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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Detectives and Spies available now!


Kindle and paperback editions of my latest collection are available now! Also, look for my new Steve Heller & Joe "Red" Sullivan story in the Jan/Feb issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, out now.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

New mystery collection featuring stories with Julius Katz + Morris Brick + Mike Stone


THREE sections. Four different types of mystery and crime stories.

Whether it’s the brilliant Boston detective Julius Katz, or his sister Julia, the first three stories in the KATZ section are traditional mysteries. A crime has been committed, the potential suspects are questioned, and the guilty party is exposed. While the fourth story in the KATZ section, Archie’s Been Stolen!, has the same style, tone and humor as all the other Julius Katz and Archie stories, it’s a caper. There’s no mystery to solve, only a heist of sorts to commit.

The three stories in the BRICK section are crime thrillers featuring investigator Morris Brick, his bull terrier Parker, and the rest of the MBI team. These stories and the five Morris Brick novels that I wrote under the Jacob Stone pseudonym for Kensington have similar humor and style, are fast-paced, and are populated by hardened criminals and mobsters. Where they differ is the novels have very bad people committing horrific acts while the stories are lighter. While there’s plenty of danger in these stories, ultimately no one gets badly hurt.

The two stories in the STONE section features Hell’s only operating private eye, Mike Stone, from my novel Everybody Lies in Hell. Even with the unique setting and the fantastic elements, such as souls being tormented by demons and demonic racing horses that bite the heads off of jockeys, these are hardboiled PI stories. These stories are about stripping away the self-deceptions and lies we tell ourselves to expose the ugly truths underneath, and there’s not much more hardboiled than that!

So given that these are all mystery and crime stories, why the title Detectives and Spies? While all the stories have either detectives or spies acting as detectives, three of the stories are a merging of the mystery and spy genres.

Kindle and paperback editions of Detective and Spies will be available in one week!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

My Julius Katz paperback collection


With 'Detective and Spies' coming out Dec. 12th, I gave a hard look at the paperback versions of my other Julius Katz books and ended up redoing 'Julius Katz and Archie' and 'More Julius Katz and Archie.' The change to 'More Julius Katz and Archie' was simply changing the font to Garamond 12-pt, which I'm using for all of these books, and which I decided is (for me) the ideal font for a book. Along with changing the font for 'Julius Katz and Archie', I also changed the size of the paperback from 6in x 9 in, to 5 in by 8 in, which I think is a much more attractive size. I also a cover designed as opposed to using Amazon's cover creator for the original paperback. The new paperback design:

This new version will be available for purchase on Dec. 1st. With these changes, I now have a set of paperbacks that Julius Katz fans will be proud to put on their shelves, and will have (in my opinion) the perfect font and size for reading.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Coming Dec. 12th -- Detectives and Spies


Katz. Brick. Stone. Traditional mysteries. Crime thrillers. Hardboiled PI. The Katz section has 4 stories, including a new novella, "Julius Katz and the Ruined Roast." The Brick section has 3 stories, including the new story "James & Bond." The Stone section has two PI in Hell stories starring my PI from Everybody Lies in Hell.

Detectives and Spies will be available as a kindle ebook and paperback on Dec 12th. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

My horror+crime novel Blood Crimes on sale for $0.99

Blood Crimes is a genre-bending collision of 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.

On sale now for $0.99.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

For this Halloween season

I might be better known for my crime and mystery fiction, but I've also written a few horror novels should provide the necessary chills and atmosphere for this upcoming Halloween season:

"Classic pulp, noir, and horror--think James N. Cain and Bukowski and Palahniuk--are all ground up in a blender and the result is a nasty, wild, and ultimately redemptive novel that only Dave Zeltserman could write." Paul Tremblay

"A superb mix of humor and horror...Zeltserman orchestrates events perfectly...Readers will keep turning pages to see how the ambiguous plot resolves." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Zeltserman's monster is every bit as eloquent as Shelley's, though his rage is more focused. This is juicy material for Franken-fans, and Zeltserman is just faithful enough to the original that his many fresh contributions feel entirely normal. Well, abnormal, to be accurate, but deliciously so." Daniel Kraus, Booklist (*Starred Review*)

"The story is at once tender, brutal, fantastic, and vibrantly real. A unique and splendid novel" ― Booklist Starred Review

