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.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ripper Street

Every show's cancellation hits the people who love it, and every show has a core group of people who love it lots. But the wider dismay over the BBC's cancellation of Victorian-era police drama Ripper Street, shown in the US on BBC America, seems to have an unusual edge to it.

I'm not a fan. By which I don't mean that I have a low opinion of it, simply that I don't follow the show. And if anything I ought to welcome its cancellation, because with Ripper Street and Copper out of the way, development execs are willing to look seriously at the Becker books again.

But it's worrying that once again the BBC has killed a series that it claims to be proud of, citing a fall in viewing figures as the reason. For an advertising-driven broadcaster viewing figures are crucial because their business is one of selling eyeballs to advertisers. The viewer is not the client, but the product. The programmes are bait, to draw a crowd and serve it up to the client's sales force. In the UK, regulation imposed a quality threshold on commercial television from the very beginning. With relaxed regulation you get Babestation.

The BBC isn't a commercial network. With its one-off yearly license fee funding, the BBC's model is more like that of a cable company - and it's the biggest bargain of its kind in the business, whatever the bottom half of the internet may say. Sky charges you more, produces less, and still shows you ads.

Subscription-funded companies like HBO or Showtime don't have to worry about the figures for any one programme. Their brand image is defined by the quality of some of their least-watched product. Hence The Sopranos, Deadwood, Mad Men, Breaking Bad - bar-raisers for an entire industry. AMC's Mad Men made its debut to less than a million viewers. The episode average never rose above three million, but it was deemed worthy of six seasons.

The BBC's there for all of us in the UK. Because of the compulsory license fee, we're all subscribers. Yet the BBC chooses to ape ITV's methods and compete for ratings in time slots, as if courting imaginary ad buyers. Which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't then use those ratings as the measure of a programme's worth, when simply moving the material around the schedule can have a drastic effect on its numbers.

(I speak here as someone who once saw his big-budget one-off BBC drama scheduled against live football on ITV, Manchester United v AC Milan. They knew what the outcome would be and didn't even bother making any trails for the show.)

I've heard it suggested that the real reason for Ripper Street's cancellation is that it's too 'blokeish' for some executives' tastes, and the numbers only provide a handy excuse. So presumably the blokes will now go off and watch The Paradise instead. Or maybe Mr Selfridge.

That's about a bloke, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This week on CrimeCityCentral's podcast---More Than a Scam

This week on CrimeCityCentral's podcast is Dave Zeltserman's twisty More Than a Scam. This story was received honorable mention in the 2002 Best American Mystery Stories, and might be the first crime story about those ubiquitous Nigerian email scams.

The story's introduction starts at the 12 minute mark.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some of our favorite noir films

Max Allan Collins: Kiss Me Deadly

Vicki Hendricks: Body Heat

Joel Goldman: LA Confidential

Bill Crider: The Maltese Falcon

Naomi Hirahara: The Crimson Kimono

Ed Gorman: Cape Fear

Paul Levine: The Killers

Libby Hellmann: Double Indemnity

Harry Shannon: Fargo

Dave Zeltserman: The Third Man

Other favorites from Top Suspense: Gun Crazy, Out of the Past, Touch of Evil, Angel Heart, Night of the Hunter and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Let's hear your favorites!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Long Ride Back

Readers who stumble onto Ed Gorman's writing soon find their pulse quickening with excitement as they discover that he's one of the best mystery, horror and Western writers working today. Here's what a few critics are saying about Ed's exceptional Western collection, The Long Ride Back & Other Western Stories:

"This being my first exposure to Gorman, I loved every second of it. Expecting a typical Western, I was blown away by how he turns the genre on its ear like some of the Western writing of Elmore Leonard." Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

"Simply one of the best western writers of our time." Rocky Mountain News

"Ed Gorman's western stories are anything but ordinary. They often take take place in lonely, tragic, mythical landscapes." Goodreads

"Donald E. Westlake (to whom Ghost Town is dedicated) pointed out similarities to the Westerns of Will Charles (crime author Charles Willeford writing under a pseudonym) Willeford and Gorman approached their material in the same way, namely that criminals are the same no matter what time period they're living in. That's Western noir. What Gorman is doing with the Western may not be new, but it's still a fresh approach that hasn't been done to death. He did not create the concept of Western noir, but he gave it a name, and he is certainly the best at it." Somebody Dies

THE LONG RIDE BACK AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES is the biggest collection of Ed Gorman's critically acclaimed, award-winning Western fiction ever published. This massive trade paperback brings together the complete contents of the three e-book Gorman collections published by the Western Fictioneers Library: DEAD MAN'S GUN, A DISGRACE TO THE BADGE, and ENEMIES. Nineteen short stories and novellas and two essays add up to more than 100,000 words from one of the finest writers of our time. This indispensable collection is available only from the Western Fictioneers Library.

