November Tours, Book News, and More!

Did you  miss out on the sold out Mysterious Chicago: Grave Robbing 101 tours or the cemetery walks in October? Good news! I'll be teaming up with Atlas Obscura to run a few in November, as well. See mysteriouschicago.com for all the info.

In other news:

- Just Kill Me , the book about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people at them, is out in paperback! And Play Me Backwards, my novel for young adults who worship the devil, is an Illinois Reads pick for 2017.

- The Illinois Association of Teachers of English named me Author of the Year, for some reason.

- My band, 82nd Street, will have a new album out soon entitled Dinner and a Crime Spree. It's a concept album co-written with author Libby Cudmore. The first single hits Spotify, etc, around Nov 3. We also cover "Cum on Feel the Noize" on the new Cover Me! 10th Anniversary compilation.

- Did you see me four episodes of American Ripper? Or the recent Murder Castle series on Discovery? Now that the show's over I think I can post my video about evidence as to where HH Holmes was in Fall, 1888 , and my thing about matching his dental records to the skull they exhumed.  My recent enormous Holmes biography, HH Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil, is doing pretty well, from what I've heard. Check out the companion ebook compilation of his letters and writings, Very Truly Yours, HH Holmes.

- Also still available: The Mysterious Chicago book! Unsolved murders, phantom kangaroo sightings, UFOs over O'Hare, unexplained grave stones, missing mansions and more, all with new data unearthed from the archives, personal interviews, and more. Thinking of doing a New York one next; I'm in New York about every other month these days; I got my license to work as a tour guide there in June. Last month I saw Michael Moore's excellent Broadway show there, as well as The Play That Goes Wrong, during which I didn't stop laughing for more than a second. I've caught Marissa Mulder singing at La Rivista three times this year!

- On Nov 17, I'll be talking about Chicago's various antique serial killers at Days of the Dead. And on Nov 9, it looks like I'll be the "in conversation with" guy at Jason Segal's appearance in Naperville. Neat!

- No new books are currently scheduled to be published, but I'm working on several, ranging from middle grade fiction to more Chicago-based true crime.

- I'm also gathering a collection of speeches, meeting transcripts, letters, etc from 1858-1861 regarding why the southern states seceded from the Union in their own words, unearthing a lot of data that hasn't been reprinted in over a century. Not sure what I'll do with that yet; I might do it as an ebook just to get it out in the world faster than I would with a publisher. The world seems to need it. (Short version: the only cause of the war besides slavery was stupidity.)

So, that's where I've been in the months since I updated this page. Follow me on instagram or come see me on a Mysterious Chicago tour!

Starred Review for HH HOLMES: THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE WHITE CITY DEVIL

Hey, everybody! I don't post much here these days (author websites are sort of old fashioned, aren't they?) But I really should take a minute to plug my new biography of antique serial killer HH Holmes, due out April 4!


Some advance blurbs:


“Exhaustively researched, highly readable…you’re drawn into the narrative as though reading a Caleb Carr novel.” – M. William Phelps, author of Dangerous Ground: My Friendship with a Serial Killer
"Using thousands of primary sources...what emerges is a picture of a terrible but intriguing man.. whose story leaps off the page in Selzer's uniquely suited hands. A must-read." - Booklist (starred review)
“Adam Selzer’s masterful sleuthing proves to us, ‘the devil IS in the details.’ Impeccably researched, the author has wiped away the 19th century cobwebs. Highly recommended.” – Steve Hodel, author of Black Dahlia Avenger
“Selzer takes apart the dove-tailed pieces of fact and legend to show the myth-making behind one of America’s most infamous bogey-men. Not to be missed by any crime enthusiast.” – Donald Rumbelow, author of The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

I've also spent the year working with the History channel on a new series about Holmes, American Ripper, which I believe premiers a week after the book comes out. You can follow along with my own research on the Holmes posts at mysteriouschicago.com
There'll be a number of book store and library events around Chicagoland for the book - more info coming soon, or ask your local store or library to book one! 

JUST KILL ME: New Book Out Now!

