August 23rd, 2006 12:45 EST
There is No Podunk USA
Del Marbrook is the Author of Saraceno... www.delmarbrook.com
Billy Salviati just wants to be a good soldier, to follow orders and live under the radar. It`s all going well until he meets Hettie Warshaw one night on a dark street in Hell`s Kitchen. Then his life unravels. Saraceno is the story of a hit man whose good looks are equalled only by his magical gift for friendship. He survives the vicissitudes of good looks, but his gift for friendship puts him in the crosshairs of friends and enemies.
When Mafia don Gran John dubs Billy Il Saraceno (saraCHAYno), it`s a compliment. He means Billy is shadowy, deadly and enigmatic. He also means Billy is a man born outside looking in, a marked man, as well as, in Mafia parlance, a made man. Billy roams Manhattan`s streets as the Arabs have roamed their deserts, unaccustomed to giving or getting quarter. He`s invaluable, but misunderstood. His mother`s Irish blood puts him outside La Famiglia.
To the Sicilians, who enjoyed a long period of prosperity and peace under Saracen rule before the Norman conquest of Sicily, Billy`s nickname has other connotations. In their collective unconscious they do not remember the Saracens the way the rest of the West views them to this day: marauders, Hagar`s children, their hand raised against everyone, and everyone`s hand raised against them.
Billy`s story, drawn from the author`s own boyhood experiences in Hell;s Kitchen, is an allegory for our time: we don`t really know anyone "we only think we do.
Now available from Open Book Press ($27.35 including shipping, P.O. Box 659, Lanoka Harbor, NJ, 08734), Amazon.com and will be distributed to libraries and bookstores through Baker & Taylor Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Saraceno is an electric tone-poem straight from a world we only think we understand. An heir to George V. Higgins and David Mamet, Djelloul Marbrook writes dialogue that not only entertains with an intoxicating clickety-clack, but also packs a truth about low-life mob culture The Sopranos " only hints at. You can practically smell the anisette and filling-station coffee. "
"Dan Baum, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty (Morrow, 2000)
"a good ear for crackling dialogue " I love Marbrook`s crude, raw music of the streets. The notes are authentic and on target " "
"Sam Coale, The Providence (RI) Journal
This lyrical and violent, funny and sad, hot and cool novella haunts us. Try it. "
"Ann LaFarge, Taconic Weekend
Haunting " when I finished, I kept remembering pieces. "
"Carol Walters, Director, Sandhills Regional Library System, N.C.
"an admirable first novel. "
"Paul Smart, Woodstock Times
"a mature artist whose rich body of work is finally coming to light. "
"Brent Robison, editor, Prima Materia/div