Blindsided Justice

by Daniel Romanello

July 31 – September 8, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Blindsided Justice by Daniel Romanello

DYLAN TOMASSI RETURNS IN THIS PROVOCATIVE THRILLER

Dylan Tomassi returns in this sequel to the original coming of age thriller, PAPERBOY. Having grown up poor, Dylan is now a successful private investor, wealthy beyond his wildest dreams and living an idyllic lifestyle on Florida’s gulf coast. Cognizant of his humble beginnings, he is committed to paying it forward as he prepares for the opening of his charitable foundation’s crown jewel.

But crime is raging out of control following the election of an opportunistic carpetbagger and Dylan and those closest to him become victims of a broken system that places them in grave danger. He utilizes his considerable resources to protect those he holds dear, but everyone and everything are not what they appear to be.

An exhilarating action thriller, BLINDSIDED JUSTICE drops you in the middle of an epic battle between justice and subversion.

Inside the Author of Blindsided Justice:

I’m so excited to share that Daniel Romanello, author of Blindsided Justice visited with me recently. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I retired from the practice of law in 2017 after a twenty-five-year career as a prosecutor and civil trial attorney. Upon retirement, I traveled and accepted a coaching position with a local college. Like most people, life came to an abrupt halt in the spring of 2020 following the COVID outbreak and suddenly I was doing neither of those things. Writing a novel was something I had always planned to do, and the perfect opportunity presented itself. My debut novel, PAPERBOY, a coming-of-age thriller, was published in 2022. The second book was just published and now I’m hooked!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. I would point out, however, that although my primary objective in writing the Dylan Tomassi series is to entertain readers, the main character often finds himself in the middle of adventures dealing with contemporary cultural issues and there is an extrapolation component to my writing. I have found that some events in my books occur in the real world between the time I write them and the time the books are released, so that can be a little frustrating. Fortunately, those things so far have involved minor secondary matters and don’t involve the main plot.

Who has impacted your life the most and in what way?

My grandmother. She was an Italian immigrant with little formal education who dedicated her life to taking care of her family. She was a wise woman with a commanding presence who could light up a room. We were very close, and she was a role model and trusted confidant from the time I was a child, always willing to dispense constructive advice. She was a very content woman, but I often wonder what she could have accomplished under different circumstances. I was fortunate to be around her regularly for the last decade of her life when she relocated near my home in Florida. The characters and the story lines in my books are completely drawn from my wildly vivid imagination, but I can’t help but think, at least subconsciously, that she was the inspiration for the Esther Lott character.

What event in your life do you remember first when asked for a humorous story?

There are so many, but I’ll go with the one that has endured the longest. I grew up in the 1970s, in a small rural town in Western Connecticut. Things were pretty uneventful back then and crime was virtually non-existent. High school kids didn’t have many entertainment options: no cell phones, internet, or social media, and video games were in their infancy. If you went out on a date and desired privacy, the drive-in movie was about the only alternative. Consequently, kids were always looking for a place to park, like Inspiration Point from the old Happy Days television series. The problem was that the local police were always patrolling to move you along, so it was an ongoing challenge to find a new location they weren’t aware of.

I took a girl I had dated a few times to a holiday dance. We double-dated with a friend of mine who brought a girl he was going out with for the first time. After the dance, the four of us piled into my classic pale-yellow Plymouth Duster. My friend said he knew of a new parking spot in the woods and directed me down a dark dirt road. I was backing my car when the rear wheels started spinning. I got out to investigate, and to my horror, the back end was hanging off a cliff that dropped down about twenty feet. I quickly got the girls out of the car and told my friend to wait with them while I went for help. I walked out of the woods and at the main road, an old car pulled over with the driver dressed as Santa Claus. I explained the situation, and he offered to tow the car from the edge of the cliff. He told me that he had just finished a gig, but it was clear from the odor that he had very recently indulged in a bit of the wacky tobaccy. I was desperate and had little money, so I agreed.

