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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

BLOOD CRIMES for $0.99

I've got my ultra-noir crime/horror novel BLOOD CRIMES on sale for $0.99 until Jan. 4th.

“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

“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

Read a short excerpt here.


Friday, December 22, 2017

A taste of Blood Crimes

“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

“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

BLOOD CRIMES is a genre-bending collision of horror, dark urban fantasy and crime that rides shot-gun with Jim and Carol as they 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.

A short taste:

After her first few weeks together with Jim, he bought her a lady’s handgun, a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver. It was funny that it was considered a lady’s handgun since it still had enough firepower to stop a two hundred and fifty pound NFL linebacker in his tracks. It wasn’t pink, and it didn’t have little hearts decorating it, but Carol figured it was because the gun could fit in her purse and only weighed twenty ounces. Whenever she helped Jim lure a predator to feed on, he always insisted that she bring her gun along in case he lost track of her. She now had the gun laying on the bed and stared transfixed at it for what seemed like an eternity, all the while an evangelical preacher from the TV rambled on about how Jesus suffered each day for their sins and if the good people listening could only dig deep into their hearts, and even deeper into their wallets, the Lord’s pain could be eased. A hardness froze Carol’s face. Earlier she had cracked open the cylinder and dumped the bullets onto the bed sheet.

Almost from the beginning she’d been wanting Jim to infect her so they could go through this together. Wasn’t that what true love was all about—to share everything each other went through, the good and the bad? He refused to, though, saying that their life together always on the move was difficult enough; that at least if Carol were uninfected she’d be able to drive during the day and run the other errands they needed. She didn’t buy his explanation. They could move from city to city just as easily at night. She knew he was trying to protect her from what he was going through, but as far she was concerned, that wasn’t good enough. She wanted him to share his pain with her. If they were really each other’s soul mates, there shouldn’t be anything between them.

She picked up the revolver. For something that only weighed twenty ounces, it felt heavy in her hand. She slid a bullet into one of the chambers, then spun the cylinder.

If Jim came back and found her dying, he would have to infect her to save her life. No matter all the things that he’d said to the contrary, he would have to save her.

Carol, he’d tell her in that tired voice of his he’d fall into whenever they had this argument, you don’t know what you’re asking me. This is not something I could ever let you go through. Fuck, I can’t think of a worse curse to wish on anyone, let alone something that I would ever inflict on someone I loved with all my heart. Please, let it drop, it’s never going to happen.

Bullshit. If he really loved her as much as he claimed he did, how could he ever let her leave him?

She pushed the muzzle of the gun against her belly, felt the coldness of the steel. There were five chambers. Four empty, one with a .38 caliber bullet. A twenty percent chance. Her muscles tensed as she squeezed the trigger. An empty click, nothing else.

Oh, fuck.

She almost vomited the shots of tequila and greasy burger and fries from before. Somehow she kept it all down.

If he really loved her he would save her. No matter what else, he would have to save her. If the situation were reversed, she wouldn’t think twice. She spun the cylinder again, hearing the metallic clicks. Again, she pushed the muzzle hard against her bare belly. The preacher was rambling on about how Christ loved all of them. She started laughing. It sounded like something that could’ve been coming out of a wounded animal.

Christ loved her, huh? What about Jim? Did he love her enough? Could he let her die?

Her face hardened with resolve. If he could then she didn’t want to fucking live.

Calmly, her hand steady, she squeezed the trigger. Another empty click. This time, though, everything in her stomach came rushing up, and she made a dash for the bathroom. It all came out quickly, easily. Minutes afterwards, her stomach empty and swollen, she gargled with mouthwash, then stood at the bathroom sink splashing cold water over her face. She avoided looking at her reflection in the mirror. She didn’t want to see what she looked like, but could imagine her eyes rimmed with red and her skin waxy and unnaturally pale. Headlights from outside flashed through the room, then died. Carol grabbed one of the threadbare towels from a rusted metal bar and wiped her face dry. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and broke out giggling at how drawn and tired she looked. She was out of the bathroom and still giggling when Jim opened the motel room door. Their eyes locked for a moment, then she stumbled forward and buried her face in his chest and held him as tight as she could and tried to hide that she was now sobbing.

He put an arm around her thin shoulders and ran a hand through her hair.

“Are you crying or laughing?” he asked in a soft whisper.

“A little of both. Oh fuck, I’m glad you’re back.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Piano Man by Bill Crider

I was just the piano man. Nobody ever paid any attention to me. My job was to play while the customers gambled and whored and drank. I never said much, but I'd watch and I'd listen. That's what I was doing the night a man named Morgan bet his daughter on a poker hand.