Hi, everybody!  In the midst of rolling out new podcasts, setting up the October tour schedule, conducting interviews, and finishing off the Mysterious Chicago book, I almost forgot I had a new novel! On Aug 30, Simon and Schuster released Just Kill Me, a novel about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people at them. Since there are lots of real historical mysteries in the book, they had me throw together a series of videos about the research that went into each aspect of the story. Here's one about Tomb Snooping, including a tour clip from my Grave Robbing 101 tour:




 There are videos about four more topics (plus one joke one about my research into the "killing people" angle) up at Riveted, one of Simon and Schuster's pages.

  Just Kill Me is in stores now, and available at your favorite book store (links to several are here).

 And if those aren't enough videos for ya, dig my impression of Tom Waits live at the Mos Eisley Cantina. 

JUST KILL ME: new book out soon





Advance Praise:

"Ominious, unsettling, and dripping with snark, Just Kill Me is a delicious dark comedy that will leave murdermongering readers jumping at shadows and waiting for a knife in the back. The ending still haunts me." - Delilah S. Dawson, author of Strike

"Just Kill Me is a hilarious punch to the brain. Quirky and full of Chicago ghost history, I raced through the pages to see who would go from from murder-monger to good old fashioned murderer. I loved every page!" - Demetria Lunetta, author of the In the After series.


"A message to all weird and wonderful morbid kids - you've found your heroine." - Caitlyn Doughty, "Ask a Mortician" and author of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

Teasers

- Kinda last notice but 82nd Street will be at Burlington Bar on Fullerton tonight (Dec 6). We'll be playing stuff from the new album, plus some older material. It's the time of year when I break out "Heavy Metal Vomit Christmas Party," after all. Some songs on the cue sheet I haven't played since about the 90s. Including one about Charlton Heston whose shelf life seems like it SHOULD be expired since he's dead and all, but still feels pretty relevant.

- I have seen the cover to Just Kill Me, my new YA novel about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people there. I can't show it to you for a couple months yet though, so nyah nyah nyah. Several archaic synonyms for swear words will be appearing in print for the first time since the 1600s.

- There's gonna be a new cover for Play Me Backwards, too. It'll have a similar feel to the one for Just Kill Me. Which is super cool and reminds me of Pushing Daisies. I can't wait to show it off!

- Oh! I have a whole new company! I parted ways with the ghost tour company I was with off and on for the last ten years. And now I've moved the old Mysterious Chicago blog, started a new podcast, and launched new tours at Mysterious Chicago.com ! Get on the mailing list, subscribe to the podcast, and follow Mysterious Chicago on twitter and facebook!

- There are two tours and one cool event coming up NEXT WEEKEND. I'm teaming up with the Obscura Society to launch....

 - DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: MYTH AND MYSTERY.
   A 2.5 hour bus tour about H.H. Holmes, our most popular antique murderer, Sat Dec 12, 1pm. (I'll be at work on a Holmes book all winter - more details coming soon).

   UNSOLVED CHICAGO MYSTERIES
   A 90 min specially-priced bus tour of some super-cool Chicago stories I've researched over the years. Sat Dec 12 4pm

   DRINK LIKE THE DICKENS!
   A night of drinks from the works of Charles Dickens (Port negus, rum flip, Rocky Mountain Sneezer, etc) and Victorian-inspired food (whitebait fritters, gruel shooters, mutton meat pie, etc) at Knife & Tine. Sun Dec 13 at 5pm.

  Regular walking tours will start in the Spring. Private tours available all the time.

New album, new tours, new books, new radio appearances!

Been a busy fall!  I've done a lot of radio shows lately, including 10 minutes on the Big John Howell show on WLS 10/27 and the second half of the Patti Vasquez show on WGN the night before (click for podcast links).

I've been running more private tours lately, including some really neat ones for Atlas Obscura, such as "Grave Robbing 101" and "The Darker Side of Taylor Street," and a handful of H.H. Holmes tours for small groups in cars (which allow us to hit a site or two where busses just won't fit).  There's a whole new page for that stuff - adamchicago.com

Advance copies of my new novel, Just Kill Me, should start circulating soon. It's all about a ghost tour guide whose company is making places more haunted by killing people at them. Simon and Schuster is putting it out next year. 