I still have a vivid memory of pulling up with Santa and seeing those two poor girls in their formal gowns, shivering in the cold darkness as they peered into the car, wondering God-knows-what. The only thing missing was the banjo music from Deliverance. Santa backed his car in front of mine and produced a heavy chain from his trunk. As I secured one end around my front axle, I watched in disbelief as he wrapped the other end around his rear bumper. I said something like, “Uh, I don’t think that’s gonna work,” but stoned Santa said not to worry about it. I started my car while the other three stood by in sheer panic as he hit the accelerator and his sleigh began to creep forward. Just as my rear tires gripped solid ground, the rear bumper became separated from the rest of his car. After I gave him the few dollars I had in my pocket, he threw the chain and rear bumper into his trunk and took off with a wave and a hardy “Merry Christmas.”

Needless to say, neither of the girls ever went out with us again, and who could blame them? Shortly thereafter, while driving the Duster and still reveling in my good fortune of avoiding the cliffhanger disaster, an older man traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line and caused a head on collision. I wasn’t hurt, but my beloved car was destroyed.

Oh! That’s a fantastic story! I can’t wait to chat again, Daniel!! Thanks for visiting.

Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Published by: Sanitas Publishing
Publication Date: August 2023
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 979-8-9863151-2-6
Series: Dylan Tomassi Novels, Book 2
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

A seventy-two-year-old Hispanic man living alone in an old bungalow-style house in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood awoke in a cold sweat and turned toward the digital clock on the nightstand. It read 2:38 a.m. He had been depressingly lonely and experiencing trouble sleeping since his wife of forty-eight years passed away six months ago. Deciding to get dressed and take a stroll, he left his house, alone in his thoughts, and began walking in the direction of Nebraska Avenue. Half a block from the main thoroughfare, he was suddenly rushed by a pack of young people, ages fifteen to twenty-two, dressed in dark clothes and hoodies. They knocked the old man to the ground and took turns punching and kicking him until he lay motionless on the side of the road.

After a few moments of laughing and taunting his inert body, the youngest hoodlum sifted through the man’s pockets. “Nothing,” she exclaimed as she took a couple steps back and simulated a football placekicker attempting a game-winning field goal. Her right black army boot connected solidly with his skull, and his head bounced off the curb and struck the pavement with a loud thud before blood began pooling beneath him. The sound of police sirens could be heard in the distance as the group scattered, running in different directions.

***

Seven years ago, a civil rights lawyer had run for district attorney in Philadelphia. The attorney, Calvin Radner, ran on a platform of prosecutorial criminal justice reform. The tenants of the platform included a no cash bail policy, a reduction in the prison population with a review of prior convictions and sentences, and a mandate to aggressively prosecute all allegations of police misconduct. Dark money organizations were a major contributor to Radner’s campaign.

Shortly after being elected, Radner fired most of the long-term career prosecutors, including the entire homicide division, and replaced them with attorneys who had backgrounds in the public defender’s office and civil rights litigation. At his first press conference, he announced that his office would no longer prosecute theft or other property crimes where the amount at issue was less than a thousand dollars. Additionally, all drug use was decriminalized. Radner was instrumental in establishing safe injection sites around the city where drug users could obtain free heroin and sterile needles. Drugs were injected under the supervision of nurses or other medical professionals.

To carry out his policies, Radner established a new division known as the Conviction Integrity Unit. The division was the largest in the office in terms of budget, number of lawyers, and support staff. He hired Troy Eads, a former defense attorney, to run the CIU, making him the highest paid assistant DA in the office.

Violent crime, including homicide, increased in Philadelphia in each of Radner’s first four years in office. Two years ago, when he sought reelection, a well-respected criminal defense lawyer ran an ostensibly effective campaign against him, highlighted by television commercials featuring family members whose loved ones were homicide victims under Radner’s policies. Notwithstanding, Radner won reelection with 68 percent of the vote. Last year, Philadelphia set a record with 524 homicides, 30 percent more than New York City, which has three times the population. A disproportionate majority of the victims were Black.

After three years on the job, Troy Eads had advised Radner that his elderly mother, who lived in Tampa, was in poor health and he needed to relocate to assist her. Eads explained his desire to run for the top prosecutor job in Tampa with the goal of duplicating Radner’s policies. Radner had agreed to introduce him to the money machine that financed his campaigns.

