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

Thursday, December 27, 2018

My second YouTube video -- talking about Husk.

I was premature yesterday talking about my one and only YouTube video. I've put together a short one where I talk about my new horror novel Husk.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Will you be able to guess the secret behind The Interloper?

In THE INTERLOPER Dan Willis is working for Homeland Protection, i.e. The Factory, and he is led to believe he is killing insurgents hell-bent on destroying our country. Will you be able to guess the shocking secret behind The Factory's real agenda in this dystopian mix of crime fiction and government conspiracy?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Free right now! My mind-trippy short story MIND PRISON

Do you think you'll be able to guess the shocking ending of MIND PRISON?

In this mind-bending mix of science fiction and noir, a renowned scientist, Dr. Graham Winston, is developing an ingenious and, some might say, horrifying technology that will revolutionize prison. He's close to a breakthrough, except that he finds himself distracted by his beautiful mistress... and thoughts of murder.

MIND PRISON is free for the next 5 days.

"MIND PRISON is a dandy tale of hubris and horror that both Philip K. Dick and O. Henry would heartily endorse." Lee Goldberg

"MIND PRISON is a mix of science fiction and noir as diverting as it is surprising." Max Allan Collins

"A taut, dark, searing science fiction story filled with noir atmospherics--greed, sexual betrayal, murder--that evokes the best of Philip K. Dick's grim near future." Ed Gorman

"MIND PRISON features a novel and Orwellian solution to the problem of overcrowding in American prisons." Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cover for Morris Brick thriller #5: UNLEASHED

My 5th Morris Brick crime thriller UNLEASHED will be unleashed into the world next March. I put the emphasis on crime because this is very much a crime novel, and I was able to unleash my inner Richard Stark writing it, particularly in the backstory chapters. Morris Brick thriller readers will like this one, but I also think anyone who liked Small Crimes, Pariah, and Killer will be particularly pleased.

As you wait for UNLEASHED, you can catch up now with MALICIOUS and CRUEL (if you haven't done so already!), both now on sale for a measly $0.99!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Morris Brick thrillers #3 and #4 on sale!

My publisher has put MALICIOUS (Morris Brick Thriller #3) and CRUEL (Morris Brick thriller #4) on sale for $0.99. Anyone who likes my crime fiction will like these twisty crime thrillers.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Amazing coincidences #5,891

As far as coincidences go, this is a small one, but still kind of amazing. Or maybe it's simply a case of synchronicity at play. In the 2017 July/August issue of EQMM, both Loren Estleman (one of my favorite crime writers) and myself both had Nero Wolfe pastiches. In his Claudius Lyons story, his first line:

The moon turned blue, swine flew, and hell sprouted icicles.

In my Julius Katz story, my second line:

Anyone who knew Julius as well as I did would’ve thought the world had tipped onto its axis, or maybe the river Styx had frozen over into a skating rink, or at the very least, pigs had sprouted wings and were flapping themselves across the Boston skyline.

A coincidence, synchronicity, or something else? Who knows?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Free today only! THE INTERLOPER

Now's your chance to grab a free copy of my thriller THE INTERLOPER ("Stark meets Ludlum meets Forsyth in this tight and tricky opener to anew series from the always-innovative Dave Zeltserman." Roger Smith),

Monday, November 12, 2018

Introducing Archie

Archie, Julius's Katz's erstwhile assistant and one of the most unique characters in mystery fiction, puts out his own shingle in my latest story ARCHIE FOR HIRE in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. You can read an excerpt here as well as see an illustration of how Archie might imagine himself.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Another small taste of horror for Halloween

The opening first dozen or so paragraphs of BLOOD CRIMES as a hint of what's to come.


