Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Bad Thoughts"

Dave Zeltserman's dark short crime fiction has been published in many venues. His first novel, Fast Lane, received numerous praise, including Ken Bruen calling it one of "the most entertaining debuts since Jim Thompson" and Poisoned Pen Bookstore including it as one of their top hardboiled books of the year.

applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, Bad Thoughts, and reported the following:
Bad Thoughts is a mix of horror and crime, written in a tense, fast-paced style. The book focuses on Bill Shannon, a cop from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is plagued by nightmares stemming from his mother's brutal murder. Each year as the anniversary of her death approaches, Shannon's nightmares get progressively worse until he blacks out and disappears from sight. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his mother’s death and women are being killed in the same grisly manner, and for reasons not yet fully disclosed their murders are effecting Shannon very badly. Page 69 is from a chapter from Shannon’s wife’s POV, and details her anxiety over what she knows is coming:

It was all starting up again. A week ago he jolted up in bed at four in the morning, moaning, his body soaked in sweat. It took her almost a half hour to get him out of it. Since then, the nightmares had come nightly. After the nightmares came the moodiness, the depression, his just staring into space. She didn’t have a clue if he’d gone to work today. She had tried calling home a half dozen times and no one answered, but that didn’t mean a thing. If he was home, he’d just let the phone ring. Probably wouldn’t even be aware of its ringing.

Stylistically this page is representative of the rest of the book, and it hints at the noirish characteristics and psychological unraveling that is going to occur. The book is very violent with a high body count, and there is a paranormal (or metaphysical element depending on how you view things), and page 69 helps set the groundwork for what’s coming.

Yeah, I’d say it’s representative.
Read more about Bad Thoughts at the publisher's website and at Zeltserman's website and his blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue