cover image 21 Short Tales from the Modern Master of Noir

21 Short Tales from the Modern Master of Noir

Dave Zeltserman, New Pulp, $15 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-0-9828436-0-4

As this story collection shows, Zeltserman, who has produced such stellar novels as Killer, Pariah, and Small Crimes as well as strictly run-of-the-mill fare like Bad Karma, continues to be an uneven writer. The 21 selections range from unsuccessful stunts ("Danny Smith," his crack at writing a story in under 250 words) to tales with over-the-top ending twists ("Closing Time"). Zeltserman does himself no favors with his often lame intros, which leave the impression that he's publishing all the short fiction he wrote between 1992 and 2006. Redundant prefaces (e.g., "This is a violent story, another one not for the fainthearted, and in some ways it's a story about violence") don't help. On the other hand, Zeltserman fans will welcome a number of tales filling in the back stories of characters from his better works. (Oct.)