The Door’s Riders on the Storm was playing on the car radio and for a few blessed seconds Jim closed his eyes and let the music roll over him.
How long had it been since he heard that song, or even The Doors, for that matter? Years. Probably the last time was before he got infected. Since hooking up with Carol the two of them would usually have on a ‘90s alternative rock station—that was the kind of music she liked; her favorite groups Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and if she couldn’t find one of those stations, she’d either tune in a hip hop station or plug in one of her Kurt Cobain CDs, sometimes Green Day. It didn’t much matter to him. He put her through enough as it was, and if she could find some comfort and peace of mind from her music he was all for it.
With his eyes still closed, the line about a killer on the road brought a sick smile to his lips. Was his own brain squirming like a toad? It sure as hell felt like it. It had been a rough day so far. He had stretched things out and had gone too long between feedings, and now it hurt so bad he could barely sit still. The bright sunlight didn’t help; it made him feel like he was on fire, even with his dark shades and baseball cap pulled down to his eyes. He tugged at the cap, trying to pull it down still further, and sunk lower in his seat, drenched in sweat. It surprised him that he still had any fluids left in his body. He sensed Carol looking at him. He knew she was worried about him and had put on a classic rock ’n roll oldies station to try to keep his mind off of his illness—even though she claimed it was because all they had in Cleveland were classic rock stations, blaming it on their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But they weren’t even in Cleveland yet, still traveling east on Interstate 90, about forty miles outside the city.
Groaning inwardly, he opened his eyes a crack and shifted his gaze towards Carol and noticed her knuckles squeezed white as she gripped the wheel. He was always amazed at how small and delicate her hands were. His gaze moved upwards. She looked so deep in thought, her concern about his condition wrecking her face. He tried smiling at her. She moved one of her hands to grip his and gave him a squeeze.
“I never should’ve let you wait this long,” she said.
“I’ll be okay.”
It hurt just talking, his voice soft and hollow and rattling emptily in his throat; the sound of a saw pulled loosely over metal.
She shook her head, the skin tight around her mouth, her jaw pushed forward.
“I shouldn’t have let you do this,” she said. “Look at you. You’re so sick you can barely sit up.”
He cleared his throat, and again told her that he’d be fine.
“You’re going to feed tonight,” she said. “I’m not letting you push this out another day.”
There was nothing but strength and determination in her voice. He didn’t argue with her. He knew it wasn’t safe to wait any longer. Already he could feel himself slipping into this crazed state of consciousness, part hallucinations and part animal fury. It would only last for a few seconds, but he had a sense it was going to get worse if he didn’t feed soon, and God knows who he might feed on if he lost control altogether.
Carol let go of his hand to get a better grip on the wheel. It constantly amazed him that she loved him as much as she did. How could someone as wonderful as her love a monster like him? There was no mistaking that that’s what he was, at least what he had become since his infection. Before the infection he was a good-looking guy; six-foot, 190 pounds, dark complexion, muscular, a hardness about him from his time in the Army, along with a constant five-o’clock shadow. The infection dramatically changed his physical appearance. Zero body fat and his muscles lengthening and becoming tough and sinewy. It also lightened his complexion, his hair now white, and his skin becoming smooth with no beard or mustache to worry about. His weight had dropped significantly also, now at 140, and his body becoming lean, cat-like; even his head had changed shape, becoming angular, kind of like the elves in the Lord of the Rings movie. His teeth didn’t change, though, he didn’t develop fangs, but he was still a monster—what else would you call a creature that looked mostly human but needed to subsist on human blood?
The Doors Riders on the Storm ended, and the next song up was The Stones Sympathy For The Devil. The timing of that made him laugh weakly, his insides hurting like hell as his body shook. Sympathy for the devil, huh? How about any sympathy for him, not that he deserved any, at least not with what he has had to do to survive. If he hadn’t met Carol, he probably would’ve found a way to end his life—not that it would’ve been easy with what the virus had done to him, leaving his muscles and tendons as hard as steel and his skin close to bulletproof, and causing this weird kind of super immunity where his vital organs would regenerate on injury.
Before meeting Carol he had thought long and hard about what he would have to do to kill himself if it ended up that way. Explosives, maybe, but then again they could just blow off his limbs and leave him still alive. A guillotine with a sharp enough blade might do the trick; or if he cut himself open and pulled out his heart and made sure no tissue was left behind to regenerate into a new one. Those had seemed like his best bets. Later, days before meeting Carol, he learned first-hand that shoving a hand grenade down a vampire’s throat did the job just fine, but that was something discovered on the spur of the moment. Since Carol, he had put those thoughts out of his head and accepted that he would spend his life traveling aimlessly from city to city feeding when he had to. Nothing else was possible anymore. He cared too deeply for Carol to leave her, especially knowing what it would do to her.
A few final wheezes of laughter shook him, then with his teeth clattering he hugged himself tightly, trying to shrink his body from any exposure to the sun. Thin lines showed along the edges of Carol’s mouth as her concern for him deepened. She reached over and caressed his neck.
“I hate seeing you like this,” she said.
“I know. But I’ll be okay.”
“I don’t think you’re going to be able to wait until tonight.”
“I’ll be able to.”

