri, author of The Innocent and The Remains

Also, ARCHIE SOLVES THE CASE is still on sale for $1.99 for the next 40 hours!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Horror Gems

I was happy to see The Caretaker of Lorne Field be included in this list of Horror Gems from the Library Journal.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Countdown sale underway for ARCHIE SOLVES THE CASE

A countdown sale is underway now for ARCHIE SOLVES THE CASE. For the next 3 days and roughly 7 hours, you can buy this collection of the latest Julius Katz novella and 4 additional short stories for $0.99. If you haven't yet discovered the award-winning Julius Katz mystery series, now's your opportunity to do so and discover why many mystery readers have made Julius Katz (and especially Archie!) one of their favorite detectives.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Boston Red Sox and my novels

So far the Red Sox have played a role in three of my books and have gotten direct mentions in four others and an indirect mention in another. What can I say, I'm a diehard Sox fan, and have been my whole life, and until 2004, I lived and died every year with the Sox like millions of other fans.

No amount of angst that the Sox gave us was worse than 1986. It was a minor miracle the Sox made it to the series that year. The Angels had the Sox beat. Up 5-2 in the 9th with two outs, they were about to beat the Sox in 5 games, but then Don Baylor hit a 2-run homerun, followed soon afterward by another 2-run shot by Henderson, and the Sox took an improbable 6-5 lead. Angels tied it up in the 9th, but a sac fly in the 11th by Henderson ended up being the game winner. The Angels then were toast, and the Sox won the next 2 games easily. And then in game 6 of the World Series, Sox broke a tie in the top the 10th, taking a 2-run lead. They had the World Series won. They had the Mets beat. Two outs, nobody on, they had the damned World Series won. Something was about to happen that we as Red Sox fans were told would never happen: the Sox were about to win a World Series. In our lifetime. And then the bottom fell out, just like it did for the Angels in the ALCS. Three straight singles, a wild pitch to tie the game, and a ball through Buckner's leg, and the game was lost, and like the Angels, the Sox were toast afterwards.

After '86 it seemed as if the Sox were truly cursed. Not by any sort of Curse of the Bambino, but by a curse of expectation. The weight of finally winning a World Series seemed to heavy for any team to handle. In '03, the Sox had the Yankees beat in the ALCS, until they didn't because Grady Little had to leave a fatigued Pedro Martinez in the game too long.

2004 was when everything changed. It took a group of players who labeled themselves 'the idiots' to finally deliver a World Series, but the drama of those playoffs were the ALCS. The Yankees had the Sox beat. They had the Sox down three games to none, and no major league baseball team had ever come back from that deficit. Yankees had a 4-3 lead in the 9th with the best closer to ever play the game, Mariano Rivera, on the mound. But a walk, a stolen base, and a single tied it up, and a 2-run homerun by Ortiz won it in the 11th. Sox ended up besting Rivera again in game 5 and winning in the 14th inning with an RBI single by Ortiz. Then game 6 was Curt Schilling's bloody sox game, and game 7 a blowout. The Sox then steamrolled the Cards in 4 straight. Every Sox fan felt both joy and an unbelievable relief with that World Series win. The weight of failure and disappointment was finally taken off the Sox. And to prove it they won again in '07.

Nothing can ever beat for a Sox fan the feeling of '04, but this World Series win was something special also. In '11 the Sox were supposed to be a 100-win team, until they fell apart in September. And then in '12 they were awful. Beyond awful. But to turn it around the way they did this year with all their come-from-behind wins, and Ortiz's grandslam in game 2 of the ALCS (when it looked like the Sox were dead in the water) was remarkable. When Koji Uehera struck out Carpenter to end the series, you just had to smile.

In my supernatural crime thriller, A Killer's Essence, I use the 2004 ALCS as a backdrop for most of the book, and I get to have a lot of fun by showing the Yankees losing from the point of view of a diehard Yankees fan. Here's what the Boston Globe had to say about that in their review:

"Dave Zeltserman has had to put himself in the shoes of any number of disreputable types in his estimable noir novels - hit men, out-of-control cops, old coots who think they’re saving the world by weeding a field. Now, in “A Killer’s Essence,’’ comes the ultimate in empathizing with the dark side. Zeltserman, who lives and dies with the Red Sox, creates a protagonist who - the horror - is a Yankees fan."

Anyone who wants to read a very unique supernatural crime thriller and at the same time relive the 2004 ALCS should look for this book!

The Shannon Novels is comprised of my two Bill Shannon novels, Bad Thoughts and Bad Karma, both originally published by Five Star. Baseball and the Red Sox play a fairly major role in my crime thriller, Bad Karma, with time spent during a Sox-Rockies game at Coors Field.

