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Monday, March 11, 2013

A Bullet For Carlos by Giacomo Giammatteo (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Giacomo Giammatteo, author of A Bullet For Carlos!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Giacomo! 

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

I grew up in Wilmington, DE, one of six kids in what I think was one of the best neighborhoods in the world. I used it as the setting for my first book, Murder Takes Time. The neighborhood was mostly Italian, Irish and Polish, and was almost all Catholic. 

I ended up getting married at 17, and miraculously, have been married to that same wonderful woman for 43 years. We have had an animal sanctuary for almost 20 years and we now have 46 animals. 

Please give a brief description/storyline about A Bullet For Carlos. 

In short, A Bullet For Carlos is a story about family, and the relationship between a Brooklyn detective and her “uncle” who is the head of a Mafia family. 

What was the inspiration for this story?

I decided when I started out in this business that I was going to write series, and I wasn’t going to get stuck in one. My first series, Friendship & Honor, is about a complex relationship between several guys who grew up in the same neighborhood. One is now a cop and one on the other side of the law. When I began this series, I wanted something completely different, so I made a female protagonist with a unique theme. After that it was simply a matter of creating the story lines and plots. 

What genres are your favorites?

I love SciFi/Fantasy. I like good mysteries. And I love ancient history, especially Roman history. 

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

The best thing in the world is to get emails from readers who say they enjoyed the story, or a particular character, or it kept them up all night. That feels great because I can empathize. I know how I feel when I stay up too late reading a good book. 

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

Mostly by email, but also on Facebook and sometimes on Twitter.

Is there anything in your book bases on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

In this book nothing was really based on my life. In my first book a lot of it was. 

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

I’m always working on a new book. I have Murder Has Consequences, the sequel to Murder Takes Time, coming out in March. And right now I’m putting the finishing touches on Old Wounds, the first book in the Redemption Series. It should be published in May. I’m also finishing up a novella about Dominic Mangini, one of the characters in A Bullet For Carlos.

Giacomo, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

Giacomo Giammatteo lives in Texas, where he and his wife run an animal sanctuary and take care of 41 loving rescues. By day, he works as a headhunter in the medical device industry, and at night, he writes.

A Bullet For Carlos ~ Giacomo Giammatteo ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

A Bullet For Carlos - Book Trailer

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win an eBook Copy of A Bullet For Carlos

Contest Dates: March 11-18, 2013

Author Giacomo Giammatteo is giving away an eBook copy of A Bullet For Carlos to one (1) randomly drawn winner. To enter the contest giveaway using the Rafflecopter link below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review

A Bullet For Carlos by Giacomo Giammatteo
Book 1: Blood Flows South Series
Publisher: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: October 18, 2012
Format: Paperback - 421 pages / Kindle - 713 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 0985030240
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller 

BUY THE BOOK: A Bullet For Carlos

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:

Detective Connie Giannelli's life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.

Connie’s love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she’s not worried about them finding the missing drugs—her secrets could prove to be far worse.

Now Connie’s racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs—dirty cops or Uncle Dominic’s friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.

Book Excerpt:

La famiglia รจ tutto
Family is everything
Dominic Mangini

Chapter 1

A Present for Maria

Brooklyn, New York—Winter 1982

Zeppe Mangini paced the busy sidewalk while nursing a cappuccino. He felt it was a sure sign that the world was falling apart when people sold cappuccino in paper cups, but he sipped the drink to draw warmth and to make himself appear busy. Every few steps he glanced across the street to the apartment at 1255. Tommy Nunzio had lived there since he was a kid. Tonight he would die there.

Zeppe finished his cappuccino, waited for a break in traffic, then half-walked, half-jogged across the street. The horn from a souped-up Camaro blared as he reached the sidewalk. He tugged on his cap, covering a full head of coal-black hair, then nodded to his brother, Dominic, standing by the front steps.

“Dom, you sure there’s no other way to do this?”

“This is the cleanest. He’ll buzz you in.”

Zeppe paused, scrunched his face up a little. “Yeah, but that ain’t right. I’m—”

“Do it.”

Zeppe hit the buzzer, fidgeting as he waited for Tommy to answer. The last time his finger hit this button it was to ask Tommy out for a beer. Now…

“Who is it?”

“Tommy, it’s Zep. Open up.”

