Today I'm am honoured to host author Carl Alves, he has stopped by at Ginger Nuts Towers as part of his blog tour for his new novel Blood Street.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and later an MBA degree from Lehigh University, Carl has worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. His debut novel Two For Eternity was released in 2011 by Weaving Dreams Publishing. His short fiction has appeared in various publications such as Sinister City, Alien Skin and Behind Locked Doors anthology. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and has attended the Penn Writers Conference. You can visit his website at www.carlalves.com.
I’ve always wanted to write about mobster characters, but being a horror and fantasy writer, it’s not necessarily an easy task to write about them, that is until I came up with the concept for Blood Street, where vampires and the mafia engage in a blood feud in the streets of Philadelphia. When incorporating my mobster characters, I had three main influences.
1. The Sopranos – The Sopranos were more of a guide to me in the life and time of mobsters than let’s say a classic movie like The Godfather because the mafia today is so vastly different than what they used to be. The Sopranos was a fantastic television show and it captures what the contemporary mafia is all about. The show also produced some fantastic, memorable characters that were true to life. I tried to make my characters similarly realistic and true to life.
2. Mario Puzo – I once tried out a writing program that analyzes your writing and tells you what famous writer it most closely resembles. When this program compared my writing to that of Mario Puzo, I was thrilled. Even though I write predominately horror and fantasy, areas that Puzo never delved into, from a technical standpoint and from a story telling standpoint, Mario Puzo is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. His ability to create the world of La Casa Nostra is almost magical. Nobody else has ever done a comparable job.
3. The Philadelphia Mafia – I did an extensive amount of research into the history of the Philadelphia mafia. In its glory days, the mafia in Philadelphia was one of the most powerful in the country. They were highly organized, made substantial profits, and had a heavy influence in the city. Since the nineties, the organized crime scene in Philadelphia has been a mess. Just about every major figure in the Philadelphia organized crime scene is either dead or in jail. Their influence is nearly non-existent now. What I tried to capture in my novel is a rebirth of the Philly mob with a whole different kind of leader embodied in my character, mob boss Enzo Salerno.
Blood Street is True Blood meets the Sopranos set in the streets of Philadelphia. When vampires tangle with the Philadelphia mafia, one thing is certain - all hell is going to break loose.
Alexei chose the wrong neighborhood to claim his latest victim, a member of Enzo Salerno's crime syndicate. Now Philadelphia mob boss Enzo Salerno is determined to hunt down the man who killed his associate in such gruesome fashion in his South Philly row home and serve his own brand of old fashioned Italian style vengeance.
Perplexed by this unnatural murder, Salerno uncovers clues that lead him to believe that this was not a mob hit, and that a vampire was responsible for this death. Magnus, the leader of Alexei's brood, must use all of his resources to save them from both the mafia and the FBI, sparking a bloody war that plays out in the streets of Philadelphia. Who will survive on Blood Street?
"Alves' action-packed Blood Street points the vampire genre back in the right direction. Vampires are ruthless monsters bent on superiority, power and the inevitable, near-tragic craving of blood, but here mixed in the frenzy we also have organized crime, which turns out to be quite similar in its aspirations."
-- Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Black & Orange
"Blood Street is an engaging and enjoyable tour de force! Part crime thriller, part vampires-gone-wild, Alves has written a novel firmly seated at the epicenter of current genre fiction. Highly recommended!"
--Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase
From the Author
Blood Street is my second novel to be published (although not the second one I've written). It is all together different than my debut novel "Two For Eternity", which is an historical fiction novel that takes place over 12,000 years of history. I like to describe Blood Street as True Blood meets The Sopranos, taking place in the streets of Philadelphia.
To my knowledge, vampires and mobsters have never been combined in this manner in literature (or any other form of media) before. So, I think this makes Blood Street a fairly unique book. I've certainly never read a novel quite like this one before. It was also a helluva lot of fun to right. What I most enjoy to write (and I what I think do a really job with) are fight scenes. This novel is chocked full of them. Having fight scenes that involve vampires gave me quite a bit of freedom in writing them, since I didn't have to stick to the boundaries of things that would be physically impossible for humans. Vampires don't have such limitations, so I was able to do quite a bit more with them.
Blood Street is a fast paced thriller. The action, the drama, and the intrigue never relent. I wanted to write a novel that the reader would have a hard time putting down, and I hope I have achieved that with this novel.
Setting is also very important to the story. My native Philadelphia is almost like a character in the story, and if you have ever spent any time in the city, I think you will get a kick out of it. However, the book spans far and wide in a series of flashbacks, taking place in Spain, Norway, Brazil, Egypt, Germany and Newfoundland. Get your passport ready and be prepared to take a trip around the globe.
Finally, the vampires that you will encounter in Blood Street are not the sparkly kind featured in Twilight. These are real, honest to goodness nasty vampires, and the mobsters they encounter are just as mean and nasty. Get ready for an old fashioned street fight and find out who will survive on Blood Street.
