Zeman, David

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ZEMAN, David


Male. Education: Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D.


Home—Washington, DC. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Doubleday-Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.


Author, philosopher, and educator. Has taught graduate classes at Northwestern, Rutgers, and Yale universities.


The Pinocchio Syndrome (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.

Author of Proximity, a philosophical work.


Second and third novels in trilogy that begins with The Pinocchio Syndrome.


David Zeman's first novel, The Pinocchio Syndrome, opens with the nuclear destruction of an ocean liner carrying 800 talented American students. After months pass and no culprit is identified or arrested, the president of the United States comes under increasingly harsh criticism for failure to act against terrorism. Colin Goss, a billionaire pharmaceutical magnate who has failed three times in his bid for the presidency, leads the critical attacks, manipulating public fear and capitalizing on increasing distrust of the current administration in order to position himself for another presidential bid. Chief among the president's defenders is senator Michael Campbell, a wealthy and handsome former Olympian who seems to do no wrong.

The president's problems grow with the emergence of a mysterious disease dubbed the Pinocchio Syndrome. The first outbreak occurs in Iowa, and sufferers find themselves unable to move. Their hands and feet become grossly deformed, resembling hooves reminiscent of the segment in Pinocchio's classic tale when the wooden boy is turned into a donkey. Eventually, those afflicted with the syndrome succumb and die. The disease infects millions across the country and even strikes the vice president, but when Michael Campbell is nominated to replace him, the disease abruptly disappears. Secret Service agent—and closet intellectual—Joe Kraig and brilliant, hard-bitten investigative reporter Karen Embry investigate the disease and the shadowy political machinery that seems to be manipulating Campbell into the second-highest political office in the country. These political maneuvers are not always for the reasons they seem, however, as Embry learns when he uncovers Goss's motivations and discovers his aspirations.

Reviewer Ava Dianne Day, writing on Bookreporter.com, expressed reservations about the credibility of the story line but stated that "Zeman has mastered the thriller form, which is in itself no small accomplishment. He has well in his grasp the fast pace, the multiple story lines, the shifts in points of view, and the proliferation of characters." Library Journal reviewer Jeff Ayers remarked, "While this thriller is a compelling read with some provocative ideas, the characters are cardboard cliches."

Other critics were more favorably impressed. Robert Yehling, writing on WordJourneys.com, commented, "All of the main characters in The Pinocchio Syndrome are identifiable, believable, admirable to one segment of the population or another … and dedicated to their activities and beliefs." Patrick Anderson, writing in the Washington Post, added that "The Pinocchio Syndrome may or may not be the best political thriller I've ever read, but it is easily the most inventive and controversial." Anderson also called the book "wildly readable."



Booklist, May 15, 3002, David Pitt, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome, p. 1650.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome, p. 642.

Library Journal, May 15, 2003, Jeff Ayers, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome, pp. 128-129.

Publishers Weekly, June 24, 2002, John F. Baker, "Rubin Buys Terrorist Thriller," p. 14; April 28, 2003, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome, p. 45.

Washington Post, June 23, 2003, Patrick Anderson, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome, p. C4.


Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (June 30, 2004), Ava Dianne Day, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome.

Salt Lake Tribune Online,http://www.sltrib.com/ (July 20, 2003), Judy Magid, review of The Pinocchio Syndrome.

WordJourneys.com,http://www.wordjourneys.com/ (June 30, 2004), Robert Yehling, interview with Zeman.*