Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Giacomo Giammatteo, author of Murder Takes Time!

Author Guest Post

Has Your Real-Life Experiences Inspired The Storyline for Murder Takes Time?

All my life I have been fascinated by storytelling. I grew up in a large Italian-American family, and we lived in an area where all the relatives were close by. Holidays brought together huge crowds of people, and inevitably, the stories would start to flow, and this was all before the wine was opened.

We didn't have designated storytellers, but the natural talent took over, and each generation seemed to have a few who relished telling tales. I became one of those "storytellers." After I was married, I would tuck the kids in at night telling stories instead of reading to them.

How It Affected My Writing

Years later, when my youngest son was in his teens, I started writing, but I was writing fantasy books, not mystery. My kids kept insisting that I write something that would incorporate the stories I used to tell them about growing up in the neighborhood. I brushed it off for several years, but then one night as my wife and I were discussing a movie, I realized it wasn't the stories I told the kids that were interesting, but the people involved. 

With that in mind, I built a series around what we believed in as kids: being loyal to each other, and always being there to help each other out. It was how we lived our lives, this unwritten code we had. Once I had that, all that was left was to figure out how to tell the story. I decided the best vehicle was a murder mystery type of novel. I don't look at it that way, but it had to be put in some genre, and that's where it fit best.

Some people are saying it's a mob book, but, and I know this might sound stupid, it is no more a mob book than The Godfather was. 

If you've stopped laughing ... think about it. The Godfather was really a story about a man and his principles, and his family. His family just happened to be in the Mafia. If the Corleone's had been in the pharmaceutical business it would be the same story. A different cast of characters, but the same story.

So to wrap it up, Murder Takes Time is not just inspired by my experiences, but the entire series is built on what I experienced growing up. The kind of beliefs we had as kids. I simply projected them out, and asked what might have happened if those kids stayed together. How would they have dealt with life's events? That's what Friendship & Honor, the series, is all about. 

About The Author

I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences.

Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals—12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.

Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night—late at night—I turn into a writer.

Giacomo Giammatteo's Murder Takes Time Virtual Book Tour Page On Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win (1) of (3) eBook Copies of 

Murder Takes Time

Contest Dates: Nov 3 - 10

Enter to win (1) of (3) eBook copies of Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo using the Rafflecopter entry blank. Contest Dates: Nov 3-10, 2012. The winners will be notified via email by a representative of the virtual book tour promoter, Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours. 

* Please make sure you post your name and email address on the comment box below so we can notify the winners! *

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Murder Takes Time Book Trailer

Book Review

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo 
Publisher: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 15, 2012
Format: Paperback - 421 pages / Kindle - 648 KB / Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 0985030208
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: Murder Takes Time

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn't good. 

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life—the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable.

Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years—and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

Book Excerpt:

                                                   Chapter 1

                            Rule Number One―Murder Takes Time

Brooklyn, New York—Current Day

He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult to learn. The killing came naturally. He cursed himself for that. Prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?”

He waved a hand—Nino was heading towards his car. “Just the check, please.”

From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book clipped to the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed.

Spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too.

He waited for her to leave, scanned the table and booth, plucked a few strands of hair from the torn cushion and a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin. The check was $4.28. He pulled a five and a one from his money clip and left them on the table. As he moved to the door he glanced out the window. Nino already left the lot, but it was Thursday, and on Thursdays Nino stopped for pizza.

He parked three blocks from Nino’s house, finding a spot where the snow wasn’t piled high at the curb. After pulling a black wool cap over his forehead, he put leather gloves on, raised the collar on his coat then grabbed his black sports bag. Favoring his left leg, he walked down the street, dropping his eyes if he passed someone. The last thing he wanted was a witness remembering his face.

He counted the joints in the concrete as he walked. Numbers forced him to think logically, kept his mind off what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill Nino. He had to. It seemed as if all of his life he was doing things he didn’t want to do. He shook his head, focused on the numbers again.

When he drew near the house, he cast a quick glance to ensure the neighbors’ cars weren’t there. The door took less than thirty seconds to open. He kept his hat and gloves on, walked into the kitchen, and set his bag on the counter. He removed a pair of tongs and a shot glass, and set them on the coffee table.

A glance around the room had him straightening pictures and moving dirty dishes to the sink. A picture of an older woman stared at him from a shelf above an end table. Might be his mother, he thought, and gently set it face down. Back to the kitchen. He opened the top of the black bag and removed two smaller bags. He set one in the fridge and took the other with him.

