Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Mysterious Moment in the Life of Noir/Crime Author Dave Zeltserman

Life serves you luck at unpredictable moments -- and one of our best was when "my" Dave connected with author Dave Zeltserman on the edge of Boston a few months ago. Finding copies of this author's stuff wasn't easy, as it's come out either in low quantity or in Britain. But from the first page of each book, we were hooked. Dark, twisted, and utterly individual, Zeltserman's novels kept us up reading to ridiculous hours of the night. It's fantastic that this author is coming up to Kingdom Books in just a few weeks: He'll be here THURSDAY JUNE 25 at 7 p.m. to talk about his books, and we'll provide strawberry shortcake to celebrate the occasion. (With novels so abnormal, something normal like ordinary food has to keep us anchored, we figure!)

For collectors who love to get in on books just before their value leaps sky high, this is going to be quite a night. Here's why, as explained by Zeltserman on his own blog:
All of a sudden I've got a bunch of books coming out--6 in total over the next 2 years, and with some luck maybe a couple more (although those would have to be with pseudonyms). Here's a quick rundown:

Pariah (Oct. 09, Serpent's Tail)--This is the second of my loosely themed "man out of prison" crime noir novels, and probably the one I'm most excited about. It's definitely the most explosive book I've written, as well as the most subversive.

Bad Karma (Oct. 09, Five Star)--Sequel to Bad Thoughts, although instead of being the grim and weird mix of horror and crime that Bad Thoughts was, this one is a hardboiled PI set in Boulder, Colorado, with some quirky new age aspects to it.

Killer (Jan. 10 (UK), Serpent's Tail)--The third of my "man out of prison" crime noir novels. Existential noir.

28 Minutes (July 10 (UK), Serpent's Tail)--My bank heist thriller that's been optioned to Impact Pictures and Constantin Film Development. The US publisher for this one is still being worked out.

Caretaker of Lorne Field (Overlook Press)--This one's an allegorical novel, written as a mix of noir, sci-fi, and horror. A caretaker believes if he doesn't weed a field every day the world will end. Either he's insane or he knows something no one else does.

Essence (Overlook Press)--Gritty crime noir with supernatural elements. The book is placed in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the time frame for most of the book centered around the 2004 ALCS Red Sox--Yankees playoffs, with the Yankees choke job (the worst in the history of professional sports??) seen through the eyes of a Yankees fan.

See what I mean? Add these to the film option that he just agreed to, and Dave Zeltserman is not only one of the hardest working authors around, but also one of the hottest. By the autumn of this year, "everyone" will be talking about his books in the US (at last!). Here at Kingdom Books, we're talking about them NOW.

I'll start today with BAD THOUGHTS (Thomson Gale, 2007). The action opens inside a nightmare that Bill Shannon, a cop in Cambridge, Mass., is having -- one in which he's bring forced to pick up a knife and kill someone. That's disturbing enough. But double the horror when Shannon realizes that women are being killed in exactly this way, while he endures his dreadful dreams. They date back to the death of his mother when he was just 13 years old ... Also haunting him are blackouts, perhaps linked to his own drinking, that plague his adult life. They cut in around the same time each year, the anniversary of his mother's death. Since Shannon doesn't know what he's done during his time away from himself, and his wife and best friend fail to figure it out either, the creepy suspicion among all of them is that Shannon may be the killer. Even of his mother.

It doesn't help that Shannon's therapist seems to be falling into the circle of death. And since Shannon and his fugue states are clearly getting worse, his wife Susie has about had it. Half the time she wishes he were dead; walking out of the marriage is looking attractive.
She stood frozen, staring down at him. An angry, painful sob convulsed through her body. "Weren't you supposed to be all cured? Isn't that what your therapist has been telling you?" she asked, her face turning a hard white. When Shannon remained mute in response, she exploded, "Answer me! Are you even in there?"

"Where else would I be? he said after a while.

She opened her mouth, closed it, and fled to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She stood frozen in front of the mirror and then started to sob uncontrollably.

Soon isolation, terror, and a sense of crumbling from the inside beset Shannon, not a great situation from which to try to save his own life and those around him. Zeltserman combines a gritty police procedural with a carefully crafted state of horror, and a sense that the sociopathic mind of a truly dangerous criminal is creeping into each scene, each character, each weighing of risk and terror.

In other words -- this is one great read if you leave the lights on and check that the doors are locked.

More soon on SMALL CRIMES, which really got under my skin. Meanwhile, if you'd like to read an interview with Zeltersman, here's one at Murderati -- and be sure to let us know if you're coming to his event at Kingdom Books. Seating is limited, and so are the copies of books available. Contact "my" Dave (Kanell, here at Kingdom Books) directly at or 802-751-8374.

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