Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nightmare, with Angel

Four of my backlist titles are lined up for launch, and the first of them is now up and available as an Amazon exclusive; Nightmare, with Angel will be followed over the coming weeks by paperback and ebook editions of White Bizango, The Spirit Box, and Red, Red Robin.

Nightmare, with Angel is the manhunt/Eurothriller that earned me the 'finest British writer of bestselling popular fiction to emerge since John le Carre' quote from John Williams in The Independent. It's been used by my publishers ever since and no one's ever heard me protesting. But I don't think anyone's ever sought out le Carre's opinion on the matter, either.

It's set in the months following German reunification. A while ago (on my own blog) I posted an account of the research behind the book; if you weren't around for that, here it is again.

Nightmares and Angels

Just after the Berlin Wall came down, I threw a bag into the back of the Volvo and drove down to the Hamburg ferry. Not quite as spontaneously as that, of course. I had a plan. I'd lined up meetings with Hamburg's Sex Crimes division and detectives in the Criminal Investigation department of the Dussseldorf police. I had places to look at, questions to ask, and a date with the Senior Pathologist in the morgue at Heinrich Heine University.

But in the most ambitious part of the trip, I headed East. Right across Germany, through the border, and into territory that had, only months before - weeks, even - been sealed off, self-contained, an enigma to the West.

For someone raised on spy fiction, this was no small deal. In Cold War mythology, East Germany was enemy territory. In reality the border was a zone of tension, and people died trying to cross it.

What I found was empty checkpoints, broken barriers, watchtowers with their windows stoned-in... there were concrete blocks that had been placed to prevent any vehicle from making a dash through, forcing the car into a zigzag path that no longer served any purpose. This once-fearsome locale now felt like a corner of an abandoned airfield, already becoming overgrown...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two from Ed Gorman


Review Roundup: Ed Gorman's Balancing Act by Kathleen Rice Adams

Though he’s better known for his crime, mystery, and horror fiction, Ed Gorman is no slouch at writing westerns, either. Gorman’s spare style and uncomplicated prose make it easy to imagine the author as a storyteller in the oral tradition, forced to put pen to paper during an attack of laryngitis.

Perhaps nowhere is that better expressed than in the new anthology Dead Man’s Gun and Other Western Stories. The collection of nine short tales and one brief treatise entitled “Writing the Modern Western” provides eloquent evidence of the author’s exceptional range in storytelling. More than range, though, Gorman’s short stories display the author’s uncommon ability to dig into the darkest recesses of the human psyche and expose the thin lines separating good and evil, bravery and cowardice, love and hate, pride and shame. The way Gorman’s characters balance on those lines — always in danger of falling to one side or the other — will make readers alternately shudder and rejoice.

No matter how uncomfortable the thought may be, Ed Gorman knows us all. Gazing into his mirror is undeniably uncomfortable, yet oddly liberating. “Dead Man’s Gun” will resonate with anyone who’s ever wanted revenge. Writers and movie buffs will relate to “Pards,” a bittersweet tale about a middle-aged, unsuccessful writer who finds a spiritual twin in an aging matinee icon. “The Face,” a Civil War story, is an atmospheric, psychological study of men under pressure, inexorably sliding into madness. “Mainwaring’s Gift” is at once sad and romantic and hopeful. “Gunslinger,” “Blood Truth,” and “Dance Girl” are equally compelling, each in its own way.

Though all the stories take place in the 19th century American west, it’s difficult to define Dead Man’s Gun and Other Western Tales as simply “western.” Fans of psychological horror, crime, and mystery will find much to enjoy in this volume, as well.

Read the book.

Buy Dead Man's Gun & Other Western Stories

DEATH GROUND by Ed Gorman,
Reviewed by Benjamin Boulden

Leo Guild is an aging bounty hunter. He is a former lawman, father and husband, but that is all behind him. Now he rides alone. He is  melancholy, intelligent and violent; when he needs to be. He also has a  past that sticks with him. He killed a little girl. The courts forgave him, but he can't find the heart to forgive himself.

DEATH GROUND opens on the evening of Guild's 54th birthday. In lonely  celebration he makes a date at the local brothel with a young "straw-haired" girl. Things don't go as expected with the girl and his birthday truly turns for the worse when he is summoned to the Sheriff's office.

Two men are dead. One--Merle Rig--hired Guild as a bodyguard and the other--Kenny Tolliver--was technically Guild's employee. He hired Kenny to protect Rig while he paid a visit to the "straw-haired" girl. As he looks at the cadavers on the heavy mortician's tables he figures his job is gone and it is time to ride on, but first he pays a visit to Kenny's mother. A scene that unsettles Guild and also piques his interest; Kenny's mother knew Rig and Kenny palled around with a couple local deputies.