Back in 2006 when Ed Gorman and I were putting out the Western noir issue of Hardluck Stories, Bill Crider gave us a gem of story titled Piano Man. Later, we published this and others in the  anthology On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir, and Piano Man has since been published as an ebook, this time by Brash Books.

The piano man from the story's title is a nameless piano player at the Bad Dog Saloon circa 1880. He's someone who blends into the background, hardly ever noticed, and plays whatever music the saloon needs at that time--Rock of Ages for a man's funeral song when he thinks that man is about to be killed, Oh, Susannah to get the room in a more festive room, etc.

The piano man watches as Morgan bets and loses his daughter in a hand of poker to the crippled and ruthless saloon owner, a man named Taber. He feels bad for this girl--a blonde, angelic-faced fifteen year-old, and he imagines the horrors she must endure at the hands of Taber. He watches Morgan's pathetic attempts to return to the saloon several times in order to rescue his daughter, each attempt ending with Taber's bouncer brutally beating the man.

The piano man's room is directly above Taber's, and every night he has to hear Taber defiling this poor girl. Does he want to rescue this girl himself? Or is he secretly jealous that he's not the one doing these things to the girl?

An event occurs that gives the piano man a chance to step out of the shadows, and as with my favorite noir, it's his self-deception and off kilter rationalizations that ultimately doom him. This is a soulful, moody slice of noir that packs a wallop, and it was an honor to be able to publish this, just as it has been an honor to have known Bill for a good number of years. It's no secret that Bill has entered hospice care, and that news broke many hearts in the mystery community, mine included. Not only is Bill a hell of a writer, but he's one of the most decent and nicest people I've known, and he's been incredibly generous to me over the years, as I know he's been with many others. I consider Bill a good friend, and as difficult as his situation is, I know if there's one person who can handle it with dignity and grace it's Bill.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chapter One: Murder Club

Murder Club is a crime noir novel that will be published in Germany with the title Everything Ends Here. I thought I'd give people a taste of this one and I've put the first chapter up on my website here.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

CRAZED Excerpt

He brought the steak knife and fork he had used to the bathroom so he could wash them—again, he didn’t want to leave any DNA or fingerprints behind. When he was done he brought them over to Claire, and sat down on the bed next to her. Her face had become wet with tears, and she pleaded with him with her eyes. He knew what she’d be begging him to do if he hadn’t gagged her. Take my money, but please don’t hurt me. Pathetic in a way, because of course he was also going to be taking her money afterwards.
“The coin came up heads,” he explained to her. “If it had been tails, you’d be alive tomorrow.”
She tried once more to scream, but only a low muffled noise escaped her gag, certainly nothing anyone in the hallway or a neighboring room would’ve been able to hear. As he watched her, he could see the terror within her becoming something palpable. It wasn’t just because she was afraid of what he was going to do to her, but because she could see that the beast that had been dormant for so many months had finally arisen within him.
For a long moment Griffin sat still and admired the long, willowy canvas that he had to work with. When her terror made her try screaming again, he didn’t bother to hush her, and instead went to work, using the fork and steak knife on her. The beast could be patient and meticulous, though, and as he had promised, he took his time. After all, even though the beast had been let loose, keeping his promise was still the gentlemanly thing to do.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cover reveal: German edition of Murder Club

 The brilliant cover for the German edition of Murder Club, with the title 'Everything Ends Here'. This is easily my best crime noir novel, and hopefully if/after Outsourced gets made (which is looking highly likely--more later on that) this will find a US publisher. I showed this book (the English version, not the German translation!) to my fellow crime writer and traveler into dark realms, Roger Smith, Roger's thoughts: "A great book. Dark and insidious. Gets the nerves on edge." I also showed it to an editor at Little Brown, who told me it was the best crime novel he's read in 5 years, and was excited about buying it until he talked to his boss. In the meantime, anyone who wants to read this--learn German!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Small Crimes picked again as a top crime novel in Germany

When Small Crimes was published in 2008, it received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly ("deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy"), was picked by the Washington Post as one of the best books of the year, and topped NPR's list of best mystery and crime novels of the year. In Italy, it was voted 3rd in their 2010 Bloody Mary award for best crime novel, and now that it has been published in Germany, it was selected by their crime fictions as one of the best 10 crimes in Germany for November and December. If you haven't read Small Crimes yet, isn't it about time you do? Or you can always see the recent Netflix movie based on the book that stars everybody's top 2 Lannisters (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


That author's name on the cover, Jacob Stone? It's a pseudonym. I'm writing these. When I started this thriller series for Kensington, they wanted a different name for marketing purposes to differentiate this series from my other books. But these thrillers have the same twisty plots and darkness as my crime novels, with some of the humor from my Julius Katz stories. And I have to think my bull terrier Parker is as endearing a character as Archie from those Julius Katz stories. 

