Tag Archives: Kristi Belcamino

A day in the life with Giada Valentina Santella by Kristi Belcamino

My Ferrari skidded into the circle driveway of the Monterey Plaza Hotel, making a group of tourists wearing khaki shorts rear back in fear. I could feel their disdain, even if I couldn’t hear their horrified whispering.

I shot them a look. Don’t get your panties in a bundle. I might’ve come in a little hot, but everything was totally under control. My father hadn’t forked over thousands of dollars to racing school at Laguna Seca for nothing.

Some action flick actor in his Porsche zipped into the lane beside me. I glanced over. He sat there like a prick waiting for the valet to come open his door. When he saw me, he did a double take.

Opening my own door, I hopped out and stretched luxuriously, ignoring the fact that my leather jacket rose about half a foot from the top of my leather pants, revealing slice of G-rated flesh, giving the actor something to stare at.

The cooler air of the Peninsula felt good after driving through the scorching Salinas Valley between here and my San Francisco home. I’d been in the car two hours straight and was ready for a stiff drink.

I stripped off my jacket, tossed it into my backseat revealing my T-shirt that said, “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” above a picture of Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. I watched the actor read it, his mouth moving as he did, like an idiot.

I tossed my keys to the open-mouthed valet who had just come around the front of my hood.

“Thanks, sailor,” I said and gave him a long, slow wink, which made red coat his freckled neck.

I was nearly to the hotel door when the valet caught up to me. “Excuse me, miss?”

I turned and gave him my most brilliant smile. He flushed, once again flustered. “Yes?”

“Do you have any luggage I can bring in?”

I shook my head slowly smiling. He was so cute, getting embarrassed this easily. I handed him a one-hundred-dollar bill, pressing it into his palm and leaned over to whisper in his ear. “I’m only going to be here about an hour. If you want, you can take her for a quick spin down Cannery Row. She purrs like a kitten.”

He gulped and walked off without answering.

Inside the hotel lobby, I headed straight to the bar. My meeting wasn’t for thirty minutes. I slid onto the bar seat and ordered a glass of Old Rip Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Ry. I savored that first glass, but must admit I guzzled the second and third.

I wasn’t looking forward this meeting.

My attorney, Sal, usually did most of his business over the phone. He was old-fashioned that way. Didn’t trust email or anything electronic. I wasn’t that much into tech stuff myself, but preferred that over talking on the phone. Who talked on the phone anymore, anyway? Only people like Sal.

But this time when he called, he said he had something to give me and it had to be done in person.

Right on time, Sal strode into the hotel bar like he owned the place, which actually come to think of it, he might. He was the very embodiment of la bella figura from growing up in the old country. Everything from his neatly trimmed hair to his manicured fingernails to his glossy polished shoes was impeccable. Refined. Like his posture and his manner.

“Bellissima.”

He kissed me on both cheeks, ordered a glass of some rare fancy wine and unsnapped his briefcase. Without saying a word, he handed me an envelope. I opened it, smoothed out a piece of paper on the bar, and stared at it. At first it didn’t make any sense. My eyes focused. I shifted gears. It was written in Italian. As what I was looking at sunk in, I realized what it was saying and what it meant. It was connected to my parents’ murders. Something I had thought was put to bed forever last year.

Apparently not.

Mother trucker.

I pushed back from the bar and stood looking out the window at the brilliant blue Monterey Bay before me. Off in the distance, a dolphin soared gracefully into the air and then dipped back into the water without leaving a trace. It was something I had always hoped to see as a child here, poised for hours on the shore staring, afraid to blink and miss it.

With my back to Sal so he wouldn’t see me fighting back tears, I spoke.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be on the next flight to Sicily.”


You can read more about Gia in Gia and the Forgotten Island, the second book in the “Gia Santella” crime thriller series.

