BLESSED ARE THE DEAD offers chilling, authentic glimpses into the mind of a psychopath while also mining the psyche of a likeable protagonist. The novel sets up a new series featuring Gabriella Giovanni, an Italian-American Bay Area crime reporter. BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, the second book in the series will be published in July.
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD pits Gabriella Giovanni against a serial killer who preys on children. When they were little girls, Gabriella Giovanni’s sister was kidnapped and killed. Twenty years later, Gabriella spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares and then walking away unscathed. That changes when a little girl disappears and Gabriella’s quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper who reels her in with tales of his exploits as a longtime serial killer and promises to reveal his secrets to her alone. Meanwhile, Gabriella’s passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper also killed her sister. Gabriella won’t hesitate to risk her life to garner justice for the dead.
To catch a killer, one reporter must risk it all …
San Francisco Bay Area newspaper reporter Gabriella Giovanni spends her days on the crime beat, flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares, yet walking away unscathed. When a little girl disappears on the way to the school bus stop, her quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper, Jack Dean Johnson, who reels her in with promises to reveal his exploits as a serial killer. But Gabriella’s passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper may have ties to her own dark past: her sister’s murder.
Risking her life, her job, and everything she holds dear, Gabriella embarks on a quest to find answers and stop a deranged murderer before he strikes again.
Interview with Kristi Belcamino:
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from both personal experiences and current events. In my debut mystery, BLESSED ARE
THE DEAD, I was inspired by all the stories of missing children I had written as a newspaper reporter covering crime. The antagonist in that novel is based on a real serial killer who preyed on little girls. In fact, some of the exact conversations I had with him made it into the book.
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Both. I usually know how the book will begin and how it will end right off the bat. It is the middle, or how my character gets from the beginning to end that is usually a mystery to me at first. I like to start off with a general, vague outline but am open to letting the story line take me someplace else completely in that middle part.
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I do have a routine. I am a member of what Brad Parks calls the Church of One Thousand Words. Every day I park myself in front of my computer at 9 a.m. with a large cup of coffee and write until I get those thousand words down. Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, it is often two thousands words, but my bare minimum, five days a week, is to get those thousand words down.
-Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Writing is my full-time job, but I have a part-time job covering the police beat for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Covering the cop beat in the San Francisco Bay Area was what I did full-time before I had kids.
-Who are some of your favorite authors?
Lisa Unger, Sara Gran, S.E. Hinton, Stephen King, Edna Buchanan, and so many, many more.
-What are you reading now?
Jon McGoran just sent me his new novel, DRIFT. I just started last night and already am halfway through it. Good stuff.
-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m really excited to start BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN, the third book in my Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series. The first book, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD was just released. The second book, BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, comes out July 8th.
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Oooh, I love this question. So fun! I’m such a fangirl about things like this.
Gabriella Giovanni is my main character, an Italian-American crime reporter. I think Elizabetta Canalis would kill it in that role.
Colin Farrell would be her hot love interest, Detective Sean Donovan.
That’s as far as I got with casting my characters!
-Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Computer! I would probably lose my mind if I had to write my novels longhand. Dio mio!
-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Throwing small, intimate dinner parties for family and friends with good food, wine, and stimulating conversation, preferably dining al fresco!
I’ll just have a double helping of the cheese course, please, with a glass of wine.
Read an excerpt:
“Kristi Belcamino uses her newsroom background to grand effect in this crackling, savvy debut. Insider know-how and deft detail make every page come alive — and those pages fly by as the story reaches out and grabs you by the heart. Blessed are the Dead is a great read, Gabriella Giovanni is a one-of-a-kind character, and Kristi Belcamino is a writer to watch.”—David Corbett, award-winning author of DO THEY KNOW I’M RUNNING?
“A fast-paced and remarkably assured debut, featuring an immensely likeable protagonist and a reporter’s eye for detail. Belcamino puts her experience on the crime beat to good use, creating the kind of villain who’ll lurk in your nightmares long after the book ends. Double-check your locks before you crack this one open!”— Owen Laukkanen, author of THE PROFESSIONALS
Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist who also bakes a tasty biscotti. In her former life, as an award-winning crime reporter at newspapers in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and conversed with serial killers. During her decade covering crime, Belcamino wrote and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy disappearance. She has appeared on Inside Edition and local television shows. She now writes fiction and works part-time as a reporter covering the police beat for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Her work has appeared in such prominent publications as Salon, the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune.