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Posts Tagged ‘Julius Katz and Archie’

I was seven when I first started reading mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown and Freddy the Pig Detective books, and that must’ve gotten me hooked because by the time I was 13 I was devouring all the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe books and Agatha Christies I could get my hands on, and at some point made the leap to the hardboiled PI novels from Hammett, Ross Macdonald, Jonathan Latimer and others. So why do I love these books? Well, the puzzle aspect is part of it, but only a small part of it. It’s really the characters, although Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer books are an exception since he’s mostly a cipher, and with those books it’s more the stories and their exposure of guilt in middleclass America and the sins of the father theme that kept me reading. But it’s the characters that drive most of these mystery novels. The Nero Wolfe books were my favorites among the pure mysteries, and while the first 7-8 were tightly plotted, the plots almost didn’t matter with the others—what kept you reading were Nero and Archie and their relationship. It was like spending time with old friends. Of course it didn’t hurt that Stout was a brilliant writer. With the hardboiled books, my favorite was Hammett’s Continental Op. All these Op books and stories were tightly plotted, but it was still the Op that made these stories so compelling.

Now here’s a confession. I mostly write crime fiction, noir thrillers and horror, and I’ve really only written one hardboiled PI mystery, Bad Karma, although my novels Killer, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, and Pariah can be looked at as mysteries, albeit, very different types of mysteries. My ‘Julius Katz and Archie’, as well as my award-winning Julius Katz stories, aren’t really mysteries in the true sense since they’re not fiction, but instead true crime stories ads I’ve been working with Julius Katz and Archie to chronicle their actual cases.

I know everyone thinks what I’m writing is fiction. Hell, I won the Shamus Award for the first case I chronicled with them that we titled “Julius Katz’, and I won Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award for the second case I chronicled, titled ‘Archie’s Been Framed’. It’s all rather embarrassing that people have mistaken these cases as stories. I guess part of the problem is that for reasons I can’t explain people haven’t hard of Julius outside of Boston. But even in Boston people still think these are fictional stories even though they’ve been reading accounts of these very same cases in the newspapers for years. The reason has to be that people think I’m doing some sort of Meta fiction where I’m replacing the real-life flesh and blood Archie with the way I describe him in these stories. I’m not. I’m describing Archie the way he is, but people for whatever reason can’t accept it. Julius has been getting a big kick out of this, while I think Archie is mostly annoyed by it. I can’t help it. If people want to take ‘Julius Katz and Archie’ as a fictional novel, then so be it!

About the author

Dave Zeltserman won the 2010 Shamus Award for Julius Katz, Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award for Archie’s Been Framed, and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was named by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year. His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it a ’superb mix of humor and horror’, and was shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. Outsourced (2011) has already been called ‘a small gem of crime fiction’ by Booklist and has been optioned by Impact Pictures and Constantin Film.

His latest book is Julius Katz and Archie (Top Suspense).

You can visit Dave’s website at www.davezeltserman.com. Connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Zeltserman/1434849193.

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