While the Sox don't make their way into the plot of Outsourced, Dan Wilson's son is a diehard Sox fan.

Sox get a mention in Pariah as Kyle Nevin's brother Danny laments about a missed opportunity.

"It took you getting sent off to prison for the Sox to finally win a World Series. Could you imagine if we were running books in New York when the Sox were down three nothing to the Yankees? We would’ve cleaned up. Nothing I like better than taking money off asshole Yankee fans."

Sox also get a small mention in Small Crimes. Patriots get a bigger mention.

The Sox get several mentions in Killer, as do the Bruins.

One of Willis's victims is a Sox fan.

Finally, Sox get an indirect mention in Caretaker. Jack Durkin, while watching the local New England baseball team in the Rusty Nail complains about some poor play by the local team which was taken directly from a Sox game I was watching earlier that night.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What sells ebooks

There's no question we had a gold rush period with ebooks where the market was immature and both indie/self-published and mid-list authors could do well by advertising in the right places and taking advantage of certain Amazon features. As people should've expected things have changed as the market has matured. What used to work no longer does, and sales are down across the board with both professional and self-published writers I talk to. So in this ever-changing climate, what can authors do now to sell ebooks?

From my own experience, observations, as well as conversations with a number of other authors (and with a focus geared towards amazon), here's what I've seen in the area of mysteries, crime, noir, horror and thrillers (I can't comment about other genres, although my gut is fantasy & sci-fi ebooks are following along these same lines, and romance is a completely separate beast):

Advertising: Early on in the ebook era, advertising in the right places, like Kindle Nation, Pixel of Ink, and EReaderNewsToday could generate a flood of ebook sales, but their effectiveness over time has worn off. Right now Bookbub probably generates the highest number of sales, but their ads are expensive. Last year and early this year, you had a good chance of making money with a Bookbub ad, but now most authors I know who've used them over the last 6 months haven't broken even, and with the changes in Amazon's algorithms, these ads have become a losing proposition.

Free promotions: For a short time after amazon started their KDP Select program, they rigged their algorithms so that authors could generate a huge number of sales by giving away free books. After about four months of this, amazon changed their algorithms to make this less effective, and have since made further changes, both with their affiliate program and with their algorithms to make these free giveaways virtually useless. Originally they needed the free giveaways to help push kindle sales, but once they dominated the ebook reader market they needed to stop these free giveaways to keep ebook prices from moving to $0, and in effect, they've removed any value from authors now doing this. As far as free giveaways leading to future book sales by winning over new readers, forget it. Stephen Colbert recently joked on Colbert Nation how the kindle is a great device for storing 1000s of books that he'll never read, and kindle readers grabbing free ebooks are mostly hoarding 1000s of ebooks that they'll never look at.

Online book reviews: Web reviews seldom sell more than a couple of books--print or ebook the same.

Newspaper reviews: I've never been reviewed by the NY Times, so I can't comment on their effectiveness, but I have been reviewed very positively in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Orlando Sentinel, Newsdays, as well as others, both here and in the UK, Italy, Germany and France, and even rave reviews seldom sell more than a few hundred print books, and very few ebooks. The one place where I've been reviewed that does sell a lot of books is NPR.

While newspaper reviews might not sell a lot of books, one thing that they're very effective at is getting Hollywood to notice you.

Web short stories: I've never seen anything more than a small uptick in ebook sales from this.

Magazine & anthology short stories: I've gotten relatively small upticks in my Julius Katz ebook sales whenever Ellery Queen publishes a new Julius Katz story, but never more than 50 sales. I've gotten smaller upticks when I appear in print anthologies.

Social media: Social media might've worked early on in selling ebooks, but with 10s of thousands of authors doing it, it has long ago reached a saturation point and has no effectiveness anymore in selling ebooks, although it can still have a positive value in making more readers aware of you.

Killer cover: There was a time when a certain author was proselytizing that all self-published authors needed to be successful was a good cover and a good book description. Like any other snake oil, this sounded too good to be true, didn't it? Well, I doubt this was ever true--I think there were other factors on how Amazon could be gamed that contributed to early success of some self-published/indie writers, but to set the record straight, while an unprofessional cover might hurt you, a killer cover isn't going to sell anything.

Membership in a group to jointly market ebooks: I started Top Suspense with Ed Gorman and Harry Shannon because we thought that if we provided readers with a safe place to find high quality mysteries, thrillers, horror ebooks readers would gravitate to us. So how has that worked out? I think it has helped somewhat, but not as much as I expected. Where the greatest value with this group has been is to be part of a group of fellow pro writers for sharing information and ideas. From what I can tell, other groups that formed after Top Suspense have also had limited success.