AND, last but not least, after nearly 10 years since the last "Adam Selzer and his Revolving Door All-Stars" album, I just released a new record. The band is called 82nd Street, and the album is called Every Man Has His Price and Mine is $300. It's a rock and roll concept album about a pizza man who picks up a hitch hiker who claims to be a time traveler. You can stream it on spotify, Tidal, iTunes and all of those places. We'll be playing an acoustic set at Windycon on Sunday morning, 11/15.   

Stream/buy links at 82ndStreetRules.com


Ghosts of Lincoln

My new Ghosts of Lincoln book is out from Llewelyn next month; early copies arrived at my door the other day. It's up for pre-order at all of the usual sites, and I sometimes have copies available on tours.

Ghosts of Lincoln takes all the stories about Lincoln haunting the White House, predicting his own death, attending seances, etc and attempts to trace them back to their sources. I couldn't believe some of the stuff I found - I ran into earlier sources on his famous "Who's dead in the White House" dream" than have previously been examined, and found previously un-studied independent verification that he attended at least one seance in the White House (he thought the whole thing was a joke), and lots of new data on the story that he once rode on a flying piano (which I really want to believe is true).  I even found time to examine the provenance of tales about his grand plan to poop in Austen Gollaher's hat. .

Over the fall I'll be making several radio appearances talking about it, in addition to my usual fall schedule of ghost tours.  I'll also be doing a few new historical walking tours for Atlas Obscura - details coming soon.  And on August 20th, I'll be on a "Ghost Hunting" panel at WizardWorld in Chicago.

And for a hint of what's coming next, head on over the Derelict Theater.com ...  or 82ndStreetRules.com  ...

Some News

1. I've turned in the last draft of Kill Me Now, my next novel, to my editor at Simon and Schuster. Due out next fall.

2. My Ghosts of Lincoln book is out Sept 18!

3. I've been playing music around town under the name 82nd Street. Our next gig is Friday, July 24, at The Mutiny in Chicago. I last played there about ten years ago. There are demos up on the soundcloud page.

4. Now that the novel is turned in I'm back in earnest at the Mysterious Chicago Blog. There was a new post about a nun who turned to stone the other day, and this week there'll be five new posts about the Eastland disaster, including some new-to-the-internet photos.

Flickering Empire All Over the News!

In all these years and all these books, I've never had anything LIKE the response that Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the US Film Industry has received. Mike and I have recorded a handful of radio interviews (we're about to do another this afternoon!), and the book is being written up in major press outlets.   Just today, Chicagoist said "Smith and Selzer clearly did their homework, and the result is a book that immediately joins the ranks of essential film references."   Wow!

It also got written up today in The Chicago Tribune, and was also recently featured on a Turner Classic Movies blog.

Mike and I recently sat and chatted about it with Andy Miles of Transistor - hear it here.   We also chatted with Patti Vasquez on WGN. 

Our launch party is Saturday night at Transistor (3400 block of N. Broadway in Chicago) at 8pm - we'll be talking and screening some very rare films.  Look out for more events, lectures, parties and talks soon!

Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the US Film Industry


"...a book that immediately joins the ranks of essential film references." - Chicagoist.


Hi, everybody! Just a quick plug here - today, Jan 20th, Flickering Empire, my new book on Chicago silent film, is available through the film studies branch Columbia University Press. Though I try to cite my sources and hold myself up to reasonable academic standards in even my most down-to-earth work, this is my first "scholarly" book, written in collaboration with Michael Glover Smith.
Our 2011 podcasts exploring old silent film studios here and here

Chicago's role in the early film industry is largely forgotten today, but for a few years there we were a prototype Hollywood, producing early examples of serials, color films, feature-length films, and a whole host of other things that had never been seen before. Flickering Empire is the first book-length study of Chicago's role in the nascent industry, from the moving pictures that were (and weren't) on display at the 1893 World's Fair to the collapse of the local industry a quarter of a century later.   To research the book I traveled the country seeking out the handful of films that survive, met with relatives of major players in the industry, and generally had a blast!


Adam's New Book: Sept 2013