They walked into the building and climbed the stairs to the third floor. Zeppe cringed with each groan of the old wood, bringing back images of him and Tommy as little kids, and Mrs. Nunzio hollering at them, warning them about playing on steps. Zeppe took a few seconds to catch his breath, and to calm the rotten feeling he had in his gut, but he couldn’t chase away the image of Mrs. Nunzio. As he reached the top of the third floor, he half expected to be greeted by the sweet aroma of garlic coming from her kitchen.

His face scrunched again, a nervous tic he had since he was kid. “Dom, can’t we buy him a little time?”

“Not on this one,” Dominic said, and stood to the side.

Zeppe knocked on the door, hands shaking more than his stomach ached. After a few seconds the door opened. Dominic moved fast, pushing Zeppe aside while he shoved his gun into Tommy’s stomach. “Keep your voice down.”

Tommy backed up, hands in the air. “What’s going on? What—” His look shifted from Dominic to Zeppe, then back again. He froze, his eyes growing large. “Zeppe, what’s this about?”

Zeppe closed the door with the heel of his foot, never taking his eyes from Tommy.

“You shouldn’t have crossed Vito.”

“That’s enough,” Dominic said.

Tommy cocked his head toward Zeppe, lifting his eyes in a pleading gesture. “Zep, can you help me out?” His voice cracked when he asked.

Dominic raised the gun to Tommy’s head and pulled the trigger. Twice. The small caliber bullets bounced around inside his skull, dropping him to the floor. There was little pain. Even less blood.

Dominic knelt beside him, checked his neck and pulse. The two in the head had done the trick.

“Let’s go,” Zeppe said, but as he reached for the doorknob a noise from the bedroom alerted him. “You hear that?”

Zeppe and Dominic stopped. Listened. A fan hummed in the bathroom and the ever-present noise of the fridge came from the kitchen, but something different from the bedroom. “Turn off the lights,” Dominic said, then crept toward the back room, gun drawn. “I’ll go in low. Hit the light once I’m in.”

Dominic crouched, pushed open the bedroom door and crept forward, his gun leading the way.

Zeppe waited for him to get in, then hit the light. “Mother of God! A goddamn baby.”

Dominic glanced about the room, barely big enough to hold the crib, a rocker, and a small chest of drawers. The baby fussed, tiny hands covering its eyes. Dominic picked the baby up, pried open the diaper, then lay the baby on his shoulder. “It’s a girl. Can’t be more than a few months old.”

Zeppe still had his gun out. “I’ll check the rest of the place.”

He returned in a few minutes, gun tucked into his pants. “Place is clean,” he said. “So what do we do?”

“Call Vito, but use the phone booth. I’ll wait here.”

Zeppe thought about the baby all the way down the stairs. Vito would be pissed; they should have known beforehand. He exited the building, crossed the street and called Vito.


“Yeah, it’s me. We got a problem.”

“What kind of problem?”

A long pause, then, “We delivered the message, but we found something unexpected.”

“Don’t make me guess.”

“A baby.”

“How did we not know about a baby?”

“I don’t know. I never heard of no baby, but sure as shit it’s his. Got pictures everywhere, baby clothes, baby food in the fridge and cabinets. A room fixed up.”

Zeppe waited through more silence.

“Leave it.”

“Leave it? Christ’s sake, boss. It could die.”

“Leave it.”

“Okay, you got it,” Zeppe said, and put the phone back on the receiver. Ain’t no way Dominic is leaving that baby.

Head hung low, Zeppe walked back across the street, up the steps, and into the apartment where Dominic waited with the girl. “Vito said leave it.”

Dominic was a small man, but intensity always surrounded him, an aura of danger that even Zeppe wasn’t immune to. He had seen men far bigger than his brother back down after meeting his glare.

“I’m not leaving her,” Dominic said, and he held the girl a little tighter.

“Do you know Tommy’s wife? Where is she?”

“I don’t know, Dom. I heard she left him a few months ago, but I didn’t know about the baby. I swear. I wouldn’t have done this if I knew.” Shouldn’t have done it anyway. Goddamnit.

“Did Tommy have family? Brothers or sisters?”

“His brother died last year. Remember?” Zeppe paused. “There might be relatives, but none I know of.” There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of Dominic leaving that baby alone, or with child services. Regardless, Zeppe felt he had to try. “Child services would—”

“I wouldn’t leave a dog with them.”

“Dom, I know how you feel, but—”

“Take her with us.”

