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8 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noir Masterpiece
A friend recommended this book to me sometime ago, with rave reviews, but I put off reading it. It turned out to be a rare treat. Before returning to Italy, I spent a number of years in North Beach, and Stansberry has it right, the big and the small, from the idiosyncratic spellings of the Italian American names to the community's nostalgia for a time that never truly...
Published on Jan. 14 2004 by Maria Scalia

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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and sloppy
Ok, Stansberry has a seed of an idea in this book, but that is about all. He develops it poorly. The mystery is impossibly contrived and long before midway becomes a tedious bore. Furthermore, despite its title it has nothing to do with Mussolini; it's set in San Francisco, but the geography is only occasionally correct, and it deals with Italians but misspells nearly...
Published on March 15 2002 by Bob Masullo


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5.0 out of 5 stars Noir Masterpiece, Jan. 14 2004
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A friend recommended this book to me sometime ago, with rave reviews, but I put off reading it. It turned out to be a rare treat. Before returning to Italy, I spent a number of years in North Beach, and Stansberry has it right, the big and the small, from the idiosyncratic spellings of the Italian American names to the community's nostalgia for a time that never truly existed. He understands the neighbhorhood--and the people who lived there (or did once upon a time) and the underlying murder story is both suspenseful and lyric in the fashion of the noir writers of the forty's and fifties. You won't get Michael Conoley style thrill a minute here, but Stansberry is ultimately a better writer, with a more subtle agenda, and the book is truly gripping. Among affeciondos of the noir genre, this book has the reputation as a small canvas masterpiece--and in my opinion this is a reputation well-deserved. My only question: When are we going to get more from books from this talented writer?
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and sloppy, March 15 2002
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Bob Masullo (Sacramento, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Ok, Stansberry has a seed of an idea in this book, but that is about all. He develops it poorly. The mystery is impossibly contrived and long before midway becomes a tedious bore. Furthermore, despite its title it has nothing to do with Mussolini; it's set in San Francisco, but the geography is only occasionally correct, and it deals with Italians but misspells nearly every Italian name. Don't writers, to say nothing of editors, bother checking any more? How this ever won an award is beyond me. If it were a school creative writing report, it would barely get a passing grade.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Califonia Noir, June 18 2000
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Old time California noir in North Beach. The kind of crime novel that makes me wish their were more crime novels like this. Stansberry captures the gritty undercurrent of grime and sadness in a a dead end romance that reminds me of John Fante and Leonard Gardner in the quality of its prose. Like them, he is a writer out-of-the-mainstream whose characters resonate with the California dream knocked punchy. It's got tension,too. A short book, an afternoon's read, cinematic and sparse. One of my favorites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!, Feb. 2 2000
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This little book really knocked me backed on my heels. Domenic Stansberry is easily one of the best noir writers working today. It reminded me of James Cain at his peak. Hard, crisp writing, a ferocious plot--and wonderful portrayals of the fading Italian community in San Francisco. I loved it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, Feb. 2 2000
By A Customer
this book is solid noir with a spectacular San Francisco feel to it. Stansberry writes crisply with a dark nostalgia all his own. A little bit of Patricia Highsmith mixed with a good dose of Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson. This is a quick, exhilarating read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Thriller, Feb. 2 2000
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If this is not a thriller, I don't know what is. The story reminds me of Chinatown, or Body Heat, only set in San Francisco. Intense story, lyric prose, great ending. Stansberry really captures the violent and romance of the old Italian neighborhoods.
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1.0 out of 5 stars the last days of il duce, May 30 2000
By A Customer
This book was contrived and a total waste of time, money and effort. How this book won the Edghar Award (which is why I purchased it) beats me. I learned nothing from this book other than to suspect how book award selectees are chosen.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time reading this one!, Jan. 31 2000
I purchased this because it won an award. So much for awards...This novel fits into no recognized genre. It is NOT a thriller! The only mystery is why it received an award. Perhaps it is a romance. I HATED it!.
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Last Days of Il Duce
Last Days of Il Duce by Domenic Stansberry (Hardcover - Aug. 1999)
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