Gia Valentina Santella is not the kind of woman to sit back and watch injustice. So when a hate group invades her San Francisco neighborhood and innocent people end up dead, Gia vows to hunt down the perpetrators. Her investigation leads her to places she never imagined in her worst nightmares. Gia finds herself in a house of horrors facing a darkness that threatens to devastate the city she loves. Gia soon realizes that if she doesn’t succeed in stopping the powerful evil seeping into the city, more innocents will end up dead. She is determined to either stop the reign of terror or die trying.

Buy Link

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Kristi Belcamino is a Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Award-nominated author, a newspaper cops reporter, and an Italian mama who makes a tasty biscotti.

She writes books featuring strong, fierce, and independent women facing unspeakable evil in order to seek justice for those unable to do so themselves.

Her first novel in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series, Blessed Are The Dead, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter.

All comments are welcomed.

Author Showcase ~ Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino

Release: August 15, 2017
Series: Gabriella Giovanni #5
Genre: Traditional Mystery

Gabriella Giovanni has it all. A stunning penthouse in San Francisco. An exciting job on the crime beat. A doting and movie-star handsome husband and a beautiful little girl. So, when she complains about all the travel her husband’s new DEA job requires, she know she has good problems.

But when her husband’s plane goes down in the jungles of Mexico and she is told he is dead, Gabriella thinks things could not possibly get any worse.

She is wrong.

Despite the U.S. government’s attempt to find the wreckage, they come up empty-handed. Gabriella heads to Mexico to trace Donovan’s path to find some answers, and hopefully, some healing.

In the deepest jungles of Mexico, it doesn’t take long for Gabriella to realize she’s in over her head and putting what remains of her life—and everything she loves—at risk.

Buy Link


About the author
Kristi Belcamino is a Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Award-nominated author, a newspaper cops reporter, and an Italian mama who makes a tasty biscotti.

She writes books featuring strong, fierce, and independent women facing unspeakable evil in order to seek justice for those unable to do so themselves.

Her first novel in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series, Blessed Are The Dead, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter. She is also the co-author of Letters From A Serial Killer, co-written with the mother of the girl kidnapped and killed by the serial killer who inspired Blessed Are The Dead. Her first YA novel, City of Angels (Polis Books) was released May 2017.

Connect with Kristi at kristibelcamino.com and on Facebook.

My Musing ~ Blessed are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino is the fifth book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. August 2017

Gabriella Giovanni has it all. A stunning penthouse in San Francisco. An exciting job on the crime beat. A doting and movie-star handsome husband and a beautiful little girl. So, when she complains about all the travel her husband’s new DEA job requires, she know she has good problems.

But when her husband’s plane goes down in the jungles of Mexico and she is told he is dead, Gabriella thinks things could not possibly get any worse.

She is wrong.

Despite the U.S. government’s attempt to find the wreckage, they come up empty-handed. Gabriella heads to Mexico to trace Donovan’s path to find some answers, and hopefully, some healing.

In the deepest jungles of Mexico, it doesn’t take long for Gabriella to realize she’s in over her head and is putting what remains of the life, including her precious daughter, and her ill mother, at risk.

The fifth book in the acclaimed and Anthony, Barry and Macavity-nominated Gabriella Giovanni Mystery series.

All I can say is WOW! This grippingly enticing read kept me glued to the pages, even venturing into another borough because I just could not stop reading the visually descriptive narrative that had me on the sideline watching in as the events of the moment played out with the characters. The complexity of the various scenes was staged perfectly as both Donovan and Gabriella struggle to stay alive, not knowing the whereabouts of one another. The determination and the pivotal role that they must make to accomplish their goal is so agonizingly fraught, that my heart broke for them, even though Donovan pissed me off. Riveting emotions exude throughout this fast-paced drama that left me wanting more and I applaud the author for delivering a well-executed story that catered to what I love in a suspenseful novel. This is one of the best book in this terrific series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Gabriella, Donovan and the rest of the gang.

