Death in the Family
by Lanny Larcinese
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.
I slid my foot over to touch Dad’s. I had promised Mother I’d look after him.
“Is this about the money you lost at the table?” I said. “Should we play a few more hands?”
German pounded his fist on the desk. “Don’t try to second-guess me, you punk! You’ll talk when I say, got it?”
I kept my eyes fixed on German’s. Six…seven…eight…
Dad reached over and put his hand on mine. “I didn’t lose the cleaners,” he said. A bead of sweat meandered toward his jaw. “The union was working on ’em going back three years now. It was already a done deal by the time I got there.”
“Whatever,” German said. “Just don’t let it happen anymore. And tell Donny here to mind his manners or you’ll be back driving a truck.”
The baseball bat leaning in a corner near German’s desk was an exclamation point that punctuated his directives. If it ever came down to that, I’d slash his throat with a rusty knife. Yet I still had to walk a tightrope. Dad would have preferred the bat to the demotion. Dad was a climber and German his future.
German picked up a couple of coded folders and put them into a filing cabinet, slamming the drawer down its rails like a runaway train.
“Oh, and Joojy wants to see you. I don’t know about what.”
“What about?” Dad said.
“You don’t hear? I said I don’t know! Maybe that thing. Now get outta here, both yiz. I got to take my daughter to ballet.”
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Most of my adult life spent in various business endeavors. City guy, have always lived and worked inside cities. I love them. I understand them. I live close to the University of Pennsylvania campus. I am a man of serial obsessions, some lasting years, all enjoyable and gratifying, but none as much as becoming an author. I came to it late in life, and say thank you prayers for the serendipitous discovery of pursuing art. I am 76.
What do you do when you are not writing?
How did you choose the genre you write in?I am a noir crime writer though don’t necessarily write in a hard boiled voice. To me, unlike many, noir is not a certain style of storytelling with specific conventions, but rather a frame of mind, a way of seeing the world & people, more like blues music. Combined with my urban orientation, it’s built into my temperament. It’s naturaI for me; I guess you can say it chose me.
Where do you get your ideas?
I don’t ever need writing prompts; my whole damned life is a prompt.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Not in the typical sense. On occasion, I do get stuck on plot, where to take the story, how to make my characters’ lives more stressful, how to bail them out.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Pantser all day. I could no more look at blank page on a legal pad than a blank Word screen. I know my protagonist and the ending. Beyond that, I think two, three scenes ahead. When you’re a pantser, you write the same story 50 times; you keep going back to revise to foreshadow what you just thought up today.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?Not a book, but a longish short story I love, 12,500 words: Death by Lesbian. Have not been able to find a home for it, having much to do with its length and being too busy writing novels (which means drafting, editing, redrafting, re-editing, sticking it in the drawer, taking it out of the drawer, redrafting, re-editing, etc.) Perhaps I should try to market it as a novelina—a category I invented between chapbook and novelette.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Death in the Family is about a young talented son of low-level mob wannabe. The son’s parents are so in love they leave no emotional room for him. When the father is found murdered with his hands cut off, the mother urges vengeance and the son is compliant, believing it will finally earn her regard. The first mystery becomes who did it and why; the second is why the mob’s interest in the diner run by his girlfriend & owned by her family. The two mysteries converge. Beyond that, I ain’t squealing but will only say that at story’s end, the son says, “She should always have known I was the better man.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER
Lanny Larcinese will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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