"The sympathy that Zeltserman invokes on behalf of Henry is heartbreaking, and readers will fully believe in both the madness and the greatness of his tragic young hero." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Dave, has managed to meld the two genres of crime and horror into one hell of a ride, PI's, crime lords, drug gangs, sultry babes and more low life scum than you can count all collide with explosive results in this genre bending masterpiece. If you like crime buy this book, if you like horror buy this book, if you like well written books, buy this book." Jim Mcleod, Ginger Nuts of Horror

"This fast-paced, gritty psychological tale balances the fine line between mystery and horror" Library Journal

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Another Everybody Lies in Hell excerpt


One of my squatters who acted as a cabdriver and went by the name of Edwin usually kept his yellow cab at the corner of Pierrepont and Hicks. All I could do was hope he was there now. As I ran thunder exploded beside me as if bombs were being tossed at me, but what was coming my way was a hell of a lot deadlier and scarier than any bomb.

I didn’t look back as I ran. I knew I’d see more of Brooklyn melting away and being replaced by a desolate mountain terrain, and in the middle of all this Al Zaoud and his horde of murderous cutthroats would be riding their demon stallions at full gallop. In my mind’s eye I could imagine those horses’ eyes shining bloodred and froth pouring from their mouths and steam blowing out of their flaring nostrils. I knew they still had to be a half mile or more away, but I couldn’t shake this sensation of them being directly behind me. I could almost feel on the back of my neck the pungent steam that they’d be exhaling; a steam that would smell no different than burning sulfur.

I wanted to kiss Edwin full on the lips when I saw him sitting in his cab where I hoped it would be, and given that he resembled a bloated bullfrog with a really bad complexion, that was saying something. I jumped in the back of his cab and told him to start driving. “Go over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan and head uptown towards the Bronx,” I ordered him breathlessly. “And there’s an extra fifty for you if you ignore the speed limits.”

“Unusual weather we’re having,” he stammered out dumbly, his reflection in the rearview mirror showing a dead fish paleness to his face, his eyes wide open but with little life in them. Squatters have a defense mechanism where they go catatonic whenever they’re confronted with the fact that the reality they’ve adopted isn’t real. He was close to shutting down, but I didn’t have time to pull him out of the driver’s seat and take his place. I looked behind me and could see that the Brooklyn landscape was erasing quickly. Al Zaoud and his horde were close enough now that I could make out the severed heads tied to their horses’ manes.

“If you don’t start driving now I’ll put a bullet in the back of your skull,” I yelled at Edwin. “I swear to God I will!”

 “Jesus, what’s the rush?” he muttered half under his breath. Even if he looked directly at Al Zaoud and his murderous horde he wouldn’t acknowledge their existence. But he pulled away from the curb and headed toward the bridge and away from Al Zaoud. He wasn’t going nearly fast enough but at least he was moving. I reached over the back of his seat and pinched the top of his right ear and gave it a hard twist.

“Ow!” he cried.

“Give it more gas or I’ll bloody rip your ear off!”

He gave it more gas and the tires squealed. Al Zaoud was still gaining on us as more of my Brooklyn faded from sight, but at least we were moving now at a more reasonable speed. At least we had a chance. If Al Zaoud’s reality causes a ravine or mountain to materialize in his path, that would slow the bastard down enough where I might be able to escape him. Still, though, the buffer between us was disappearing quickly, and if something didn’t change it would only be a matter of seconds before I’d be pulled into his godforsaken reality.

“You better damn well floor it! And if you as much as touch the brakes I’ll fucking kill you!”

“Jesus, Mike, what’s gotten into you?” Edwin cried, but the taxi leapt forward as he pushed down on the gas pedal. The car did a little side-to-side jig as he almost crashed up, but he got it back under control and had it speeding over the bridge. We were maybe three quarters over it when the other end of the bridge faded away, replaced by Al Zaoud’s hellish world. I watched as one of the zombies jumped from the middle of the bridge but never made it into the East River as he disappeared beneath the rocky terrain that replaced my reality. I guess given a choice of being drowned in the river or crushed under tons of rock and soil there wouldn’t be much of a difference as far as that zombie was concerned

Edwin had the cab shaking again as he almost lost control for a second time. “I’m gonna crash up with the way you’re making me drive,” he cried out.

