Novel Reaction is excited to welcome author Anthony Pesare. Anthony is here to share with us a little more about he gained the inspiration and experience for his novel, They Always Win.
Chief Anthony M. Pesare assumed command of the Middletown Police Department in 2004. Prior to doing so he served as Dean of the School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University and was a member of the Rhode Island State Police, where his law enforcement career spanned twenty-four years. He began his career as a uniform trooper before joining the Intelligence Unit where he investigated organized crime and rose through the ranks of the agency.
Chief Pesare has lectured at the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy, the Rhode Island Bar Association, and the Rhode Island Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners. In 2007 he received the Gerhard O.W. Mueller Innovator Award from the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences. He has taught Organized Crime at Roger Williams University, Johnson and Wales University and Salve Regina University. Chief Pesare received his B.S. degree in Administration of Justice from Roger Williams University, his Master of Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, and his Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts.
I grew up in the Italian section of Providence, RI known as Silver Lake. It was a close knit neighborhood married to the Southern Italian culture of mistrust of government and the belief that everything was handled by the elders of the neighborhood. Disputes amongst neighbors, getting a job or opening a business were all controlled by these so called men of respect.
As I was growing up in the 60s these men of respect had morphed into a band of criminals known to us as the Mob. They were vicious individuals who preyed on their own kind who cared only about money and power. It was the allure of money and power that tempted many a young man and I was no different. Only a strong family and the eventual realization that the life was not a life at all but a perpetual fight to survive which led me to choose a career in law enforcement.
In 1974 I was lucky enough to be selected to become a member of the Rhode Island State Police one of the finest law enforcement organizations in the country. In the early 80s I was assigned to the Intelligence Unit of the State Police which primarily investigates organized crime. During this time the Unit was able to persuade three mobsters to turn states evidence and testify against the mob. I along with other members of the unit spent three years keeping these witnesses safe in protective custody and using their testimony against the mob.
As the result of their testimony we prosecuted several members of the New England Organized Crime family with various crimes including; murder, robbery, extortion, and gambling. The three years I spent with these individuals was an education into their lives and a realization that the line between leading a destructive life and a productive one is easily crossed.
I also learned that, although criminals, they face many of the same problems we all do. Family issues, petty jealousies and financial problems were just a few of the issues we helped these individuals with while they were under our care.
Three years ago I decided it was time to write about my experiences. I chose fiction as a vehicle in order to take advantage of being able to interject the personal issues that the mobsters and the investigators deal with when forced to work together. Most movies and books about organized crime seem to be written from the prospective of the mobster and police are often unfairly portrayed as inept or corrupt. I thought it was important to tell this story from the perspective of a detective who although flawed, ultimately is focused on bringing vicious criminals to justice.
Det. Gino Peterson the lead character struggles with many of the same issues we all do in life, trying to balance our personal lives with our professional lives. Ginos struggle is no different and only compounded by the suspicion he brings to the Intelligence Unit because of his background. As he struggle with trying to gain acceptance he falls for his supervisor Michelle and their personal lives suddenly become intertwined with the success or failure of the cases they are investigating.
My hope is that as the reader follows Ginos struggles the truth about organized crime is revealed. The reader will learn that it is not the glamorous life portrayed in movies and in reality deals in misery and violence without any regard to the people who stand in their way.
There is a reason that Italian-American organized crime is the longest ongoing criminal conspiracy in the United States and readers of They Always Win will be able to answer that question. It will become readily apparent to the reader, as it does to Gino, that they will use any means to achieve their ultimate goal of money and power.
Bill Reynolds of the Providence Journal and author of several books told me that writing a book is like have a child and sending it out into the world. You never know what that child will achieve and how those achievements will be brought back to you. I have been overwhelmed how my child has brought back many stories about the affect this story has had on them.
Perhaps the greatest gift I have received was a reader who called to tell me that his father in law is ill and he has been reading my book to him a chapter at a time. He told me that when he reads the book it brings them both great enjoyment, if thats all Ive accomplished by writing this book thats more than enough.
Thanks Anthony for sharing some of your life experiences with us. You can read our review of They Always Win here.