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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Three Very Different Books in 2014

In 2014, I released 3 very different books, one through a traditional publisher, one through a kickstarter effort, and one that was a compilation of previously published Julius Katz mysteries (with a new novella added for good measure).

The Interloper was my kickstarter project. Earlier I had written two ultra-hardboiled novellas, The Hunted and The Dame, that were a mix of government conspiracy and Richard Stark-like crime heists. and readers, especially Richard Stark fans, seemed to like them, so I decided to write a third one, The Interloper (with this one more the size of a Gold Medal-type novel) and then tie all them together as a single novel.

The Boy Who Killed Demons is my 4th novel published by Overlook Press, and this one is somewhere between horror and fantasy. Written as a journal by a 15 year-old kid who decides he needs to save the world from demons, this book is lighter and with more sarcastic humor than my other books. It's also written for both new adult readers (16 and up) and adults.

I previously had my Julius Katz stories divided up among different ebooks, but with two more stories published earlier in 2014 by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, I decided to clean this up and put all 6 of them in one collection, while also writing a brand new Julius Katz novella for it. These are charming, lighthearted mysteries, although with a hardboiled edge, featuring my brilliant and very eccentric Boston detective, Julius Katz, and his erstwhile sidekick, Archie. So far these stories have won a Shamus, Derringer, and 2 Ellery Queen Readers Choice awards, and more stories will be coming soon in Ellery Queen.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thanks Wolfe Pack!

I'd like to thank the Wolfe Pack for their endorsement of The Julius Katz Collection!

"A brilliant, eccentric detective who loves food with an assistant named Archie. Sound familiar? It should, and it's obviously intentional. There are other similarities to Rex Stout's Nero Wolf series in these stories, including a masterful writing style...."

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Killer Review From The Past

With PulpMaster releasing Killer in Germany, I thought I'd bring back Ed Siegel's review of Killer which ran in the Boston Globe:

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. In fact, there's more than a passing resemblance to Thompson's classic, "The Killer Inside Me."

Even Thompson might be taken aback, though, by the matter-of-factness with which Zeltserman gets inside the head of Leonard March, just released from jail 14 years after cutting a deal to turn state's evidence on a Mafia boss who assigned him a couple dozen hits. It isn't until after the DA grants him immunity, though, that the full scope of the March madness comes out.

As the story picks up, in Waltham of all places, March is trying to go straight. He's working a menial janitorial job, trying unsuccessfully to forge a relationship with his children while grieving about his wife's death, and making a virtue of his working-class lifestyle. He's even more sympathetic than the protagonists of Zeltserman's previous ex-con books, "Small Crimes" and "Pariah." He can't even bring himself to kill the mouse that's scurrying around his apartment.

The problem is that nobody else intends to let him get away with mass murder. Not the hoods. Not the media. Not the public. And certainly not the beautiful woman who wants to write the 62-year-old's biography.

And what about you, dear reader? Are you going to let March get away with it or fall prey to Zeltserman's seductive story? It isn't so much that the Needham writer elicits sympathy, though he certainly does. March prevents the robbery of a liquor store and a possible homicide or two. He stands up to a macho abuser. We don't forgive him for past sins, but he seems to loathe himself more than we do. The affect is similar to Mickey Rourke's in "The Wrestler" a world-weariness that still holds the possibility of redemption.

This is only part of what's going on, though. The point isn't to elicit sympathy, but to get inside the mind of a murderer, to see the world as he sees it. A life of crime seemed to be the logical career move for a half-Jewish kid in a Catholic neighborhood who was better with his fists than his schoolwork. Add an unhealthy dose of amorality, a sprinkle of psychopathology, and voila.

Even that doesn't really address what makes "Killer" seem so, sorry, dead-on. More than in his previous books, Zeltserman makes a virtue out of the spareness of his writing. Other noir writers try to emulate the purpleness of Raymond Chandler's prose or the toughness of any number of crime writers. Zeltserman is content to let the narrative flow uninterrupted. As the story shifts from present to past, the precision of March's observations, even when he's fooling himself, drives the action on a steady path without a hint of cliche or sentimentality.

Zeltserman could be even more precise. When March reads a book or goes to a movie, why not tell us what they are? Maybe Zeltserman's saying that it doesn't matter; they're only ways for March to kill time. Still, I sometimes wish his characters would stop and smell the cordite.

That's a minor cavil, though. It might be considered something of a guilty pleasure to walk on the wild side with Zeltserman's killers. But there's no need to think of the pleasure as guilty anymore than the characters think of themselves as guilty. Their days at the office are bloodier than ours, but sometimes that's the only difference. That we neither celebrate nor condemn March is the unsolved mystery of the book and what gives "Killer" its special kick.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Killer in Germany

Thanks to PulpMaster, Leonard March and KILLER are now rampaging through Germany.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 Reasons to get The Julius Katz Collection

10 reasons why you should want to get this 7-story, 350 page collection of Julius Katz detective stories:

1) Shamus and Derringer award-winning 'Julius Katz'

2) Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award-winner 'Archie's Been Framed'

3) Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award-winner 'Archie Solves the Case'

4) Never before published novella 'Julius Katz and the Case of a Sliced Ham'

5) From Publisher's Weekly review of the best mystery stories of the year anthology, 'The Interrogator and Other Criminally Good Fiction": 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.”

6) "I love these stories" Timothy Hallinan, the author of The Queen of Patpong

7)  "Julius Katz mysteries are some of the most fun you will ever have reading detective short fiction" David Cramner

8)  "It's a nifty change-of-pace for the usually hard-boiled Dave Zeltserman. Clever, sophisticated and witty." Paul Levine, author of Flesh & Bones

9)  "I'm a big fan, along with many other people, of Dave Zeltserman's character Julius Katz." Ed Gorman

10)  "I think that Zeltserman’s done something really clever here. He’s taken a well-trodden path and then gone on a major and rather original detour." Nigel Bird

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Julius Katz Collection Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Julius Katz Collection by Dave Zeltserman

The Julius Katz Collection

by Dave Zeltserman

Giveaway ends December 10, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win