Book Review
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Good Reads: A New Grab Bag of Unusual Interest

"The Janus Reprisal" by Jamie Freveletti (Grand Central Publishing, $26.99)

In "The Ludlum Identity" by Robert Ludlum's son and his doctor, the co-authors tell the tale of how this adopted man, who wrote so famously of the mysterious identity of his hero Jason Bourne (500 million copies in print in 33 languages in 40 countries), came to a ghastly and most mysterious end.

On the morning of Jan. 24, 2001, just months after Ludlum signed a new will bequeathing most of his vast fortune to his second wife, Karen Dunn, firefighters called to his mansion in Naples, Fla. found the 73-year-old author on fire, lying immobilised and screaming in a reclining chair. The cause of the fire was never determined. The body had continued to burn long after the emergency services were called. Investigators established that not one of the fire extinguishers located throughout the house had been used.

Nobody was charged in the incident, although Ludlum's son and his doctor suggest the obvious culprit in their book.

Now, 12 years later, the Ludlum estate is cashing in on the resurgent popularity of Bourne from the money-spinning series of films starring Matt Damon. "The Janus Reprisal" continues Ludlum's Covert-One idea, a clandestine group established by the president and activated only as a last resort. The estate chose Jamie Freveletti, a female Chicago-based trial attorney, black belt martial artist and ultra-marathon runner, to write the first installment, just published, of the Covert-One series.

"The Janus Reprisal" begins with a terrorist attack in The Hague, turning an infectious diseases conference featuring scientists and political figures from around the world into a bloodbath. The hotel is not the only location under attack; bombs go off at the train station, the airport and at the International Criminal Court, where Pakistani warlord Oman Dattar is being tried for crimes against humanity. In the chaos, Dattar escapes and puts in motion an ambitious plot involving a deadly form of hepatitis with a 97-percent death rate to exact his revenge on the West once and for all.

"Uncle Al Capone, The Untold Story from Inside His Family" by Deirdre Capone (Recap Publishing, $17.99)

Every family has secrets; some families have bigger things to hide. That was the case for Deirdre Marie Capone of Bonita Springs. During her childhood, the topic no-one wanted to discuss was her great-uncle Al, dubbed Public Enemy Number One and notorious for his bootlegging and murders.

Al Capone's brother, Ralph Capone, begged his granddaughter Deirdre not to publish the family secrets until she was the last living member of the family. She did as he asked -- while in recent years becoming a leading authority on crime families and their dynamics.

Deirdre's book, "Uncle Al Capone," reveals for the first time many facts about one of the most notorious Florida residents of the 20th century. It also tells how her Uncle Al taught her to swim, ride a bike and play the mandolin. After he died on her 7th birthday, she began paying the price of being a Capone. Her classmates were forbidden to play with her and, when she was 10, her father committed suicide due to the burden of his name. No other biographer has quite captured the tragedy of Al Capone, the full consequences of his decisions in life, for none of the others were family.

"Key Largo" by Brad Bertelli and Jerry Wilkinson (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99)

The newest addition to Arcadia Publish-ing's Images of America series is "Key Largo" by local authors Brad Bertelli and Jerry Wilkinson. The book has more than 200 vintage images and a host of memories.

Key Largo's history has been shaped by coral reefs and wreckers, farmers and fishermen. The island was homesteaded by families who braved life before the conveniences of running water, let alone air-conditioning and mosquito control. Henry Flagler's Key West Extension changed the place as much as hurricanes have. Key Largo has been immortalized in a movie and in song. This new book reveals Key Largo's other facets: the coral castle, underwater park, pineapple farmers and, today, the artists who still carve a history out of the island.

Jerry Wilkinson moved to the Keys in 1947. The president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys, he is a mentor to Brad Bertelli, a member of the Florida Outdoors Writers Association who sits on the board of trustees at the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys.