Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: John F Blair
Pub; (June 2004)
Scottsdale Arizona Book Club, Feb. 2006
“Everything changes when Gritz’s black childhood caregiver, T, returns to Asheville, North Carolina, to retire and is visited by the spirit of a friend who was executed 60 years earlier for the murder of a white girl. The only way to find peace for his friend’s spirit, it seems, is to find the real murderer.
Thus begins a look into the town’s past and the unraveling of hidden, dirty deals that persist into the present. Schulman’s colorful, oddball characters include former felons and a spiritualist masseuse. The incident with the executed black man is based on fact, as is the presence in 1930’s Asheville of a prominent whit supremacist and fascist sympathizer.
The Past is Never Dead is a pleasure to read. Gritz ponders: ‘if I could cause the past to stutter a fraction of a second, just long enought to straighten out the tiniest crook in the flow of what should have happened instead of what had happened, then I had to try.’ ”
Hadassah Magazine, June/July 2005
"Gritz Goldberg is a burned-out psychiatrist with a sense of humor and even greater sense of justice, who is willing to risk it all to exonerate a ghost. David Schulman's The Past Is Never Dead is a warm-hearted mystery about a cold-blooded murder. The humor in this endearing book, and there is plenty of it, comes, not just from its many funny moments, but from a core of incongruity that is quintessential small-town South-a place where a jaded Southern Jew would naturally ally with an elderly African American to save a dead man. "The Past Is Never Dead" is one of those rare books that, hours after you picked it up, you find yourself sitting in the same chair, turning the last delicious page.”
Tommy Hays is the author of In the Family Way and
directs the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville.
"Mr. Schulman has all the tools of a master storyteller, and uses them well in this first novel. His prose is strong and smooth and the story moves along effortlessly. Best of all, he knows how to create a world peopled with unusual, interesting and believable characters. The quirky, sarcastic Gritz, is one of the most likeable sleuths I've met in a long time and he tells this story with just the right mixture of humor, insight and compassion."
Terry Lewis, author of Conflict of Interest and
"A remarkable book. The color of the South has never been spun from a more refreshing perspective. I hope to see a lot more of Schulman and Gritz."
Hunter Morgan, author of The Other Twin
"The Past Is Never Dead is Schulman's deft story of a "gritsy" Jewish psychiatrist with a sixty-five year old murder on his couch. Cultural conflicts and racial tension of Southern Appalachia in the 1930s paint the background of this startingly fresh first novel. All I can say is, if you don't read this book, you need your head examined."
Randy Russell, Edgar nominee and author of
Ghost Dogs of the South
“Schulman throws in plenty of Asheville lore, along with musings on life as a Southern Jew....It’s an entertaining mix.The Past is Never Dead is a much fun to read as it clearly was to write.”
The Charlotte Observer
“Inspired by the great Southern writer’s words, David Schulman has created a mystery that intertwines the past and present until the two are woven into one. The Past is Never Dead is the Asheville, NC, author’s first novel, and it’s a dandy.”
Johnston City Press
“You don’t have to be a mystery buff to enjoy light summer reading that’s intelligent as well as entertaining, with a comic twist on middle-age angst, and infused with all the ambience of Asheville. Without ever losing its wry, good-natured tone, “The Past is Never Dead” by Asheville author David Schulman sets the picturesque mountain city’s ultratolerant New Age present against its not-so-tolerant racist past, by focusing on a 1939 murder for which the wrong man may have been executed.”
The News & Observer
“A judicious use of historical background and a healthy helping of humor make this a memorable debut.”
“The title of David Schulman’s first mystery novel has at least two layers of meaning. One has to do with the famous Faulkner quotation that beings with those words and ends with, ‘It’s not even past.’ The other is more otherworldly, as Schulman’s protagonist, a Southern Jewish psychiatrist know to nearly everybody as Gritz Goldberg, finds himself dealing with uneasy ghosts.”
“David Schulman mixes fact with fiction in his debut novel, The Past is Never Dead. The result is a Jewish psychiatrist-turned sleuth with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a foot fetish; the ghost of Mordecai Moore, who was convicted and executed for the 1939 murder of a New York co-ed in the Battery Park Hotel; and a plot to assassinate President Franklin Roosevelt and aid the Nazi movement in Germany–all set in Asheville, NC.”
The Times News