“Don’t you dare slow down!”

He didn’t slow down, but he started blubbering. “The cops are going to throw me in jail and take away my hack license. I don’t know what I’ll do without my hack license. Jesus, Mike, you’re killing me here.”

I laughed at that. A nervous, excitable, near hysterical laugh. It wasn’t me that was going to be killing him. If Al Zaoud caught up to us, it would be that crazy medieval warlord killing him for all eternity. And besides, my reality didn’t have any squatters acting like cops, at least none that I’d ever seen, so he had nothing to worry about on that front.

“Let me deal with any cops, you concentrate on getting us the hell out of here.”

“What’s the rush? For Chrissakes, what’s the rush?”

I didn’t bother answering him as he continued to blubber away, but I did let out my breath when I saw that we caught a break. A ravine appeared between us and Al Zaoud. It wasn’t steep enough to stop him for long, but it would slow him down, maybe enough for me to escape him.

Friday, August 25, 2023

The Interloper on sale!


"action-packed, darkly witty thriller" Publishers Weekly

My crime/conspiracy thriller, The Interloper, is on sale for $0.99 for the next 2 days.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Everybody Lies in Hell excerpt

To celebrate Everybody Lies in Hell now being available as a Kindle ebook, here's an early excerpt from the book.

 The split second after I died I found myself standing on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, but I knew I wasn’t really in Brooklyn. First off, I was murdered in Newark, New Jersey, and I remembered my death vividly, but even without that I would’ve known I wasn’t really in Brooklyn given how unnaturally quiet it was without another single person in sight. And while Montague Street looked pretty much as I remembered it, some of the buildings were wrong, and some of the stores lining the street were from my childhood instead of the present day. I probably couldn’t have articulated at that precise moment that I was in a version of hell of my own making, but at some level I knew that was what had happened.

I started walking west on Montague Street so I could see whether the Manhattan skyline was still there, and it was, at least mostly as I remembered it. I’m sure some of the buildings were wrong, but it still seemed very real to me even though I knew it wasn’t. After I stood gaping at the skyline for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only minutes, I headed south toward Coney Island. I don’t know why exactly but I guess I wanted to see how much of my version of Brooklyn existed. I knew many of the street signs I passed weren’t right—they were from other neighborhoods, and some of them from other boroughs. And then there were other street signs that were too blurry to make out. But none of that mattered, because by then I knew where I really was. Still, though, I kept walking. At one point, I stopped to look at my reflection in a storefront window and realized that I was wearing a cheap suit and a fedora. When I was alive I never wore a hat, and almost never wore suits, and certainly never the fifty-nine dollar variety that I had on. At the time I was murdered I was wearing jeans, tennis sneakers, a polo shirt, and a leather jacket, which was what I usually wore when I worked my job as an investigator. Still, on seeing my reflection in that window, the suit, scuffed up shoes, and hat seemed right

I was somewhere in Bay Ridge when this man who looked like he’d been dropped in from the eighteenth century wandered into view. I was never much of a history buff, but that was the way he looked given his blue satin waistcoat, frilly silk shirt, and knee-length breeches, as well as his overall shaggy appearance. As he shuffled toward me, he looked almost like he could’ve been an extra from a zombie movie, although one set several hundred years in the past. His expression was a rictus of fear, and there was only deadness in his eyes. I gave him a wide berth as he ambled past me and watched as he staggered to the front of an eight-story brick building. He stood transfixed for a long moment, and then all at once started clawing at the brick wall and violently smashing his face against it, and he did this quietly without ever uttering a sound.

I picked up my pace after that trying to put some distance between us, and it was only seconds later that I left Brooklyn and found myself someplace entirely different. Instead of the Brooklyn streets where I’d been walking for hours, behind me now were meadows and a mountain range that was of such lush greenness that it seemed more like a painting than anything real. The sky that had been a grayish white in my version of Brooklyn was now a deep blue, and the sun that had earlier been missing behind New York smog and clouds was shining brightly overhead. Off in the distance were groves of a tall and thin variety of pine tree that I’d never seen before, as well as other types of trees, shrubs, and plants that were foreign to me, and up ahead past rolling meadows was a sparkling ocean made up of different shades of blues and aquamarines that were very different from anything I’d ever seen of the Atlantic Ocean from Coney Island.