Friday, October 26, 2018

A taste of horror for Halloween

I offer this small taste of horror from BLOOD CRIMES for Halloween:

Metcalf’s private lab was reminiscent of some nightmarish scene from the Island of Dr. Moreau, and like Moreau’s laboratory, was a place of pain and abomination. For Metcalf, the lab served dual purposes; it helped him gain insights into the effects of the virus, and it acted as a deterrent to the other vampires in the compound from thinking about challenging his authority. The test subjects were all infected with the vampire virus. Some were originally brought in as “cattle” and had the misfortune of being chosen for this capacity—which was a fate far worse than being milked until illness or anemia set in; others were members of the compound who needed to be made examples of. All of the test subjects had their arms and lower halves removed; which made them appear like grotesque doll-like creatures. Some were pinned to their tables by spikes through their shoulders, others were chained along the walls. All of them were in the midst of experiments that would’ve made even the infamous Joseph Mengele cringe in horror.
Metcalf strolled casually around his lab examining his experiments. Those that were capable of screaming out fought hard to hold their tongues; they knew their situations, however horrific, could be made worse. Moans escaped from a few of them, whimpers from a few others, but most kept quiet. Metcalf stopped at a table where a test subject had reached six months without being fed. The subject had shriveled to the point of looking more like a prune than anything that could’ve ever been human. Its eyes appeared dead, its mouth gaping open. Metcalf pulled the spikes out from its shoulders and carried it to a scale. Only thirty-four pounds. Before the experiment was started, the subject had weighed more than double that. Metcalf brought it back to its table and pounded the spikes back where they’d been. Not even a whimper. Metcalf had doubts whether it was still alive. If it were dead it would be the first time that he witnessed a vampire dying due to starvation. Using an eyedropper, Metcalf squeezed a drop of human blood into the thing’s gaping mouth. A sucking sound came from it.
“Still alive, huh?” Metcalf noted.
He squeezed the remaining blood from the eyedropper into the gaping hole. The glaze over the vampire’s eyes faded and a flicker of life shone in them. Metcalf slowly fed it an ounce of blood, and as he did so, the vampire plumped out like a raisin that had been dropped in water. It stirred slightly, its tongue pushing out, then choking noises rattled from its throat as it pleaded for more blood. Metcalf continued to feed it blood until it was restored to its former condition. Four ounces of blood had brought the vampire fully back. The vampire lay with its chest heaving, sucking in oxygen. Metcalf scribbled notes on a clipboard that hung on the edge of the table.
“Please, no more… I’m begging…end it…please…end it…” the vampire forced out, its voice not much more than a hoarse whisper.
Metcalf looked up and made a shushing noise to the vampire before moving on to check on other experiments. Although some of the vampires were made into these “guinea pigs” to teach the others in the compound a lesson, Metcalf took no sadistic pleasure in what he did, but neither did he feel the slightest hint of remorse. As far as he was concerned, these creatures didn’t even rate as lab mice, and he felt the same compassion towards them that a scientist might towards bacteria that was being examined under a microscope. These experiments allowed Metcalf to understand the virus at a more practical level, and that was all that mattered to him.
Smiling, he thought about how he could write a book on the subject…
Hell, make it a set of encyclopedias…
