Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Killer's Essence is now available

A Killer's Essence is now in stock and shipping from Amazon and BN.com, and should be showing up soon at your local bookstores. You can read the first chapter here (it's a short one) or send me email for either a Nook or Kindle file.

"a memorable winner" Boston Globe

“Detective Green is a believable character, down on his luck with little going for him but his job. Nonetheless, he meanders through life, precariously balancing all its myriad and conflicting facets, and coming out on top in this chilling page-turner attuned to the most discerning of avid crime lovers. Well written and well paced. Recommended.” New York Journal of Books

"Last night I finished the best crime novel I have read in the last year -- an advance reading copy of Dave Zeltserman's book A Killer's Essence, which will be published by Overlook Press in September. The story line was superb as well as the characters . . . [Zeltserman] nailed the atmosphere of New York City and Brooklyn. There is no question that our customers will love this book. And there is no question that I want a copy for my collection, when this comes out." --Dave Kanell, co-owner Kingdom Books in Vermont

"Zeltserman’s signature creepiness is available here and there, but what really drives this novel is the engaging portrait of an honest, hardworking cop who, on the job and off, gives the best he’s got, knowing how rarely it will be enough." Kirkus Reviews

"A scary, keep-you-guessing thriller not to be missed." Elliott Swanson, Booklist

"This mix of police procedural, noir, spec lit, and domestic character study is entertaining and expertly plotted. Set against the backdrop of the 2004 ALCS, and the collapse of the Yankees against the Red Sox, New York City police detective Stan Greene investigates a brutal series of random murders while juggling (and dropping) the pieces of his personal life. Oh, and there’s a witness, a veritable shut-in who might be able to help despite his neurological damage and his demonic hallucinations. Like all of Dave’s novels, A KILLER’S ESSENCE is tightly plotted storytelling featuring realistically flawed and memorable characters." Paul Tremblay

Monday, September 26, 2011

The odds are...

The odds are if you find a list of recommended contemporary noir you're going to find a Top Suspense author on it. In this case, you're going to find 2 of us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top Suspense congratulates Max Allan Collins

Top Suspense congratulates Max Allan Collins, whose 'True Detective' is right now the #1 bestselling book at Amazon's Kindle store.


The first book in my Nathan Heller series of historical thrillers is on sale today for 99 cents on Kindle. Right here:


TRUE DETECTIVE won the Shamus from the Private Eye Writers of America for Best Novel in 1984. It follows Nate Heller, a young ex cop trying to make it as a PI in big, corrupt Chicago in the early '30s. Heller gets involved in the assassination of Mayor Cermak by Frank Nitti, and along the way meets Capone, "Dutch" Reagan, and George Raft, as well as several lovely damsels in and of distress (and "dis dress"). It's been called a modern classic and this is a good way to get a look at a much-acclaimed, well-reviewed series.

Amazon is making the first twelve Hellers available in trade paperback as well as on Kindle with two new short story collections -- everything is available now, except one of the collections (TRIPLE PLAY) which comes out next year. The other collection, CHICAGO LIGHTNING, is out right now.

And the first Heller novel in almost a decade, BYE BYE, BABY -- which has an older Nate looking into Marilyn Monroe's mysterious death -- has just been published by Forge simultaneously with a Brilliance audio (all of the Hellers that Amazon is publishing will be available as Brilliance audios...several are already out, and the reader is excellent).

I rate the Nathan Heller series as my best work, and my most famous work (ROAD TO PERDITION) was a spin-off of that work. This is a nice opportunity to check it out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Suspense and THE DEAD MAN

Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint has picked up THE DEAD MAN series, co-created by Top Suspense author Lee Goldberg, in a unique and exclusive 12-book digital & print deal ... with an option for more. But that's not all. Brilliance Audio will be also be rolling out their own editions of the books.

The five books that have already been published -- FACE OF EVIL, RING OF KNIVES, HELL IN HEAVEN, THE DEAD WOMAN, and THE BLOOD MESA -- will be re-released in the days leading up to Halloween ... so keep your eyes peeled for great offers.

The sixth book in the series will be released in November and will be followed each month by another new adventure in the continuing saga of Matt Cahill, a man resurrected from the dead to battle evil among us that only he can see.