The contents of the second bag—hair and other items—he spread throughout the living room. The crime scene unit would get a kick out of that. He did one final check, removed a baseball bat from the bag, then sat on the couch behind the door. The bat lay on the cushion beside him. While he stretched his legs and leaned back, he thought about Nino. It would be easy to just shoot him, but that wouldn’t be fair. Renzo suffered for what he did; Nino should too. He remembered Mamma Rosa’s warnings, that the things people did would come back to haunt them. Nino would pay the price now.

A car pulled into the driveway. He sat up straight and gripped the bat.


Nino had a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. It was only Thursday and already he’d sold more cars than he needed for the month. Maybe I’ll buy Anna that coat she’s been wanting. Nino’s stomach rumbled, but he had a pepperoni pizza in his hand and a bottle of Chianti tucked into his coat pocket. He opened the door, slipped the keys into his pocket, and kicked the door shut with his foot.

There was a black sports bag on the kitchen table. Wasn’t there before, Nino thought. A shiver ran down his spine. He felt a presence in the house. Before he could turn, something slammed into his back. His right kidney exploded with pain.

“Goddamn.” Nino dropped the pizza, stumbled, and fell to the floor. His right side felt on fire. As his left shoulder collided with the hardwood floor, a bat hit him just above the wrist. The snap of bones sounded just before the surge of pain.

“Fuck.” He rolled to the side and reached for his gun. 

The bat swung again.

Nino’s ribs cracked like kindling. Something sharp jabbed deep inside him. His mouth filled with a warm coppery taste. Nino recognized the man who stood above him. “Anything you want,” he said. “Just kill me quick.”


The bat struck Nino’s knee, the crunch of bones drowned by his screams. The man stared at Nino. Let him cry. “I got Renzo last month. You hear about that?”

Nino nodded.

He tapped Nino’s pocket with his foot, felt a gun. “If you reach for the gun, I’ll hit you again.”

Another nod.

He knelt next to Nino, took the shot glass from the coffee table. “Open your mouth.”

Nino opened his eyes wide and shook his head. The man grabbed the tongs, shoved one end into the side of Nino’s mouth, and squeezed the handles, opening the tongs wide. When he had Nino’s mouth pried open enough, he shoved the shot glass in. It was a small shot glass, but to Nino it must have seemed big enough to hold a gallon. Nino tried screaming, but couldn’t. Couldn’t talk either, with the glass in there. Nino’s head bobbed, and he squirmed. Nothing but grunts came out—fear-tinged mumbles coated with blood.

The man stood, glared at Nino. Gripped the bat with both hands. “You shouldn’t have done it.”

A dark stain spread on the front of Nino’s pants. The stench of excrement filled the room. He stared at Nino, raised the bat over his head, and swung. Nino’s lips burst open, splitting apart from both sides. Teeth shattered, some flying out, others embedding into the flesh of his cheeks. The shot glass exploded. Glass dug deep gouges into his tongue, severing the front of it. Shards of glass pierced his lips and tunneled into his throat.

He stared at Nino’s face, the strips of torn flesh covered in blood. He gulped. Almost stopped. But then he thought about what Nino had done, and swung the bat one more time. After that, Nino Tortella lay still.

He returned to the kitchen and took a small box from the bag on the counter then went back to the living room. Inside the box were more hairs, blood, skin, and other evidence. He spread the items over and around the body then made a final trip to the kitchen to clean up. He undressed and placed his clothes into a large plastic bag, tied it, and set it inside the black bag. He took out a change of clothes, including shoes and plastic covers for them. Careful not to step in any blood, he went back to stand over the body.

Nino lay in his own piss, shit, and blood, eyes wide-open, mouth agape.

You should never have done it, Nino.

He blessed himself with the sign of the cross while he repeated the Trinitarian formula. “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” Then he shot Nino. Once in the head. Once in the heart. An eye for an eye. And then some. 

Before stepping out the door, he removed the plastic covers for his shoes, placed them into the bag, then closed and locked the door behind him. The wind had picked up since he arrived, bringing a cold bite with it. He turned his collar up and tucked his head into his chest. Forgive me, Father, for what I have done.

He walked two more blocks, almost to the car, when an image of Donnie Amato appeared in his head.

And for what I still have to do.

