Murder Takes Time
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2012 Seeley James Award for Best Indie Debut
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NIAF (National Italian American Federation) reviews Murder Takes Time in their Holiday Issue
Editorial Reviews: MURDER TAKES TIME
Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo
Giacomo Giammatteo’s riveting thriller delves into the relationships between childhood friends who lead very different adult lives.
The Feathered Quill Review of Murder Takes Time, by Mary Lignor. August, 2012
On the cover of this fascinating book there is a little blurb stating “They swore to be friends forever, but life had a different idea.” If you readers are interested in Godfatherly books you won’t be disappointed in Murder Takes Time, a debut novel that is well written with very believable characters and doesn’t lag in the narrative. It’s very clear and concise and the reader never gets messed up as to who is who and what they are up to.
The author keeps the readers informed about all the characters and does a tremendous job of it. Switching between past and present is sometimes hard to take but, not with this author. Readers will not become lost as the author explains everything in detail and you can keep up with the story without going back or forward to find out where you are. This is a truly honest portrayal of the code of honor talked about in the boys’ past and one of the best mob-related mysteries that I have ever read. As this is the first book in the Friendship and Honor Series, readers will be waiting impatiently for the next. Read more.
Book 1 in the Friendship & Honor Series
Author: Giammatteo, Giacomo
Review Date: March 2, 2012
Publisher: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
A trail of murdered mobsters puts three best friends on opposite sides of the law in Giammatteo’s debut crime novel.
Giammatteo turns a genre stereotype on its head with a smart balance of conflicting perspectives that emotionally involve the reader in the New York underworld and its dirty players. Frankie “Bugs” Donovan, Nicky “the Rat” Fusco and Tony “the Brain” Sannullo were inseparable as kids, living by a code of “friendship and honor,” sharing families, stealing cigarettes and watching each other’s backs. The storytelling switches smoothly back and forth, easing from Nicky’s reflections on his childhood difficulties and the respite he found with Frankie and Tony, to Frankie’s struggles to fulfill his professional duties without forsaking his friendships. Ultimately, Frankie must decide whether he is a cop or a gangster, while dealing with the sacrifices that choice entails.
Giammatteo’s novel kicks off with the unfortunate impression of being an oversexed, hyper-violent crime drama, yet the author digs deep to find a balance between a psychological thriller and a coming-of-age story. The narrative heat and layered characterization rarely drag, making for an engaging read.
A nuanced debut that upends genre stereotypes and readers’ expectations.
Inferno Publishing Company
The author of Murder Takes Time, Giacomo Giammatteo, may be the Mario Puzo of our time.
The story begins 30 miles south of Philadelphia, in Wilmington, Delaware. Located on the confluence of the Christina River and the Brandywine Creek. A sizeable percentage of the residents, as of the 2010 census, claim Italian, Irish and Polish ancestry.
In real life nothing is easy, neither is it black and white. Giammatteo creates a story that involves the conflicts of reality that sometimes pull at us from both sides of the tracks. The author grew up in the Wilmington neighborhood of Cleland Heights. The characters are fictional, but certainly are drawn from real people and actual events.
Though there are some violent and graphic depictions, frank and coarse language, along with some titillating sexual encounters, this isn’t your typical mob story. It entails more complex situations and life-choices, which illuminate the human side of the characters regardless of their transgressions.
Giammatteo’s debut novel is breathtaking and groundbreaking. He is purportedly working on a sequel. The author attributes his writing acumen to St. Elizabeth’s, the Catholic College Preparatory High School he attended, where the nuns “inspired, encouraged, motivated and beat an education” into him. The nuns may have been doing God’s work, but this novel is a gift to the rest of us mortals. — Read the full review here: eNovel Reviews
Murder Takes Time: Friendship & Honor Series, Book One (Volume 1) by Giacomo Giammatteo
Reviewed by Chris Phillips, Bestsellersworld
Giammatteo brings new life to the typical detective murder story. He takes the time to develop a complex plot into an attention-capturing tale of intrigue and friends betrayed, remade and destroyed.