Early on he discovered that vampires could be killed fairly easily, at least easily for him, by cutting off their heads. Other than that method, which few other vampires had the strength to do without very sharp blades, they were damn hard to kill. Like goddamn cockroaches. Suffocating them, whether by drowning, gassing or simply sealing off a vampire’s nose and mouth, didn’t kill them; it only caused them to slip into a comatose state until oxygen became available. Metcalf had kept experiments submerged for months in tanks of water only to have them revive within seconds of being removed, and showing no discernable damage from their oxygen deprivation. He could burn them to death, but only after he had bought a cremation oven and was able to get the temperature to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking a vampire long enough in a microwave oven also did the trick, but again, like requiring a cremation oven, it was impractical. The virus created a kind of super-immunity to lethal viral infections: Ebola, bubonic plague, hantavirus, and all the other viruses Metcalf exposed his test subjects to had little effect. Neither did exposure to deadly bacteria like meningitis or anthrax, nor any of the poisons that Metcalf had so far injected into their blood systems. Ingesting poison caused the same short-term violent reactions that ingesting any food would cause, but nothing more than that.
Metcalf stopped in front of one of his test subjects. Two days earlier he had injected the vampire with an ounce of venom from an Australian Brown Snake, which was enough to kill over ten thousand people. Outside of being somewhat dried out, the vampire looked no worse for wear.
“Would you like to be fed?” Metcalf asked it.
The vampire nodded glumly and Metcalf squeezed an ounce of blood into its mouth. After that ounce, the vampire appeared the same as before the snake venom injection. Metcalf scribbled notes on the clipboard next to the test subject. Over the course of a year, Metcalf had injected snake and spider venom, arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde, ammonia, and numerous other poisons into this subject, all with little if any damage. As with viruses and bacterial exposure, poison seemed to have no real effect against the super-immunity caused by the vampire virus.
“You are a monster. A monster,” drifted in from behind him, a seemingly disembodied voice, barely a whisper. “You will burn in the fires of damnation. What you are doing to us will be done to you a million times over.”
Metcalf strained to hear where the voice was coming from and followed it to one of his vivisection experiments. Mildly disappointed, he understood why the test subject dared to speak out. It had nothing left to lose, or little, anyway. Metcalf had months earlier cut the vampire open and spread the skin apart so its insides were exposed, and over time had removed most of its organs. Spleen, liver, kidneys, esophagus and stomach were gone. Not much was really left other than its heart and one of its lungs.
The vampire’s jaundiced eyes held steady on Metcalf’s.
“You think you are a God?” it asked, its voice haltering, ghostlike. “You are nothing. Less than dirt, that’s what you are. Someday there will be justice and you will suffer worse than you’ve made all of us suffer.”
“That may be true,” Metcalf said. “But you know something, I don’t believe I asked for your opinion.”
Metcalf reached into the vampire’s chest and squeezed its heart in his fist. A sick gurgling noise escaped the vampire’s lips and its eyes rolled up into its sockets. Metcalf decided to alter his experiment. He took a loose spike and drove it into the vampire’s heart. Unlike the supernatural myth associated with a vampire, a spike through the heart didn’t kill it. The virus would cause the damaged heart to regenerate its tissue as it tried to heal itself. From personal experience Metcalf knew the pain would be excruciating. If the spike were removed, the heart would completely regenerate in seconds and be as healthy as before the injury, but with the spike in the way the newly generated tissue would wrap itself around the metal in a fruitless attempt for recovery. No, one spike through the heart wouldn’t kill a vampire, but maybe more than one would. Over time Metcalf would discover how many it took, but he planned to stretch this experiment out and make it last years. He watched while the vampire writhed in agony, its mouth twisting as it tried to scream but in too much pain for any noise to escape. Satisfied that his point had been made to the other guinea pigs, he turned to the room and addressed them, asking if any of them had any other comments they’d like to share.
“Well?” Metcalf asked. “Most of you still have your tongues. Come on, if you have anything to say, let’s hear it.”
All he got back in response were a few soft moans.''

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

BLOOD CRIMES now available as a paperback!

