Fusilli, a Hoboken native, spends most of his time as a journalist, as the rock and pop critic for the Wall Street Journal. Early last week, Fusilli was in Hartford to write a review about the start of the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour. Fusilli also wrote a best-seller about the Beach Boys, called "Pet Sounds," and penned a book about Hoboken's favorite son, Frank Sinatra.
But there's another side to Fusilli's writing talents as well. He is also the author of the award-winning series of mystery novels featuring lead character Terry Orr, like "Closing Time," "A Well Known Secret," "Tribeca Blues" and "Hard, Hard City," which was named the best novel of 2004 by Mystery Ink Magazine. Over the years, Fusilli has made several appearances at the Weehawken Free Public Library, as a favor to college friend Gary Cahill, who works as a clerk at the library.
"I always like to come back, because even though I've moved, Hudson County is still my home," Fusilli said. "It's where my heart is. I was born and raised in Hoboken, then went to St. Joseph [of the Palisades in West New York] and then St. Peter's College. Weehawken has always been very friendly to me, so I'm glad to come back." Fusilli will return to Weehawken on Thursday, Oct. 11, when he is featured among five other writers and editors who write in the "noir fiction" style.
The event is called "Night Falls on Weehawken II," a similar presentation to the one that Cahill organized for the library last June and was highly successful.
The presentation will be held at the Senior Nutritional Center on Highwood Avenue, beginning at 7 p.m. The "noir fiction" style of books has become very popular. It's basically a mystery novel that is written from the criminal's perspective instead of the police officer or detective's.
"Some of the books don't even have a cop in it," Cahill said. "It was a very popular style in the 1920s and 30s, with authors like Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain."
"The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Big Sleep," and "Farewell, My Lovely" are examples of the noir fiction style of novels that were later made into motion pictures.
"There are a lot of people who are fascinated with that style of writing," Cahill said.
Other than Fusilli, the evening will feature a host of different writers and editors from the "noir fiction" style. Peter Spiegelman, whose debut novel, "Black Maps" was the 2004 Shamus Award winner for Best Novel and is now the editor of "Wall Street Noir."
S.J. Rozan, who has written nine novels and won numerous awards in the field and is working on "Bronx Noir." Reed Farrel Coleman books "Walking the Perfect Square" and "The James Deans" were best sellers. Also appearing will be author Joseph Wallace, who has written books on everything from baseball to dinosaurs, has written a new book, "Hard Boiled Broadway," and Tim McLoughlin, who started the whole noir series for Akashic Books by editing "Brooklyn Noir" in 2004.
Discussion to follow
McLoughlin will talk about the origin of the noir series before the authors read from their works. There will also be a discussion panel with the audience following the reading.
Each of the authors will have copies of their books on sale as well to be autographed.
"These are realistic crime dramas, adult dramas, so people should be aware," Cahill said. "These authors will read from their works, then talk about it and have books to be signed. S.J. Rozan is the most decorated writer in this field. These authors have won every award imaginable. The style is very gritty and direct and the dialogue has to snap, so it makes for entertaining reading. There aren't many people who write in this style, but it is very popular. I enjoy this style very much. It's right in your face and very detailed. The writers are all very gung-ho about this presentation. It was popular last year."
Library Executive Director Phillip Greco agreed.
"It was very successful last year," Greco said. "We're looking for even greater success this time. I'm pleased that the writers have so much interest in our library."
Fusilli believes that the present is currently a prime time for noir fiction.
"We're really in a golden age of the genre," Fusilli said. "The competition is now really intense. Today's best crime writers are all in demand. The popularity is growing. Readers like the ambiance, the moral ambiguity. There's a sense of place and a sense of foreboding. The crime writing community is fairly close knit. We go to conferences and signings together. I know them all pretty well."
Fusilli just recently returned from a book tour with Spiegelman, so there's a sense of camaraderie there. Fusilli and Spiegleman are also involved with a serial thriller, where 15 different authors write one chapter and it all has to tie together for one book.
Admission to the presentation is free. For more information, contact the library at (201) 863-7823.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com