It’s not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath – Aeschylus. This quote begins the tale of a group of friends, perhaps unique in the way all Americans can be. Nicky “The Rat” Fusco, Frankie “Bugs” Donovan, Tony “The Brain” Sannullo, Tommy “Mick” McDermott form the core of this group and Chinski, Suit and Paulie finish out the gang. It seems that there is a destiny for them to be “friends forever” until years later.
“…Friendship means we look out for each other. Nobody ever rats or betrays anyone else…”
“…Honor means nobody fucks with one of us and not the others. We stick up for each other. And it means we don’t run, unless we all run…”
These fateful words and the consequences of making and trying to keep childhood promises provide all the tension for the plot. 20 years after these oaths are made, Frankie is a detective for the Brooklyn Police department. Tony is in heavy with the organized crime family in the same area. Nicky is the ex-con that precipitates the action. Frankie gets called into investigate a series of murders of some apparently unrelated men in the Brooklyn area. He begins to suspect soon that there is much more going on here then just someone being murdered.
Giammatteo writes each chapter from either a third person perspective or from Nicky’s personal accounting of his life with these friends. Due to the neighborhood they grow up in they live under the scrutiny of the local organized crime family, headed up by Mikey “The Face” Fagullo. Tony’s mother, Mama Rosa, and Sister Mary Thomas form the character building parts for the boys as they grow up. These two major influences keep the group active and bouncing around through their teenage years. Girls become something they have to consider but deal with as only kids and teens from this era and society can: clumsily, jerkily and very self-consciously.
As is the case with many such friends, they grow up and choose different paths. They see each other, but individual purposes and ambitions pull them away from each other. Girls, family problems and the lure of money impact the group, splitting them until a crisis arises. The gang maintains the oath for most of this time, until one fateful day when a rival gang comes looking for trouble. There are teen passions, pool cues and guns involved. Ultimately gun fire erupts and lives are changed forever.
In this tale, there is a lot of right, wrong and terribly, frighteningly gray. When the time comes and it is needed for oaths to be remembered, they are forgotten and life is never the same. The murders draw them inexorably together yet again. The common thread shows how badly a betrayal of friends can mess up the men that were always supposed to be oath-bound brothers.
The characters are smoothly real. Giammatteo takes the time to develop them naturally. Each takes their fated place and struggles with the people they become. Of course with this much time to cover there are details that grow in importance with each progressive revelation. The tragedy of the way these lives move brought tears to the eyes of this reviewer. The final betrayal is brokenheartedly realistic.
Although the switching of character and traveling back and forth in time might confuse the reader at first, the progression is for the right reasons and falls into place with a gripping conclusion.
The book is appropriate for adults because of the violence and language. As stated at the beginning of the book this is the first in a series “Friendship and Honor.” This reviewer is eagerly waiting for the next one.
Murder Takes Time (Book I in the Friendship & Honor Series)
Inferno Publishing Group (2012)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (6/12)
Brooklyn Detective Frankie Donovan, mob boss Tony Sannullo, and hitman Nicky “The Rat” Fusco all grew up together in a small town in Delaware. As children they were the heart of a circle of friends. In “Murder Takes Time” by Giacomo Giammatteo, readers learn each took a vow of “Friendship and Honor.” Both tragedy and life in general eventually separate the group.
As we learn about the details of the current murders, the author takes us back in time to relive each man’s life. Decisions that were made and events that took place spanning over thirty years had direct effects on what was happening in the present. While not all secrets were revealed to Frankie, the author reveals them to his readers.
Some authors have difficulties with switching between characters and the past and present, however, Giammatteo manages to do this flawlessly so the reader does not become lost in the story. I found myself totally captivated by this mystery,
“Murder Takes Time” by Giacomo Giammatteo, is one of the best murder mysteries I have ever read. The goose bumps on my arms will attest to that! Being the first book in the “Friendship and Honor” series, I look forward to reading future books by this author. Read the full review here:
MURDER TAKES TIME
Book 1 in the Friendship & Honor Series
Author: Giammatteo, Giacomo
What would you do if you thought one of your two best friends from childhood was wanted for murder and you were the cop in charge of the investigation? Would you be able to put your feelings aside and do your job? In Giacomo Giammatteo’s debut novel, Murder Takes Time, he explores the power of friendship and honor.
