Two Great Beach Novels: Victor Lodato, HONEY & Kimberly Belle, THE PARIS WIDOW

We talk with Victor Lodato about his terrific new novel, Honey. It’s about an octogenarian who is trying to come to terms with her life — her childhood growing up in a Mafia family in New Jersey and her adulthood trying to escape it.

Then, we talk with Kimberly Belle about her new thriller, The Paris Widow. The novel takes a look at the illicit trade in blood antiquities.

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Key Words: illicit art trade, blood antiquities, Victor Lodato, Kimberly Belle, thriller, podcast, book podcast, author interview

Victor Lodato’s Octogenarian Heroine

Novels about octogenarians are rare. Octogenarian women — even rarer. And ones that portray an old woman with real affection, complexity and drama, as well as sexiness, are few and far between.

Victor Lodato’s new novel Honey manages this feat. That’s in spite of the fact that Lodato is neither old nor a woman. But the drama is probably helped by the fact that he’s a playwright as well as a novelist. And his affection for his character may be because it’s based on a close friendship he had with a woman in her eighties. He wrote about that friendship in a New York Times Modern Love column in 2017.

His protagonist is Honey Fasinga, the glamorous daughter of a notorious New Jersey mobster. She’s returned to her home town after a lifetime spent as a well-traveled fine art dealer.

She knows where the bodies are buried. Now she wants to lay their ghosts to rest. But first she has to deal with her current family, including those carrying on the brutal traditions of their forebears.

As old cruelties begin to resurface, Honey is no longer sure what she really wants—to forgive or to avenge. The question Lodato’s novel poses is: “What are the limits of compassion in a world of extraordinary violence?”

About The Author

In addition to Honey, Victor Lodato is the author of two other critically acclaimed novels, Edgar and Lucy, and Mathilda Savitch, which won the PEN USA Award. He’s also the author of nine plays.

A Thriller About Blood Antiquities

We’ve all heard about the trade in blood diamonds. But have you heard about “blood antiquities”? That’s the trade in stolen antiquities that infects the international art market. It’s a trade my guest mystery writer Kimberly Belle says is “strip-mining our past.”

The FBI describes this illicit art trade as the third largest black market in the world. Only drugs and guns generate more money than illicit art.

A Novel Based on Fact

The blood antiquities trade is at the heart of Belle’s new novel, The Paris Widow. As the plot twists and turns, the reader is taken on a fascinating exploration of the topic. While fictional, the novel features characters and incidents based on real life, including Arthur Brand, the professional art sleuth who’s been called “The Indiana Jones of Stolen Art.”

About the Author

Kimberly Belle is a bestselling author of mystery novels and co-founder of the internet show, The Killer Author Club.