“Are you nuts?”

“We shouldn’t be in this situation, Zeppe. It was your job to check this out.” Dominic shook his head then handed the girl to Zeppe. “It’s cold outside. Make sure she’s warm.”

“Okay,” Zeppe said, “whatever you want.” He took the baby from Dominic, and held her close.

“I’ll wipe everything clean.” Dominic looked around, checked where they’d been, then went to the bedroom and got extra clothes, a blanket, diapers, bottles. When he returned, he handed everything to Zeppe, cracked the door and looked down the hall. “Wrap her tight. I don’t want that baby catching cold.”

Zeppe wrapped the blanket around her, making sure to cover her head. “What the hell are we going to do with a baby?” He said it to himself, but Dominic answered.

“Taking her to Maria.”

Zeppe’s head was shaking as soon as Dominic finished. “Dom, you’re my older brother, but you’re as nuts as Maria.”

Dominic turned to face Zeppe. “If you ever say that about Maria again, I’ll kill you.”

They walked to the car in silence. Zeppe handed the baby to Dominic then got behind the wheel to drive. “Where to?”

“First the warehouse, then to Maria’s.”


Dominic stared at the baby as Zeppe drove, letting his finger trace along her forehead. “She’s quiet for one so young,” he said, no trace of the vehemence that tainted his voice earlier. 

“Yeah, I guess she likes you.”

“And look at those eyes. Such big brown eyes.”

“Beautiful,” Zeppe said, but he never took his eyes from the road.

When the little girl smiled, Dominic smiled with her, but soon afterward turned somber. He thought of the fate Maria suffered because of him. If anyone should have had children it was her, but she refused to marry Dominic because of what he was, and she refused to marry anyone else. He saw the pain when she sat at the playground and watched the children play. Pain she didn’t deserve. Perhaps this was God’s answer to his prayers.

There would be birth certificate issues and people to pay off…but that could be arranged. The bigger problem was getting Maria to accept the baby and then making sure no one ever told the truth. That was the difficult one. Truth had a way of creeping through cracks and oozing to the top, no matter how deep it was buried. He knew he could trust Zeppe, and he could trust Maria…but something in his gut ate at him. This would take careful planning.

Zeppe pulled up to a warehouse. Dominic got rid of the gun and changed clothes. Half an hour later he turned down the street to Maria’s house.

“Turn the corner and park on the street after hers,” Dominic said. “We’ll walk.”

“Dom, it’s cold, and that baby—”

“The baby will be fine in the blanket. I’d rather not be seen on Maria’s street.”

After Zeppe parked, Dominic checked to make sure no one was watching then signaled Zeppe to bring the baby. They walked around the corner and up to Maria’s house.

A few knocks brought Maria to the door, surprise registering on her face when she saw them. “What are you doing here?” Her voice not much above a whisper.

Maria was the same as always—as plain as her tawny hair and as quiet as a church at night. “Came to see my beautiful friend,” Dominic said, and removed his cap.

She brushed her fingers through the sides of her hair. “Beautiful? I’m already graying.”

Dominic hugged her and kissed her forehead. “I love that gray,” he said, then nodded to Zeppe, who handed the baby to Maria.

She went wide-eyed. “Whose baby is this?” She held the girl against her and peeled the blanket back one layer at a time. “She’s so small. Where’s the mother?”

Dominic brushed the baby’s red cheeks with his finger, and nudged her head with his nose, sniffing in her scent. For the second time tonight a smile lit his face. “Babies are so innocent. You can even smell it on them.”

Maria walked through the house, humming a tune while she rocked the baby in her arms. “You didn’t answer me, Dominic. Who does she belong to? Some woman friend of yours?”

“I’m surprised at you for saying such a thing, Maria.” Westminster chimes were signaling the half-hour. Dominic waited for them to stop; they were Maria’s favorite. “We found her on the street corner. She was in a stroller, freezing.”

Maria looked at him, perhaps trying to judge the truth. “I’m sorry, Dominic, it’s just…I thought…” She shook her head and continued walking. “Who would do that to a baby?” She kissed the girl’s head several times. “Poor baby,” she said, then turned to Dominic. “What can we do with her? Did you call people?”

“You know I would never do that; besides, you always wanted a child. Now God has sent you one.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t keep her.” Maria made the statement, blessed herself when she said it, but a plea rode on her words.