A day in the life with Nikki Black by Kristi Belcamino

Without any blinds on my east-facing window, I was up hours too early, when the sky was still pink with promise. My head hurt a little bit and I wasn’t sure if it was because I woke up too early, needed caffeine, or a handful of aspirin. Or probably all of the above.

The fourth-floor bathroom in The American Hotel was all the way at the other end of the hall. I splashed cold water on my face, rinsed my mouth out, and finger combed my hair. I wasn’t surprised at the dark purplish ring around my eye from getting slugged the night before. Rummaging in my bag, I tried on my sunglasses and squinted in the mirror.

Of course when I opened the door, that band boy stood there—with only a towel around his waist. I tried not to stare at his smooth bare chest. His fingers were wrapped around a beer bottle.

“It’s eleven in the morning,” I said, jutting my chin at the bottle.

“My schedule’s a little different than yours,” he said and took a big slug of beer. “Obviously.”

I scowled. “Whatever.”

We sat there in silence for a few seconds staring at each other. He was standing right in the doorway. Right in my way. But he just stood there half naked watching me with this look in his eye. Like he wanted to laugh.

Finally, I raised my eyebrow. I have serious Brooke Shields eyebrows. They usually do the trick and they didn’t fail me this time.

He swallowed. “Sorry about last night. That girl I was with … God, I don’t know. She only cares about . . . I don’t know . . . stupid stuff. And she doesn’t get my passion for music . . .”

It was my turn to shrug. “It is obvious that we can no more explain passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”

His forehead creased for a second. I wasn’t going to help. But he came through. “So . . . T.S. Eliot, huh? You like poetry?”

I didn’t point out that T.S. Eliot wrote more than poems or that his anti-Semitism was a huge turnoff.

“Not really. Remembered that line about passion. I’d rather read a real book.”

“You don’t think poetry is real?” That small smile crept back across his face.

“Sometimes it’s . . . affectation.” I peeked up at him through my bangs and saw his smile growing wider. “Some guy can scribble down a bunch of stream-of-conscious nonsense and then read it out loud in a theatrical voice and everyone around him will attribute some deep, philosophical interpretation to his rambling.

“Meanwhile, the audience — trying to seem cool and hip and with it — transforms it into some profound observation of life itself. So, yeah, poetry really doesn’t do much for me.”

Band boy burst into laughter, revealing that sexy gap, which immediately made my face grow warm.

“What?” I fidgeted and looked away.

“I just declared poetry as my minor in college.”

“Figures.” I rolled my eyes. “How old are you anyway?”

“Eighteen next month. Started kindergarten when I was four. My dad was a teacher and had me tested and stuff and I guess my IQ was off the charts, like 160 or something whatever that means.”

He stopped talking when he saw the look on my face. I decided not to mention that my IQ would give his, a run for his money. There’s only enough room for one overinflated head in this building.

“Jesus, I sound like an egomaniac,” he said, backpedalling. “I never tell anybody this kind of shit. I have no idea why I told you all that. Seriously, it doesn’t mean anything because now my IQ is back down to idiot range, which I’ve pretty much proved by acting like such a moron with you.”

I tried to hide my smile. “So, if you never tell people all this, why did you decide to tell me?”

He grew serious and looked away like he was embarrassed. “I don’t know.” He ran his fingers through his hair and took a deep breath. “Yeah, I do. I guess something about you makes me feel like . . . Well, I guess I don’t want you to think I’m just some dumb guy in a band.”

I looked at him suspiciously. Why would he care what I thought? I didn’t have time to figure it out. “I’ve got to go. I work today. Unlike some people.” I gave another pointed look at his beer.

I was halfway down the hall when he spoke again. “I broke up with her, you know. That girl. From last night.”

I kept walking.

“In case you care. Which of course you don’t,” he called after me. I heard him swearing softly and then mumbling something about what an idiot he was.

I didn’t turn around, but I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face.


You can read more about Nikki in City of Angels, a young adult novel.

