Thursday, December 30, 2010

"BELLA" by Steve Piacente ~ 5 Star Quality Novel

"A striking widow intent on proving the military lied about her husband's death lures a Washington journalist into the investigation. Working together, they discover the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either." Book Cover Summary

Steve Piacente's first book, "Bella," is a smash hit. He is an author to be reckoned author with his own "voice," and particular charm that I expect we'll soon be hearing much about in reading circles.

"Bella" is a book from a gifted writer, not just an author. It's fast-paced, funny, heart-wrenching, and a little scary.

Mr. Piacente, who is Deputy Communications Director at the U.S. General Services Administration, formerly enjoyed a 25-year career in print journalism. He earned a Masters in Fiction from John Hopkins University in 2000.  I'd say he knows a bit about this story he's telling! 

Written with such a snappy dialogue, quick quips, humor and irony that the pages spark with life. "Bella" is a read that entertains, surprises, and leaves us wanting more.

Piacente's tight, well-sculpted novel has the precision of a plastic surgeon's new face-lift...beautiful and practically flawless! So smooth it speeds along in a momentum of mystery and angst. So peppered with humor that I found myself refusing to stop reading for my mood's sake alone!

The main story honestly captures the essence and repercussions of a young athlete who was killed in Iraq by "friendly fire," and whose death was then "covered up" by the military.

Piacente's use of characterization, plot and description in telling his story are on the mark.

I love his news-jockey/journalist, Dan Patragno, who was sassy and serious, sharing the inner dialogue of a seasoned, wise and jaundice-eyed, investigative reporter. Danny is a loveable character with strengths and rough edges that make me long to know more about him and his journalistic exploits.

In fact, all of Piacente's characters are deftly created: The Bella in question, Isabel Moss, widow of the lost soldier, is an atypical heroine; an understated siren, injured, sexy, intelligent, and desirable as white oleander. A woman we can both learn to relate to and resent. (Sex scenes are tasteful and modern! Says she who detests crudely scribbled attempts otherwise made...)

Danny's buddies Gus and Clay are such odd-men-out, geeky; yet, genius players that we only want more of them! His primary school son, Robin, is a blooming little wisecracker to die for!!

You have to read "Bella," this year because it's a great book. Read it because you don't want to be left off this rising star's first book trail. And, read it because you won't want to miss his other Dan Patragno books which I'm begging him to write.

See Piacente's website: for more specifics on Steve's interesting career and more on "Bella."

Watch a YouTube:

**Reviews on Amazon (including mine!) and ability to purchase on my sidebar.

Hope all of you had a happy Christmas and that your New Year's Resolutions aren't keeping you up nights. I haven't made my list on that, yet. Too busy reading and enjoying time back home this past couple of days.

I want to thank the authors and publishers who have provided me with books for reviews this past years. They know who they are! I have enjoyed the reads, and hope my reviews have mattered.

I especially hope my choices of books to read and review over the past year have meant something to my dear friends and followers.

With warmest regards,

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

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