The Paper Pirate
As if the looming deadline to pay off a balloon mortgage isn’t enough to worry about, the five partners who own the small town book store The Paper Pirate find themselves menaced by a stealthy crook who systematically searches first the shop, then each of their homes. Because he takes nothing and barely leaves traces of his presence, the police can’t be of much help, and simply promise to keep an eye on Charlie Santorelli, Lavinia “Vinnie” Holcomb, Al Rockleigh, Felicia Cocolo and Lenora Stern. It’s a mystery to them but the reader knows that Rick Foster, a shady rare-books dealer and his sidekick Nina Bartov are on the hunt for a particular old volume that sits unnoticed on a shelf in The Paper Pirate’s used book section. It’s an obscure early work of the not-terribly-successful author Benjamin Conway, and it’s badly defaced—but a very wealthy man is willing to pay Rick a half a million dollars for it. Seems an ancestor of his eluded the henchmen of a nineteenth-century dictator by escaping to New York, and eventually took refuge in the northeastern Pennsylvania countryside. Before he was captured and killed, he’d scribbled as much evidence of the tyrant’s sins as he could fit into the blank spaces of a copy of The Stargazer at Dawn and hid it where he hoped his comrades would find it. They never did.
The five friends also are members of a writers’ group, and each of them has a secret. One is penning an erotic novel on the sly, another hides a painful estrangement with an only child, and a deadly teenaged mistake causes a third to sabotage her every chance at happiness in the present. A partner who claims to be unpublished actually is a one-hit-wonder with a thirty-year-old best-selling novel followed by a crippling literary failure, and the last has a family with criminal connections—he’s spent half a lifetime avoiding them.
The Paper Pirate will make its debut on November 8, 2022. It's available for pre-order from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Walmart.com and your local bookseller.
Here's what the main characters have to say about the novel:
Charlie Santorelli: I'm a rare books dealer and I've had a lifelong love of the printed word. I'm so pleased to have been a part of this unique story. I think the author did a particularly fine job of capturing the relationship dynamics that exist between the bookshop owners. I consider those folks my real family—having had to abandon my original one decades ago. That's why I felt so determined to do anything I could to protect them from the moron who was stalking us. I think I made them proud—I know you'll enjoy reading about it.
Lavinia "Vinnie" Holcomb: Although my preference is for literary novels, I have to admit that it was fun being in this cozy mystery. The puzzle we had to solve was maddening, and coming on the heels of a financial crisis that almost cost us the store, it was particularly unsettling. It definitely tried our patience and strained our friendships. There were so many story lines that needed to be woven into a cohesive whole, I wasn't sure the author could pull it off, but she did rather well—for a writer of genre fiction, that is.
Felicia Cocolo: Oh, everybody, I just love this book. I mean, I was worried about losing the store and scared by the couple of crooks who kept breaking into our homes and searching for God-knows-what, but all in all, I really enjoyed myself. You could tell how much the author came to love us and care about us. Fun fact: in this book, I got offered a publishing contract and I'm thrilled to death. You've got to read all about us in The Paper Pirate and tell your friends. And write a review—we authors really appreciate that. Have a great day! : )
Lenora Stern: I'm a native New Yorker and I consider myself pretty savvy but I was going through a rough patch in my personal life during the time of this story so I'm afraid I was pretty distracted. Oh, my advertising and marketing background was instrumental during the campaign to raise enough money to save our store, The Paper Pirate, so that's something. Hopefully, I can inspire the author to do a great job marketing our book. It's awesome and deserves to be enjoyed.
Nina Bartov: Damn those book store owners, trying to ruin our plans to sell that rare volume worth over half a million dollars. The idiots didn't even know its value, or realize it was on their shelf in the first place. I was anxious when Rick made me break into houses with him and search for the prize, but I got over it. I soon realized that only a weak woman would feel that way. Why should I care about someone who's standing in the way of something I desperately want? Look, if you like stories about pleasant people looking out for one another and banding together to solve their problems, I guess this book might be for you. Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea.
Al Rockleigh: Man, this was some adventure. That book thief bastard drove us nuts until we finally figured out what the hell was up. I'm a published author too, you know, but my books are about gardening, landscaping—that was my career for a number of years. Anyway, as some members of the group will tell you, I'm not as good at writing fiction, so I was really impressed by all the twists and surprises our author packed into these pages. And the ending—wow! Well, um, I won't go there. Just read it for yourself.