“You must keep her. God has given you a gift. Someone who didn’t care abandoned her, now someone who does care will raise her.”

Maria stared at Dominic for a long time, then she hugged the baby as tears formed in her eyes. “There is no way I can keep her, but I will watch her for a while.” She walked with her for a few moments, then said, “In the meantime, I’ll call her Concetta.”

Dominic nodded, a smile on his face. Maria would never let go of that baby. “Concetta Gianelli. A good name.”

“I told you, Dominic, I can’t keep her. What would the neighbors say? They will—”

Zeppe shook his head. “Tell them a relative died. Trust me, they won’t say anything.” He leaned over and kissed Maria on the cheek, then kissed the baby. “I promise you.”

Dominic looked at Maria, then Zeppe. “If Maria keeps Concetta, no one is to know where she came from. Understand? No one.”

“Don’t worry,” Zeppe said. “Just the three of us.”

Maria nodded, clutching the girl as if someone might take her. “Yes, just the three of us.”

Zeppe turned and headed for the door. “I’ll wait outside.”

“Good night, Giuseppe.”

“Yeah, good night, Maria.”

As the door closed behind Zeppe, and Maria walked to the kitchen, Dominic made the sign of the cross, asking God for forgiveness. It was one thing to kill a man—but to take his baby and claim it as a gift from God might be pushing things too far. That was the kind of thing that could haunt a person in both lives. And what will Maria do if she finds out the truth? Even worse, what will this little girl do if she finds out?

My Book Review:

Brooklyn Narcotics Detective Connie Giannelli knew she would be a cop since she was twelve years old, when she found out that her Uncle Dominic Mangini was a mobster. She has a love/ hate relationship with Uncle Dom. She loves him because he is family, and he had taught her that nothing in life is more important than la famiglia ... family is everything. But she hates him for who he is and what he does; but most of all for what it does to her reputation as a cop, for putting her in the position of being under suspicion of being a "dirty cop" with family ties to the mob.

Known as "Brooklyn's Toughest Cop," Connie and her narcotics team are number one on successful drug busts. But when an undercover drug bust goes bad and leaves her two partners dead, Connie has to fight to clear her name. Connie is transferred to the homicide unit, and while under the pretense of investigating a cold murder case with ties to Texas, she travels to Houston to investigate the Mexican cartel who is running the drugs and the ruthless drug cartel leader who wants her dead, while tracking down a sadistic serial killer. Will Connie be able to clear her name and bust the drug cartel, or will she fall victim to the drug cartel leader or the sadistic serial killer?

A Bullet For Carlos is a gripping crime / mystery thriller that will draw the reader into the story and keep them on the edge with its riveting suspense. In the first book of the Blood Flows South Series, author Giacomo Giammatteo weaves an intriguing tale with multiple subplots that are neatly interwoven, with alternating first and third person narratives, and enough action packed adventure with exciting twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing what will happen next. The story features mob activity, police corruption, drug cartels, and serial killer/murders ... with the reader following Connie Giannelli, an honest cop who tries to clear her name and reputation. I loved the interweaving of the subplots: the reader gets a glimpse into the world of a mob family, and the lengths they will go to protect one of their own; while also delving into the underground drug cartel world filled with its propensity for cruelty and ruthlessness.

With a realistic and diverse cast of complicated characters who leap off the pages; engaging dialogue and riveting interactions; three richly detailed and descriptive settings of Brooklyn, Houston and Monterrey, Mexico; and a complex and graphically violent storyline that leaves you wanting more, A Bullet For Carlos is one hell of a thriller that will make your heart race!



  1. So glad you enjoyed this book. It definitely was "one hell of a thriller". I really enjoyed the interview, getting the chance to know the author a bit better, especially since Mr. Giammatteo is on "my favorite authors to read" list. As always, an extraordinary review and post. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. I absolutely loved this book, it was an adrenaline rush! Thank you for the kind comment about the review/post, I appreciate it. :)

  2. Kathleen: Thanks so much for hosting this review, and for the wonderful review you wrote. I'm really happy you liked the book. I worried about writing a female lead, but I liked the way Connie turned out.

    1. Hi Giacomo! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I loved this story! You nailed Connie's character, she was an awesome character, good job! I really enjoyed the alternating 1st and 3rd person narratives, it kept me riveted and wanting to know what happened next. I am looking forward to reading more of your books. :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog! Good luck if you entered the contest!