Books by Adam Selzer

“Enthralling history” – Library Journal (starred review)

“Comprehensive.” – Booklist (starred review)

“Masterful Sleuthing” – NYT Bestselling author Steve Hodel
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound

Also Available now:

JUST KILL ME

(Simon and Schuster, coming Aug 30, 2016)

A novel about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people at them! JUST KILL ME is a noir comedy about unsolved mysteries, dark history, strange legends, long distance love, and scandalous Disney villain fanfic. Starred review in Kirkus

MORE INFO FROM SIMON AND SCHUSTER (with pre-order links)

amazon

MORE RECENT BOOKS:

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MYSTERIOUS CHICAGO: History At Its Coolest 

(coming Oct, 2016, from Skyhorse Publishing)

For two days, all anyone in Chicago could talk about was the lonesome death of Barton Edsall. Was he murdered? Was it a suicide? On Oct 8, 1871, he was buried at Graceland Cemetery. That night, the whole city burned down, and everyone forgot all about him. The mystery remained unsolved.

Edsall’s tale is just one of dozens of unsolved mysteries from Chicago’s past Selzer delves into – from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and HH Holmes to more obscure antique serial killers, vanishing flappers, phantom kangaroos, airport UFOs, and puzzling tombstones. Poring over legal records, microfilm reels, and personal interviews, Selzer brings new info to light on old mysteries and brings many back into print for the first time in over a century.

Info and pre-order links from Skyhorse 

Amazon

GHOSTS OF LINCOLN (new!)

(Llewelyn 2015)

For years, stories have circulated about Lincoln haunting the White House, attending seances, and predicting his own death. Investigating everything from obscure seance transcripts and forgotten newspaper articles to the most peculiar paranormal claims, Selzer digs deep into the annals of history and reveals the fascinating true stories behind the tales, rumors and lore.

Indiebound Amazon

PLAY ME BACKWARDS:

(Simon and Schuster 2014 – now in paperback!)

A novel for young adults who worship the devil.

“Mordantly funny” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Hilariously subversive, but also tender and poignant” – VOYA (starred review)

“Timelessly true to life…a diabolically funny slacker-makes-good coming of age story.” – Booklist

Indiebound Amazon

FLICKERING EMPIRE: HOW CHICAGO INVENTED THE US FILM INDUSTRY

(University Of Columbia Press 2015)

The fascinating but too-little-known known story of how Chicago served as the unlikely capital of film production in America prior to the rise of Hollywood. Colorful, larger-than-life historical figures such as Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Mischeaux, Francis X. Bushman, Gloria Swanson, Broncho Billy, and Colonel William Selig all come together in this, the critically-acclaimed first book-length account of the era by Adam Selzer and Michael Glover Smith

Indiebound Amazon

GHOSTS OF CHICAGO

(Llewelyn 2013)

From Resurrection Mary and Al Capone to the Murder Castle of H.H. Holmes and beyond, the spine-tingling sights and sounds of Chicago’s yesteryear are still with us…and so are its ghosts!  Seeking to find what we really know about the ghastly history behind Chicago’s ghost stories, historian Adam Selzer pieces together the truth, bringing to light dozens of previously-unknown bits historical data.

Indiebound    Amazon

SPARKS: The Epic, Completely True Blue (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie

(as SJ Adams, Flux, 2011)

A Stonewall Honor book for 2013

SPARKS is the John Hughes-esque story of Debbie Woodlawn, a Full House-obsessed 16 year old agnostic who attempts to get over a crush on her religious best friend by embarking on a “holy quest” with a couple of misfits who have invented a religion of their own.

Touching and humorous….Debbie and her offbeat cohorts are nuanced and authentic.” – Publishers Weekly

“Original and appealing…a kinetic and well-paced comedy that just might win a few converts.” -Kirkus

“Hilarious… will appeal to teenagers who are a little bit on the outside.” – School Library Journal

indiebound  amazon

THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY

(Random House 2009)

Look, there are a lot of American history textbooks in the world, but not all of them have the courage to say what we’re all thinking about General Ambrose Burnside’s facial hair. Equal parts hilarious and fascinating, The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History was a Junior Library Guild selection, an Illinois Reads pick, and YALSA nominee. It’s very popular with history teachers who seem as though they ought to know better.

Indiebound     Amazon

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I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT
Random House 2010
In which Adam made fun of Twilight for 200 pages, because, hey, it was 2010 and every YA novel had to be about vampires or zombies or you might as well have gone home.  It very nearly became a Disney channel movie.