Right from the start, the reader is thrown into the bloody world of mobsters. The opening pages depict a horrific killing. The murder scene is not for the faint-hearted. At first I was uncomfortable. But fear not, this is not a novel that centers primarily on acts of violence. Gimmatteo switches gears deftly and tells the story of how we ended up at the murder scene.
I was fearful that this novel would lack any depth after reading about one of the grisly murders. My fears were soon soothed and I began to appreciate the exploration of the characters to figure out how they all ended up in their own predicaments.
Giammatteo takes his crime novel to a new level and makes the reader feel for the murderer and the cop tracking him down. As is so often the case in life, nothing is black and white. The author explores the shade of grey and puts the characters through the wringer so the reader knows each one intimately. Don’t fret though, if you are looking for a fast-paced novel with plenty of action, you will not be disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed Giammatteo’s first novel and I look forward to reading more works by him. I give Murder Takes Time: Book 1 in the Friendship & Honor Series five stars out of five. Read the full review here:
Murder Takes Time
Inferno Publishing Company (2012)
Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads (6/12)
As the book begins, the setting is present day Brooklyn, New York, in a coffee shop. The killer is sipping a cup of coffee and looking out the window at his target, Nino Tortella. “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.” (p.1)
Giammatteo wastes no time with long drawn out paragraphs, slowly intensifying into action. He gets right into the thick of it immediately, with the first murder taking place on page three. It is not your ordinary run of the mill murder either, as it involves a baseball bat, a shot glass, and a pair of tongs.
What follows is an action-packed book that never slows down. We delve deep into the character’s lives and minds, both past and present. Giammetteo’s writing style is very readable and is sure to grab your attention. The writing is gripping and fast moving. The reader is reeled in immediately in the opening pages and the non-stop action doesn’t stop delivering until the last page is turned.
If you are looking for a unique thriller, then definitely give “Murder Takes Time” a try! As this book is the first in the Friendship and Honor series of books, I am anxiously waiting to see what Giammatteo comes up with next.
MURDER TAKES TIME
Book 1 in the Friendship & Honor Series
Author: Giammatteo, Giacomo
Reviewed By: OFW editor: Renée Miller
Publication Date: April 28, 2012
From the cover:
There was only one rule in our neighborhood—never break an oath. But oaths are easy to take and damn hard to keep.
Now I’m staring at my best friend, lying on the floor in a pool of blood, my bullet in his gut. Where the hell did it go wrong?
To understand that you’d have to go back to the beginning, back to when the three of us ruled the neighborhood.
The first pages reveal a murder, and then another. The reader is left breathless, and must follow the detective who is trying to figure out who could be capable of such brutality. While he searches, he knows deep in his heart that the culprit is someone he knows inside and out, and he wonders how he missed such an obvious dark side to one of his childhood buddies.
Readers who are fans of the classic crime mystery structure will delight in Giacomo Giammatteo’s novel, “Murder Takes Time.” Following two characters, this novel takes the reader back and forth in time to reveal not only “whodunit,” but also why they did it.
Giammatteo has a gift with dialogue, and creates a smooth, natural flow that is easy to “hear” as well as to read. However, because many of the characters share the same background and grew up in the same neighborhood, it is sometimes difficult to know who is speaking when scenes change. This confusion is momentary, and doesn’t pull the reader from the story, but may be a sticking point for some.
The plotting of this novel is interesting. The reader begins in current time, with a series of brutal murders. Giammatteo grips you by the throat in the first two chapters, posing several questions that he doesn’t answer until much later—a vital component to the mystery element of the genre. Then the pace changes, as the reader is taken back a couple of decades, where the POV character and format changes. While this movement from third person in the present time to first person in the past is smooth initially, as the pace picks up near the end, it can become confusing for the reader. This doesn’t slow the pace of the story as much as it might become frustrating.
Perhaps the most enticing part of this book is the author’s refusal to give you any information easily. Many bits are hinted at, but not fully revealed until the bitter end. This keeps the pages turning, even while the reader grits her teeth in satisfying annoyance. Giammatteo masterfully takes several plot threads and weaves them into the story, seemingly unrelated until they all come together at the end.
