Friday, May 31, 2013

The Con is On!

Here's the national TV advertisement for THE HEIST, the new novel by Top Suspense author Lee Goldberg and internationally bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

Top Suspense would like to congratulate Lee Goldberg for making the NY Times Bestseller's list

Top Suspense would like to offer our own, Lee Goldberg, a hearty congratulations for Pros and Cons, co-written with Janet Evanovich, coming in #20 on the NY Times Ebook Fiction list, and #24 on the combined Print and Ebook Fiction list!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monster unleashed in London

Duckworth Publishers have released a trade paperback version of Monster in the UK. Included below is a sampling of what critics were saying about Monster when it was released last summer in the US.
"More impressively, Zeltserman's plot maps almost perfectly onto the plot of Shelley's novel — the key word being "almost." In its departures, the novel provides more than its cover price in entertainment. Vampyres abound, as do Satanic cults and the Marquis de Sade, preparing to enact the 120 Days of Sodom in a remote mountain castle. You don't get much more gothic bang for your buck." Los Angeles Times

"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

"This reworking of Frankenstein is chilling and captivating!...A tale of justice, true love, and ultimate forgiveness, this gruesome novel is perfect for fans of Stephen King and similar horror stories." ForeWord Magazine, Pick of the Week

"Magnificently horrific... a surprisingly profound reimagining of the Mary Shelley horror classic Frankenstein... The obvious recommendation here is for horror fans and readers who loved Frankenstein but I would suggest Zeltserman’s Monster to literary and mainstream fiction readers as well. It’s an homage to Shelley’s classic, yes, but it’s also a powerful parable about having the courage to be ourselves" Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble

"MONSTER is Gothic horror that pulls no punches — a brutal ride through a hellish tale... likely one of the best books of 2012" Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

"Zeltserman keeps the action moving relentlessly forward with minimal padding, either in terms of plot or prose. The action is tight and there’s no shade of purple in his style, but there’s plenty going on thematically." WBUR (NPR Boston), Best Books of  2012

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Criminal History

The Devil in the White City is one of my all-time favourite nonfiction reads. Historian Erik Larson counterpoints the planning and staging of the 1893 World's Fair with the murderous activities of one "Dr H H Holmes". The fake doctor – real name Herman Webster Mudgett – was a plausible charmer who preyed upon young women drawn to Chicago by the prospect of work and the excitement of big-city life in changing times.

One of the most frequent arguments to be offered in praise of the book is that it 'reads like a novel'. So it does, and a particularly rich one at that. We look into a world that is not our own, distanced by time, to find a timeless drama of fear and conflict. The historical panorama fascinates but it's the crime, the crime that drives the tale.

Historical crime. Pick any era, and you'll find a crime writer working the ground. Margaret Doody's Aristotle Detective, the Falco novels of Lindsey Davis, Phil Rickman's Doctor Dee, the Victorian railway detectives of Edward Marston and Andrew Martin (working half a century apart). Alienists, playwrights, and celebrities of the day all take the investigator's role, with varying degrees of credibility and success. Anthologist Mike Ashley's collections of historical crime draw together stories from Ancient Egypt to 1930s New York, and just a glance down their contents pages is enough to show that there's far more to the field than yet another Sherlock pastiche or tale of Jack the Ripper.

For me the stories that work least well are those which impose modern methods or attitudes on their historical context, treating history as little more than a dressing-up box. The best of them recognise that the past is, indeed, another country, where it's part of the thrill not to feel at home.

When it comes to imaginative creation, historical fiction is a harder act than most to pull off. The rules for the Walter Scott Prize, one of the richest in the field, require that "the majority of the events described take place at least 60 years before the publication of the novel, and therefore stand outside any mature personal experience of the author."

What does that mean for the story? For the author it means putting in serious work to achieve a sense of authenticity, where nothing can be assumed or taken for granted in the creation of your fictional world. That still leaves plenty of room for the imagination. In skilled hands and with the right attitude, even the most improbable events can be made plausible. Conan Doyle did careful research on his Lost World, and then populated his plateau with believable dinosaurs. Publication of The Lost World in 1912 gave me the springboard for a work of my own, when I was inspired to look into the real lives of its Edwardian subjects. The result was The Bedlam Detective, in which a discredited explorer's fantasies may hold the key to the murders of young girls on his estate.

I've read other 'true crime historicals' since The Devil in the White City. Larson's own Thunderstruck counterpoints the Crippen case with the development of the technology that would play such a big part in its climax, while Howard Blum's American Lightning juxtaposes the birth of Hollywood with the bombing of the Los Angeles Times offices in 1910. But the balance is an elusive one. It's a rare dramatic crime that exactly fit the needs of a dramatic narrative.

Which means it's rare to find the factual history that really does read like a crime novel.

For that, you need a novel.

First published in The Weekly Lizard

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Archie Solves the Case

ARCHIE SOLVES THE CASE  features the latest novella in Zeltserman's award-winning Julius Katz mystery series. When the great detective finds himself stumped in proving his client didn't murder a rival chef over a stolen recipe, it's left up to Archie to save the day. Also in this collection are four additional stories including the amusing PINK WIGGLY THINGS and Zeltserman's ultra noir 'TIL DEATH DO YOU PART.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Don't Make Fun of Renowned Dan Brown

From The Daily Telegraph:

Renowned author Dan Brown woke up in his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house – and immediately he felt angry. Most people would have thought that the 48-year-old man had no reason to be angry. After all, the famous writer had a new book coming out. But that was the problem. A new book meant an inevitable attack on the rich novelist by the wealthy wordsmith’s fiercest foes. The critics...

...The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket. 

Click here to read the complete piece by Michael Deacon.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Down River

On May 23rd The Bedlam Detective sees UK publication and in anticipation of the event, we're making the Kindle edition of Down River free for this holiday weekend. You'll have 72 hours in which to grab it, from 12.00am (Pacific Standard Time) on May 4th to around midnight PST on May 6th.
Johnny Mays has the moral conscience of a selfish child in the frame of a plain-clothes police officer. The city is his playground, the rest of us his toys. He likes to find out where we work, where we live, what will scare us most. And Johnny never had a toy he didn't break.
But Johnny starts a car chase, and he pushes it too far. Soon they're fishing for his body at the foot of a dam, and partner Nick Frazier has been left behind.
They were friends, once, a long time ago, and there's no greater anger than that of a friend who feels betrayed. Nick had hoped that he might keep Johnny from going over the edge, in every sense. But Johnny doesn't see it that way.
Johnny's last words still echo in Nick's mind: "I'm going to remember this. I'm coming back for you."
Then the killings start. Killings of people Johnny didn't like. While Johnny's car is dredged up, empty.
"The denouement, thanks to Gallagher's strong writing and excellent characterisations, is unforgettable." (Publishers Weekly)
"An out-and-out novel of paranoia, tension and sharply honed violence which confirms Gallagher as one of Britain's most exciting writers of literate, nerve-shredding thrillers. Down River is Gallagher's most impressive novel to date. He's stripped, oiled and tuned his prose until it growls like a Ferrari, smooth, fast, and very, very powerful. The horror is firmly rooted in reality, yet seems ready at any moment to veer into deep, dark shadows... an unstoppable, gut-wrenching ride to the last page." (Starburst)
"Oktober broke new ground in its blending of genres, its thoughtful characterisation, and its non-stop action. With Down River, Gallagher returns to his own brand of police procedural once more... and he's pulled it off brilliantly." (Mystery Scene)