The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

November 3, 2011

Review: A KILLER'S ESSENCE by Dave Zeltserman

NYPD Detective Stan Green's life is spiraling out of control. His devotion to the job has cost him his marriage; his failures as a parent have made his children despise him; he's in a financial sinkhole, his partner is in the hospital, and the new woman -- young and beautiful -- in his life wants more time and money than he'll ever have. He's getting pressure to lend his authority to a shady nightclub owner, to shade his testimony in favor of a pair of Russian thugs, and he's got a murder case that promises to turn into a string of murders, with no clues to help find the killer. Stan does  have one eyewitness, a man who suffered a head trauma that left him unable to bear looking at other people. But that man, Zachary Lynch, sees so much more than anyone suspects.

One of author Dave Zeltserman's great gifts is taking a trope and turning it on its head. Here he takes the police procedural/serial killer tale and spins it into a poignant, psychological study of a man whose impulses and decisions are isolating him from humanity. The author also shoots a pair of small, well-aimed darts at egotistical writers and merciless reviewers, and calls to this reader's mind a line penned by the immortal Robbie Burns:
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!" 

It's enough for me that Zeltserman sees his characters as they are, warts and all, for he enables the reader to blush for, cringe from, pity, and ultimately root for Stan Green.


  1. Dave can spit them out faster than anyone-and yet they are great stories. Amazing.

  2. It takes a great author to share the "warts and all" of his characters. I think that it makes for a greater story, though!