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Bella Paperback – June 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451571615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451571615
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,037,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bella has won a National Indie Excellence 2012 Book Award, and is a finalist for the 2012 Readers Favorite award for dramatic fiction.
"I love it when a book shocks the hell out of me. Bella was it." Naomi Blackburn, Moderator, Goodreads' Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club.

From the Author

The cliche is, write what you know. I know journalism, tennis, and a little bit about the relationships between men and women. Bella is usually described as a political thriller, but the novel is mostly about the relationship between Bella, the alluring widow, and Dan, the married reporter she persuades to help her uncover the truth about her husband's death.
I covered several tragic events over a long reporting career, and have always been interested in how people respond to profound grief. I have seen some survivors withdraw to the point of near-invisibility, and others channel their sorrow into furious action that in some cases impacted public policy. I'm also interested in how people act when faced with tough ethical choices - essentially what people do when a decision must be made and no one is watching. The action in Bella is driven largely by ethical decisions key characters make on the battlefield and in the bedroom. 
I relate most to Dan, the reporter and narrator, since I - like Dan - know the world of daily journalism and am also a storyteller. That said, I would not have made some of the choices Dan makes, particularly with regard to getting emotionally entangled with an important source. Doing so compromises his professional integrity and results in dire consequences.
Readers always ask me what I think about Bella. I think the tragedy that befalls Bella causes profound grief and recasts her personality. In the end, I view her as a complex but flawed character with many admirable traits. 

More About the Author

Former award-winning journalist Steve Piacente is the author of Bella and a prequel titled Bootlicker. Bella, the story of a young widow's quest to find the truth about her husband's death on an Afghan battlefield, won a National Indie Excellence 2012 Book Award, and the Readers' Favorite 2012 Gold Medal for Dramatic Fiction. Bootlicker is the story of a dark secret that imperils the 1992 election that gave South Carolina its first black congressman since the Civil War. Bootlicker won the 2013 Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Southern Fiction.

But it all started for Steve way back in 1954.

Eisenhower was president, no one beat the Yankees, and Elvis was still an unknown. TV was three channels and two colors, black and white. Growing up, he didn't particularly like school. He liked baseball, egg rolls and comic books, and it was Superman that got him interested in reading and writing.

Raised in New York and educated in Washington, he kept moving south after college, eventually learning all they left out at journalism school at the feet of street-smart newspaper editors in Florida and South Carolina.

In 1985, one of those editors found him presentable enough to send back to D.C., this time as correspondent for the Tampa Tribune. The job ended four years later, and he found myself in steep competition for a similar slot with the Charleston, S.C. paper.

He won the position, enabling nine more years of Washington reporting, and front row exposure to the real South, as Charleston is far deeper into Dixie than Tampa, geography be damned. As time wore on, his NY sensibilities blended with Southern convention to produce stories on intriguing topics such as public celebration of the Confederate flag, and segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond.

It was a great time until Charleston ran out of cash and shuttered its one-man D.C. bureau. Out in the cold, he - by this time a father of three ravenous, athletic, college-bound children - found warmth in a little known federal agency. He began as a speechwriter and today heads the agency's web and social media teams.

Though Bella was his first real fiction, some thin-skinned politicians would say the stories he wrote were just as fabricated. In fact, no fiction bubbled up until he earned his license to write in the Johns Hopkins Masters program in 2000. During this time, he also reentered the classroom at American University, his alma mater, and began teaching journalism classes.

HIs insistence on clean, tight writing did no lasting harm to the three afore-mentioned children, now taxpaying adults in the fields of public relations, art therapy, and engineering. It wasn't until years later that he learned that the kids snuck secret help from their mom, Felicia Piacente, a special education administrator in the Montgomery County (Md.) Public School System.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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39
4 star
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7
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See all 67 customer reviews
I'm touched by the humanity at its core--the deep understanding of the characters, including their failings and motivations.
Wendy Swallow
It's the perfect book for when you want a good story that will suck you in without being overwhelming with characters that you respond to.
InsertGeekHere
There are many twists and turns, so the book is very dynamic, filled with surprises, tragic events and well written characters.
IngaKS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By antoinette22 on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I took Bella with me to the beach and finished it in three days - I could barely put it down!

