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Front Page Palooka: A Nick Moretti Mystery [Kindle Edition]

Venutolo Anthony , Tunney Jack , Paul Bishop
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 124 pages
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Book Description

Newark... Las Vegas... Hollywood ... 1954

If you dig hard-boiled pulp and noir heroes like Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Spillane's Mike Hammer and Hammett's Sam Spade, Nick Moretti is your certainly man...

Years of fight halls and newsrooms have East Coast sportswriter Nick Moretti looking for a change. When a sloppy hustle goes bad and Nick takes a bullet in the shoulder, it’s time to go west. Hired by Pinnacle Pictures to write a boxing movie about troubled heavyweight champ Jericho ‘Rattlesnake’ McNeal (who accidentally killed a man in a dark juke joint), Nick joins forces with sexy public relations gal, Dillian Dawson for a cross-country tour to give an everyman boxer an unlikely shot at the world title. What could go wrong? From the crackling neon of old Hollywood and Sin City, through the steamy Delta, and on to Chi-Town, the glitzy dream becomes a noir nightmare, and newshound Nick Moretti is about to commit a reporter’s greatest sin – becoming a Front Page Palooka ...

For this entry in men's adventure boxing series, writer Anthony Venutolo steps in as "Jack Tunney," the shared pseudonym for today's hottest crime writers writing for the monthly pulp books. Upon its release in 2013, 'Front Page Palooka' was nominated for three New Pulp Awards including Best Novella, Best New Writer and Best New Character. Venutolo has won five critical writing awards from the New Jersey Press Association and has appeared in such publications as Bikini, Details, POV and Playboy Online. He’s also written columns for the gambling magazines Chance, Casino Player and Strictly Slots.

"Bourbon & Blondes," his second book, is filled with short stories and flash fiction and is currently available. His web site is at and he blogs from Bukowski’s Basement.


Q: Front Page Palooka reads like a vintage movie. What were your influences while banging out your prose?

VENUTOLO: Is it blasphemous to say that I try not to read in the genre I’m writing? Instead of soaking up the obvious masters like Chandler, Spillane, Robert E. Howard or any of the pulps, I went on a film noir watching tear for about roughly a year and soaked up pretty much every film I could get my eyes on. The great thing is that between sites like YouTube, Netflix and the Internet Archive, a treasure trove of both classics and B-flicks can be found to stream. Also, cable providers like Comcast have their own stupendous movie collections that can be watched On Demand at home. It’s ridiculous how many hidden noir repositories there are.

Q: So when would you watch?

VENUTOLO: I’d average a film or two every couple of days. Since my story was set in 1954, I really wanted to get a handle on how people lived, worked, spoke, dressed, worked, walked, talked, etc. It was a wonderful experience living in that retro world of George Raft, Richard Conte, Glenn Ford, William Holden, Richard Widmark, Robert Mitchum, Fred MacMurray, Sterling Hayden, Orson Welles and of course, my favorite, Bogart.
(Laughing) Even though I said I wouldn’t READ Chandler, I certainly dove into Marlowe – in radio form – by soaking up a plethora of vintage radio dramas via the Internet Archive. Again, it’s all there. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

Q: When would you write?

VENUTOLO: Believe me, there were many sleepless nights... You have no idea. Although, it's worth it from the feedback I've received.

Q: How is working with Fight Card’s author cooperative different than traditional publishing?

VENUTOLO: Well, this is my first time out of the gate so working with the FIGHT CARD team has been a blast. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a more supportive bunch of guys. From the writers (who give great advice) to co-creator Paul Bishop (who gave great edits); the whole experience was not as painful as it could've been.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

By day, Anthony Venutolo is an online editor and digital strategist at The Star-Ledger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Northern New Jersey. By night, he dabbles in flash fiction, short stories and poetry. On the features and news front, the award-winning journalist has freelanced for such magazines as Bikini, Details, Chance, Men's Health and Playboy Online. He also wrote a column for the gambling magazines Casino Player and Strictly Slots. Online, his flash fiction and poems have appeared at Zygote in My Coffee, Red Fez, Deuce Coupe, Gutter Eloquence, Shoots and Vines and Six Sentences. "Front Page Palooka" is his first novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1133 KB
  • Print Length: 124 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Fight Card Books (October 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,270 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read November 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Author Anthony Venutolo, writing under the genre-appropriate pen name of, "Jack Tunney", has written a compelling fight card. The term, "fight card", gives boxing enthusiasts the expectation that the card will have a warmup, or preliminary match, some exciting matches leading up to the main event, and then the main event itself. This is how I approached the reading of this book, and I was not disappointed.

Preliminary: (Quote) " "Hey, you used to write about the fights, right?" All of a sudden he was my best friend. Like I needed more of those. "Man alive, you were really good with those predictions," he went on. "Made me lots of cashola. Next one is on me." I didn't wanna ruin his night and tell him they weren't exactly predictions, but who was I to burst his bubble?" (end of quote)

I was hooked. I knew we had a witty, sarcastic reporter, Nick (the protagonist), who had a past history of doing bad things (fixing fights). The question formed in my mind, "Will Nick begin and end this book as someone I would hate to have as a friend, or as someone who finds his way into doing something decent, maybe even heroic? Is this character flat or dynamic?

