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Johnny Porno Paperback – April 21, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in New York City in 1973, Stella's vibrant seventh crime novel catches the cadence and daily grind of organized crime grunts. John Albano, who lost his carpenter job and his union card because he punched out his foreman, now collects cash receipts for the mob from illicit screenings of Deep Throat, the mob-produced pornographic film that reputedly would earn more than $600 million. Still struggling to pay his bills as well as child support for his beloved son, Albano considers getting more involved with the Mafia, despite his qualms. Stella (Mafiya) tosses an eclectic cast of characters into the mix, including Albano's remarried ex-wife and police investigators looking into the mobster Albano reports to, Eddie Vento. Though implausible subplots at times threaten to overwhelm the main plot, admirers of Elmore Leonard and George V. Higgins will be happy. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Don’t be fooled by the title—it’s just a gangster moniker. Elmore Leonard fans are going to love Stella’s entirely original contribution to the slice-of-criminal-life genre, down-and-dirty division. After the release of Deep Throat, the low-budget porn flick starring Linda Lovelace that captured the hearts and genitals of a nation, as well as making a substantial amount of cash, the Mob suddenly realizes that the legal situation in 1973 makes “fuck movies” viable and highly marketable to the masses. It’s no longer necessary to show them in rented warehouses. So enter entertainment purveyor and bagman John Albano, soon rechristened “Johnny Porno,” and a cast of gangsters all recruiting “talent” and following the money. This is the seventh novel from Stella (Mafiya, 2008), who has made the underside of the New York underworld his home. --Elliott Swanson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Stark House Press (April 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193358629X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933586298
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,479,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Frankly, I do not usually pay much attention to book blurbs because of how writers generally trade them among themselves, their special way of exchanging rather painless favors. But to Charlie Stella's credit, most of the blurbs on the cover of "Johnny Porno" come not from authors, but from newspaper and magazine critics. And then there's this one from Ken Bruen, a man who has written several of my favorite hardcore crime novels, "Stella is a winner, a true artist." Despite my misgivings about the honesty of book blurbs, when a talent like Ken Bruen offers that kind of praise, I do tend to listen - and, in this case, I am happy that I did.

"Johnny Porno" is set in 1973, a year during which Richard Nixon is still hoping to survive the Watergate break-in, the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes abortion, the Viet Nam War officially ends and the state of New York bans the screening of perhaps the most famous pornographic film of all time, "Deep Throat." It is also the year that John Albano, a hotheaded carpenter, is stripped of his union card after he argues with the wrong man on a job site, making it near impossible for Albano to pay child support to his ex-wife.

John Albano loves his son and sincerely wants to provide for him but, since losing his high paying union job, he simply cannot meet his obligations to the boy. So when a New York mobster offers him the job of gathering cash receipts from the illegal showings of "Deep Throat," Albano jumps at the chance to earn some extra money. Albano's quick fists, and his even quicker temper, first bring him to the attention of the mob boss, but that same inability to control himself will soon have him in trouble with Eddie Vento, the man who hired him.
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Format: Paperback
As a huge fan of Charlie Stella, I've been eagerly awaiting his seventh novel. My high expectations were richly rewarded with this crime drama set in the 1970s, when the New York mob takes charge of distributing now-legendary porno movie 'Deepthroat', starring Linda Lovelace.

The novel's title comes from the nickname of the main character, John Albano, an ill-starred mob runner who earns the moniker 'Johnny Porno' from his job of driving round Long Island, collecting money at Deepthroat screenings. His concerns about the work he does are outweighed by his fears of getting whacked if he quits. On top of this nightmare, there's Johnny's ex-wife Nancy and her tangled love life, detectives investigating Johnny's boss Eddie Vento and trying to shut down screenings of Deepthroat, and a corrupt cop on the take.

Like his other novels - Eddie's World: A Novel of Crime, Jimmy Bench-Press: A Novel of Crime, Charlie Opera: A Novel of Crime, Cheapskates, Shakedown: a novel of crime, Mafiya - Johnny Porno is skillfully paced and tightly plotted. The scenes jump off the page and the dialogue is simultaneously realistic and laugh-out-loud funny.
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I have been following Charlie Stella for years, both his blogs and books. 'Johnny Porno' doesn't disappoint loyal fans like myself. It's not the kind of book you want to showcase on the morning subway ride, both because of the title and the scary mugshot of the author on the back, but it's another page turner from a former knockaround guy. Charlie Stella has always had a knack for incredible dialogue, but what makes this book stand out from his others is the backstory of the mafia's connection to the highest grossing movie of all-time, "Deep Throat." New Yorkers, like myself, will appreciate all of the historical references to the city and see just how much things have changed since the 1970's.

I give this five out of five cement shoes!

~Daniel Scali
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I have read all of Charlie Stella's novels and loved them all. Had I not, I doubt I would have picked this one up due to the unfortunate title and cover art.

Stella is an artist in being able to relate life events through the eyes of the average working guy. Most authors are choosing characters of great financial means to give them the ability to carry out their imaginative schemes. John Albano is an honorable guy, who is divorced and is trying to make a living for his young son. This story is told through the voices of average, financially
struggling people. It is done so with great insight, use of wit and words of the times. A winner.
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Format: Paperback
Charlie Stella is America's new blue-collar writer-hero, a no-nonsense, unadorned, stripped down raconteur of bare knuckles and lunch buckets - a guy from the streets who you want to believe and want to win. All of Stella's previous novels ("Eddie's World", "Jimmy Bench-Press", "Cheapskates", "Shakedown"...) have been entertaining and gritty tales of New York City's diners and wharves and bars and the good fellas and wise guys and cops and crooks that haunt them - authentic noir told with passion and authenticity than can only come from someone who's lived that life at ground level. But "Johnny Porno" puts Stella in another class - a stratum with James Elmore and Leonard Elmore and classic noir masters like Jim Thompson and Donald Westlake. This is a BIG novel - Stella's best so far - a classic that deserves broad recognition.

Stella takes us back to 1973 - back to the turbulent days of Nixon and Watergate and Cousin Brucey - and of Linda Lovelace and "Deep Throat." Despite free love of the 60's, a still prudish America is shocked by Lovelace's unusual talents, and the movie is banned as pornography. And his B-grade film that would likely have passed virtually unnoticed becomes wildly successful, much to the joy of New York's organized crime. John "Johnny Porno" Albano is a simple, hard-working guy living in a one bedroom Brooklyn dive, just trying to make child support payments for his ten-year old son Jack. A carpenter by trade, his short temper and quick fists have cost him his union card, relegating him to low paying jobs that barely cover the rent. Jobs that include collecting the cash for mob boss Eddie Vento from illicit showings of "Deep Throat," earning John the "Johnny Porno" moniker he despises.
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