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.