My new thriller series written as Jacob Stone.
I’d had fourteen novels and dozens of short stories published by the time I sold my first Morris Brick thriller, Deranged, to Kensington Books, and my editor, Michaela Hamilton, thought it would be a good idea to differentiate this new thriller series by using a pseudonym. It made sense. While the Julius Katz mystery stories published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine turned into an accidental series, and my ‘man out of prison’ books published by Serpent’s Tail could be looked at as a noir trilogy, this will be my first planned thriller series. The tone of these books are also going to be different than my darker crime noir novels, or my moody and supernaturally-tinged A Killer’s Essence, or my metaphysical crime thrillers Bad Thoughts and Bad Karma. My Morris Brick thrillers will be fun crime thrillers with a dark edge, lots of surprises and twists, dark humor and rapid-paced plots. They’re also going to be written more along the lines of the stories I write for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: little to no profanity, no onscreen sex, and most of the violence will take place off screen or will be described with as little detail as possible. Also the protagonist, Morris Brick, will be someone the reader will want to root for.
So how did I come up with the pseudonym Jacob Stone? Well, it was a team effort with Kensington Books! I also liked the symmetry between Brick and Stone, and that Stone suggests someone solid. Also, after using my long and somewhat difficult name, Zeltserman, with my other books, I liked the idea of a simple author name for these thrillers. Why Jacob for the first name? No idea. It just sounded right.
A little bit about these books. My protagonist, Morris Brick, will be a former LAPD homicide detective who has recently started his own investigative firm, Morris Brick Investigation (MBI). When Deranged begins, Morris is working as a consultant on a serial-killer film. Morris is smart, tough, resourceful, and dogged when he’s on a case. He also has a bull terrier, Parker, who’ll often take part in the action. Morris is physically described as follows: ‘Well, he certainly wasn’t handsome, not with his big ears, thick, long nose, spindly legs and short, compact body. Maybe more comical looking than unattractive. In many ways Morris proved the old adage about a dog owner resembling his pet, since he looked quite a bit like his bull terrier, Parker.‘ Hollywood, the film industry, and the obsessive desire for fame and notoriety will be an undercurrent running through these books.
The first book in the series, Deranged, will be available March 2017, the second, Crazed, will be available September 2017, and the third, Malicious, will be published March 2018. If folks enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoy writing them, hopefully there will be many more!