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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Today we have a guest blog by author RICHARD MONTANARI. I'm not sure if Richard will be joining us, but I think you are going to enjoy his blog - and his new book!

 

His website is here: http://www.richardmontanari.com/

 

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becke_davis
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FAQS

 

Do Richard's books need to be read in order?

 

Although the novels in his two series can be read as standalones, reading them in the order of publication would probably provide the most enjoyment.

 

The Kevin Byrne/Jessica Balzano series:
1. The Rosary Girls(2005)
2. The Skin Gods (2006)
3. Merciless (UK title Broken Angels) (2007)
4. Badlands (UK title Play Dead) (2008)
5. The Echo Man (March 2011) 

The John Paris series:

1. Deviant Way (UK title Deviant Ways) (1997)
2. Kiss of Evil (2001; Reissued in UK 2010)

Standalone books:
1. The Violet Hour (1998; reissued in UK 2010)
2. The Devil's Garden (2009) 

What's next?
Richard's next book, an all new updated edition of Deviant Way -- entitled Don't Look Now -- will be published in December 2011.  The digital edition of The Echo Manwill be released by Random House on September 19, 2011.

Have any of Richard's books been made into films?

His Philadelphia series is currently under consideration for both a dramatic feature film and a miniseries.

 

Are the books available in other languages?

Richard's novels are published in more than thirty countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Indonesia, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and many others.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

About the author ...

 



Richard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the scion of a traditional Italian-American family, which means he learned two things very early in life. One: ravioli tastes much better than baby formula. Two: if you don't get to the table on time, there is no ravioli.

 

After an undistinguished academic career, Richard traveled Europe extensively, living in London for a time, where he sold clothing in Chelsea, and foreign language encyclopedias door-to-door in Hampstead Heath.

 

Needless to say, he hawked a few more ties than tomes, but neither job paid enough to keep him in beer and skittles. So, abandoning his dream (that being to become the next Bryan Ferry), he returned to the States and joined his family's construction firm.

 

Five years and a hundred smashed thumbs later, he decided that writing might be a better job.

 

After working as a freelance writer for years, during which time he was published in more than two hundred publications -- including The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times, and many others -- Richard wrote three pages of what was to become the first chapter of Deviant Way. He was immediately signed to a New York agency.

 

When he finished the book, Michael Korda signed him to a two-book deal at Simon & Schuster.

 

In 1996 Deviant Way won the OLMA for Best First Mystery.

 

Richard went on to publish The Violet Hour (1998), Kiss of Evil (2001), The Rosary Girls (2005),The Skin Gods (2006), Merciless (2007), Badlands (2008), and The Devil's Garden (2009). His novels have now been published in more than twenty-five languages. (A list of the UK editions can be found here.)

 

Richard's latest novel of suspense The Echo Man, was published by Random House in March 2011 and became his fifth Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller in a row.

 

Follow Richard on Facebook and Twitter.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

bio1

 

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July 2007

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Echo Man  

 

The Echo Man: A Novel of Suspense by Richard Montanari: NOOK Book Cover

 

 

 

From internationally bestselling author Richard Montanari comes a smashing new thriller—available exclusively as an e-book. 
 
Tormented by the exquisite beauty of a concerto and the bloodcurdling cries of a dying woman, the Echo Man composes his own symphony in response: a string of artfully staged slayings—all of them linked to cold murder cases and designed to taunt the police of Philadelphia.

Detective Kevin Byrne hears sounds, too. They wake him in the night, haunt him by day, and remind him of the first homicide suspect he ever arrested: a gifted, beautiful classical musician who inexplicably went mad and became murderous. Now Byrne believes that Philly’s serial killings might be linked to that case. But his partner, Jessica Balzano, has too many bodies on her hands to worry about Byrne’s strange intuition or personal demons—until all the perfectly placed clues, all the evidence, all the deception point Balzano in one direction, and she discovers that the killer is closer than she could ever have suspected.

