Seemingly run-of-the mill down-and-out Denver P.I. JOHNNY LANE displays some surprisingly black depths (Gary Lovisi calls them "Jim Thompson-dark," although I remain unconvinced) when he's hired to to find a young woman's birth parents, in the relatively well-received self-published debut, In His Shadow (2002).
In a more original twist, Johnny also writes a monthly column about his cases for The Denver Examiner, which brings him a little local renown, and a pretty steady stream of clients. Enough, in fact to allow him to farm out a lot of work to a string of freelance ops. So things are going along rather swimmingly, when he goes to work for a college babe who wants him to find her birth parents. Then things take a pretty nasty turn...
Even though there was considerable fuss made in some hard-boiled discussion lists upon its initial publication, it turns out that the author now says he himself wasn't completely happy with it. According to the author, a "new and severely edited version of In His Shadow was... released (in September 2004) by Point Blank Press titled Fast Lane. This new version is about 30 pages lighter, most of the clunkiness and silliness removed... as were a few other silly plot threads."
But from those humble beginnings, Zeltserman has gone on to bigger and better things, winning acclaim and numerous awards for his "Man Out of Prison" trilogy and his Julius Katz mysteries, a sort of clever, high-tech spin on Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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