Amazon: Bingo! Other than being a bestselling author, having Amazon promote you is the only clear way to sell ebooks now. Amazon has proven to be incredibly powerful in pushing ebooks--originally with ebooks that were triggered by their algorithms, and now the books that they're publishing and choosing to get behind.  They've proven over and over again that they can sell 10s of thousands of copies through their direct marketing and recommendations.

Given all this, and given how unlikely it's going to be moving forward for a self-published/indie author to get Amazon behind them, it seems most likely that the vast majority of self-published/indie ebooks are never going to recoup their production costs (covers, proofing, formatting, etc.). So what should new authors and midlist authors do moving forward?

Face facts. The gold rush period is long over. More and more ebook sales are going to either writers Amazon's promoting or to bestsellers. If you're a midlist author, try to stick with traditional publishing, and if you bring back your backlist as ebooks, try to either contain costs, or go with someone like Crossroad Press who is able to make deals with B&N to feature their books. If you're a newer writer who is serious about having a writing career, keep working toward being published traditionally. It's your best chance of gaining real readers and establishing a career.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

French cover for Outsourced

Rivages cover for Outsourced. 'Trouver La Faille' translates to 'a flaw in the system'

Saturday, October 5, 2013

MIND PRISON available now

I've made my short story, MIND PRISON, which was originally published in Crime Factory First Shift, available as a $0.99 kindle ebook.

As a teenager I read a lot of science fiction, with Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Robert Silverberg being my favorite writers. For some reason I'm not quite sure of I've never written much science fiction unless you consider my Julius Katz works science fiction also, which I guess is possible. Before MIND PRISON, the only science fiction story I wrote was ALMOST HUMAN, which like MIND PRISON, is also a heavy mix of noir and science fiction. While I can't guarantee MIND PRISON will surprise you, I'm pretty sure it will

Praise for MIND PRISON:

"MIND PRISON is a dandy tale of hubris and horror that both Philip K. Dick and O. Henry would heartily endorse." Lee Goldberg, author of THE HEIST and THE WALK

"MIND PRISON is a mix of science fiction and noir as diverting as it is surprising." Max Allan Collins, author of ROAD TO PERDITION

"A taut, dark, searing science fiction story filled with noir atmospherics--greed, sexual betrayal, murder--that evokes the best of Philip K. Dick's grim near future." Ed Gorman, author of CAGE OF NIGHT and FLASHPOINT

"MIND PRISON features a novel and Orwellian solution to the problem of overcrowding in American prisons." Publishers Weekly

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Julius Katz gets a facelift!

I decided it was time to give my Julius Katz ebooks new covers. Archie (bless him!) used one of the outdoor webcams to send me a photo of Julius's Beacon Hill townhouse which I used in each of the new covers. What do folks thinks?

These kindle books in the Julius Katz detective series can be purchased here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why I wrote MONSTER

Sometimes an idea will pop into your head that just won't leave you alone. That's what happened to me when I had the idea of writing a retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein where everything a dying Victor Frankenstein told Captain Walton aboard the icebound ship was a lie to protect his reputation, and the monster now gets to tell the real story. A year later this idea continued to nag at me, and after another year of reading about thirty books for research this idea had turned into a story that I wanted to write. In my version, Victor Frankenstein would be in league with the Marquis de Sade to bring hell to earth, and the monster remain a tragic, albeit heroic, figure. Thematically the book would be about the corrosive quality of vengeance, as well as a repudiation of de Sade's central theme of man being little more than a base animal. While I knew there were many readers who consider Shelley's great novel a sacred tome and would look at any retelling as blasphemy, at this point this was a novel that was burning too deeply inside and was one I had to write.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

You want to listen to some Pariah?

Amazon has added a cool new feature where they've tied audio samples onto their book pages. So if you want to listen to a Pariah sample, click the listen button under the book cover.

And you can do the same with Small Crimes

Monday, August 19, 2013

New interview

Ed Gorman (one of the most talented and nicest guys in the business) profiles me on his blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three very different types of horror

"Superb mix of humor and horror" Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"a very darkly funny dark fantasy" Locus Magazine

The Caretaker of Lorne Field was a Black Quill nominee for best book of the year, and was shortlisted by the American Library Association for best horror novel of the year and later selected by them as one of four modern horror novels that librarians should be recommending. The Caretaker of Lorne Field is quiet horror. The current caretaker believes in his heart that he's saving the world each day by weeding a field of monsters. Others in his town think he's nuts. Is this a story of monumental sacrifice or growing madness?

