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

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.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

MONSTER makes Booklist's 2013 Best Horror Novels

I'm very happy to see Monster make Booklist's 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction and be included in such fine company.