Leo Guild decides he can't leave town until he figures who really killed the pair and why. He has a feeling it is not the violent mountain man being blamed by the Sheriff, but he doesn't have many suspects. He doesn't have anything but a hunch, really.

DEATH GROUND isn't a traditional Western. It, like all of Gorman's Westerns, is a noir mystery wrapped in the trappings of the Old West. That is not to say that the historical element isn't accurate or interesting, because it is. It is also central to the story, but an Ed Gorman Western is more of a historical mystery than anything else. A hardboiled historical mystery at that.

The prose is tough and tender in varying shades. It defines the story, action, and protagonist with a lean, smart and melancholy and literate style:

"Then he started digging snow up with both hands, and he covered them good, the two of them, and then he stood up and looked out on the unfurling white land. There was blue sky and a full yellow sun. Warmer now, there was even that kind of sweetness that comes on sunny winter days. It made him think of pretty women on ice skates, their cheeks touched perfect red by the cold, their eyes daring and blue."

Leo Guild is an everyman. He is the man who does what needs to be done. He isn't a hero, or a villain, but rather he is simply a man; a man who has seen much, done much, and lost much. Guild is an example of what makes Ed Gorman's fiction so damn good: characters that are measured and three-dimensional; characters that act, feel and sound real. His male characters are strong and pitiful, lustful and scared, vain and dangerous, lonely and weak--generally all at the same time--and more
importantly they are recognizable. And his female characters exhibit the same steady qualities. Neither wholly good nor bad, just human.

DEATH GROUND is a Western that should have wide appeal. It will please the traditionalist with its rugged description of frontier life and the people who settled it. It will also introduce readers of hardboiled crime fiction to a new genre, but mostly it will please any reader who wants something tangible and meaningful mixed into a well-told, excellently plotted and immensely entertaining novel.

Buy Death Ground

Monday, February 24, 2014

An interview and an article

Over at Harvard Square Edition I talk with Mary Uhas about my novels, writing, advice to first-time authors, and the two most effective ways to market&sell ebooks.

I'm also featured in the article 'Gut Check Fiction and the Heathens Who Are Writing It', along with Nic Pizzolatto (HBO's True Detective) and Tom Franklin. Here's a small excerpt from this article:

"Dave Zeltserman is the uncrowned king of blue collar noir. Zeltserman has populated the 2000s with tales of urban desolation, suave ex-cons, dirty cops, men desperate for one last score, and average Joes looking to take something from a world that has robbed them of too much. He has even dipped his hand in horror with 2011’s The Caretaker of Lorne Fields and last year’s Monster. A personal favorite of Zeltserman’s fiction is Small Crimes. Hitting the street in 2008, Small Crimes chronicles the journey of paroled ex-cop Joe Denton as he seeks out a return to a normal life. As old enemies demand Denton to right past wrongs, the reader realizes despite his boisterous attempt, that Denton is not who he appears to be. Zeltserman’s writing is sharp, vibrant, and smooth to read. He has the rare ability to make bad men seem redeemable and good men unsavory, as only great writers can do. As Denton’s antics of greed, coercion, and hostility escalate, Zeltserman’s writing makes Denton’s machinations graspable and almost agreeable."

Monday, January 27, 2014

The next in the Hunted Series: The Interloper

A kickstarter project is underway to publish all three novellas in Dave Zeltserman's Hunted series as a 270-page paperback and ebook.

What some people have been saying about Dave Zeltserman's ultra hardboiled series:

"a swiftly paced story that rewards with tension, suspense, and surprise." Bill Crider, author of the Dan Rhodes mystery series

"dark tour-de-force of non-stop action and tension" Vincent Zandri, bestselling author of The Remains and The Innocent

"Stark meets Ludlum meets Forsyth in this tight and tricky opener to a new novella series from the always-innovative Dave Zeltserman." Roger Smith, author of Wake Up Dead and Dust Devils

"The Hunted rockets along, never boring for a second ... The Dame reads like a Reader’s Digest Condensed Parker, with all of the elements that we know and love crammed into a scant 70 pages" The Violent World of Parker

"Everything Dave Zeltserman writes is gold, and his new Hunted series is no exception." Evan Lewis, author of the Skylar Hobbs mystery stories

To read more about this project and an excerpt from The Interloper, click here.