BLOOD CRIMES places vampires in a noir universe populated with doomed lovers, hard-boiled PIs, dangerous drug biker gangs and truly scary sociopaths — except the vampires aren’t supernatural creatures in this universe, but instead damaged and severely flawed individuals suffering from a virus that emulates vampire-like powers.

At the center of BLOOD CRIMES are doomed lovers, Jim and Carol. Jim’s infected with the vampire virus, Carol isn’t. Jim needs to kill to eat, and he and Carol travel the country finding the most dangerous predatory scum for Jim to feed on. In order to assuage his guilt over killing his victims, Jim further needs to catch these predators in the act of harming Carol so he can rescue her before killing and feeding on them. Carol has her own serious emotional and psychological baggage and she needs this every bit as much as Jim does.

Hot on their trail is PI Donald Hayes. He is smart, capable, honest — someone that Lew Archer would’ve probably enjoyed having a few beers with. Hayes has been hired to track Jim down and is beginning to suspect that Jim is a serial killer leaving dead dangerous bad guys in his wake. Hayes’s client is Serena, a beautiful and deadly femme fatale vampire who leads a clan of hedonistic vampires in Manhattan, and is not at all happy that Jim escaped from her compound (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Try Serena!).

In the shadows of all this is Metcalf, my most sociopathic creation to date. In some ways, Metcalf could almost be a twin of Victor Petrenko from OUTSOURCED, but ultimately, he’s scarier and more cold-blooded. This cast of characters end up colliding with a vicious drug biker gang in Cleveland for my most violent and highest-octane book climax.

BLOOD CRIMES had been burning inside my mind for over 10 years before I wrote it, and is the first of a five-book series. This is a fast, violent and very noir take on the vampire legend. Any fans of my crime novels or really any tough-minded horror books are going to enjoy BLOOD CRIMES. Here’s an excerpt where I show Jim before being infected with the vampire virus:


After his stint in the army, he wandered aimlessly for the next eight years. For a while he took whatever odd jobs came his way; short order cook, bartender, bouncer, fisherman, lumberjack, even a short time as a bodyguard for one of Hollywood’s leading divas, but he couldn’t stay put in any one place for too long. He couldn’t sleep at night and was too antsy during the day to be able to concentrate on anything. After a few months in one place, the pressure inside would get to where he felt like he couldn’t breathe, like he had a knife pressed against his heart. He’d have to move then. After six years of this, he stopped giving a shit altogether. He stopped working and instead started doing smash and grabs, burglaries and purse snatches for his drinking money. Nothing too violent, but still enough too leave him filled with even more self-loathing. A short time later he started worshipping the needle and the release that gave him. The heroin numbed him out and kept him from slicing his wrists each night. For almost a year after that he was in freefall, and by all rights he should’ve ended up dead, contracting AIDS or in prison for a good five to ten year stretch, and if it wasn’t for a chance encounter in Austin, Texas, one of those fates probably would’ve happened.

That day started off worse than most of the others. He had hooked up the night before with another addict, a deathly thin blonde woman about twenty years older than him. He didn’t remember much about her other than how damn hollow her eyes looked, how her lips were so unnaturally pale with this hint of blue tingeing them and hard it was for her to find a vein to tap. When he woke up the next morning she was gone along with his roll of over three grand and his stash. There was nothing in her apartment worth any money. She wasn’t coming back. His cash and junk were long gone. He was just lucky she didn’t take his clothes, and even luckier she didn’t take his army-issued boots. He sat on the floor for a long time holding his head, needing a fix as badly as he ever did. Eventually the stench of garbage got to him and he staggered out of the apartment.

Most of what happened that day was lost to him, but he remembered that night ending up in a diner. He tried to palm a couple of bucks from the counter and that was when a burly tattooed arm went around his shoulder, corralling him.

“Hey, buddy, I think that was left behind for that pretty little waitress over there working her tail off. What do you say you put it back?”

It was said in a soft friendly rumbling tone, and the man saying it was the size of a small grizzly. Long beard, long dirty blonde hair, sunburned face, and wire-rimmed sunglasses that looked like gray coins placed on the eyes of a dead man. The man peered at Jim, who was wearing one of his old military camouflage shirts.