Nikki Black, 17, a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California — to star in child porn flicks — she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. The girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. At The American Hotel, Nikki makes friends and for the first time in years feels as if she has a real family again.

All that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. City of Angels is an edgy, gritty, mature Young Adult mystery about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong — but survive.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Kristi Belcamino is a Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Award-nominated author, a newspaper cops reporter, and an Italian mama who makes a tasty biscotti. She writes books featuring strong, fierce, and independent women facing unspeakable evil in order to seek justice for those unable to do so themselves.

Her first novel in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series, Blessed Are The Dead, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter. She is also the co-author of Letters From A Serial Killer, co-written with the mother of the girl kidnapped and killed by the serial killer who inspired Blessed Are The Dead. Her first YA novel, City Of Angels (Polis Books) was released on May 9, 2017.

Find out more at kristibelcamino.com. Find her on Facebook, or on Twitter at @KristiBelcamino. Sign up for her newsletter here.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino

City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino is published by Polis Books, May 9, 2017

city-of-angelsNikki Black, 17, a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California — to star in child porn flicks — she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. The girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. At The American Hotel, Nikki makes friends and for the first time in years feels as if she has a real family again.

All that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. City of Angels is an edgy, gritty, mature Young Adult mystery about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong — but survive.

A riveting drama. A strongly worded plot that immediately grabbed my attention. This fast-paced drama was visually descriptive and led me to see and feel all that taking place in this action-packed drama. The narrative had me completely immersed in all that was happening, evoking all kinds of emotions that surfaced to the top. The trials and tribulations of Nikki showed determination and guts as she took on what life presented in her path. The author did a great job in telling a captivating tale filled with the tenacity and strength of a young woman and those around her in this tightly woven and intriguing story. This was an engagingly wonderful book.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher.

My Musing ~ Blessed Are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed are Those Who MournBlessed are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino is the fourth book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. Publisher: HarperCollins/Witness Impulse, September 2015

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops’ reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies–the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her–she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella’s own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves.

Kristi continues to amaze me with her latest foray into the mystery arena by crafting a nail-biting, adrenaline-rushing, and heart-pounding treatise that grabbed me immediately and never let go until that final moment of resolution. The fast-and frenzied pace, the non-stop action, the narrative, the emotional sense of being are all captured in the telling of this intensely riveting drama that all I could do was forego my usual nighttime activity and get to the end of this book because I simply had to know. This author knows how to tell a story that even after it’s all said and done, I continued to think about the aftermath and what happens next. I enjoyed the interloping of back history that gave me insight in Gabriella and enhanced this character driven tale. With a great cast of characters and engaging dialogue, Blessed Are Those Who Mourn is the best one thus far in this terrific series and I hope there are more adventures on the horizon with Gabriella and her friends.

All In A Day’s Work With Gabriella Giovanni by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed Are Those Who WeepGnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce and fresh bread is the best way to celebrate my scoop today. The sauce is so incredibly rich and fattening — made from equal portions of butter, heavy cream, and Gorgonzola cheese — that I don’t indulge in the dish as often as I would like.

Tonight is going to be a solo celebratory meal. I love cooking and especially enjoy feeding others, but by the time I filed my story, most people were thinking about bed, not dinner.

I have such a strange mixture of emotions running through me about my scoop that will run in the newspaper tomorrow.

For the most part, my heart is heavy remembering the cherubic face of the little girl and her gorgeous, smiling mother. I’m heartsick that they were both victims of a solider who returned from Iraq with PTSD. Police say it looks like the man killed his wife and daughter before turning the gun on himself.

At the same time, I’m overcome with guilt. I feel terribly guilty that at the same time I’m heartbroken over this tragedy, I’m, also, exhilarated that I’m going to kick the bigger paper’s butt on this story despite them having three reporters on it against little old me.

What to do with such a volatile cocktail of emotions swirling in me?

Eat and drink until I don’t think anymore, of course.