Amazon will also be releasing three-book compilations of THE DEAD MAN series in trade paperback  (as well as in specially priced digital editions). The release dates of the first compilation, and the Brilliance Audio editions, have not been determined yet ... but we’re hoping they'll be ready for Christmas.

Lee Goldberg and Bill Rabkin will continue to run the series, which they are writing with a terrific group of action, horror, mystery, SF and western authors, including Top Suspense authors  Harry Shannon, Joel Goldman, and Bill Crider.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inside Top Suspense: Your Favorite Character

From Vicki Hendricks

Marvin Molar in Harry Crews’ novel The Gypsy’s Curse!

Marvin is physically handicapped, deaf and malformed. His tough voice captures the reader from page one. He’s not a complainer, despite the fact that he was dropped as an orphan in the doorway of the Fireman’s Gym as a child or that he’s deaf with legs described as tadpole-like, only three inches in circumference, lacking feeling. And, otherwise, he’s built! He walks and performs on his twenty-inch circumference arms and signs while standing on one hand. He is obsessed with his normal girlfriend, his downfall. Possibly the darkest of noir characters, although Crews is not considered a noir writer, Marvin is capable in the area of violence and can take care of himself, except when it comes to love.

The novel is out of print—like many of my favorites—and I can’t imagine Crews ever putting one of his novels on an e-reader (though the world would surely benefit) but luckily, The Gypsy’s Curse is still available in the paperback collection Classic Crews.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

INSIDE TOP SUSPENSE: Your Favorite Character

Welcome back, everyone. This week on INSIDE TOP SUSPENSE we’re talking about our Favorite Characters from a suspense, thriller, mystery, or horror novel. (Excluding our own.) Who’s yours? Why? What makes them so memorable? Hope you’ll join the conversation.

I'm a fan of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, John Connelly's Charlie Parker, Michael Connolly's Harry Bosch and several other series characters...But if I had to choose one favorite suspense hero, I guess it would have to be James Lee Burke's immortal Dave Robicheaux. From Black Cherry Blues and The Neon Rain all the way through to The Glass Rainbow, the series has held up beautifully. Robicheaux has lost a wife and numerous friends and lovers, been shot and stabbed and beaten and abandoned, gotten drunk and gotten sober. Through it all he's struggled to be dignified and compassionate, generally under the worst of circumstances. Hell, his wounded companion Clete Purcell is like another old friend, almost as real to me as the worn face in my bathroom mirror. As for Dave, he has become an old man now, one who still battles a horrendous temper, the urge to drink, and a wonderfully wrought, self destructive, deeply existential angst. He is an archetype and a contradiction in terms, a character who gives life to the phrase "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for a good man to do nothing."

I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with my favorite characters. As Harry said, there are so many memorable ones. Steve Hamilton’s THE LOCK ARTIST turned the genre upside-down with his young, mute lock-picker, Michael. And I confess to a fondness for Bob Crais’ Joe Pike as well as Ree Dolly in Daniel Woodrell’s WINTER'S BONE. All of them are people of few words (Hmm, maybe there’s a pattern here?) but a strong sense of justice and loyalty.
But I keep coming back to two characters, both of whom I never tire: Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski and Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon. V.I. is the kind of person I want next to me in a fight. If we don’t win, we’ll have given it all we had. She can’t suffer injustice without needing to do something about it, and yet she’s savvy and experienced enough to pick her battles wisely. I trust her implicitly, knowing she’ll always have the right motivation for her actions. Gabriel Allon is more of an enigma. He has baggage, some of which we still don’t know, but that only adds to his allure. His skill set as an assassin is unparalleled, and yet he’d rather be an artist. The combination of brutal cunning and sensitivity is incredibly appealing.

Bill Crider adds: My favorite thriller character is any first-person narrator in an Alistair MacLean novel published before 1970. You might be thinking that’s a lot of different characters since MacLean didn’t write a series, but they way I see it, all his first-person narrators are the same guy, no matter when or where they might be. He (or they) is tougher than industrial leather, resourceful, able to go without sleep for days under conditions that would kill most people, and prone to make terrible blunders that get people killed. That last one might not seem very heroic, but anybody else in a similar situation would get hundreds more killed. If not thousands. He’s often handicapped by some injury or wound, he’s clever, and (this is important for a first-person narrator) he knows how to conceal important information from the reader without cheating too much. I read many of MacLean’s books well over 40 years ago. They thrilled me then, and they thrill me now, thanks to thanks to that wonderful character.

