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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sure Bets + On the air later today

The American Library Association recently listed the following 'sure bets' in these genres

ADRENALINE (Adventure, Suspense, Thrillers)
Josh Bazell.Beat the Reaper.
Justin Cronin.The Passage.
Gillian Flynn.Gone Girl
Gregg Hurwitz.Trust No One.

Gail Carriger.Soulless.
Lev Grossman.The Magicians
Erin Morgenstern.The Night Circus.
Patrick Rothfuss.The Name of the Wind.

Sarah Blake.The Postmistress
Paula McLain.The Paris Wife
Madeline Miller.The Song of Achilles
Julie Orringer.The Invisible Bridge.

Joe Hill.Heart-shaped Box.
Michael Koryta.The Ridge.
Adam Nevill.Last Days.
Dave Zeltserman.The Caretaker of Lorne Field

S.J. Bolton.Now You See Me.
Alan Bradley.The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Lyndsay Faye.The Gods of Gotham.
Jo Nesbø .The Snowman.

Also at 2 pm EST today I'll be talking with Pam Stack about my mysteries and my  crime and horror novels. I hope folks can tune in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Killer Confession

The idea for Killer was inspired by hitman John Martorano killing 19 people and being able to strike a deal for a ridiculously lenient 14 year sentence in exchange for testifying against Whitey Bulger. While that was the inspiration for Killer, I purposely didn't research Martorano for several reasons, including that I didn't think it would lead to the type of book I wanted to write (I wanted my hitman Leonard March to have significantly more depth to him than little I had read about Martorano) and I didn't think it would be respectful to his victims. So instead from that initial seed of inspiration a fully fictional story was born. What strikes me now when I read Martorano's testimony in the Whitey Bulger trial is how similar Martorano's crimes were to the ones committed by my fictional Leonard March.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some recent Monster love

Recently said about Monster:
"Gripping, evocative, horrific, and even poignant." -- author Tom Piccirilli

"In this enjoyable horror, Zeltserman twists the original by Mary Shelley around, and instead posits the doctor Frankenstein as the mad murderer, and the 'monster' as his unfortunate victim, Friedrich Hoffmann. Structured as a chase, the novel has the necessary pace and tension, but it also takes time to depict a Sadeian world." The Herald Scotland

"Think of what makes for a happy day: pleasurable immersion in the moment and coiled anticipation of what is to come.  That’s how you feel reading this novel.  Dave Zeltserman is a monster storyteller." Jildy Sauce


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Shannon Novels --- On Sale

The Shannon Novels is on sale now for $2.99. This is a collection of my two Bill Shannon novels originally published by Five Star, BAD THOUGHTS and BAD KARMA.

"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

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

"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 Booknews

"Detective Bill Shannon is back and a welcome return it is." Booklist, Elliot Swanson

"top-notch P.I. reading" Bookgasm

Monday, June 10, 2013

If you like your noir uncompromising

What readers have been saying about my man out of prison noir trilogy (read here what the critics have been saying):

"Zeltserman's writing is brave and innovative and a sheer pleasure to read. "

"A delirious ride into the abyss that lurks inside all human beings and only a few brave authors dare set free. True noir."

"Everything I Love About Crime Fiction"

"What can I say about Small Crimes. This book was, beyond a doubt, absolutely brilliant."

"The book gets credit for being unafraid to show us a bad guy, no redeeming features, and play it out."

"Zeltserman is hands down an amazing writer. He accomplishes a fairly difficult feat by creating a protagonist you are both rooting for and at the same time are unsure whether or not to like."

"I am a huge fan of Zeltserman's work--THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD was probably my favorite read of the year--but I was warned that PARIAH was much grittier, hard-boiled, and noir. I suppose it is, in its satirical and purposeful look at some of the elements of society that may bring about its downfall (not to overstate the point). But Zeltserman's prose styling, and sharp insights, make it rise above the usual noir novel, which I might put down. His work reminds me of Gillian White's, and Andrew Klavan at his best--think: THE EMPIRE OF LIES--and although PARIAH may leave you weary and shaken, it will also leave you understanding more about how we got here, which is the most I think we can ask of a book."

"Reading Dave Zeltserman's PARIAH was a slam to the side of the head with a sledgehammer, and that's a good thing if you enjoy digging into the mechanizations of the criminal mind."

"Kyle Nevin [PARIAH] is one of the fiercest characters I've read in a long time. If you like your crime hardcore, this is the book for you!"

"Richard Stark's anti hero Parker, may be the most well known and popular ruthless villain in hard crime fiction, but Zeltserman's Nevin, he'd give Parker nightmares."

"Dave Zeltserman is the Jim Thompson of the twenty-first century. It's clear from the first chapter of PARIAH that Kyle Nevin is a dark and disturbed character, but the extent of his psychosis isn't clear until you're deeply into the novel. Just when you think he can't get any worse, he does. It's a fascinating, shocking read, as well as an incisive commentary on our celebrity-obsessed culture."

"this is classic noir at its bleakest level."

"The dark joy of these novels, however, is that they never quite go where you think they will."


