Sunday, October 31, 2010

If You Like Your Halloween Creepy: Dave Zeltserman, 21 TALES

The full title of this densely packed collection from New Pulp Press is 21 TALES FROM THE MODERN MASTER OF NOIR. It's a good description of Dave Zeltserman's novels, novellas, short stories ... Whether he's writing black crime or marvelously twisted horror, Zeltserman lays the trap that springs all at once and reveals the shadowy, the grim, the very real. I just got around to reading one of his "free stories," "King," and I'll never look at a pigeon the same way again. (Up here in Vermont, crows have a similar role, Dave ... we'll show you, next time you come north.)

New Pulp Press is offering a free read of one of the shorter stories from 21 TALES: "Closing Time." It's a great wicked stroll into life at the neighborhood bar, especially when there's a big shot buying the rounds. And it fits right in with what the neighborhood moms always said about those places. Hey, you looking for Trouble? (Giggle.)

The shortest story in 21 TALES launches the collection: "Danny Smith." Gruesome and edged like a boxcutter, it's unforgettable. Then there's "More Than a Scam," a response from this author-who-used-to-do-computers for all those phishing e-mails coming in. (If you like it, you'll like his equally twisted novels PARIAH and SMALL CRIMES. Really.)

I'm not going to ring out the changes of all the tales in this pulp delight -- but hands down, my favorite is "She Stole My Fortune." And without giving away more than the start of it, I have to let you know that there's a rumor around here that one of the older residents gave all her saved-up fortune cookies to the trick-or-treaters this evening. (They come individually wrapped in plastic, don't panic.) Gotta wonder what she's just given away in all those little treats ... or are they tricks? After reading Zeltserman for an evening, you'll be wondering, too.

So if you dare to dip into the creepy, the horrible, the bizarre, and the all too recognizable detritus of urban life, grab a copy of 21 TALES. But don't say I didn't warn you.

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