It may not be the healthiest way to cope, but it usually helps—at least temporarily—stem the flood of feelings threatening to overcome me.

In North Beach, I swing by Bonadonna’s Deli and pick up a loaf of fresh bread. You can’t eat gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce without a thick hunk of bread to sop up the remaining sauce in your pasta bowl. It would be a tragedy to let all that creamy, cheesy goodness go to waste.

In my lobby, I unearth a postcard from Russia in my stack of mail as I trudge up my stairs. I quickly scan it. Damn. Tomas spotted my trap for his King.

I light all the candles in my apartment and sing along to Billie Holiday as I make dinner. The beauty of gnocchi is once the water boils, the little potato dumplings cook in less than a minute. Melting and stirring the sauce only takes a few minutes longer.

Even so, it’s close to ten when I settle down with my dinner, a glass of Pinot Grigio, and my new book, The Art of the Chessmaster, which I flip through hoping for inspiration on how to counter Tomas’ move.

When the wine is gone, I start on the vodka. I need a distraction. Horrific images of what happened to that beautiful family keep nudging into my mind. I try to push them back, but I can’t help remembering what the cops said (off the record). What awaited them when they opened that house where three bodies had lain dead for a month?

Pushing back the nightmarish images, I finally am tired and fall into bed craving something. It’s not food. It’s not another tumbler of chilled vodka. I don’t know what it is, but I know that I need something more to fill the emptiness inside.


You can read more about Gabriella in Blessed Are Those Who Weep, the third book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series, published by HarperCollins. The first two books in the series are Blessed Are The Dead and Blessed Are The Meek.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 15 for the chance to win a copy of Blessed Are Those Who Weep Book. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Kristi Belcamino is a writer, artist, and crime reporter who also bakes a tasty biscotti. She is the author of the Gabriella Giovanni mystery novels. Her first novel in the series, Blessed Are The Dead, (HarperCollins) was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer while working at newspapers in the Bay Area. As an award-winning reporter, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, and watched autopsies. Find out more at www.kristibelcamino.com.

My Musing ~ Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed Are Those Who WeepBlessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino is the third book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, April 2015

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves. . .

This fast-paced drama was so explosive that I could not put this book down. The author’s writing style was so grippingly devious that I was immediately pulled in and landed right in the middle of all the action which didn’t stop until the last chess piece was played. The complexity of the situations immersed me in this emotional roller coaster ride that I wasn’t sure if Gabby would survive all that she faced. This was a nail-biting, adrenaline-fueled drama filled with intrigue, suspense and the need for answers at all cost. Kristi is a force to be reckoned with in the crime fiction arena and I look forward to the next book in this terrific series.

My Musing ~ Blessed are the Meek by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed are the MeekBlessed are the Meek by Kristi Belcamino is the second book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, July 2014

A rash of high-profile murders all point to reporter Gabriella Giovanni’s boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan, when investigators uncover a single link in the deaths: Annalisa Cruz. A decade ago, Cruz seduced Donovan away from a life as a monk, and though their relationship soured long ago … her passion for him has not.

As the investigation continues, it becomes increasingly clear that any man who gets involved with Cruz soon ends up dead, including a dot-com millionaire, the mayor of San Francisco, and a police officer. Donovan, the only man to have dated Cruz and survived, is arrested for the murders and dubbed a jealous ex, leaving Gabriella scrambling to find the real killer without ending up as the next body headed for the morgue.

Gabriella’s search ultimately unearths a dark secret that Donovan had intended to take to the grave. Faced with the knowledge of this terrible truth, Gabriella must tie the past and present together to clear Donovan’s name.

Gabriella is smart, gutsy and determined and it shows in her actions when she is on a case and this time, it’s to help clear her boyfriend who sits accused of murder. This fast-paced and action filled drama pulled me in immediately; and what a riveting story this became as I could not put this book down. The author did a great job in delivering a gripping mystery that kept me on my toes with anticipation as to how this will all end and that it did and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.