Thursday, January 9, 2020

Death in the Family

Crime Thriller
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lanny Larcinese will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.





Donny Lentini is a talented young man hungry for his mother's love. To please her, he becomes guardian angel to his mob-wannabe father. When the father is murdered and found with his hands hacked off, Donny is dealt a set of cards in a game called vengeance. The pot is stacked high with chips; the ante, his soul and the lives of loved-ones. With the help of friends—ex-con, defrocked Jesuit Bill Conlon along with former high-school nemesis, Antwyne Claxton—he digs for whether the murder had anything to do with the mob's lust for a real estate parcel owned by the family of Donny's lover. He's new at this game. He doesn't cheat, but plays his cards well. And he gets what he wants.


read an excerpt...

There is a purity to poker, moments of truth free of the ambiguity of motive or morals, moments philosophers never examine—clean moments—as when a Great White draws back its lips to embrace somebody’s neck with its four-inch serrated teeth—moments German Kruger never understood and might put his head at risk .

One by one I looked them in the eye. They all dropped except German, who raised and called. I flipped my hole cards. “Three cowboys.”

I raked in the seven hundred dollar pot. Any day I stuck a pencil in German’s eye was a good day. “What is it with you?” he said.  “You win four, five pots every Friday.”

Dad kicked my shin under There is a purity to poker, moments of truth free of the ambiguity of motive or morals, moments philosophers never examine—clean moments—as when a Great White draws back its lips to embrace somebody’s neck with its four-inch serrated teeth—moments German Kruger never understood and might put his head at risk .

One by one I looked them in the eye. They all dropped except German, who raised and called. I flipped my hole cards. “Three cowboys.”

I raked in the seven hundred dollar pot. Any day I stuck a pencil in German’s eye was a good day. “What  is it with you?” he said.  “You win four, five pots every Friday.”

Dad kicked my shin under the table. 

About Lanny Larcinese...

Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?

I have a dear friend whose baby was adopted out many decades ago. As an adult, the child sought her out in order to reconnect. We did, and do, talk about it a lot. The provenance of Death in the Family began with a specific image of a talented young man involved in a high school ruckus, but taking a cue from my friend’s experience, I imbued my character with the burden of unrequited parental love and its effects on his thoughts, feelings, and actions as he seeks to fulfill it. Because I am a crime writer of the noir persuasion, I felt such a circumstance provided an overlay of motivation beyond the usual vengeance common to crime and cop stories (although, there is that.) Noir writing, perhaps all crime writing, is not in my opinion a device deployed to write a particular book, but is more like blues music—a constant state of mind and view of the world and how it works. So being of that mentality, coupled with my friend’s experience, my character Donny Lentini of Death in the Family brings those elements into convergence.

Where do you get your storylines from?
Unlike many authors who conceive a circumstance then create characters in service of it, I do the opposite. I first conceive a main character with a deficit, a need of some kind which may also imply a theme, then create plot events designed to explicate and dramatize those features. I hesitate to say my work is character driven (though it is) because that phrase usually attaches to “literary” writing, which means not much happens but there’s a lot going on. I am a genre writer, a crime writer, so of course I will have homicides, ghastly events, organized and other crime, femmes fatales, and many not-nice features of human beings. But theme is also important to me. My work is layered: of course a superficial plot in which things happen, but also relationship sub-plots and finally a theme usually dealing with notions of justice, morality, or perhaps fate. All of this is a constant infrastructure in my head, and it only takes a specific thought or image or circumstance to trigger a story.

Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others?  Why?
In one sense, this book was more difficult since it was the first novel I wrote after winning prizes for my short work. As a new novelist, I had much to learn, and the novel you see today has only the barest of bones from the one I initially wrote. But none are easy and if we are creative, our work should evolve—vs. writing the same story over and over. So in that latter sense, each book is as hard as the last in that we are trying new things. For example, Death in the Family sat in the drawer as I wrote other stories. Then, I wrote a memoir which revealed to me the charm of writing in the first person. When I revisited Death in the Family, I changed the entire book from third to first person. It’s published predecessor, I Detest All My Sins, is third person. I have since written shorter work using both fist and third in different passages.


Do you only write one genre?
My fiction tends to be crime-related, though not all equally in a hard-boiled voice. I have also written memoir and non-fiction.

Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
I have a very nice home, one of those big 100 year old Arts & Crafts numbers very near the University of Pennsylvania. It is typical of places from that period that the first two floors are nicely constructed and appointed, while the two above are, well, “basic.” That’s where I write. My office is like Dan Hedaya’s chaotic desk in The Usual Suspects, when he remarked, “You should see my garage!” My organization is loose, meaning piles of papers (not stacked neatly but piles) on desks, in boxes, bins and on the floor.  I can live this way; I don’t have a wife. When I’m writing (even now) I need my total concentration and frankly don’t give a damn how things look as long as I can find the right adjective.

And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
Hey pal, I’m Italian, I have to write because nobody is around to watch me flail my arms and practically convulse trying to express myself. We invented opera. It’s a high bar.

Lanny Larcinese – Author
Death in the Family
I Detest All My Sins
Women: One Man’s Journey

Lanny Larcinese ‘s short work has appeared in magazines and has won a handful of local
prizes. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a native mid-westerner transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love where he has been writing fiction for seven years. When not writing, he lets his daughter, Amanda, charm him out of his socks, and works at impressing Jackie, his long-time companion who keeps him honest and laughing—in addition to being his first-line writing critic. He also spends more time than he should on Facebook but feels suitably guilty for it.




a Rafflecopter giveaway













14 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Bernie Wallace said...

Which character do you most relate to in your book?

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Friday! Thanks for sharing the great post :)

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

James Robert said...

Good Morning! Thank you for the book description.These tours are great and we have found some terrific books so thanks so  much.

Bernie Wallace said...

Did you go to college for writing?

Lanny Larcinese said...

Than YOU James, the reading experience is a partnership between writer and reader---each brings their own sensibilities to the stories to make for a fulfilling experience.

Lanny Larcinese said...

Bernie, I did study English in undergraduate school. In retrospect, though I took typical beginning composition class and had to write throughout school, it was more the reading --- by which I mean deep reading, not only for story or subject but how its written --- that was my inspiration for writing.

Lanny Larcinese said...

Thank you Rita, I hope you liked it enough to want to read the whole story; still, I take compliments where I find them & I do appreciate yours.

Lanny Larcinese said...

You're welcome, Victoria, and the pleasure was truly mine.

Lanny Larcinese said...

Not one character, Bernie, but something specific from each: from Bill, his philosophic orientation tempered by pragmatism; from Donny, his striving, striving, striving; from Antwyne his bad boy stuff become redeemed and his loyalty to Donny.

Lanny Larcinese said...

And add my thanks, also!

Bernie Wallace said...

This book sounds very interesting. I hope that it is a success.

Kathy said...

Best of luck with your book. -kathy --Our Town Book Reviews