THE TASTE OF DATURA by Lorenzo Petruzziello

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The Taste of Datura

by Lorenzo Petruzziello

April 2 – 26, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


The Taste of Datura by Lorenzo Petruzziello

An alluring affair in Napoli.

Nick seeks the value of an antique bracelet in his possession. He encounters Laura, an amateur medium cursed by uncontrollable visions. With Laura’s help, Nick closes in on the origin of his treasure. But as the word gets out, the quest puts them both in danger.

A noir-inspired story ensnared by mystery, myth, and murder; all under a watchful eye shadowing Italy’s vibrant city of Napoli.

Praise for The Taste of Datura:

“A thrilling mystery that combines Italian history and international intrigue.”
~ Kirkus Reviews

Inside the Author of The Taste of Datura:

I’m so excited to share that Lorenzo Petruzziello, author of The Taste of Datura visited with me recently. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book The Love Fool started as an experiment and challenge for myself. At the time, I had just left my job in television and moved to Rome for a little while. While there, I explored the city, its culture, history, legends, foods, and people. I began to use movie settings as a guide to explore the different neighborhoods and places. One of the films included Fellini’s La Dolce Vita – a film that many look back and focus on the glamour, but I focused on the sadness and awakening of its character Marcello. I wanted to write a modern story with an honorable and comical nod to Fellini’s masterpiece. Like Fellini’s work, I also wanted a sparkling distraction – similar to the film’s glamourous movie star Silvia played by Scandinavian actress Anita Ekberg. I made my sparkling jewel Pernille a celebrity chef, and as a nod to Silvia, I wanted her to be Scandinavian. But, I gave my celebrity jewel more depth. Along with my main character Alex dealing with his own sadness and awakening, I wanted Pernille to have to confront her own issues. As I walked around the eternal city, I imagined my characters in the locations, and with every new discovery a new scene was born. Eventually, the city of Rome had become embedded in my story, as if it had become a character itself. Enhancing the enchantment and delusion of the characters. After the ridiculousness of The Love Fool, I turned to the genre I preferred to write: noir crime. So I set out to write my second book A Mistake Incomplete and changed my style of writing altogether.

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

At the moment, I’m actually very happy with how my story turned out in The Taste of Datura. It’s my third book, so I took the lessons I’ve learned in writing The Love Fool and turned to noir crime with my second book A Mistake Incomplete. I saw the improvements in my style and story-telling as I progressed to my third book The Taste of Datura – sticking with crime. At the moment, I can’t think of wanting to change anything. But that, too, can change.

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

As far as my writing, I would say what has impacted me the most was my summers in southern Italy. I thank my father and mother for allowing my grandparents to take me with them as they spent their summer in their hometown. Throughout my teenage years and beyond, I spent all summer in Italy augmenting and strengthening my Italian culture; my European side grew stronger and alongside my American/Italian-American upbringing. It quickly became a big part of who I became, who I am today. My mindset had become more global with a strong sense of understanding, cultures, and history.

With any project, I will always have that mentality and knowledge behind it.

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

This one happened most recently while in Italy. While curating and writing recipes to accompany The Taste of Datura (I do this for all my stories. Check the book club section of my website.) I purchased a few slices of one of Naples’ popular street foods and took it home to eat later. The snack was the Parigina – a pizza-like snack topped with ham cheese and a layer of flaky crust. I had stepped out to meet my good friend for a pre-lunch coffee and chat. When my friend offered to buy me lunch, I declined mentioning I had a paragina waiting for me at home. My response was met with eye brow raise and laughter. Immediately followed by an explanation that in the regional slang, a parigina also means prostitute. If anyone had overheard me, they would assume I was casually announcing I had something taboo waiting at home.

Oh my, Lorenzo! That’s so funny. Thank you

Hott Review: The Taste of Datura:

What a book! I really enjoyed reading The Taste of Datura. I was completely absorbed in this intriguing mystery that felt incredibly real. The way the book immersed me in the lifestyle of Naples – the food, the sites, the mythology, the history – was absolutely brilliant. It absolutely sparked my curiosity to learn more about this fascinating city.

If you’re looking for a mystery that is rich in culture and myth, then The Taste of Datura is the book for you! Trust me, you won’t be able to put it down!

