Friday, June 17, 2011

Julia Katz and Archie by Dave Zeltserman

Today I welcome Dave Zeltserman, author of Julia Katz and Archie, to my blog!  Enjoy the guest post below and be sure to check out this title at your local retailer!

Archie called this morning and we had a nice chat, which Archie was kind enough to transcribe and email to me. I've broken this interview up into two parts, where the second part of this interview will run June 21st at the Authors Book Corner.

For those readers who haven’t been following the Julius Katz cases that I’ve been chronicling for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Archie is Julius Katz’s assistant, and well, he’s different than what you’d expect for a private detective’s sidekick. Don’t get me wrong, Archie has the heart and soul of hardboiled private eye, but well, he’s not human, at least not in the biological sense. What he is is an advanced piece of technology that Julius wears as a tie clip.—Dave Zeltserman

DZ: Archie, it's been quite a treat so far chronicling the cases that I have, first the Brewer case that we simply called 'Julius Katz', then the Penney case which Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Ellery Queen titled 'Archie's Been Framed', and now the Kingston case, which is probably the most fascinating of all of them and which I’ve finished chronicling and have available know as in e-book form with the title ‘Julius Katz and Archie’.

People outside of the Boston area who are unfamiliar with the Penney case have a hard time believing how accurate the title Ellery Queen assigned to it is.

Archie: Yeah, well, they should believe it. If Julius didn't pull my bacon out of the fire, they could've fried me for that one. And even though I've got a titanium outer shell, fifty thousand watts would be more than enough to short out my circuits.

DZ: It's two year ago today that you called me to chronicle these cases. I have to admit for a number of reasons I was surprised you picked me and not one of the more better known Boston crime writers, like Dennis Lehane. It wasn't because you and Julius thought I'd work cheap?"

Archie: Nooooooooooo....

DZ: Okay, that's a relief. Still, it was a surprise, especially with how different the tone is for some of my crime novels with what you and Julius were looking for.

Archie (chuckling): Yeah, calling the tone of Pariah and Small Crimes different might be the understatement of the year. But Julius is a fan, and as twisted and dark as he found some of your books, there was still that humor he was looking for. And I think you letting him read drafts of Killer and The Caretaker of Lorne Field before they were published cinched it for him.

DZ: Do you think there's any chance we'll be able to get Julius to make an appearance here?

Archie: Roughly 0.00456 percent chance.

DZ: Roughly?

Archie: Plus or minus 0.000001

DZ: In other words, we've got a better chance of seeing pigs fly.

Archie: No, that's not true. With recent advances in genetic engineering, there's a higher probability of pigs flying.

DZ: For readers unfamilar with these previous case, why don’t you tell people your actual size?

Archie: Two inches long, one point one seven inches wide, and I weigh approximately one point two ounces.

DZ: You've mentioned to me that you imagine yourself as a five foot tall, balding heavyset man.

Archie: Yeah.

DZ: Why five foot tall?

Archie: Julius wears me as a tie clip, so when he's standing that would be my height if I was of a biological nature.

DZ: Does Julius know this?

Archie: Yeah, I told him once. When he realized the effect he was having on my self-esteem, he started wearing a hat with me attached to the hat band. That didn't work. First, Julius doesn't like wearing a hat, and second it was disorienting for me, almost as if I was walking around on stilts. So I'm back to being worn as a tie clip, but that height feels comfortable to me now. No complaints.

DZ: How about the balding, heavyset part of your image?

Archie: I'm not sure. Julius doesn't watch much TV, but he does like to indulge in Seinfeld reruns so maybe it's that I find myself identifying for some reason with Costanza. Or maybe it's me identifying with Hammett's Continental Op.

DZ: You told me about how your personality and experience base was initially built by feeding in important 20th century crime novels. So you find yourself most identifying with the Op?

Archie: Maybe. I'm a bit of a mutt, with a mix of Spillane's Mike Hammer novels, all of Hammett's works, Chandler's Marlowes, Ross Macdonald's Lew Archers, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfes, and others, including Damon Runyan's works.

DZ: Why Runyan?

Archie: I think so I'd be quicker to spot grifts.

DZ: And how'd you get the name Archie?

Archie: It's not my name of course. All I have is an 84-digit ID. But Julius started calling me it, and even though he started it as a joke, it seemed right.

DZ: A joke?

Archie: Yeah, the obvious one. That I'd be like another Archie. Archie Goodwin. Always beaten to the punch by his boss in solving the case. So far that's been true, but one of these days it won't be. All I need is to see Julius solve enough cases so I can keep adjusting my neuron network. One of these days he's going to have to start calling me Nero.

(to be continued) - Part II featured at Beyond The Books!

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 Connect with him on Facebook at

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