There was no movement among the Aukowies. When they were that small they played possum and tried to act as if they were nothing but weeds. Most people looking at them would think they were nothing but an odd little weed. But Jack Durkin knew differently. If he squinted right, he could make out their evil little faces in their offshoots, and he knew those little pincers were more than thorns. He’d watch them wait until there was a wind, then pretend they were swaying in it, all the while really trying to wiggle themselves further out of the ground. They were clever little suckers, Jack Durkin had to give them that. Once they got to two feet in height, they wouldn’t bother with their act. At that size they’d be whipping about as if they were caught in hurricane gales, not giving a damn about keeping up their masquerade. Jack Durkin never let one grow that high, but he’d heard stories from his pa about it. According to his pa it took hours to subdue several of them that had gotten to that height, having to first throw boulders on top of them to pin them down.

According to the book of Aukowies eight days would be all one needed to mature and break free from the ground. One mature Aukowie would wreak havoc, a field of them would ravage the world in a matter of weeks.

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

"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

Monster was selected by WBUR (NPR Boston) as one of the best books of 2012, and was recently picked by Booklist Magazine as one of the top 10 horror novels of the last 12 months. Monster is gothic horror. What if everything a dying Victor Frankenstein told Captain Walton aboard his ship were outrageous lies to protect his name? What if the true story had Frankenstein and the Marquis de Sade in league to create their own version of Hell? And now after 200 years the monster gets to tell the true and horrible story of Victor Frankenstein?
An animal instinct woke me. The sun had barely appeared in the horizon and a gray haziness filled the air. Moving stealthily towards me was a member of the clergy, and he carried a pitchfork as if his plans were to run me through. He was less than five feet from me, and as I was startled awake by his approach, he jumped backwards, his large craggy face waxen in the faint early morning light, his mouth opened to form a rigid circle.

“You are lying on hallowed grounds, daemon!” he swore at me, his eyes wide as they reflected a mix of fear and self-righteousness. “Do not blasphemy this area any further with your presence. Begone!”

“And what makes you so certain that I am a daemon?” I asked.

“Your hideousness marks you as such!”

My hood had fallen off my head during my sleep exposing the full grotesqueness of my appearance. But I was not about to be chased away by this man.

“You do not know the goodness in my heart,” I said. “Now leave me so that I may grieve alone.”

He spotted the flowers then that I had placed by Johanna’s grave, and his eyes took on a wicked look as his chest swelled with piety and a false bravery.

“One can only wonder at the evil nature of the witch that has been buried in this grave to attract a daemonic creature such as yourself. She will need to be dug up from these sacred grounds and her body burned. Now begone!”

He moved forward as if to stick me with his pitchfork. I grabbed it from him with the same quickness that I had displayed during my battle with the wolves. I rose to my full height so that I towered above him and only then did I snap the pitchfork in half and toss the pieces to the ground. The priest stood in front of me trembling, fear striking him so greatly that he couldn’t speak or move.

"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.

"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 Dust Devils and Mixed Blood

Blood Crimes is a mix of horror, noir and dark urban fantasy. Jim and Carol  carve a homicidal path cross-country. Jim is infected with the vampire virus. Carol isn't. Yet. But they're united in their hunt for society's most dangerous predators for Jim's dinner -- so he can feed without harming the innocent. What they don't know is that they're not alone. There are others on their trail, and the climax of BLOOD CRIMES is a shocking jolt of pure mayhem and rock 'n roll violence.

Vanessa was taking a pint from one of the livestock. She nodded at Metcalf as he approached, he nodded back. She had been a prostitute before he infected her. Originally he had picked her up to be a replacement for one of the dead livestock, but he liked the way she looked—long red hair that fell halfway down her back, sultry lips, almond-shaped green eyes and a thin waist with near perfect legs. Her breasts were smaller than what he typically liked—no bigger than what would fit in a champagne glass, but they had a perky quality to them so he decided to overlook that flaw, and besides, the infection would shrink them anyway. The infection had since bleached out her hair and had shrunk her tits to the size of small apples, but she dyed her hair the same reddish color as before and even with the changes to her body that the infection caused, he still liked the way she looked. There was something else about her that he found himself instantly attracted to. It took him a while to figure out what it was, but he eventually understood it. In her own way she was as ruthless as he was, even reminding him a bit of Serena, although she wasn’t nearly as cunning or as crazy. Since the other vampires were complaining about how overworked they were—and because of his immediate attraction to her—he infected her and added her to the staff. He was glad he did. Unlike the others, she accepted her situation and never showed any self-pity. As far as her competency, well, she never really developed a touch for drawing blood and was rough with the livestock, but it didn’t much matter. She’d get a pint out of them regardless of how many times she had to poke them searching for a vein. And it was not as if any of them were going to complain. All in all, Metcalf was glad he chose to infect her instead of making her one of the livestock.