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Pariah Paperback – October 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second in what Zeltserman calls his bad-ass out of prison trilogy, though less compelling than its predecessor, Small Crimes, is superior to his by-the-numbers Bill Shannon series (Bad Thoughts, etc.). In the nicely gritty opening section, South Boston thug Kyle Nevin, just out of prison after an eight-year stretch, has a long list of scores to settle, headed by his old boss, Red Mahoney, who he believes betrayed him. Nevin wastes little time before busting heads and jumping into the sack with a saleswoman with an appetite for bad boys. Hoping to solve his money problems with a kidnapping, Nevin persuades his brother to join him on condition that the victim not be harmed. Things head south rapidly after the child turns out to be a hemophiliac and dies after a tooth is extracted to be sent to the parents, and a treacherous middleman snatches the $2 million ransom. A slide into broad parody at the end doesn't do the forceful beginning justice. (Oct.)
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Review

"'So noir... all the way to a surprisingly bold ending... zips along' Laura Wilson, Guardian 'Zeltserman delves deeply into his specialty, an unorthodox look at the criminal mind - the 'unlucky' guy who can fool himself way too long. It kept me turning pages and glancing over my shoulder.' Vicki Hendricks 'Pariah is the perfect pitch of reality, history crime, celebrity, plagiarism, and sheer astounding writing.... If every writer has one great book in them, then Dave can rest easy' Ken Bruen"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846686431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846686436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,547,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Zeltserman is the Boston-based author of the award-winning Julius Katz mystery series. His crime novels have been selected by NPR and the Washington Post as best novels of the year. His first novel, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, was short listed by the ALA for best horror novel of 2010, was nominated for a Black Quill Award for best dark genre novel of the year, and was named a Horror Gem by Library Journal. His most recent horror novel, Monster, was named one of the best books of the year by WBUR and made Booklist Magazine's 2013 list of top 10 horror novels. His crime novels Outsourced and A Killer's Essence have both been optioned for film.

Customer Reviews

The writing hasn't gotten any better and the characterization is still thin.
Richard Orlin
Dave Zeltserman perfectly captures what makes this guy tick and understands (unlike Forever Reader) the dark and dangerous psyche of the classic sociopath.
Lonni H. Lees
A heavily atmospheric noir style novel much like "Small Crimes" the book takes you deep into the world of Boston and its suburbs.
Kevin Tipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger Smith on March 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Kyle Nevin, a psychopathic Boston gangster, is out of prison and out for revenge. Nevin is as vicious a bad-guy as you will find in contemporary fiction, except in Dave Zeltserman's audacious PARIAH, he's the hero. Nevin bares his dark soul to the reader in a chillingly casual, and often deadpan hilarious, first-person narrative. It is testimony to Zeltserman's skill as a writer that you not only get drawn in, but can't stop yourself from rooting for this monster, even as the body count grows.

And just when you thought you had a handle on the narrative, Zeltserman takes a hard left into the world of letters, when Nevin signs a contract with a New York publisher to pen the story of his most heinous crime, barely disguised as a work of fiction. A scathingly satirical swipe at a society where no bad deed goes unrewarded by a book deal.

In PARIAH, Zeltserman entrenches his position as the ranking neo-noirist, putting a contemporary spin on a tradition that goes way back to Jim Thompson and James M. Cain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on June 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
After eight long years, Kyle Nevin is finally out of prison. One of three men who basically controlled Boston before he wound up in prison the last eight years was hard. But, unlike others faced with long stretches of prison time, he never talked about anyone else. This South Boston Irish mobster kept silent about everyone which included his former boss Red Mahoney who set him up to take the fall. Red deserves special treatment and the plans for that allowed Kyle to stay strong no matter what prison he was in.

The welcome home is far different than he expected. The passing of the last eight years has had repercussions far and wide and nobody is what he or she was when he stepped inside. His brother Danny has fallen far economically and can't go back to the Southie neighborhood as he made his own plea deal with restrictions for life. Danny has gone legit, much to Kyle's disgust, and isn't looking to go back to a life of crime. Ma is dead too and Kyle's prison time and all the stress most likely caused that. His old girlfriend dumped him pretty quick after he went inside. Nobody messed with Kyle before he went in and got away with it. Now that he is back out, he intends to reassert control, get the money flowing again, and find Red Mahoney. He's going to need some competent and silent help and that is easier said than done.

Heavily reminiscent of his earlier novel "Small Crimes" also released from Serpent Tail, this novel also follows a con and his return to civilization. Unlike the previous book where the con was trying to follow the straight and narrow path, Kyle Nevin is all about getting back in charge and living large. Being legit is never part of Kyle's thinking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. F. Juzwik on October 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Yes, Dave Zeltserman has done it again with Pariah. In my opinion, this is classic noir at its bleakest level.

The reader is spared nothing in this brutal and despairing story. You are taken on a journey through the frightening, corrupt and violent streets and forced to interact with the lowest of the low. There is nothing socially redeeming here. It is a story, after all, of an insatiable desire for revenge--pure and simple. Noone fights for right or honor or seeks their way to the light. It is all about getting back what was taken and then some. It is a look at the human spirit in its basest form. It is a gem and a half, and you will absolutely love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Davidson on July 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dave Zeltserman is the Jim Thompson of the twenty-first century. It's clear from the first chapter of PARIAH that Kyle Nevin is a dark and disturbed character, but the extent of his psychosis isn't clear until you're deeply into the novel. Just when you think he can't get any worse, he does. It's a fascinating, shocking read, as well as an incisive commentary on our celebrity-obsessed culture.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Stella on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Evil comes in all forms. The Hitler prototype is perhaps the one we're all best familiar with, but there have been others we can confidently label evil (even if their kill totals are on a much lesser scale). Certain serial killers fit the description and/or sociopaths in the business world guilty of bankrupting the elderly without an iota of remorse might qualify. There have been bad guys out on the streets, whether acting solo or in groups (organized or not) who've more than qualified (and some who've managed to bilk the system one further and cut deals to walk free again--trading off 20 or more murders for a little inside info the helpless feds might need).

It happened in Boston when Whitey Bulger in a deal to aid the FBI gave up the New England Italian mob. Later, with a little help from his friends (the FBI), Whitey went on the lam and hasn't been heard from since (and remains on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list). His FBI handlers didn't fare so well and are doing time, but that's a whole other enchilada.

Dave Zeltserman's latest entry to the world of noir (Pariah) features the victim of a Whitey Bulger-like character whose just been released from serving out his term (a conviction that was a set up from start to finish). Kyle Nevin is an anti-hero and a half and a weapon of mass destruction in his own right. His story is a train wreck that is very difficult to take one's eyes from (as I found myself reading forward at every opportunity ... on the train, the ferry, the next train ... the bathroom, etc.). A page turner from the moment Kyle is met by his brother Danny outside the prison he's just been released from, Pariah moves fast and furious through a series of events motivated by vengeance and a lust for the old life (and all the power) Nevin's been missing.
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