My Book Review:

Murder Takes Time is a story about three best friends whose bonds of friendship are put to the test. Nicky "The Rat" Fusco, Tony "The Brain" Sannullo, and Frankie "Bugs" Donovan grew up on the streets of Wilmington, Delaware. Thicker than thieves, they took an oath of friendship and honor, promising to always have each other's back and never rat each other out. When a gang fight turns deadly, Nicky takes the fall and and is sentenced to prison for ten years.

Fast forward to the present time, the three friends now live in Brooklyn, New York, and have taken different paths in their lives. Frankie has become a detective, while Nicky and Tony have become members of the Martelli crime family.

When Frankie investigates a string of murders that has clues of the murderer pointing to someone from the old neighborhood, he finds himself looking at one of his best friends being the culprit. Frankie is conflicted and has to make the hard decision between honoring the oath he swore as a police officer; or honor the oath that he took thirty years ago with his best friends. With an emotional bond to his friends that are unbreakable, the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, and he struggles to decide what actions to take. This is not only a decision of the heart, it could also be a decision that is deadly ... if the right decision isn't made.

Murder Takes Time is a fast-paced riveting and gritty thriller that will captivate your interest from the beginning. In his debut novel, author Giacomo Giammatteo weaves an intriguing tale of friendship, honor, loyalty and murder, told in the third person narrative with alternating points of view, and alternating between flashbacks to the past and the present day. The reader is engaged to follow along with the story of the three best friends, and how their bond of friendship is tested in a storyline that has a very graphic and explicit description of violence and strong language. This is a realistic and dramatic story with non-stop action and suspense that will keep you riveted to your seat and turning the pages.

The story has a cast of characters who are realistic and complex; with explicit dialogues and interactions; is rich in vivid and very graphic details and descriptions of murder scenes and crime investigations; the storyline flows smoothly and engages the reader to get involved in the story with an insight into each character, and keeps them guessing at the reason behind the murders.

If you are looking for a riveting and gritty no-holds barred murder mystery thriller that will captivate you and give you goose bumps, then Murder Takes Time is the book for you!

Murder Takes Time is the first book in the Friendship & Honor series.



  1. Superb professional review and post. Thank you so much. Kudos!! I agree with you, it was a debut novel that blew me away. Just an FYI for you and your followers, as of yesterday, Murder Takes Time is #145 in Kindle Store. #1 in Hard Boiled Mystery. And it is #5 in Amazon Movers and Shakers. I, for one, can't wait for the 2nd in this series.

    1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event. Thank you for the kind comments. I'm so glad that the book is moving up the charts, readers will really enjoy it. :)

    2. Those ratings are wonderful.

      CONGRATS to Mr. Giammatteo.

      Silver's Reviews

  2. Kathleen, thanks so much for the wonderful review. I'm thrilled that you liked it. Not much means more to me than someone enjoying my ramblings. I hope you made it through the hurricane without problems; that was a nasty one. And also thanks for sharing my story with your readers. I appreciate that.

    1. Hi Giacomo! I loved Murder Takes Time, I'm a sucker for gritty realistic thrillers, and your novel was everything that I look for in a story. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour event. :)

  3. Hi Teena! Thanks for stopping by. I stopped by your blog, great review. :)

  4. Great post....nice review.

    My review for this tour is up on November 30. Loved this book.


    Silver's Reviews

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for stopping by! This was a great book, I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I look forward to reading your review of the book. :)

  5. Seems like there was a party going on and I missed it. Hi, Teena and Elizabeth! BTW, Kathleen, I wanted to say that your banner pic reminds me of many days and nights at the Wildwood, NJ beach and boardwalk. What memories! and how I miss that place. Every time we come back to the area, we try to visit.

    1. I grew up on the island of Brigantine in Atlantic County, so my playgrounds were the beaches & boardwalks of Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ocean City & Wildwood. I have so many fond memories. :)

    2. I saw on the news that Brigantine got hit pretty hard by Sandy. The thing I always liked about the Jersey beaches were the long, wide beachfronts, but it looks like some of that got torn away. That's a shame.

    3. Yes, Brigantine was hit hard but the coastal towns north of Brigantine got hit worse. NJ residents and beaches sure took a beating from Sandy. *sigh*

  6. Love thrillers sounds perfect !!

    1. Hi Rhonda! Thank you for visiting my blog. It is a great thriller, hope you put it on your TBR list. :)