Anthony Pesare Guest Post: Mobsters in Real Life

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 60’s 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 80’s 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 state’s 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. Gino’s 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 Gino’s 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 that’s all I’ve accomplished by writing this book that’s more than enough.

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Thanks Anthony for sharing some of your life experiences with us. You can read our review of They Always Win here.

 

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Wednesday Words: Oscar Wilde

I have recently been thinking about words and how sometime I just love the way a certain phrase is written, something about it has gotten some kind of an emotional response from me, either I laughed, cried or stopped to think about a new concept. I have decided to start a new weekly posting entitled “Wednesday Words”, a chance for me to share with you (and hopefully you will share with me) a little snippet that struck you in some way.  We are going to start with Oscar Wilde (who is hilarious)

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” -Oscar Wilde

John Carter Books-to-Movie Intro

Novel Reaction is excited to be once again doing the Books-to-Movie Challenge. This month we are going to be reading and watching John Carter by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Originally published as a serial novel in 1912, A Princess of Mars is the first book in the Barsoom series. There are eleven books in the series with the last one being published in 1943. The books are all public domain, meaning there are no rights retained by the author’s estate, so you can get the first book free here.

In the spring of 1866, John Carter, a former Confederate captain prospecting for gold in the Arizona hills, slips into a cave and is overcome by mysterious vapors. He awakes to find himself naked, alone, and forty-eight million miles from Earth—a castaway on the dying planet Mars. Taken prisoner by the Tharks, a fierce nomadic tribe of sixlimbed, olive-green giants, he wins respect as a cunning and able warrior, who by grace of Mars’s weak gravity possesses the agility of a superman. He also wins the heart of fellow-prisoner Dejah Thoris, the alluring, red-skinned Princess of Helium, whose people he swears to defend against their grasping and ancient enemy, the city-state of Zodanga.
John Carter first appeared in 1912 in the pages of The All-Story magazine and immediately entered the dream-life of American readers young and old. He was Edgar Rice Burroughs’s favorite among his many creations and remains a favorite of lovers of science fiction and fantasy everywhere. On the occasion of John Carter’s centenary, The Library of America invites readers to rediscover A Princess of Mars, the adventure-pulp classic that gave the world its first great interplanetary romance.

We are watching the 2012 version of the film starring Taylor Kitsch as John Carter, Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris and William Defoe as Tars Tarkas. The film also stars Mark Strong as Matai Shang, I have to admit that Mark Strong is one of my favorite villain actor, he was fabulous in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and The Green Latern (2011).

So pull up a book, a bucket of popcorn and let the fun begin!