“You in Desert Storm?” he asked.

“Yeah, special forces.”

The man nodded. “Third Armored Division. Spent some time there myself. Why don’t you put that little gal’s tip back and join me and my friends for some dinner. My treat.”

Jim put the money back on the counter. The man introduced himself as Big Daddy Larkin. Three guys and a long-haired slender gal with granny-style sunglasses and a wicked off-balance smile sat at the table, all members of Big Daddy’s rock band. The band’s name was the Walking Wounded and tried for a mix of Southern Rock and heavy metal. Allman Brothers meets AC/DC was the way Big Daddy described it. He played base, the girl, Elise, sang, and the three other guys—all Desert Storm vets also—played instrumentals. Big Daddy explained the name of the band by tapping on his leg and showing Jim that it was a prosthetic. The drummer, Kyle, was missing a hand. Stevie and Danny, who played electric guitar and keyboard, were also each missing a leg. Jim, as he listened, tried hard to keep from shivering.

“You need a fix pretty bad, huh?” Big Daddy observed.

Jim nodded.

“Can’t help you there. We’re mostly drug-free, do a little weed, but not much more than that. Why don’t we get some coffee in you in the meantime.”

Big Daddy signaled the waitress over and had her pour a cup of high octane for Jim. He ordered Jim some scrambled eggs and bacon, along with a stack of pancakes, and had her leave the pot of coffee behind.

“We’ll see if your stomach can hold down some food,” he said with a wink to Jim after the waitress left.

Jim poured a heavy dose of sugar in his coffee and sipped it slowly.

“Fuck, I hope so,” he said.

Elise was sitting next to Jim. She rubbed a small hand gently across his back. Big Daddy considered him thoughtfully.

“Our band manager took off when we were in Dallas last week. We need a new one, and with the theme of our band, I think you’d fit right in. Looking for a job?”

Jim smiled weakly. “I didn’t lose any body parts over there.”

“Maybe not, but you lost something.”

Jim ended up accepting the job. The next three days were hard ones, and he spent most of the time curled up on rubber sheets while he sweated, vomited and crapped out his addiction. He half-remembered Elise being there a lot, wiping off his forehead with a cold compress, cleaning the vomit off his face and feeding him soup and apple juice.

After those three days Jim was shaky but able to stand on his feet. “Damn good thing,” Big Daddy grumbled. “We’ve got a show tonight. About time you got off your ass and pulled your weight.”

His job as band manager turned out to be doing everything except playing on stage. He moved the instruments from the van to the stage and back, booked the club dates and hotels, collected their pay, bought their weed, among dozens of other small chores. The job didn’t pay much but it had more than its share of perks. Elise was cute as hell with a singing voice that brought a lump to his throat. Her and Big Daddy were an item, which was okay with Jim. He just enjoyed her company, and overtime thought of her as a younger sister, and fuck, Big Daddy and the other guys in the band as his brothers. They all shared the same experience of being over there—or in Elise’s case, having her fiancĂ©e over there and killed in Dhahran. Each of them had lost a piece of themselves, and more important, had survived what they lost. For whatever it was worth, they saved his life. To say he would’ve taken a bullet for any of them would’ve been an understatement.

Every four or five days Jim would pack them up and they’d travel to the next city and their next club date. The constant moving around was good for him. It kept him from feeling antsy and from having the pressure inside build up too much. He started sleeping better and his nightmares were mostly gone. There were some nights where he’d find himself blissfully out of it for as much as six hours. For the first time in a long time he was relaxing and having fun. His biggest kick came when the band performed a song he wrote and the audience went wild over it, including several panties being thrown onstage. Big Daddy brought him up with the rest of the band to take a bow. After that he worked on more songs with Big Daddy and Elise. It was the best time of his life, and not just because of the music and the sex-crazed groupies and the free lifestyle. Big Daddy and Elise and the rest of the band had become his family in a way that his alcoholic parents and the army never were.

