Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jacob Stone

Jacob Stone is the byline chosen by award-winning author Dave Zeltserman for his new Morris Brick series of serial-killer thrillers. His crime, mystery and horror fiction has won top praise and has been translated into six languages. His novels Small Crimes and Pariah were both named by the Washington Post as best books of the year. Small Crimes topped National Public Radio's list of best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and is being made into a feature film.

Stone's latest Morris Black thriller is Cruel.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
For some inexplicable reason I had never read Philip Roth, and with him passing away I decided I needed to rectify that. First up was his first Nathan Zuckerman novel, The Ghost Writer. The books starts off following an expected path as Nathan visits his idol, E. I. Lonoff. Even though there are no surprises during the first 2/3rds of the book, there are some laugh-out-loud moments and some truly inspired mixing of fact and fiction. But then there is a brilliantly audacious turn when Nathan starts imagining his own truth about Amy Bellette, Lonoff's young former student. Or is it something more than his imagination. Has he uncovered the shocking truth about her? Anyway, the book left me in awe of Mr. Roth’s literary skills, so I next tried Portnoy’s Complaint, and wow, what an amazingly brave and remarkable piece of writing. Not so much because of the sex, but all the intense self-loathing.

Next I read Christopher Moore’s Noir. It takes place after World War II, which is the time period film noir started, but that's the only thing this book has to do with noir. Literary noir doesn't have happy endings, it's not zany or jaunty, and it certainly doesn't have wisecracking black mambas! Moore admits as much in his afterword, claiming he was planning a Raymond Chandler meets Jim Thompson book and ended up instead with Damon Runyon meets Bugs Bunny, and that the only reason the book's titled Noir was he had already typed it on all the pages. Maybe he's leveling with us. Maybe he's just having some fun. So what is this book if it's not noir? It's a lot of fun. Sammy "Two Toes" Tiflin, a bartender at a joint, falls hard for The Cheese (a blonde bombshell nicknamed that because of her name, Stilton), and from there you've got government agents in black suits and shades (although one of them is wearing a blue suit), a really nasty little kid, a moon man with a deathray, and the aforementioned wisecracking black mamba. How does all that fit together? Read the book to find out, and plan to be thoroughly amused.
Visit Dave Zeltserman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cruel.

The Page 69 Test: Cruel.

--Marshal Zeringue