Stuyvesant Town author makes debut with novel about biblical scapegoats

By Sabina Mollot

Andrew Grell, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town, has made his writing debut with a humorous science fiction novel called Scapegoats: The Goat Protocols. The book was released earlier this summer by Golden Fleece, small publishing house in Virginia that donates portions of its profits to charitable causes, especially animal-oriented ones.

For Grell, who has a career in calculating fraud detection, the 134-page book was his first major writing undertaking. Though he wrote it recently, he first got the idea 20 years ago.

The inspiration behind it was the Scapegoats of Leviticus 16:21, that were forced to bear the sins of the camp. In the story, “the goats become telepathic as a result of their psychic overload.” They become sentient, actively pushing people to do good things to counter-balance the weight of the bad deeds they carry. The book takes place in the present day.

“It’s the only example of the Old Testament’s vicarious expedition of sin, so I played with the idea,” said Grell.

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Stuy Town detective on the case of murder mystery penned by former tenant

Thomas Cassidy was inspired by true crime tales he’d hear from his father and a friend who both had careers in the NYPD. (Photo courtesy of author)

By Sabina Mollot

The year is 1981, the place, a crime-ridden New York City and Stuyvesant Town resident and cop is tasked with finding out who murdered a famous actor — also his best friend — at a Manhattan hotel. On top of that, the mayor is up for reelection and since a high-profile murder can’t help his chances at the polls, the cop is warned to keep a lid on media leaks, or be thrown off the case.

The scenario is fortunately fictional. However, it has come to life in 2018 the form of a new novel, Damage Control, written by a former Stuyvesant Town resident, Thomas Cassidy.

Damage Control ($26.95) was released on June 12 by Cedar Forge. However, it has been in the works for last 25 years by Cassidy, who recently retired from a 20-year career as a special investigator for the New York State attorney general and whose father Hugh Cassidy served in the NYPD for over 30 years.

As for its title, Cassidy explained, “What they’re trying to do is damage control, trying to deflect attention from the crime wave. Everyone, including the mayor’s office, the corporate office of the flagship hotel, the Police Department, everyone is doing some form of damage control. Everyone’s trying to put a positive spin on it and that makes it difficult for the detective trying to solve the crime.”

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Stuy Town author hoping to crowd-fund children’s book

Fran Alongi

By Sabina Mollot

While a trip to the chiropractor’s office might not be too many people’s idea of fun, one Stuyvesant Town resident recently found the experience worthy of writing a book.

Longtime resident Fran Alongi, who frequently sees a chiropractor for adjustments, said it was seeing how inviting the office has been for children and families, in no small part due to the presence of a mascot dog who humors young patients that want to chase him, that inspired her to write a story about it.

The book, her second, is called Max Gets Well-Adjusted and it’s intended for children ages 2-5. Her first book was a novel with fantasy aspects called The Moons of Koda, that she self-published in 2016. This time around she’s also self-publishing, only in this case, she’s hoping to get the associated costs crowd-funded. She currently has a GoFundMe page that’s seeking $3,000 for printing, illustration, advertising and other costs.

According to Alongi, the motivation for the book was to make children who might be scared of going to a chiropractor for a back problem or other issues more confident about the experience. She said she’d noticed while waiting to see the doctor that children who were there alongside their parents never seemed to be uncomfortable. What she soon realized was that this was because their parents didn’t seem nervous, especially since they were often patients themselves. Meanwhile, the office pooch, Cooper, was almost like a therapy dog in his willingness to run and hide from children, then letting them almost catch him.

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ST man writes book about Jewish relatives you never knew you had

Warren Alexander, author of Cousins’ Club (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After penning a satirical novel about America’s most unsuccessful Jewish family – despite their many schemes, including a basement bialy racket — Warren Alexander began hearing from readers around the world who felt they were reading about their own relatives.

“A woman from South Africa said, ‘This is my family,’” recalled Alexander. “A friend from Spain said, ‘Are you writing about us?’”

The Stuyvesant Town resident, whose book, Cousins’ Club, was self-published earlier this summer, said he was surprised at how universal the story seemed, considering much of the humor comes from distinctly Jewish cultural references. Not to mention, the pressure within the Jewish culture to succeed, particularly in a financial sense.

“You have 5,000 years of success. Freud, Einstein, Karl Marx, who have changed the fabric of society,” said Alexander. “Not only do you have to be successful for yourself and so your family will be proud of you but you have all these people, like Sandy Koufax and Steven Spielberg. There are only 14 million Jews worldwide, but Jews are 20 percent of the Nobel Prize winners. So you have that extra burden.”

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