Three and a half years ago they had a club date in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. A little hole in the wall basement nightclub that could hold maybe a hundred people, and somehow managed to squeeze in twice that amount to hear them. Elise was on fire that night and the band was hitting on all cylinders. Normally it would’ve been one of those magical nights where as band manager Jim would be able to just sit back and enjoy the ride, but he couldn’t concentrate on the music. Not with this wild looking dame standing maybe twenty feet from him. And not with the way she was staring at him. Jesus, she was something, sexy as hell in a matching yellow skintight leather pants and vest that left little to the imagination. Narrow hips and long legs and green eyes that could’ve been lasers the way they pierced through him. He wouldn’t exactly say she was gorgeous—she had this weird cat-like look about her, but every time he’d look over and meet her eyes and catch her thin impish smile, he’d feel himself growing as hard as a brick between his legs. It was embarrassing, and he couldn’t explain it. He tried not to look in her direction. His sixth sense told him to stay the fuck away. He found himself sweating, tensing, praying that she’d keep her distance. A hand touched his shoulder, then the feel of her lips brushing against his ear. It froze him. She whispered her name to him, told him that she had her eye on him for the longest time and that she was completely mesmerized by him. He knew she was mocking him, but her being so close to him left his head pounding.

He followed her to the club manager’s office. Maybe she paid the manager to leave, maybe she asked him politely, or maybe something else had happened, but whatever, the office was empty. Once the door closed she was on him, her legs wrapping around his thighs, her hands ripping his shirt as if it were tissue paper. If he were thinking clearly he’d realize that what she was doing to his shirt was reason enough to bolt the hell out of there, but his blood was pounding too hard in his head for rational thought. He barely even realized it when she worked him out of his jeans. Next they were on the hardwood floor, her nails digging into his shoulders and her tongue probing deep down his throat. His own skin had become so feverish that he only faintly realized how cold to the touch her flesh was. In a way it felt good, her lips like ice as they cooled him. Blindly, he freed her from her leather pants, and then she was on him, pushing him inside of her and bucking like a wild animal, her eyes rolling inwards until only the whites could be seen. She rode him like that until he thought he was going to pass out, all the while her moaning rising to something obscene. Shuddering as if she’d been shot, she collapsed on him but continuing to writhe across his body, her nails clawing at him, her tongue riding up his chest and towards his neck, all the while licking the blood from his scratches.

The touch of her tongue made his skin crawl.

He was in ecstasy.

He was in agony.

She bit him at the base of his neck.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Julius Katz news

I've given my full-length Julius Katz mystery a facelift. Same great book, but a more fitting cover. I have also made it available for the first time as a paperback! The paperback version can be bought here.

More news. A new Julius Katz mystery story ARCHIE FOR HIRE is in the upcoming Nov/Dec issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and the story has an included an illustration that I think Julius Katz fans are going to dig. Since for the story, Archie has put out a shingle for his own PI practice, the illustration imagines how Archie would look as a Continental Op-like PI.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Having some fun - a 145-word flash fiction crime story

This year's Crime Bake is having a flash fiction contest with the following rules: 150 words or less, and must use 10 of the following words: basement, butterfly, charcoal, cinnamon, dress, devil, dog, evil, faith, fear, fortunate, fry, kiss, mistake, outnumbered, pieces, river, sea, thrill, wave.

As a panelist, I can't submit to the contest, but it sounded like a fun way to procrastinate, so after a half hour, here's what I came up with:

Cinnamon Girl

The job was a bad one from the beginning. Dougherty had gotten careless and didn’t realize there was a witness until she ran naked from the basement apartment clutching her dress. All Red Mahoney could tell me was that she was small and skinny with straight cinnamon-colored hair reaching halfway down her back, and a pink butterfly tattooed on her right ass cheek. There was no point in me complaining about having to clean up Dougherty’s mistake. He's Mahoney’s brother-in-law.

That was three weeks ago. Her hair’s been cut short and dyed to the color of charcoal, but her kiss still tastes like cinnamon, and I’ve seen the butterfly up close and personal.

It would be an evil thing for me to finish the job. If Mahoney knew, he’d have me cut up and the pieces thrown in the river.

I’ll take my chances.