So, with this basic premise, I began to read, and became fascinated by the story Author Anthony Venutolo was telling. Like it or not, this is the fight game, and yes, common sense will tell you that it can't be as corrupt as it reads in this book. Nonetheless, I can not quite give boxing a full acquittal, a definite not-guilty verdict. I reserve judgement on that question. However, if you have your mind up, that's fine also, since this is your book. You have the right to make up your mind about corruption in boxing, especially after reading this book.

Anyway, I found the story overall to be a page turner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Entertaining November 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fight Card: Front Page Palooka was the most fun I had, reading a book, in a while. Anthony Venutolo is writing under the pen name Jack Tunney. His character, Nick Moretti, has to be one of my favorite characters. This book takes place in the early fifties, when it was okay to call a woman a dame and men wore Fedoras, drank whiskey from a silver flask, and smoked cigarettes inside the buildings. I must have been born in the wrong era, because, I did not want to finish this book.

I loved the whole behind-the-scenes of the boxing world, the description of Las Vegas in the 50's, the way the people talked, and dressed. It was perfect. Anthony did a great job keeping the slang and atmosphere authentic. I have loved Mickey Spillane all my life and I am so happy that I have found an author that can take me back to that time.

Grab this book and have a great time. I cannot wait to look for other books by this guy. Honestly, I wish I could have given more stars to show my enthusiasm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring on the noir! November 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
When I was a kid I used to sneak into my father's collection of Travis McGee novels, written by John D. MacDonald. God, how I loved those books. Front Page Palooka reminds me of 'ol Trav. Maybe it's the hardboiled, noir attitudes, where men like to fight and women are dames, maybe it's just good, old-fashioned manly writing. The author has done all his research, in both the newspaper and the fight deparments, and main character Nick Moretti is well-rounded and sexy, the kind of reporter any dame would fall for. Gotta tell ya – I fell for this book and recommend it to any guy .... or any dame.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Fight Card: Front Page Palooka by Anthony Venutolo is a pot boiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler. Venutolo is so accomplished in this style of writing that the reader has difficulty separating this new book from the real thing. For me, that is not a bad thing. I'm the kind of guy who cannot tell a good fake of the Mona Lisa from the real thing. And, if it is that good of a fake, what's the difference anyway?

The reader will find a cast of iconic characters from yesterday. In addition, the author has researched the period well and intersperses actual events to lend the tome credibility. Its a quick read and a good one. I would recommend it to a general audience of readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Palookaville May 30, 2014
Venutolo embraces the noir. No, really embraces it. With gusto. If you're gona do it, do it right. That could be protagnist Nick Moretti's motto as well.

Venutolo has crafted a memorable character in Moretti, a Jersey reporter who covered the fight game in the mid-1950s. But Moretti wants to move on as his world is stumbling under the weight of booze and a dead-end job. He's lured by the Hollywood siren to write a screenplay about the current heavyweight champ of the world, nicknamed "Rattlesnake" for the deadly striking power of his left. Fittingly, the heart of the story takes place in Las Vegas, the epicenter of artificiality and sleeze, especially in those days.

Venutolo keeps the story line moving with its twists, his knowledge of boxing and of Vegas. Not everything may be accurate, but Venutolo keeps it compelling. The ending feels rushed, but the rapid succession of surprises and exposed secrets brings the 15-round bout (the chapters are titled "rounds") to an unexpected conclusion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard boiled noir thriller
In Front Page Palooka, Anthony Venutolo serves up a stirring noir tale worthy of the best of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lawrence Parlier
5.0 out of 5 stars TKO WITH AND A PAIR OF GOLDEN GLOVES!!!
Boxing is favorite sport of mine and you can't write about sports without a serious gonzo style, and a swagger that compels me a guy with a short attention span to finish. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Drenched in 1950s Lingo & Atmosphere!
Jack Tunney (penned by Anthony Venutolo) opens this book with the line, “My mood was raw enough to make a blonde cry. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Frank S. Scalise
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the title mislead you; there is more to the story...
This is not generally my genre and I almost didn't pick it up. I'm not a 'fight' fan but once I read the first few pages the scene was set, I watched the characters develop and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Susan Cross
1.0 out of 5 stars not Raymond Chandler
I was unable to finish this book. It is written in the 1940's tough guy style of Phillip Marlowe. But it is analogies on steroids, not very funny and eventually tiresome.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Noir Fiction novella
Anthony Venutolo writing as Jack Tunney has written a fantastic Noir Fiction novella that any fan of the genre should read. Front Page Palooka packs a powerful punch. Read more
Published 16 months ago by cwalrus
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Take on an Old Story
One of my favorite books of all time is Budd Schulberg's 'The Harder They Fall'. Front Page Palooka is a story that tells a similar tale of a reporter's view of the darker side of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Terrence
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a knock-out!
This is an incredible read that took me on a journey in boxing history during a different era. Nick Moretti, is the kind of guy I would want to hang out with. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Wiseguy Time-Machine
This novella was a lot of fun to read. A solid tale of corruption in the prize-fighting game, brought to life with period details, one-liners and slang, boxing lore, historical... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Walter Conley
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