Readers that enjoy a novel that carries them along effortlessly, but still keeps a steady pace and requires a certain amount of thinking on the reader’s part, will definitely enjoy “Murder Takes Time.” Lovers of strong, yet fluid prose will also savor a few exquisite lines Giammatteo weaves through an otherwise gritty narrative.
Midwest Book Review of Murder Takes Time September 2012
All a man ultimately has is his word, and if he doesn’t have that, he’s worthless. “Murder Takes Time” is a crime thriller from Giacomo Giammatteo who explores the underworld, as one particular participant finds himself in a collision course to take the life of a man he never thought he would have to kill. Rapidly keeping the pages turning, “Murder Takes Time” is an excellent and very much recommended addition to any thriller collection focusing on organized crime.
Blogger Reviews: Murder Takes Time
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Review: Murder Takes Time by Seeley James, September 2012
This is the best book I’ve read this year.
I’ve never read the Godfather. I’ve never been drawn to gangster novels. I’m not even big on gritty crime dramas. I couldn’t tell you why I bought this one. Maybe it was the feeling I got from the first couple pages. There was something different about it. Second sentence:Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience.Depending on your mood, you could read that as lurid for lurid’s sake. I read it as extraordinary. That’s what I ended up reading, an extraordinary book.
This book is not a murder mystery. It’s not a crime drama. It’s not a mob story. It is much more. It’s a horror story. It’s a warm reflection on youth and friendship. It’s a tragedy. It’s an innocent love story. It’s a gritty descent into violence. It’s a hard look at love, honor, revenge and redemption. It is a complex story that will demand your full attention.
I usually read 2-3 books at once. One that I’ve dragged to the other room and forgot where I put it and the one I found while looking for the first. I was doing that with Murder Takes Time clear up to the third chapter. Six pages of this, ten pages of that. I realized Murder Takes Time was too deep and too complex to play that game. I set everything else aside and sat down one Saturday to read the book clear through. It was that good.
The story is told on two time lines and from several different Points Of View (POV). There might be a few too many POVs, which requires a little more attention than the average book, but in the end, it’s worth it. We get behind the eyes of an honorable but troubled man, his tragedies, his loves, and his friends. We also get behind the eyes of a detective trying to solve a series of grisly murders. We know who did it. We don’t know why. When we discover why, we want to stop him. When we can’t, we find ourselves in the odd position of understanding him. By the end of the book, you will root for bad people with good reason.
It is the writer’s goal to make sympathetic characters. In this book, we sympathize with characters that logic would tell us to avoid. We also see a betrayal building that makes us want to jump in and stop the story. The recriminations, accusations, misdirection and denials make us want to scream. And when you get that involved in a story, you know you’re reading something great.
All I know about Catholicism I learned from the Exorcist. I know, it’s like saying: I learned about Italy at the Olive Garden. I can’t judge the authenticity of the Church and nuns portrayed in the story. But the accuracy wouldn’t matter. This is not a story with stereotyped nuns and clerics. This is a story about people. And here again, the master storyteller crafts visceral people in habits and cassocks. Mr. Giammatteo lulls us into complacency by first showing us a nun as a waxy figurine. Then he shows us her flesh and blood, her love and regret. And not in any way you will predict.
When we approach the conclusion, we feel like the preacher who escorts the condemned man to the gallows. We know we can’t change his fate. We know that what’s about to happen is the right thing to happen at that time and place. And yet we don’t want it to happen. We try to will it away. To change the course of a history already written in stone. We find ourselves shouting at the characters, urging them to choose a different path, to avoid the inevitable train wreck of two good men. But it won’t work. It can’t work. Yet, when the fireworks begin, something different happens. Something extraordinary. And it makes sense. In the end, the story resolves the way you know it should. It works because you will believe in redemption and atonement.
Couldn’t we all use a dose of redemption?
This is the best book you will read this year.
Peace, Seeley James
Jackie Burris, from Housewife Blues and the Chihuahua Stories reviews Murder Takes Time, October 3, 2012
There are many crime drama writers today that I enjoy but very few of them managed thus far to encapsulate into one tale the compelling ties of family, loyalty, friendship, love, trust, betrayal, honor and romance that fill the pages of this book. Murder Takes Time may be the first book author Giacomo Giammatteo has penned but it will not be the last book of his that I will read that is for sure.
