By Dana Granger
Internationally best-selling author Lorenzo Carcaterra’s latest novel, Midnight Angels, doesn’t hit the bookshelves until July 6, but it’s already gone into its second printing based on pre-orders.
And if the reviews of the swift-moving thriller set in Florence, Italy, are any indication, readers are in for a treat.
“This superior religious artifact quest thriller from Carcaterra (the author of Sleepers) careens through the streets of Florence with quick stops at various museums and galleries for interesting sidebars on the life and work of Michelangelo,” according to the rave review in Publishers Weekly.
Carcaterra’s previous novels, including Sleepers, which has sales in excess of 1.4 million copies and was made into a feature film starring Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, and Kevin Bacon, have all won international acclaim, and several have made theNew York Times bestseller list. They’ve also been set mainly in New York, featuring complex tales of crime and justice, so Midnight Angels comes across as something of a departure – it features a female art history student in Florence, Italy, who discovers a trio of lost Michaelangelo sculptures and soon finds herself on the run from a monstrous villain.
And Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence, called it “A riveting and ingenious read that will keep you turning pages until the wee hours. Carcaterra knows Italy well and brings the city of Florence to life in all its dark and bloody splendor. The book crackles with action, fabulous characters, witty dialogue, and fine, literate writing. If you want to read a real book with a truly gripping art historical backdrop, pick upMidnight Angels.”
In the past, Carcaterra’s novels have been set mainly in his native New York City, featuring complex stories of crime, justice and revenge.
So why the change of scene for Carcaterra’s latest novel?
“I’d just written my second cop novel in a row, and I was really ready to do something different,” Carcaterra explains. “I’d always known I was going to do something like this, set in Florence, and I always knew it would feature Michaelangelo.”
To research his novel, Carcaterra, who’d already been to Florence dozens of times, went back four more times. This time, he did it specifically to help him write the most realistic novel possible, and he went with the intention of viewing Florence through the eyes of a tourist. He even did laundry at local laundromats in Florence, and says the experience is completely different from using laundry in New York. For one thing, there is no change machine in the laundromats in Florence, but there are always little candy shops right next door to the laundromats who can provide change. And all of the people at the laundromat were tourists, most of them from the United Kingdom or the U.S.; nobody who lives in Florence uses laundromats.
Carcaterra’s exacting eye for detail is no surprise, given his background in journalism, working as copy boy and then entertainment reporter for the New York Daily News, and then as senior writer for Time Inc. and TV-Cable Week, among many others. Carcaterra then moved into TV writing, including stints with Law & Order and Top Cops, before becoming a bestselling novelist.
He credits his upbringing in Hell’s Kitchen, and the marvelous stories he heard sitting on the stoops and eavesdropping on the neighborhood denizens, for his storytelling skills.
He still alternates between writing scripts and writing novels. “My scripts have made my books better, and my books have made my scripts better,” he says.
He’s currently working on another book featuring the Midnight Angels series, pitching a TV pilot, and juggling numerous other projects.
To find out more about Lorenzo Carcaterra, or to purchase his book (which will be available from booksellers everywhere on July 6), visit http://www.lorenzocarcaterra.com/