I trekked across the meadows toward the ocean, and as I got closer I could see palm and coconut trees along a crescent-shaped beach, and in the middle of this a person lying on a lounge chair.

I had to climb down a steep incline of rocks to get to the beach, and as I did this, I could see that the person was a woman wearing a floral-patterned beach cover-up, her hair a perfect silver. There was an empty lounge chair next to her, and between her chair and the other was a small drink stand on which sat a glass containing a brownish-orange drink with a hibiscus flower floating in it.

She heard me approaching and turned her head toward me. She was wearing sunglasses so I couldn’t see her eyes, but her expression at first was one of disinterest. That changed as she smiled thinly at me, and with a wave of her hand, invited me to sit next to her. She looked ageless yet not young with perfect, unwrinkled skin and a slender, attractive body. If it wasn’t for her well-coifed silver hair, she could’ve passed for being in her thirties. After I settled into the lounge chair next to her she held out a manicured slender hand and introduced herself as Olivia Danville, her accent sounding as if she came from England and was from money.

“Mike Stone,” I said.

When I took her hand I expected to feel something cold and clammy. After all, we were both dead. I was surprised to find how warm and dry her skin felt.

“Where am I?” I asked.

That caused a wan smile to form over her lips. “Where do you think you are, Mike?”

“I’m guessing I wandered from my version of hell into yours. Yours isn’t bad. We’re on a tropical island in the Pacific?”

“Very good, Mike. Yes, my reality, or hell, ended up being Kapalua, Maui. We’re on probably the nicest beach on the island. Not the biggest by any stretch, but the prettiest.”

As I looked out at the ocean I realized it wasn’t just the two of us out there. There were others in the water. I could make out several bodies that were floating face down before they sank, and only a minute later an elderly woman’s face popped up out of a wave before she disappeared for good. Olivia must’ve noticed me staring at these drowning people, but she didn’t comment about them. Instead she asked me if I knew how I died.

“Yeah,” I said. “It would be hard to forget this soon. It only just happened.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It was only a few hours ago that I was fatally shot, and then the next thing I knew I was in Brooklyn wearing different clothes than what I had on when I died and without my chest ripped open by a .45 slug. Except it wasn’t really Brooklyn, only a version of it that I somehow created. And now I’m in your version of hell, which lucky for you happens to be Hawaii.”

She shifted in her chair to get a better look at me. I couldn’t see her eyes because of her sunglasses but I knew she was staring at me intently. She shifted again in her chair so that she was back to gazing out at the ocean.

“Do you know what you did to end up in hell?” she asked.

“Yeah, I know exactly why I’m here.”

We sat quietly after that for several minutes. When she spoke next it was to ask me why I thought I ended up in her version of hell. I told her it was probably because her version was stronger than mine. “Somehow I got sucked into yours, although I’m guessing if I walked back to where I came from I’d find myself again in Brooklyn.”

She picked up her drink and brushed the flower away from her mouth so she could take a sip. She carefully placed the glass back on the stand. “Your level of awareness is quite remarkable,” she said. “Out of the billions of souls here in hell only a tiny percentage have any sense of awareness, and very few of those would know what you already do this quickly after dying. Do you feel sick yet?”

“I feel fine.”

“Incredible. You should’ve been feeling quite ill by now.”

“Why is that?”

“It’s what happens when you’re pulled into a stronger reality, at least for the first few times in that same reality.”

A larger wave than any of the others crashed onto the beach, and it washed a man’s crumpled body onto the shore. The suit he wore was badly torn and he was covered in seaweed, and from what I could tell it looked like the type of suit someone would’ve worn in the early nineteen hundreds. His face was hidden from me, but from how unnaturally bloated and white his hands and exposed skin looked I would’ve guessed he’d been in the water for months, if not much longer. It probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did when he pushed himself to his knees and crawled back into the ocean, and he soon disappeared under another wave.

“Those souls out there drowning,” I said. “What is it with them?”

“You should be able to explain that as well as I can.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Everybody Lies in Hell now available!


Everybody Lies in Hell is now available for purchase.  