From the acclaimed author of MercilessThe Echo Man is a masterpiece of suspense that builds to a crescendo of terror and stunning surprise.

 


The Echo Man includes excerpts from Richard Montanari’s chilling novels and an overview of his Byrne/Balzano series, including a dossier of all the major characters.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Guest Blog

by Richard Montanari

 



 

I have a confession to make.  While I have long been a fan of classical music — rare is the dinner party at my house to which Mozart and Beethoven are not invited — it wasn’t until I sat down to write The Echo Man that it occurred to me how little I really knew about it. 

 

For instance, how does a sonata differ from a concerto?  What, exactly, is an etude?  Do symphonies follow a narrative?  Is espressivo a small cup of strong coffee?

 

Readers of my earlier books know that there is always a deep and disturbing pathology to my villains, a cracked prism through which they view the world.  In The Rosary Girls it was the Five Sorrowful Mysteries.  In The Skin Gods, classic cinema murder.  As I gathered material for The Echo Man I knew that I wanted to engage an idea that has intrigued me for years, the perception of evil as a malign entity that lingers long after an act of murder has been committed.  In the end it all came down to two questions:

 

One, does the sound of murder echo over time?  Two, what if a person, years later, standing in the same place, could hear the screams?

 

I knew early in the process that music would be central to the story.  While researching the book I was fortunate to spend time at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, inarguably one of the premier conservatories in the world.  While there I met and interviewed a number of people who live the music every day, and in those practice rooms all but felt the presence of alumni Nino Rota, Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti and many others.

 

When I learned the difference between absolute music (music without the accompaniment of words, images or movement), and program music (music that renders a storyline), I knew I had a motif.  When I discovered the work of Camille Saint-Saëns, I knew I had a theme.

 

While my two main characters, Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, are central to the plot, two very different women help drive the narrative.

 

In creating the character of cellist Christa-Marie Schönburg there was really only one model, the late Jacqueline du Pré.  Like Ms. du Pré,Christa-Marie was once the most famous cellist of her time, having taken the world of classical music by storm at a young age.  Both women had their careers cut short by tragedy.

 

Twenty years before the main story of The Echo Man begins, on the night of one of Christa-Marie’s greatest triumphs — a performance of Carnival of the Animals — a man is brutally murdered at her Chestnut Hill mansion.  When investigators arrive they find Christa-Marie playing her cello, a body at her feet, the victim’s blood on the strings and bow. 

 

The lead detective on that case was a brash young cop named Kevin Byrne.  Even after two decades he has not forgotten the woman, or the music.

 

Often, while writing the Christa-Marie chapters, I listened to a 1965 recording of Jacqueline du Pré’s legendary rendition of Elgar’sCello Concerto in E Minor, as well as the Bach Cello Suites, which are the fictional Christa-Marie Schönburg’s signature solos.  To what degree this informs the narrative is not for me to say but, like Detective Byrne, I still haven’t been able to chase the music from my dreams.

 

Writing Lucinda Doucette was, if you will, another story.  Growing up poor in small town Pennsylvania, the daughter of an alcoholic, drug-addicted mother, Lucy learned early in life what she had to do to survive.  But nothing prepared her for what happened those three lost days when she was ten years old, or how it would eventually come back to haunt her nine years later.  I knew I wanted Lucy to work as a room attendant at a large hotel in Center City, but once again I was faced with a world I knew little about.

 

The management of two of Philadelphia’s five-star hotels was gracious to answer all my questions, as well allow me to roam the back hallways and service corridors of their establishments.  I’ve stayed in many hotels in my life, but not until I began writing The Echo Mandid it occur to me that hotels, by the very nature of transience, have their own persistence of memory. Readers of the book will know what I mean when they visit Room 1208.


The Echo Man is structured in three distinct sections — allegro, scherzo, and rondo — along with a brief coda.  There are a number of twists and turns along the way, a surprise or two, as well as the notions that every murder leaves a trace, every victim tells a story, and every death creates an echo.  I hope readers enjoy The Echo Man as much as I enjoyed writing it.