Dave Zeltseman says: "There are so many good choices for best thriller character, but I'm going with Hammett's Continental Op from Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, and 24 short stories. Hammett's nameless PI is tough, smart, resourceful, and also persistent as all hell. He might take a beating or two, but he's going to get his man (or dame) even if he's got to steal crutches from a cripple to do so!"

Lee Goldberg says: I can’t pick a favorite…but I can give you some favorites… Robert B. Parker’s Spenser (the early books, not the last 378 of’em), Richard S. Prather’s Shell Scott, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, Gregory McDonald’s Fletch, and Charles Willeford’s Hoke Moseley. What makes these characters so terrific is that that they all have distinct voices and attitudes, strong and often brilliantly flawed personalities that totally shape the stories that are being told, and how they are told, whether it’s in first person or third person. It’s their voices, as much as their characters, that stick with me. I may forget the mysteries, but I can’t forget these characters.

And now, Max Allan Collins: It may be cheating a little, since I am working with the Spillane estate to complete various novels from the late writer's files, but...Mike Hammer is by far my favorite of the thriller heroes. The toughest of all P.I.s, Hammer was a post-war sensation who established a new threshold of violent response -- and sexual responsiveness -- for fictional protagonists. His vengeance-prone ways inspired every tough private eye and rogue cop who followed, as did his active libido, and it's no wonder that James Bond was first marketed in the USA as the 'British Mike Hammer.' But it's not just Bond, it's everybody from Peter Gunn to Dirty Harry, from Shaft to Jack Bauer.

Ed Gorman also weighs in: I'm going to disappoint a lot of people by saying that my favorite thriller protagonist is Lew Archer. There's dumb tough and there's smart tough and Archer is of the latter variety. And by tough I also mean perceptive and obstinate in pursuit of the truth. He found real tragedy in the everyday and wrote as well about the poor as the rich. I prefer the early novels (before the 1970s) because there's more action and less NYC-crowd pleasing (all the critical praise seemed to soften the books). I don't believe any writer has challenged him as the great psychologist of my era or as a storyteller who came closest to equaling the fine psychological novels of Simenon. If, as his critics insisted, he wrote the same book over and over again, it's a book I never tire of reading."

Friday, September 2, 2011

TOXICITY -- my new thriller

by Libby Hellmann

Hi, everyone. It's a new month, and I have a new e-book out! It's a police procedural/thriller and it turned out to be the prequel to my Georgia Davis PI series.
Here's the description:

Ten years before EASY INNOCENCE, PI Georgia Davis was a police officer on the force in a Chicago suburb. And while homicides are rare on the North Shore, three bodies turn up in quick succession—all of them dumped in waste disposal dumpsters or landfills. The investigations into the murders test the mettle and professionalism of a combined police task force. Along the way, they also test the strength of Georgia’s relationship with one of the detectives working the case. While Georgia, her detective boyfriend Matt, and his sometime partner John Stone pit their skills against those of an ingenious killer, the daughter of a real estate mogul-- who just happens to have her eye on Matt -- complicates matters. A dark police procedural and thriller, TOXICITY is a prequel to the Georgia Davis PI series (EASY INNOCENCE and DOUBLEBACK).

It just went up, but already there's a review, and it's pretty awesome. Of course, I had to let you know about one of the sentences: ((Be still, my heart....)
"Hellmann writes with the economy and emotional punch of classic crime novelists like Lawrence Block."

I hope you'll give it a look. You can find it on Amazon, on Nook, on Smashwords, and soon, hopefully all the others.

Have a great holiday, everyone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Boston Globe: "a memorable winner"

My latest book, A Killer's Essence, gets a terrific review in today's Boston Globe.

The New York Journal of Books also reviews A Killer's Essence today, saying in part:

A Killer’s Essence seems slow-paced but packs in a powerful wallop as it vacillates between hard-boiled crime fighting, the love of baseball, and the compulsion to repair broken relationships. Detective Green is a believable character, down on his luck with little going for him but his job. Nonetheless, he meanders through life, precariously balancing all its myriad and conflicting facets, and coming out on top in this chilling page-turner attuned to the most discerning of avid crime lovers. Well written and well paced. Recommended.