The families of Salvatore Leone and Luigi Agnello had already been long-time bitter enemies in Sicily by the turn of the twentieth century.
In 1914, Vincenzo Leone, Salvatore’s oldest son, emigrates to Philadelphia to start a new life for himself and his family in the promised land. Several years later, Giuseppe Agnello, Luigi’s eldest, secretly marries Francesca Leone, Vincenzo’s sister, and the couple escape to New York City. Giuseppe leaves to serve his new country during the First World War. Francesca, alone and in need of support for herself and their infant son, Louis, travels to Philadelphia to live with her brother, his wife, and his two daughters.
The Spanish Flu takes the lives of Vincenzo’s wife and sister in 1917, and Leone moves with his daughters and Francesca’s son to San Francisco. Vincenzo Leone decides to raise Louis Agnello as his own child.
When Giuseppe returns from the war, he finds his wife and son gone. It takes more than five years for Agnello to learn the whereabouts of his family. Giuseppe travels to San Francisco with hopes of a reunion with Francesca and Louis, and becomes a victim of the hatred between the two families that has been recently transplanted in America by Vincenzo’s younger brother, Roberto. Vincenzo learns that Giuseppe had traveled to San Francisco to locate his wife and son, but Agnello had never reached Vincenzo’s door. Vincenzo begins to worry about the safety of sister’s son, and decides Louis will accompany him to New York City and to Sicily.
A failed attempt on the boy’s life results in Vincenzo’s death, and instigates a fresh and fierce hostility between the Agnello and Leone families that rivals the hatred and vindictiveness experienced in the old country.
American History is the epic, generational saga of the Agnellos and the Leones (in the Italian language the lambs and the lions)—a one-hundred-year conflict between Giuseppe’s descendants in New York City, law enforcers, and Vincenzo’s descendants in San Francisco, lawbreakers.
Praise for AMERICAN HISTORY:
“J.L. Abramo’s novel American History is a thrilling epic tale of two families crossing an ocean and a continent and spanning a century. An ambitious undertaking skillfully executed by a writer deserving wide recognition.” —Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award-winning author of Dead Man Running
“American History is a beautifully written, ambitious crime epic. J.L. Abramo delivers an immersive, emotional and suspenseful gem that spans eras and nations and reminds us of who we are. A page-turning pleasure.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of How It Happened
Private investigator Nick Ventura knows trouble—but not how to keep his nose out of it. A pool of blood spreading across a casino poker table, a Buick plowing through a storefront with a dead detective aboard, a fatal rendezvous in the shadow of a Coney Island landmark, a childhood friend gunned down walking his dog in the wrong place at the wrong time, a film distributor who thinks he can get away with murder through intimidation and violence, a mob boss assassinated leaving a neighborhood restaurant, and the particular brand of retribution necessary to level the playing field in the fourth largest city in America—J.L. Abramo serves it all up with a vengeance.
The Giants are hanging on to the slim hope of a spot in the Major League baseball playoffs.
The Forty-Niners are hoping for their first win of the season after three losses.
Vinnie “Strings” Stradivarius is in the intensive care ward at St. Francis Memorial Hospital—and Jake Diamond is hoping Vinnie will both survive and avoid a homicide indictment if he pulls through.
Vinnie has been double-crossed, shot and left for dead at a crime scene, and he is the chief suspect in the murder of one of the city’s most influential businessmen.
Anyone who knows Vinnie knew he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
But the District Attorney and the San Francisco Police Department brass don’t know him—and they don’t care. Pressure from the Mayor’s Office and the public is calling for a quick indictment and conviction—and Vinnie is handy.
Jake Diamond has a strong dislike of the double-cross. If asked why the chicken crossed the road, Jake would suggest the road had crossed the chicken.
In a race against time—with the help of Darlene Roman, Detective Sergeant Roxton Johnson of the SFPD, Sonny “The Chin” Badalamenti, bookmaker William “Big Bill” Conway, and Mob Underboss Tony Carlucci—Jake frantically scrambles to find answers before the case is closed with Vinnie taking the fall.
In Abramo’s first Jake Diamond mystery since the Shamus Award-winning Circling the Runway, Jake is determined to prove that you cross the chicken at your own risk.
Praise for the Jake Diamond mysteries:
“One of my all-time favorite PI series.” —Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award-winning author of The Lock Artist
“Think it’s impossible to find a new take on the wise-cracking San Francisco PI? Meet Jake Diamond and think again…sharp and smart, convincing and complex.” —S.J. Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author of Absent Friends
“With Catching Water in a Net, Abramo shows a clear flair for the private eye genre and wisely keeps the twists coming fast enough that readers have no choice but to keep turning pages.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“J.L. Abramo’s Circling the Runway takes up where Black Mask boys like Hammett, Gardner, and Carroll John Daly left off. It’s loaded with tough guys and hard-boiled action—emphasis on the hard.” —David Housewright, Edgar Award-winning author of Unidentified Woman #15