"What truly drove the narrative of Killer for me, though, was the humanness of March. He appears so frail, so out of sorts and institutionalized, as if he's simply traded one type of prison for another once he's left jail. Of course, the honesty of the narrative and it's protagonist is brought into question once you reach the end of this incredibly satisfying, fast paced novel."

"KILLER is simply bad ass."

"I loved this book [KILLER] from the first page until the very end."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

If you like your noir pure and unadulterated

What the critics have said about my man out of prison noir trilogy:

"The plot of Small Crimes ricochets out from this claustrophobic opening, and it's a thing of sordid beauty." Maureen Corrigan on Small Crimes, NPR's top 5 crime and mystery novels of 2008

"Zeltserman's breakthrough third crime novel [Small Crimes] deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy" Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"spare but ingeniously twisted and imbued with a glossy coating of black humor." Washington Post picking Small Crimes as one of the Best Books of 2008

"Denton is one of the best realised characters I have read in this genre, and the powerfully noir-ish, uncompromising plot, which truly keeps one guessing from page to page, culminates with a genuinely astonishing finale." --David Connett, Sunday Express

"ultra-noir, funny, and shocking by turns" Barnes & Noble

"Small Crimes proves a deft entry in the tradition that goes back to Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice and Charles Willeford’s High Priest of California — small masterpieces celebrating the psychopath as a grinning archetype, as American as apple pie." Sun-Sentinel

"as nasty and clever as noir can get" NPR

"If there's any other young writer out there who does crime noir better than Zeltserman, I don't even want to know." Washington Post picking Pariah as one of the Best Books of 2009

"Darkly enjoyable... clear, crisp prose; his fearless portrait of amorality; and his smart plotting... what a fine addition to the local literary scene he’s become." Boston Globe

"Pariah is a terrific blast" Metro (UK)

"I just finished reading Dave's new novel Pariah. It is one of the most crazed, hilarious, bitter, brutal novels this side of those composed on violent wards." Ed Gorman


"Spare prose and assured pacing place this [Killer] above most other contemporary noirs." Publisher's Weekly

"With graphic imagery and exciting twists, this novel [Killer] is impossible to put down and has a surprising ending. A brilliant read." Aberdeen Press & Journal

"Dave Zeltserman is at it again writing about ex-con antiheroes with the kind of panache that would make Jim Thompson, king of the psycho killer novels, proud." Boston Globe

"Written in a spare, terse style, and with chapters alternating between past and present, we slowly learn more about March. But even then the closing chapters present a devastating twist and shocking conclusion." Sunday Tribune

"This novel [Killer] is everything hard-boiled fiction should be - compact, direct and disciplined, and concerned with humans rather than stereotypes. It is also, for all its violent subject matter, a quietly told story, which makes its tension all the more intense" Mat Coward, Morning Star

"Dave Zeltserman's Killer is simply one of the best crime novels I've read. Not in a long time, not in ages, not this year, but ever." Juri Nummelin, Pulpetti

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What motivates Julius Katz to solve his cases?

Many readers think at first that Julius Katz is simply a pastiche of Nero Wolfe. Well, given Julius's name, as well as the name of his sidekick, and a few of Julius's personality traits, as well as his love of gourmet food and his overall laziness, I'll admit to a tip of a cap to one of favorite detective series and writers, but Katz is a very different animal than Wolfe. While Archie has the heart and soul of a hardboiled PI (even though he's only a tiny computer device), Julius shares more than a little DNA with my con man Pete Mitchel from my first Ellery Queen story, Money Run. Call them second cousins on Julius's father's side. So what motivates Julius to solve his murder cases?

In the Shamus and Derringer award-winning 'Julius Katz', Julius is hired by a woman whose mother has Alzheimer's. She's afraid that her brother, who has power of attorney over their mother, is more concerned with preserving her mother's money for a future inheritance than seeing that the woman is properly taken care of. When Julius's client is murdered, he solves the murderso that he can fulfill his initial obligations and earn his fee.

In the Ellery Queens Reader's Choice Award winner, 'Archie's Been Framed', Julius finds himself inconvenienced when Archie becomes the prime and only suspect for the murder of a woman he'd been dating, and so Julius reluctantly jumps in to clear his assistance's name and the inconvenience that Archie's fugitive status is causing him.

In the novel, 'Julius Katz and Archie', when Julius's client is murdered he feels no need to find the murderer since as far as he's concerned this is a police matter and he has no further obligations to his dead client. When an attempt is later made on Julius's life, nothing is going to keep him from being the one to send the murderer away.

In 'One Angry Julius and Eleven Befuddled Jurors', an increasingly peevish Julius is serving on a sequestered murder trial and is at risk of missing a once-in-a-lifetime gourmet dinner, and so Julius takes over.

In 'Archie Solves the Case',  when Julius's client is accused of murdering a rival chef over a stolen recipe, Julius takes on the case so he doesn't lose his favorite dish. But he has an another motivation that's revealed at the end. Of course, it can be debated which of them--Julius or Archie--really solves the case!