Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two More Very Kind Reviews of Johnny Porno ...

Things I’d Rather Be Doing: The book is Stella’s seventh, and first set in the past. He ably recreates 1973, peppering his text with enough contemporaneous details to keep the reader in the right era, but not so many that it reads like a term paper. As I’ve often said in situations like this, I kick myself for missing out on someone like Stella for so long, but that is ameliorated by the knowledge that I have six slabs of fresh crime fiction to tackle from this master.

The Book Chase: Charlie Stella has filled Johnny Porno with a wide variety of characters. There are mob enforcers, hit men, crooked cops, good cops, vindictive ex-wives, fragile FBI men, drug addicts, police informants, wannabe porn stars (and those who live like porn stars already), good girls, con men, good guys, cute kids, loyal mothers – and Johnny Porno, a man who hates the nickname he is stuck with and just wants a little respect for his efforts to do right by his son. This is a gritty, complicated story and it is not for the faint-of-heart or the easily offended. If books were rated in the manner of Hollywood movies, Johnny Porno would have earned at least an “R” rating for itself. But if you enjoy Soprano-style fiction, you will not want to miss this one.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spinetingler is Very King to Johnny Porno

Spinetingler Magazine on Johnny Porno

Johnny Porno is in many ways a master’s class on how to write a novel. As readers and writers we are told and taught that certain traits are desired above others. Show don’t tell and story through action are chief among them. A Charlie Stella novel does these things with ease and Johnny Porno is his best yet.

The dialog flows so smooth you’d swear you were over hearing someone’s conversation. He drops you in the middle and lets the reveals of the narrative come naturally through the dialog. Every conversation, every bit of dialog also reveals something about the characters, peeling back layers. The story proper is plotted with the precision of a watchmaker and as the various elements come together the reader is left with an experience that few other books offer.

The 70’s are invoked with a light but effective touch not bowing down to the research heavy sterile assault of facts that some books stoop to and instead giving you a lived in, feel the dirt and griminess that comes from experience and been there done that memory.

Bottom line is that Johnny Porno is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

—Brian Lindenmuth

An interview with Stella conducted by Keith Rawson here ...