Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Dave Zeltserman's first novel, Fast Lane, received widespread praise, with Ken Bruen calling it "the most entertaining debut since Jim Thompson." Zeltserman's second crime novel, Bad Thoughts, was published in 2007 and praised as a "compellingly clever wheels-within-wheels thriller" (Booklist). His Small Crimes made NPR's list of the top 5 crime and mystery novels of 2008; Maureen Corrigan called it "a thing of sordid beauty."

Zeltserman applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, Pariah, and reported the following:
Once part of the holy triumvirate ruling the South Boston mob, Kyle Nevin is set up by his boss, Red Mahoney, which leads him to a court case and a stretch in the slammer. Newly released, and reduced to sleeping on his brother's couch, Kyle's hungry--for revenge, status and easy money.

On page 69 Kyle is sitting in a diner having breakfast with his brother, Danny:
The waitress came back carrying a pot of coffee. As she poured me a cup, she kept peering at me through her painted-on lone ranger mask. “How do I know you?” she finally asked.

Danny had been fidgeting while she poured the coffee. I knew he was anxious to get more details about the job I had in mind. Pushing a hand through his hair and at the same time showing a smart-alecky grin, he told her, “’Cause he’s a celebrity. Don’cha read the papers? That’s my brother. Big bad Kyle Nevin.”

A glint of life broke the sullen dullness masking her eyes as she placed the name. “You’re that gangster?” she asked.
While this page isn't representative of how violent and explosive and subversive Pariah is, it does show Kyle subtly working on corrupting Danny as he tries to lead his younger brother from the straight life that he has fallen into and is happy in, and into joining him on a horrific crime. It also shows glimpses of the dynamics between the two brothers. But the book takes several hard left turns and goes into areas which the reader would probably have no idea about from this page. And from this page the reader wouldn't have any idea what a destructive force of nature Kyle Nevin ends up being.
Listen to Dave Zeltserman read from Pariah or read an excerpt. Learn more about the author and his work at Dave Zeltserman's website and blog.

Read the Washington Post review of Pariah.

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

--Marshal Zeringue