Originally I was going to make what became my third Morris Brick thriller, MALICIOUS, my follow-up to DERANGED, which is why DERANGED has the epilog that it does. But after the conclusion of DERANGED, which finds Sheila Proops not only alive but free, I decided I needed to bring her back, and so CRAZED was born.

The serial killer in CRAZED, Griffin Bolling, is quite a piece of work, to the say the least. At the beginning of the book, he decides he’s going to make Sheila one of his victims, and travels from Seattle to Los Angeles, leaving a trail of corpses in his path. When he finally meets up with Sheila, plans change, and I think readers will find his partnership with Sheila chilling. Added to the mix is a desperate wannabe filmmaker, Allen Perlmutter, and when Perlmutter stumbles upon what Sheila and Griffin are up to, he starts spying on them, thinking he’ll be able to get enough material to make a blockbuster movie, and that fame and fortune will soon follow. Perlmutter and his rationalizations is what I believe makes this thriller really sing.

Of course, Morris Brick is back, as is his charming wife, Natalie, their daughter Rachel, and the rest of the MBI (Morris Brick Investigations) team. So is the actor Philip Stonehedge, and Morris’s stubborn-as-hell bull terrier, Parker

Bill Crider on CRAZED:  Great stuff if you like serial killer thrillers with a difference and highly recommended.”

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Small Crimes in Germany!

Germany's crime fiction critics picked Small Crimes as the 6th best crime novel in Germany for November.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A couple of recent lists recommending The Caretaker of Lorne Field

It was nice to see The Caretaker of Lorne Field join Paul Tremblay's sick+twisted+very excellent A Head Full of Ghosts on this list from BookRiot. Those darn Aukowies also showed up on on this Book picks for Halloween.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Play casting agent and win a free copy of MALICIOUS!

Read CRAZED, have some fun playing casting agent, and win a free ebook copy of the 3rd Morris Brick crime thriller MALICIOUS! But that's not all! One lucky winner (if he or she wishes) will also be immortalized in a future Julius Katz mystery story that will be published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by having a suspect named after you.

Send me your dream movie cast for the following characters in CRAZED, and I'll send the best 5 a free ebook for the upcoming MALICIOUS when it's available: Morris Brick, Natalie Brick, Philip Stonehedge,Sheila Proops, Griffin Bolling, and Allen Perlmutter. If you want to include actors to play other characters in the book, feel free!

All entries must be received by Oct. 22.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Small Crimes to Crazed

I sold my 3rd novel Small Crimes to Serpent’s Tail in 2006. Back then we had a different publishing and book world. Hell, ebooks didn’t exist, self-publishing was a dirty word, and it was chain stores putting pressure on independent bookstores, not Amazon. When I was first starting out, I was writing crime noir, then later horror and books that were a mix of horror and crime. All standalones. During this strange journey, I’ve been reviewed in major newspapers, both in the US and abroad. I’ve seen my books translated into six languages, and one of them made into a movie. 

Now in 2017, I’ve just seen my second Morris Brick thriller and 13th traditionally-published novel, CRAZED, be released. There’s not much chance I would’ve been able to write this series when I was first starting out. As long as you’re trying, you can’t help but grow as a writer, and that’s a big part of the reason. My publisher requires these Morris Brick thrillers to be at least 90k words long, which means I need to be able to outline plots where I know how long the book will be while not adding any fat or filler. The books need to be fast, and the complex puzzles I’m constructing need to tightly fit together regardless of the word length. That’s a skill that takes time to learn. Also, I understand the business side much better than when I started. If you’re writing a series, you need to play by a certain set of rules. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or you’re not proud of the books—because I’m damn proud of these Morris Brick thrillers—it just means you’re more aware of writing within the genre’s boundaries.

13 books published, dozens of short stories, at least three more Morris Brick thrillers coming, three books self-published, one more noir novel that’s so far only coming out in Germany, and things are looking good for two more movies. It’s certainly been interesting so far. I’ll see how much longer I can keep this ride going.