The Goat was worried, though he tried not to show it. He checked his watch again for the fifth time in so many minutes. Never let them see any weakness. But inside there was no hiding how he was feeling. He had been waiting an hour for Johnny Gunns inside the restaurant. Johnny was never late. He didn't always have the money, but he always showed.
Where the hell was Johnny? They met here at Frankie's Steaks every Tuesday night at nine, with Johnny always arriving first.
Something must have happened. The Goat checked his cell for messages. Nothing. He dialed Johnny's cell, but there was no answer. Then he paged Johnny. Doing his best to keep his cool, he finished sucking down his soda. He took a bite of his greasy cheesesteak, but his anxiety only grew like a three-alarm fire.
Frankie Angiolini, the owner of the joint, came over to The Goat's booth, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, no problem, Frankie," The Goat said.
In his late fifties, Frankie made payments to the organization The Goat worked for in exchange for protection and other favors. The Goat was also Frankie's bookie. So far he hadn't had to hurt Frankie, which was good because the cheesesteaks at his joint were off the hook. That's why the place was always packed even though the place was a wreck with peeling wall play paper and cracked tiles on the floor.
"No sign of Johnny?" Frankie asked.
The Goat shrugged. "He had to take care of something. Just running late. Should be here soon."
Frankie smiled. "That's good."
The Goat had to find Johnny. Besides his concern for his friend's well being, there was the matter of the four grand he owed. The Goat was responsible for the book from Delaware Avenue to Oregon Avenue. Johnny Gunns worked for him and had to pay him four thousand every month, part of which went to The Goat's superiors. If Johnny was short with the money, things could get ugly. His boss didn't tolerate his workers coming up short.
Enough sitting around. It was time to do something. He left without paying as usual; he was a bundle of nervous energy. Something was going down. He could feel it.
The Goat got into his BMW and drove the city streets toward Pattison Avenue. Johnny frequented a strip joint called the Cat House. He was a big spender and a favorite among the dancers. Besides cash, he provided them with clothes, furniture and the occasional cosmetic surgery.
He walked into the gentleman's club and found Joe Senneca, the owner of the joint. Joe also worked for The Goat's boss.
"Yo. How ya doin, Goat?"
"Not bad. Not bad." The Goat didn't want Senneca to think he was feeling a bit jumpy. "So, ya seen my boy Johnny Gunns lately?"
"Of course I seen him," Senneca responded. "Like he ain't in here all the time."
"Yeah, I know that. I mean, ya seen him today?"
Senneca's brow furrowed. "I think so. Hey, Sam, Johnny Gunns in here earlier?"
A dancer at the club, Sam was a classy gal, studying part time at LaSalle and majoring in Psychology. Petite and small breasted, she was different from the other dancers. Sam possessed a genuine innocence to her that was atypical of most dancers The Goat knew. Her school girl good looks made her popular with the customers. She turned down The Goat flat, making her all the more desirable.
"Sure," Samantha replied. "He left with Tina a few hours ago."
Tina, Johnny's favorite dancer, had serious issues with booze and pills. Rumor had it Johnny was the father of her illegitimate child.
If Johnny left with her, that meant he could be in a number of places. The most likely place was Tina's row home in South Philly.
The Goat drove to her house. Johnny better have a damn good explanation, or there would be hell to pay. He may be a muscle head, but that wouldn't stop The Goat from kicking his ass.
He rang the bell to Tina's row home, and her freaky massage therapist roommate invited him in. Glancing around at the house, he felt uneasy as he told her he was looking for Johnny, but she wasn't much help, telling him she had not seen him all day.
Damn. He wanted to take care of business soon, so he could go home to see his girlfriend Karen. They had a huge shouting match last night, and this morning she sent a text that read "go to hell". Hopefully, that meant they could make up. If not, he could always go to the Cat House and find a replacement for her for the night.
He drove to Johnny's brother's house. Johnny sometimes took his lady friends there. When he got to the house on Westin Street, he couldn't find any open parking spots, so he double-parked someone. Screw 'em. If they didn't like it, they could kiss his ass.
The Goat searched for Johnny's car and spotted his bright red Mustang on the street. He walked up to the house and was about to ring the doorbell when he noticed the door was ajar. Something was definitely wrong.
Pulling out his Smith and Wesson, he stepped into the house, immediately catching the rusty scent of blood in the air.
He walked into the sparsely furnished living room. Johnny's brother was a bouncer at a night club. He was an uncultured brute who had no appreciation for the finer things, like a cool Goodfellas poster here and there. The sofa in the living room was plaid, old and filled with holes. Next to it was an overturned and shattered lamp. It was dark and he could barely see, but he didn't want to turn on the lights and alert an intruder of his presence.