Eads settled in Tampa, and one year later ran for office. The position was known officially as the State Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and covered Hillsborough County, which included the city of Tampa.

Despite being a newcomer, Eads had run a well-financed, well-organized campaign against the sitting state attorney who had historically shunned publicity. He was a quiet, unassuming man with little name recognition. The incumbent prosecutor had been completely blindsided by the outsider from Philadelphia and was outspent by a margin of fifty to one. The state attorney race was held in an election off-year and the crime rate had been relatively low at the time. Consequently, it did not generate much attention. With just a 23 percent voter turnout, Troy Eads was elected state attorney by a six percent margin.

Eads had instituted policies similar to those of his former boss in Philadelphia. As his first order of business, he fired most of the career prosecutors and hired lawyers committed to his criminal justice reform agenda. He formed his own Conviction Integrity Unit to review past convictions and sentences. Duty prosecutors were instructed to request release on recognizance with no cash bail for most arrestees, and Eads announced a new firm policy of declining to pursue the death penalty regardless of circumstances.

Shortly after taking office, Eads had advised the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office that his office would no longer prosecute property crimes where no gun violence was involved. After two years, crime surged in Hillsborough County, particularly in Tampa. Homicides increased from twenty-one the year prior to Eads taking office, to forty-two last year and fifty-four so far this year. Further, violent crime, including muggings, robberies, carjackings, and burglaries, had increased by 150 percent. Hours earlier, an elderly Ybor City resident had been the most recent murder victim.

Last year, Tampa police had responded to a domestic call. The female complainant advised the 9-1-1 operator that a man with a restraining order against him was trying to break into her house and threatened to kill her. When police arrived, the man was pounding on the front door and screaming that he was going “to gut her like a pig.” The man ignored the officers’ commands and turned his fury toward them. A scuffle ensued, and after the man brandished a hunting knife and stabbed one of the officers, his partner shot and killed the assailant. The entire incident was captured on a doorbell camera.

Pursuant to Florida law, police-involved shootings were investigated by an independent outside office. In this case, the task had been assigned to Grant Adams, the longtime law-and-order state attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which included Saint Petersburg and Pinellas County. Adams had completed his investigation and found that the police shooting was justified. Following the decision, several days of riots and looting ensued in Tampa and Saint Petersburg. The Florida governor, Michelle Chen, suspended Adams and cited her authority under the Florida constitution, which allowed her to suspend state officials for reasons of malfeasance, neglect of duty, and incompetence. Governor Chen appointed Tampa prosecutor, Roland Beeks, to serve as state attorney in Adams’s place. Beeks was the chief assistant to Troy Eads.

Although Adams was appealing his suspension, Beeks’s appointment had caused a mass exodus of career prosecutors from the office after he announced the institution of policies that mirrored those in Tampa. In the past several months, violent crime in Pinellas County was on the rise.

***

Excerpt from Blindsided Justice by Daniel Romanello. Copyright 2023 by Daniel Romanello. Reproduced with permission from Daniel Romanello. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Daniel Romanello

Dan Romanello worked in the newspaper industry before attending law school at the University of Florida. After serving as an assistant state attorney, he spent more than 20 years as a partner in a boutique firm, running the trial practice group. An accomplished trial lawyer, he has litigated cases in courtrooms throughout the state of Florida. After retiring from the active practice of law, he wrote the first book in the Dylan Tomassi series, PAPERBOY. He resides on Florida’s gulf coast.

Catch Up With Daniel Romanello:
AuthorDanRomanello.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @authordanromanello
Twitter – @TheDanRomanello
Facebook – @thedanromanello

 

 

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5 Replies to “Inside the Author of Blindsided Justice”

  1. Great interview! I loved how much your grandmother impacted you! Sounds a lot like how my grandmother was. she was from Switzerland and I loved her dearly!
    And, oh my gosh! That story!

  2. Great Interview! I am excited to see how Dylan continues to grow into a series. I love having an author I can count on to bring me a fun and engaging read with an interesting main character.. No pressure but keep up the good work, looking forward to your next book.

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