“Simultaneously a scathing parody…and a sweetly romantic tale in its own right. Hilarious.” – Kirkus

“This is one smart goth caper….Selzer brings the undead to vivid and crackling life.” – Booklist

“Original, unpredictable, funny, romantic, and tragic.” – School Library Journal

“Delightfully wicked.” – Publisher’s Weekly

amazon  indiebound

AND SOME E-BOOKS:

H.H. HOLMES-LORE EBOOKS:

A companion to HH Holmes: The True History of The White City Devil, featuring Holmes’ letters and writings, plus letters to him from his family and victims, and more, many of which are newly discovered and have never been published.

Full length ebook only $3.99!

Available for

THE MURDER CASTLE OF HH HOLMES (FULL-LENGTH EXPANDED EDITION)


Our most popular ebook, now expanded to FULL LENGTH for 2014, including tons of new info. Eyewitness accounts, diagrams, and ephemera from primary sources! Newly edited and organized to present a more chronological overview of the famous “castle,” from its construction to the 1895 investigation and beyond. More than three dozen diagrams, drawings and photos, plus dozens of first hand accounts of what it was like to live and work in the castle with HH Holmes. Includes a long-lost interview with Holmes himself, details about seldom-heard Holmes stories…even the combination to the soundproof vault! Each source now features detailed info on the background and context by Adam Selzer, who speaks about Holmes regularly on TV and radio programs. See the full table of contents. Full-length book (over 55,000 words) only 3.99 on kindle.




Full length ebook only $2.99!

Available for

or Nook

THE THREE CONFESSIONS OF HH HOLMES

In 1896, H.H. Holmes, “arch fiend of the century,” was paid to write a “confession” by newspapers. Published a month before his execution, he confessed to twenty-seven murders.  Today he’s suspected of far more, but many of those he confessed to were lies. Some of the “victims” were even still alive.

So, how much of the confession was real? Did it contain dark hints that he was leaving a lot out?  But clues found in his famous “murder castle” backed many of his stories up. Holmes, the star of DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, is now often said to be the most prolific serial killer in American history.


The full-length ebook contains the full Philadelphia Inquirer version of the confession, with notes on how it differed from the one simultaneously published in THe New York Morning Herald, and contains thorough analysis of the contents. Was any of it true? And what of the mysterious alternative version published in another paper the day before, which contained his most famous line: “I was born with the devil in me…” The full text of that version, with notes, is included as well

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE EBOOKS:

THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO GRAVE ROBBING

Everything you need to launch YOUR career as a 19th century Resurrection Man, the Smart Aleck way! A complete history of one of the oldest professions, with tips and tricks of the trade. Fully illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle

THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO NAUGHTY PLAYGROUND SONGS AND CHILDRENS’ FOLKORE

Based on our hit Playground Jungle blog, the history of songs like “Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat” and “Abe Lincoln Was a Good Old Man” will blow your mind! Find out how a song about making a violin from a dead body evolved over the centuries into a song about befouling your overalls. With an index, active table of contents, and more.  2.99 on kindle

SHAKESPEARE GUIDES

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE 101 

Specially-priced standalone!

Whether you’re a Shakespeare newbie or a scholar who just enjoys cracking jokes about Harold Bloom, our Shakespeare series is just as informative and hilarious as their acclaimed SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY (Random House 2009).   This is everything you need to take over the class in one short (42,000 word) book – without resorting to using drawings of Shakespeare wearing sunglasses or rewriting Hamlet to make it sound like the instructions to an NES skateboarding game from 1991! Only 99 cents on Kindle.

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO ROMEO AND JULIET

The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Romeo and Juliet, with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, jokes about stupid hats in the illustrations, an in-depth history of the play, where to find the hidden swear word, movie version guide, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO JULIUS CAESAR

The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Julius Caesar with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, a script for a play about peer pressure starring Brutus (who is easily prey to such things), Rome 101, Roman and Latin words to know, ancient Roman graffiti (much of which is about poo), tangents about the Muppets, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO MACBETH

The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Macbeth with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, notes on witches, the fascinating history of the play, speculation on how much of the original might be missing from the modern text, a review of the play from 1610, a guide to film versions, and more! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO HAMLET

The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the full text of Hamlet with scene-by-scene summary and analysis, character guide, notes on what the heck is wrong with Hamlet, the quarto/folio controversy, film version guide, a hardboiled detective story, tangents about Muppets and Star Wars, and lots of pictures that show Hamlet’s stocking-covered butt. Illustrated, with an active table of contents. 2.99 on kindle

SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE: 

TRAGEDIES MEGAPACK! 

The complete “Shakespeare 101” guide, plus the guides to Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth, all in one huge, specially-priced volume! Illustrated, with an active table of contents. Over 260,000 words.

A big value for 6.99 on kindle

BOOTLEG SODA: A SMART ALECK’S GUIDE 

Pumpkin Root Beer, Chai Cola…100 original soda syrup recipes, along with 50+ old time soda fountain drink formulas, from the test kitchen at Smart Aleck HQ in Chicago. Easy recipes to unlock your kitchen creativity!

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