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction. Noir. Crime.
Published by: Magnusmade
Publication Date: April 2, 2024
Number of Pages: 370
ISBN: 9781735065441 (ISBN10: 1735065447)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | Magnusmade


Read an excerpt:


Naples, Italy
December 1890

The crisp breeze trickled in from the bay, across the piazza, through the narrow buildings, and brushed along the back of the neck of the elderly German archaeologist. He was determined to have his afternoon walk through the Spanish Quarter. Being out of the hotel room and in the open air made him feel a lot better.

He’ll get back to Athens soon enough. Sure, he should have been celebrating the holidays, surrounded by his family and fellow archaeologists, but his health kept him from continuing on his journey. A special gift he bought in Naples was ready to be picked up, so he wanted to go get it and bring it with him to Athens. He imagined showing the piece to everyone waiting for him. If only his infection hadn’t come back, he would have been allowed to take the ship to Greece and be in Athens for Christmas as he had planned.

But being stuck in Naples was a consolation, though. While he had spent some of the time in bed recovering, he had made the most of his time until the doctors could clear him to continue on his travels. For example, he was able to return to Pompeii and examine the ruins with more detail—something one cannot do during the summer holiday with the influx of tourists crowding around.

So, he couldn’t really complain. After all, he was absolutely fine staying in the comforts of the wonderous and luxurious Grand Hotel, with its incredible view of the bay. Not a bad place to recover from his lung infection.

As Christmas was getting closer, the visits from the doctors had diminished. Of course, the old man understood doctors had families too. Besides, they did see improvement in his condition, and said they would check in on him after the holiday.

When he was feeling better, he bathed and dressed and focused his time on visiting the artifacts in the museums of Naples, including that excursion to museum and ruins of Pompeii. On Christmas Day, however, the museums were closed, so the old man had agreed to participate in the hotel’s abundant holiday lunch with other guests. The staff were kind enough to understand his condition and seat him alone at a private table, so he didn’t risk getting anyone else sick.

After the meal, he had decided to take a walk to the church. A young concierge procured the old man a driver as he helped him put on his coat and handed him his gloves and hat.

As he walked across the front gardens and onto the main street along the bay, the old man greeted the staff and some of the other guests he had met while he was stuck recovering in the hotel. He looked at the water, took a deep breath, and allowed the crisp, salty air to fill his lungs, immediately feeling the renowned healing powers of the Mediterranean Sea.

He turned away from the bay and crossed back to the car that was waiting to take him to Piazza Plebiscito. It was not his destination, but he figured he’d take a walk to the church he had in mind. He was somewhat familiar with the area, but not enough to take himself directly to the church. It was not a problem, though, he knew he’d find it strolling around.

He asked the driver to return in a couple of hours, then walked across the round piazza, onto Via Toledo. Halfway up the climbing street, he felt his body become weaker than his ambition. He forced himself to slow his steps as he continued his climb.

He paused at a shop window and admired the Christmas decorations. Really, he felt his heartbeat racing and needed to catch his breath. He needed to rest. He examined the miniature figurines displayed in a religious scene, finally presented with the miracle baby they had been eagerly awaiting. Ignoring the reflection of his old face staring back at him, he looked away and saw a clearing further ahead.

Deducing it to be another piazza, he would rest at a café and sort out his route to the church. He gathered his strength and continued on. He reached piazza Santa Caritá and looked around for any open café. He felt the space spinning as he turned and turned. His head felt numb, the sounds around him were garbled, as if underwater. He blinked heavily before everything turned to black…


Excerpt from The Taste of Datura by Lorenzo Petruzziello. Copyright 2024 by Lorenzo Petruzziello. Reproduced with permission from Lorenzo Petruzziello. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Lorenzo Petruzziello

Lorenzo holds degrees in International Marketing and Economics, with a background in global marketing for the entertainment and life sciences industries. He writes in his spare time, drawing inspiration from his frequent trips to Italy, his first dating back to his childhood. THE TASTE OF DATURA is Lorenzo’s third book.

Catch Up With Lorenzo Petruzziello:
BookBub – @LorenzoMagnus
Instagram – @lorenzomagnus


Tour Participants:

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1 Comments Text
  • “a parigina also means prostitute” ~ Oh my gosh! That’s hilarious!
    Great interview. this book sounds like so much fun and interesting! 🙂

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