The mystery and seduction that unfolds in Bella is enough to capture your attention for hours at a time...

Enjoy it, I sure did!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ReaderGalore on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Classified as a romance novel in the sub-genre of Men's Romance, which is not a sub-genre that I have read before, Bella by Steve Piacente was not my usual experience with "romance." Dan Patragno, journalist and main character, is not so much in the middle of a romance as he is infatuated with Isabel Moss, behaving irrationally as the result of this fateful passion. More than a romance, I saw Bella as a tale of betrayal: betrayal between husbands and wives, betrayal between lovers, betrayal by the military to the soldiers they command, betrayal by legislators to the people they represent.

The act that brings them all together is the death of Isabel Moss' husband, Hank, in Afghanistan, reportedly by enemy fire. An anonymous tip that it was instead friendly-fire leads Isabel to contact Patragno about the possibility of a cover-up. Despite the shaky start of their relationship with her going over his head to make him listen to her story, Dan quickly becomes addicted to her wiles, losing sight of what is important in his life. Even exposing what had really happened to Hank appears to be driven more by Dan's desire to win over Isabel than his desires as a journalist. How does it all unfold? All I can say is that anytime one deals in betrayal, there is always a price to pay, a price that changes everything.

The political thriller elements of the story are intriguing and entertaining but play second fiddle to the examination of Patragno's character. Written from the first person view of Patragno, Bella offers you a front row seat to the mental wanderings of a man driven by lust, ambition, and responsibility.

Reviewed by Dannye Williamsen, Breakthrough Bookstore
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kelly on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Absorbing, affecting and witty...Piacente has an incredible way of immersing the reader in the worlds of his characters. I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Clare Morris on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book! Steve Piacente is an excellent writer and I'm already anxious for his next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Piacente has written a smart, clever book that's also sexy and seductive. He's a wonderful writer, and I'm hoping he writes another fast! After you read the last page, Bella stays with you for days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shaeeza Haniff on January 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bella
By
Steve Piacente

Danny doesn't stand a chance the minute Bella entered his life stepping deliberately with her pearl heeled pumps. He was a goner and he knew it and more importantly Bella knew it first.

Daniel Patragno had a reasonable sort of life, a reporter job in a small newspaper, a home, a wife he adored, a son whose vocabulary far exceeded the expectations of his first grade teacher, good friends and peace of mind.

Bella entered his life and suddenly Danny can't seem to find which way is up. He is taken on a topsy turvy ride across states trying to help Bella come to terms with her husband's death.

Bella is one of those women we just love to hate while at the same time wishing we were just a bit like her.

In this fast paced caper, Danny is confronted by his vulnerabilities and his passion and his ethics. Told in the first person, this novel gives great insight into the man/woman relationship from a man's perspective. Something few women are privy to.

Danny finds out that there is always a dear price to pay for things and he pays with interest in more ways than one.

A very well written, witty read for the lover of conspiracy, romance and action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Blackburn on January 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Anyone on Goodreads who knows me, knows I read alot of books. So, I love it when a book shocks the hell out of me. Bella was it! When I first read the jacket for Bella, I thought probably not as good as the other reviewers are saying. I was wrong! Bella is like reading a train wreck with several trains in participation. Not only is it a mystery/thriller, but, IMO, it is also a "psychological study" in watching the downspiraling of a man who is easily led into manipulation and willing to throw away everything good in his life. Finally, I think it is a "study" of journalistic integrity and what one man is willing to do "to get the story." I found myself pushing everything out of the way to continue with reading Bella which I ended up doing in about 2 hours(the book is 254 pages of readable material)

Also, anyone who knows me, knows I am a big fan of Sherry and Narcotics by Nina Marie Gordon. Bella has that same darkness and destruction of Sherry and Narcotics. Like Mary in S&N, I kept asking Daniel, the main character, "What the hell are you doing?".

As I said, this book shocked the hell out of me because it was so good. Like I asked of Nina Marie Gardner, if this is the quality of this author's debut, what do we expect out of him when he becomes a seasoned author???

One thing I would warn readers about is that this book is written in the first person. As I don't read alot of books that are done that way, it took me, I would say, a good 50 pages to keep the storyline straight...after that, it exploded!

Naomi Blackburn, Moderator
Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
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