Also available for the Kindle are these celebrated Gorman Western novels :

Death Ground
Wolf Moon 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mind-bending short story MIND PRISON

From Shamus Award-winning author, Dave Zeltserman, comes this mind-bending mix of science fiction and noir. A renowned scientist, Dr. Graham Winston, is developing an ingenious and, some might say, horrifying technology that will revolutionize prison. He's close to a breakthrough, except that he finds himself distracted by his beautiful mistress... and thoughts of murder.

"MIND PRISON is a dandy tale of hubris and horror that both Philip K. Dick and O. Henry would heartily endorse." Lee Goldberg, author of THE HEIST and THE WALK

"MIND PRISON is a mix of science fiction and noir as diverting as it is surprising." Max Allan Collins, author of ROAD TO PERDITION

"A taut, dark, searing science fiction story filled with noir atmospherics--greed, sexual betrayal, murder--that evokes the best of Philip K. Dick's grim near future." Ed Gorman, author of CAGE OF NIGHT and FLASHPOINT

"MIND PRISON features a novel and Orwellian solution to the problem of overcrowding in American prisons." Publishers Weekly

MIND PRISON is available now for $0.99.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Frontlist Feature: State Vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine

Top Suspense member Paul Levine was one step ahead of Shakespeare when the bard suggested we should “First, Kill All The Lawyers.” An attorney himself, Paul wisely stopped practicing—except in his writing. In fact, that’s one of the titles in his as-funny-as-Carl Hiassen legal thrillers, the Solomon and Lord series.

Now, though, Paul has released a new entry in his other award-winning series featuring lawyer Jake Lassiter. In this thriller, life is great for Jake at the start. His law practice is booming...He’s crazy about the new woman in his life... His one-time delinquent nephew Kip is getting A’s in school...What can go wrong?

How about a charge of first degree murder?

When money goes missing from client trust accounts, Jake confronts his banker, Pamela Baylins, who also happens to be his lover. She accuses Jake of skimming client funds; he accuses her of dipping into the till. She threatens to report him to the Florida Bar and the State Attorney and within hours is killed.
 All the evidence points to Jake, who is charged with murder.

The premise, Paul says, was simple. “I wanted to put Jake Lassiter in his tightest spot yet.  And what could be more precarious than being charged with first degree murder?  For a lawyer who’s used to representing other people, sitting in the defendant’s chair is a new and frightening experience.”

And, according to readers, Paul has another winner. Following is praise for the book and the series.


Blend the wit of Carl Hiaasen with the dialogue of Elmore Leonard and throw in John Grishams courtroom skills, and you have ‘State vs. Lassiter.’” –

Lassiter stands tall like Jack Reacher, Travis McGee or Spenser.  Levine’s only problem he isn’t prolific enough.  I want more Lassiter!” –Amazon Vine Voice review


“Mystery writing at its very, very best.”–Larry King, USA TODAY

“Irreverent, genuinely clever, great fun.” – New York Times Book Review

“Twice as good as Turow and Grisham and four times the fun.” – Armchair Detective

“Jake Lassiter has a lot more charisma than Perry Mason ever did.” – Miami Herald

Btw, Paul has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes. He also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG.”

Don’t miss State vs. Lassiter.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Horror Then and Now

The October issue of the Readers Advisory newsletter pairs classic horror novels with recommended modern read-alikes.

For Frankenstein:

"The novel Frankenstein was so scary that it frightened its own author. Though Dr. Frankenstein and his monstrous creation are pillars of popular culture, the original text is often overlooked. This is a shame: Shelley’s imaginative tale of terror Is a literary masterpiece, blending adrenaline and thrills with thought-provoking questions about what it means to be human.

In Shelley's classic novel, Dr. Frankenstein's creation is a monster, albeit a sympathetic one. In Zeltserman's campy retelling, the real monster is the doctor himself, aided by his co-conspirator, the Marquis de Sade. Frankenstein's patchwork science experiment is the hero, and his perspective on events will delight anyone familiar with the original material, provided they can handle the depraved scenes of horror."

 Click here to read the article for more classic horror novels and recommended read-alikes.