"In Everybody Lies in Hell Mike Stone's eternal damnation is a private detective's office in a re-imagined Brooklyn. In Hell, the beautiful woman with a case opens a literal Pandora's Box, and Stone is soon inundated by all-too-recognizable evils and lies of Hell's tortured souls, powerful ancient demons and devils, and haunting personal ones. Classic pulp, noir, and horror--think James N. Cain and Bukowski and Palahniuk--are all ground up in a blender and the result is a nasty, wild, and ultimately redemptive novel that only Dave Zeltserman could write." Paul Tremblay

Friday, July 28, 2023

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Once upon a time .... Outsourced


What reviewers said about Outsourced:

"Bodies mount up as the double dealing and revenge gather apace. The blurb on the book describes it as a "fast-paced, edge-of-your seat crime novel," and it really does live up to the hype. Add this to your holiday reading list for a piece of escapism." Morning Star

"A small gem of crime fiction" Booklist

"a dark gem of a story...a macabre delight to read" NPR

"A dark, lightening-paced read" Financial Times

"Zeltserman’s nifty bit of neo-noir is damned decent fun" DIG Boston

"And here again, Zeltserman manages to tell a riveting story in the straightforward, personality-driven manner at which he’s so accomplished. There’s no purple in his prose even though he obviously has learned lessons of the genre from masters like Jim Thompson. His characters aren’t as hard-bitten, which perhaps is why it’s easier to identify with them." Boston Globe

"Back in the “real” world, Dave Zeltserman’s Outsourced is a dryly witty take on the heist caper genre with a gaggle of reluctantly redundant software engineers planning the perfect bank robbery. He brings together crazed hitmen, Russian mafiosi, Iraqi antiques smugglers and domestic angst in a fast-paced action romp that has the inestimable advantage (or not) that its characters are actually human." Peter Millar, London Times

"DAVE Zeltserman is one of the new, highly original voices in crime fiction, his writing spare, disciplined and concrete. His plots are as original as anyone writing hard-boiled fiction with an attractive noir edge, and always grimly entertaining. Like his characters. Outsourced, already being turned into a movie, follows an all-too-human bunch of outsourced software engineers who have no job prospects and no long-term insurance but do possess a plan. They are going to use their computing skills to rob a bank, and Zeltserman delivers a finely paced, witty and stylish take on the heist caper novel. More than most authors churning out mysteries, Zeltserman is fully steeped in the conventions of crime fiction. He remains absolutely his own hard man." The Australian

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Two new stories

 I have two new stories out:

A new Archie story, Archie's Been Stolen, in the latest issue of Ellery Queen.

And in this week's issue of Black Cat Weekly, my very meta comic serial killer thriller spoof, The Matzo Ball Killer. Any similarities between myself and the character Dan Seltzerberg are purely intentional.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

More Julius Katz and Archie on sale


"The puzzles are clever, and Zeltserman plays fair with readers. Stout devotees will be delighted with this loving homage." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

My second collection of Julius Katz detective stories is on sale thru July 6th for $0.99.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Kindle version Everybody Lies in Hell available for pre-order!


The kindle version for Everybody Lies in Hell will be on sale Aug. 23rd and can be pre-ordered now!

"This clever depiction of hell explores the lies that people tell, both to others and to themselves... Zeltserman has developed a rich world with a complex protagonist, and the stated stagnation of hellish eternity doesn’t stop his story from moving briskly along." Publishers Weekly

"Everybody Lies in Hell is a wild adventure centered on confronting our demons--literally and figuratively. At once compulsively entertaining and bizarre, Zeltserman has written a metaphysical masterpiece. Hell has never been so much fun." Jon Bassoff

"In Everybody Lies in Hell Mike Stone's eternal damnation is a private detective's office in a re-imagined Brooklyn. In Hell, the beautiful woman with a case opens a literal Pandora's Box, and Stone is soon inundated by all-too-recognizable evils and lies of Hell's tortured souls, powerful ancient demons and devils, and haunting personal ones. Classic pulp, noir, and horror--think James N. Cain and Bukowski and Palahniuk--are all ground up in a blender and the result is a nasty, wild, and ultimately redemptive novel that only Dave Zeltserman could write." Paul Tremblay

Sunday, January 15, 2023

When Pigs Fly


I've got a time-travel paradox story in the latest issue of Black Cat Weekly. If you haven't discovered this magazine yet, you should--it's a nice of mix of new and old mystery + sci-fi short fiction.