 

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Wonderful blog, Richard! I like classical music but only certain composers...DeBussy, Mozart and any Russian composer. I am Russian-American and my grandparents came over from Minsk. Your books sound intriguing and I will check them out.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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richardmontanari
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Thanks maxcat!  I hope you enjoy the books.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI


richardmontanari wrote:

Thanks maxcat!  I hope you enjoy the books.


Hi Richard - Thanks so much for joining us! Your "author" tag should appear under your name soon.

 

Thank you so much for letting us into the thought process behind THE ECHO MAN. I love the idea of "persistence of memory" - I've been to buildings (like a former insane asylum) where the past resonated in the bricks and mortar. I also like the way you framed out the story as if you were composing a concerto. Brilliant!

 

THE ECHO MAN sounds fascinating - I'm really looking forward to reading it!

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Welcome Richard,

 

Your book, THE ECHO MAN, sounds very interesting to me, since I was born and raised in Philadelphia and drove through Chestnut Hill many times. In fact, my daughter has been living near Chestunt Hill while attending The University of Pennsylvania. 

 

I do believe in the unsettled spirits of tradgic deaths and look forward to reading your book in order to read about your characters' experiences!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI

Welcome, Richard.

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the parts about how music inspires you and infuses the theme of Echo Man. I am adding that to my TBR pile now.

Oh, and those were dahhhhling pictures of you through the decades! How ever did becke get those, or did you lend them out yourself?

If you ever get to the Phoenix area, be sure to check out our Museum of Instrumental Music.There are weekly performances by all kinds of instrumental musicians.

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI


Fricka wrote:

Welcome, Richard.

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the parts about how music inspires you and infuses the theme of Echo Man. I am adding that to my TBR pile now.

Oh, and those were dahhhhling pictures of you through the decades! How ever did becke get those, or did you lend them out yourself?

If you ever get to the Phoenix area, be sure to check out our Museum of Instrumental Music.There are weekly performances by all kinds of instrumental musicians.


Fricka - I got those pictures from Richard's website. Aren't they fun? I enjoyed them because I was around in all those decades, too.

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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI


becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:

Welcome, Richard.

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the parts about how music inspires you and infuses the theme of Echo Man. I am adding that to my TBR pile now.

Oh, and those were dahhhhling pictures of you through the decades! How ever did becke get those, or did you lend them out yourself?

If you ever get to the Phoenix area, be sure to check out our Museum of Instrumental Music.There are weekly performances by all kinds of instrumental musicians.


Fricka - I got those pictures from Richard's website. Aren't they fun? I enjoyed them because I was around in all those decades, too.


 I was around during those decades too, becke, but I sure don't want some of my pictures made public--especially those from my Jr. High and High School Days! Ow.

Richard is really brave to put those pictures on his website! 'Course, he has gotten more handsome as the years go by--loved that last pic of him in the shades! Very dashing.

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author RICHARD MONTANARI


Fricka wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:

Welcome, Richard.

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the parts about how music inspires you and infuses the theme of Echo Man. I am adding that to my TBR pile now.

Oh, and those were dahhhhling pictures of you through the decades! How ever did becke get those, or did you lend them out yourself?

If you ever get to the Phoenix area, be sure to check out our Museum of Instrumental Music.There are weekly performances by all kinds of instrumental musicians.


Fricka - I got those pictures from Richard's website. Aren't they fun? I enjoyed them because I was around in all those decades, too.


 I was around during those decades too, becke, but I sure don't want some of my pictures made public--especially those from my Jr. High and High School Days! Ow.

Richard is really brave to put those pictures on his website! 'Course, he has gotten more handsome as the years go by--loved that last pic of him in the shades! Very dashing.



Does ANYONE have good jr. high/middle school pictures? Not me, that's for sure!