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One of my favorite books of the more than 80 I’ve written is A Member of the Family. It’s based upon a true story lived by a dear friend, Nick Vasile, who’d been a Washington DC vice squad cop, restaurant owner, and private detective whose primary client was one of New York’s five major crime families.
Originally, it was intended to be a non-fiction account of the tale Nick lived, but the leader of the crime family informed Nick that he wasn’t happy about it (he was serving a life sentence at the time). So, we shifted gears, used the real story as the basis for a novel, changed its setting from New York to Washington, and went to work.
This proved to be one of the most productive and enjoyable collaborations of my career, not only because Nick was such a great guy, but because another friend, writer and novelist Tony Tedeschi, joined the team and brought to the writing process a wonderful creative dimension. The nature of the story gives the title a nice double meaning; Tony came up with it.
The reviews were outstanding, many citing A Member of the Family as a natural for Hollywood. Nick died a few years ago, but if a film is ever made, I’m sure he’ll wrangle a pass to come to the preview.