Interview & Giveaway: Giacomo Giammatteo


TTS: The Top Shelf welcomes Giacomo Giammatteo to the blog!  Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book A Bullet For Carlos. 

GG: Thanks, Misty. I’m thrilled to be here with you and your readers. As far as me, I grew up in Wilmington, DE, not too far from Philadelphia, and a lot of the stories in Murder Takes Time came from childhood experiences. As to Bullet For Carlos, it was born out of some of those same experiences.

TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?

GG: I like to write books about emotions and feelings that people experience all the time, but perhaps expand them to a grander scale and let people see how similar conflict might play out in other scenarios.  Examples: In Murder Takes Time, it was all about Friendship and Honor, and that theme permeated the book and really determined how the plot developed. In some ways, Bullet for Carlos is the same. Instead of friendship and honor, it deals with family, and the conflict that happens when a family is on two sides of the law. I saw a lot of this growing up too.

TTS: I like crossovers and people who have read your first book Murder Takes Time, will see a familiar character in this one!  Are we going to see more of this?

GG: Absolutely! I was hoping readers liked this, and I stick to it in all my books. In the sequel to Murder Takes Time, which launches March 5th, there isn’t much of this, but in the next book, the first in a new series, I use Tip Denton to partner up with the new detective and help “introduce” him.

TTS: When you create your characters do you model them after people you know in real life?

GG: Yes. I think the absolute best characters are ones that are based on real people. My characters aren’t always spitting images of those people, but I use the “model” to determine how that character will make decisions, and how they’ll respond to different scenarios. Connie Gianelli was the toughest character I have done to date. I wanted to try a female lead because I haven’t been happy with a lot of what I’ve read, but I had to rewrite the book three times before I got her right.

TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?

GG: Most of my books involve dual plotlines, and/or dual timelines, so the planning is always complicated, but regardless, I always have the ending planned. That, for me, is an absolute. Nothing disappoints me more than getting involved in a book and coming to an ending that seems rushed, or thrown together. I swore I’d never do that. And that’s one reason why I offer a guarantee on my website. If you don’t like my books, you get your money back or a free one.

TTS: Were there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go?  How did you deal with that?

GG: There are always little things that change as you write, but nothing major, no. I take a LOT of time planning what will go into a book before I sit down to write. In fact, I’m usually plotting three or four books ahead of what I’m writing. Example, right now I’m writing the sequel to Bullet, but I am jotting down plot lines and notes for scenes for three other books that will come after it.

TTS: What do you think makes a great villain that may not be canon?

GG: I personally think that the best villains are just like the best of any other character—they’re real. I think the worst villains are the ones who are presented as all evil. No one is all evil. Even Satan was an angel once.

TTS: What led you to writing?

GG: I came from a very large Italian family and storytelling was a form of entertainment. I guess the bottom line is I love telling stories. I just never got around to it until later in life.

TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?

GG: I love writing in the mystery/suspense genre, but I have already started branching out. I have three epic fantasy novels written and as soon as I finish the fourth, which will complete the series, I’ll probably publish them, but I suspect under a different name. I have also started toying with children’s books, using the animals on our sanctuary as the characters. And lastly, I plan on bringing out a few non-fiction books on resume writing, interviewing, etc…

TTS: Do you feel that authors are influenced by what they read?

GG: I have read that all my life, about write what you know, and read heavily in your genre, and on and on…I don’t buy it. I probably read more history than anything, and I read a lot of SciFi/fantasy, and a lot of mystery and many other types. I don’t think any of it affects how I write.

TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?

GG: Murder Has Consequences is launching on March 5th.

I am just finishing a novella—Finding Family—about the background and history of Dominic Mangini, Connie’s “Uncle” in Bullet for Carlos.

Old Wounds, the first book in a new series, was just put out to beta readers. If all goes well, I hope to release it in June, maybe July.

A Bullet For Dominic, the sequel to Bullet For Carlos, should be out by the end of the year.

Lastly, Murder Takes Patience, the third book in the Friendship and Honor series should be ready to go early next year. It’s written, but only in rough draft.

TTS: Once again I would like to thank Giacomo for joining us! I would love to have you back here again sometime! 

GG: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. And if any readers have questions, fire away, or if you’re more comfortable emailing, here’s my address.

Giacomo_and_Slick_17dfd5aABOUT 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.






Synopsis: 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.

Buy it now at:
Amazon ( Kindle ) $4.99 | Barnes and Noble ( Nook ) $4.99
Amazon ( Print ) $17.99 | Barnes and Noble ( Print ) $17.99



La famiglia è 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 those…services 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?



I have one copy of A Bullet For Carlos up for grabs!  I’m pretty sure it’s an e-book but the press kit didn’t say.  To enter, leave a comment and make sure your e-mail you enter in the e-mail box is valid.  I will choose a winner via at 8pm eastern on Friday the 8th of March!  Good luck!

Misty graduated from Capital University in 2005 with a degree in English Literature. She is an avid reader and is the owner of The Top Shelf

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4 thoughts on “Interview & Giveaway: Giacomo Giammatteo

  • March 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Hi, Misty: Thanks for hosting this giveaway, and for taking the time to put together a great list of interview questions. I just wanted to stop by and say good luck to everyone, and to the winner– enjoy the read!

  • March 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Yay, this was a great interview, and the way Misty talked about the book while she was reading it, totally makes me want to read it myself.

  • March 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Very good interview. As always, you pick the brain of some talented authors and this one doesn’t seem to disappoint.

  • March 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Congrats to Izzy! You have been chosen by and have won a copy of A Bullet for Carlos! I will email you shortly with how to claim your prize 🙂

Comments are closed.