Thrilling story, riveting plot, fantastically real characters all combined to make this one of my favorites for 2012 reading experiences!
Read the full review here.
Read 2 Review on Murder Takes Time, November 2012
Bookish Whimsy review of Murder Takes Time June 25, 2012
This novel actually exceeded expectations, for where I thought I would get a crime thriller with one conflicted protagonist who is trying to stay true to his roots while also doing his job, I got a novel about three conflicted protagonists who struggle to be true to their idealistic past while carrying on three very different lives as adults. It was both heart-warming and soul-hurting to read about these characters who have a bond forged in those childhood experiences that always seem to be the most important, be torn apart by circumstances and driven down such different paths, yet their oaths of Friendship and Honor keep them together. The author tells the story using different first person narratives from a variety of characters, while also bouncing the story forwards and backwards in time – a difficult set-up but one done superbly, as you start in the present, and pieces of the past are given to you as needed so that the characters and their predicaments are unfolded gradually. The real nature of the story is only clear until about the middle of the book when all the pieces start coming together.
Because the novel goes into the mind of many of the characters, decisions that should be clear-cut, become murky when character motivations make you sympathize with even the murderer, and I think the real power of this book comes from the way the author transitions childhood hopes with harsh adult reality. It’s something that everyone has to come to terms with to a certain extent, and the way the author develops it in the lives of his characters creates very poignant and touching moments that at times brought tears to my eyes. Although some sad things need to happen in the story, ultimately it brings off a hope-filled ending, with a resolution that feels right and is perhaps not exactly what I expected. I recommend this book for anyone who wants a well-thought out, character-driven mystery/crime novel, which delves deep into the human psyche.
And I guarantee you’ll be craving some Italian food after reading this book!
Sadie Forsythe, author of The Weeping Empress, reviews Murder Takes Time. August 16, 2012
Murder Takes Time is ostensibly a pretty straightforward cops versus the Mafia murder mystery, but it doesn’t take long to realise that there is a lot more to it than that. Tony ‘the brain,’ Nicky ‘the rat,’ Paulie ‘the suit’ and Fankie ‘Bugs’ Donovan are fabulously conflicted charters, with full histories and a genuine desire to do right by their friends (even when failing miserably). You really feel for them (one in particular, but I don’t want to ruin anything).
“Rule number 2: Murder has consequences”, and so does everything else. This is a book that highlights impeccably the damage that can be done in the spur of the moment. It moves along at a good pace, never seems to drag more than necessary, throws a few red herrings at you to keep things interesting and ends on a high note. There is quite a lot of violence. The title should probably forewarn you of that. But despite being gruesome I never thought it became gratuitous or overly graphic. It certainly could have been and I don’t think the book would have been improved by it. Giammatteo walks a dangerously thin line on this one, but never steps off it in my opinion.
Definitely if you are a fan of The Godfather (especially the second one), Goodfellas, or Donnie Brasco you should race out and pick this book up. You’ll feel right at home.
Paula @ Book Lover Stop reviews Murder Takes Time, August, 2012
This book was so incredible to read. I loved the connection these boys turned into men had with each other. The main story is about boys who grew up in a neighborhood, where when you took an oath you were connected with that oath, when they grow up after Nicky ends up risking himself to protect his friends. Frankie Donovan ends up being a cop, distancing himself from Tony who is now with a mob. When Nicky ends up connecting up with his friends and finds the roads they are leading. Definitely a great relationship of how the ties early on can sustain you. I enjoyed the back in forth with this book between the present day and a time when the men were boys. We also learn about a love interest with Nicky. Definitely an author I will check out time and again as I loved the story he wove. Deep roots with Italian families, friends of all kinds. A huge difference from your typical mystery and thriller! An author I will check out again and again!
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Friday, August 3, 2012
Book Review: Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo- Flipout Mania
Book Review: Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo- Literary R&R
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Murder Takes Time-Giacomo Giammatteo-Til We Read Again
Kim @couponer101 reviews Murder Takes Time, August, 16, 2012
The characters in this book were so well formed that I felt like I was walking in their shoes! The description of the boys, the murder victims and the streets where the boys have spent their lives was very vivid. I highly recommend this book and I can actually see this becoming a movie!