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The Dark Side of Sunshine Paperback – August 29, 2012

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


... Paul Guzzo guides his readers through a Tampa they thought they knew, to a place that is flawed, exciting, fully human and real. Written in a noir style, somewhat reniniscent of detective novels, this is the kind of book one reads straight through. - Art Taco

The Dark Side of Sunshine is a wonderful trip down memory lane in Tampa...if the lane is a dark alley and the memory is a black jack to the back of the skull.
- Gene Siudut, La Gaceta Newspaper

Guzzo has a clear voice that you can pick up throughout these stories. There's a depth beyond the dates and details that give a fully-rounded picture and feeling for the stories. This is not a simple recitation of history but a strong narrative that propels the stories off the page.
- Scott Deitche, author - Cigar City Mafia

A strong masterpiece of storytelling. Tales of men from a small section of the United States that may have been lost forever if not documented in this book. Tampa has always been equal to Dodge City, Laredo, Deadwood and all those dusty cow towns of the Old West.
Dr. Ferdie Pacheco - Best Selling Author and Emmy Award Winner

It's not a paean to the past; more like an ironic shout-out to the uniquely devious and dynamic history of Tampa and its immediate surroundings ... Dark Side is a quick, easy read that chronicles an American microcosm while illuminating the shadowy sides of transitioning Tampa through the years. - Joe O'Neill -

About the Author

Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Paul Guzzo moved to Tampa, Fl. in 1999. He spent 10 years as head writer at La Gaceta Newspaper - the nation's ONLY tri-linguel newspaper - where he wrote a weekly profile on Tampa Bay's most prolific personalities, from mayors and governors to CIA agents and military generals to artists and athletes. He continues to work for La Gaceta on a freelance basis. He is also senior writer for Cigar City Magazine, a Tampa-based history magazine. Along with his brother, he has produced numerous independent films that have shown all over the world, and have won dozens of awards along the way.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479175234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479175239
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,607,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beth on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First published on

Paul Guzzo's, "The Dark Side of Sunshine" offers a glimpse into the dark underbelly of Tampa's crime scene. The nation has seen Tampa as the host of super bowls and national party conventions, or in other words, at its best. This book shows the real Tampa. More importantly, it gives Tampa a sort of grit that demands a certain level of respect in history.

The book chronicles the stories of Tampa crime bosses, murderers, Cuban sympathizers, strip club owners, and other shady characters throughout the city's history from the early part of the Twentieth Century to the present. A few of the people featured in the stories are Victor Licata, Charlie Wall, Ellis Clifton, Santo Trafficante, Frank Diecidue, Carlos Carbonell, Bobby Rodriguez, Joe Redner, Gene Holloway, and Charlie Perkins. Each chapter presents a new story, however the chapters nicely segue into one another. The transitions don't seem rough. Some stories were previously published in local Tampa newspapers and magazines. Others were written for the book.

As a Tampa native, I've heard some bits and pieces of these stories from my father. Also, as a kid, I can remember visiting Gene Holloway's" Sea Wolf" restaurant. It was just down the street from my house and seemed such a magical place to me. I connected to this book in that it made my home town come alive and triggered childhood memories. I found it to be well-written and researched and an enjoyable, quick read. There wasn't a chapter where I didn't utter an interested, "hmm" or share the information with a friend. This is a must-read for Tampa natives as well as for anyone who visits Tampa and is searching for a souvenir.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gs on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Dark Side of Sunshine is a wonderful trip down memory lane in Tampa...if the lane is a dark alley and the memory is a black jack to the back of the skull.
Paul Guzzo's latest book, published by Aignos Publishing, takes readers on a well-researched journey through the lesser-known, seedy past of the former cigar capital of the world. The Dark Side of Sunshine examines over a century of deviant, psychopathic and sometimes misanthropic behavior in a town where sense of community and a melting-pot success story has been the word on the beginnings of the port city of Florida's Sun Coast.
Guzzo artfully chronicles the more detestable characters of Tampa's corrupt beginnings, but as the mouse roared, reprehensible acts had a Doppler Effect in how America would fight everything from marijuana use to ballot box stuffing.
This collection of articles from such respected publications as La Gaceta Newspaper and Cigar City Magazine starts with the tale of one of America's first serial killers, Robert Anderson, who kept Tampa as his terrified prisoner between 1911 and 1912.
Anderson, an African American, was simply known as "The Firebug" and later as "The Killer." Upset with Tampa's White men intermixing with the Black women of his neighborhood, Anderson left a wake of destruction that began with the murder of a night watchman and ended almost a year later with several more murders, random shootings and between 50 and 100 buildings being burned to the ground, including the original Centro Asturiano.
After setting the tone of lunacy, Guzzo transitions to Victor Licata, who, in 1933, took an axe and gave the Lizzie Borden treatment to his mother, father and three siblings.
Licata told police he spent the evening drinking moonshine and smoking marijuana.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LilMar on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have lived in the Tampa area for more than 20 years now. Though I'd heard of some of the more infamous, recent people written of by the author, most of these stories and people were new to me.
Paul Guzzo has written a thought-provoking, grab-you-by-the-throat book that I could not put down.
From the Ybor Firebug, Robert Anderson of 1912, to modern day Strip Club King Joe Redner, Mr. Guzzo has entertained, shocked and informed this reader. I learned things you never hear about through the Chamber of Commerce and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
Mr. Guzzo tells the stories of the shocking Victor Licata murders in 1933, a crime that changed the world as we know it and helped to promote the use of marijuana to a criminal act. Moving on to Charlie Wall, the White Shadow, a criminal Godfather, who made his early fame running illegal Bolita games, and later moved on to stuffing ballot boxes.
We get to know Florentino Martinez and his (alleged) murderer, former Hillsborough County Deputy Roy Velasco, and take a short side trip over to the vice squad for some of their adventures in catching criminals like Frank Diecidue, an underboss in the Santo Trafficante crime world of the late 50's. There is even a tale of a deal made between Fidel Castro and one of the most respected police Captains in Tampa Bay History, Ellis Clifton.
I won't go into all the stories in the book, you really have to read it for yourself. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the criminal history of our very lively area. An area that, though drenched in sunshine, does have a dark side. An especially fascinating one.
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