Trust No One, Promise Nothing is a story with crime/thriller elements, a sense of humor, and a romantic subplot, inspired by real mafia families and well-known Florida criminals. It has cinematic appeal, and is both plot- and character-driven, exploring the long-lasting effects of childhood experiences: how they shape us—for better or worse—and our ability to change.

Read the Reviews below and get a sense of what's happening in a snippit of the First Chapter. Then check out my blog page and subscribe if you want to take this wild ride to publication with me. Writing a book is a lonely endeavor. I look forward to your company.




What People Are Saying:

Denise Myers, Screenwriter, The Dark of Night (Cannes Film Festival. 2017), NC


          An engrossing first novel from beginning to end, TRUST NO ONE, PROMISE NOTHING deftly weaves together a powerful story of love, revenge, violence and salvation in a taut thriller that peels back the complex layers of one man's search for redemption, a woman's search for truth and the tragic consequences a life led in secret can have on a family.  A remarkable achievement by a gifted author with a unique voice.

Gigi Langer, Author and PhD,  MI

          Trust No One, Promise Nothing leads the reader through a tangle of blood relations that crisscross one another over several decades. There’s plenty of action with mafia, murders, adultery, drug-running, and adopted children born out of wedlock, but that’s not all! The author continually keeps you guessing as everything is not what it seems. 

Linda Maran, Retired Detective Sergeant, FL

          Trust No One, Promise Nothing is definitely a must-read. From the moment that you open this book until you are finished, you are totally engrossed in the web of crime, deceit, lies, and anticipation of what will happen next!

Cheryl Foster, Retired English Teacher, FL

          I am an avid reader and read Trust No One, Promise Nothing from cover to cover in one sitting. I could not put it down. The suspense of this psychological thriller kept me mesmerized!

Hazel S. Smith, C.N.A., FL

          I wasn't sure where this book was going when I read the first chapter, but the plot kept me coming back anxious to find out what was going to happen next. If you like action crime novels then Trust No One, Promise Nothing is definitely a must-read. I could hardly put it down. There's got to be a sequel and a movie. Amazing action scenes!

Patricia Discher, Business Owner,  IA

          The different people, their secrets and their intertwining relationships had me from the beginning. I wasn't sure where the author was going when the mafia was introduced but soon learned how much of an integral part of the plot they actually were. Trust No One, Promise Nothing has a bit of everything for women and men, from unrequited love to gruesome mafia gangland murders.

J.G. Miller, Sheriff's Office, Exploitation Unit-Offenders & Predators, FL

          I couldn't put this book down. Trust No One, Promise Nothing, kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted the world to go away so I could read. I can't wait to hear more from this author. Thanks for the ride!

Jessie Yanson, RN, Pediatric Nurse, IL

          Perhaps being from Chicago, with its rich history of organized crime, has something to do with the fact that I have always been interested in the crime genre.  Trust No One, Promise Nothing contains suspense, family drama, history and romance. From the first chapter I was instantly hooked on both the story line and the characters. If you want to read a book that draws you in and is an absolute page-turner, Trust No One, Promise Nothing is it!

Marilyn D. Reynolds, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor,  FL

          Trust No One, Promise Nothing is teeming with suspense, murder, mayhem, betrayal, abandonment, revenge, codependency, remorse, courage, romance and personal growth. The author utilizes her exceptional insight to reveal the characters personal histories and explore the childhood traumas which were instrumental in shaping their personalities, choices and actions. She reminds us that perpetrators can also be victims and is able to evoke compassion for the key characters.

Celine Johnson, Librarian and Media Specialist, FL

          This story brilliantly transports us back to a time during the heyday of the mafia filled with gangsters, drugs, and deception. Trust No One, Promise Nothing is a captivating story about how the seemingly insignificant decisions we make every day can change the course of our lives forever. This is definitely a must read!

Fidel Deforte, Technology Solutions Architect, FL

          Trust No One, Promise Nothing is a fascinating and exciting read that kept me intrigued and anxious, itching to turn the page. The author is very detailed in all areas of the story, such that I vividly immersed myself into the scenes and activities as a silent spectator. Emotionally connected to the key players, I experienced surprise, anger, joy, frustration and relief as the story unfolded. The author's story is  imaginable in today’s world.

Jeff Manz, Attorney and Real Estate Broker, NC

          I love the title! It creates tension and supports a story with more twists and turns than a country back road. Just as I thought I knew where the story was going, I learned I wasn’t even close, which happened throughout the book. The most intriguing key character appeared to be despicable, but the tale painted a totally different man, which kept me reading nonstop. Writing Trust No One, Promise Nothing is only the beginning. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Fran Haag, Retired Insurance Agent, PA

          Oh boy! What a ride! Just when I thought all was good and I could relax, Boom! Bumpy as the ride is some scenes brought tears to my eyes. I  enjoy a book that is full of surprises and Trust No One, Promise Nothing delivers!

L.W. Middleton, Self-Professed Bookworm, FL

          With the opening lines of Trust No One, Promise Nothing, you experience tension and dread. As the plot unfolds, the reader realizes the characters have more secrets than can be imagined. Flashbacks round out the characters and their motivation for action emerges. Murder and mayhem abound. From the beginning to the end be prepared for a wild ride.


                                         TRUST NO ONE, PROMISE NOTHING

                                                  CHAPTER ONE (a sample)



Wednesday, April 9, 1980


 It’s been two months since my son died and I’ve spent every day alone in my bedroom, either pissed off or drunk. My wife, Grace, asked why I was such a mess.

     “A friend died,” I said.

     When she had dealt with my nasty mood for long enough, thank God, she ignored me. Now even, Patty and Merry, our twelve-year-old daughters, leave me the hell alone too. They should. I’m a rude, miserable bastard.

     I haven’t just been avoiding Grace and the girls, either. I’ve also been evading the guys who’ve pulled my strings my entire life. And dodging them is dangerous.

     Grace is clueless that I have another family. And if the Mafia counts, then three families. But who’s counting?

It’s clear that the wrong choices I’ve made in my past are coming to an ugly head. If this madness doesn’t stop, it will kill me, too.

     Over the past few weeks, I’ve slogged through changing a few insignificant things. If I’m preparing for a life change, I hope I have the balls to handle it.

     When I took the Mafia’s Vow of Omertà, I swore to a code of ethics as well. When they call I have to respond, but in my current state of mind… just kill me now.

     Death of a loved one can change your perspective. Kind of like ripping off a band-aid and finding a blind, stupid fool underneath.

     It’s not like I don’t care about my Mafia brothers. One or two of them are my closest friends. One is definitely my enemy. And the Don? He’s powerful. He can be a friend one moment and a poisonous snake seconds later. I haven’t crossed him yet and I hope I never have to. It wouldn’t be fun to die on the spot. For either of us. They are the Catanetti brothers by blood, but by oath, they are my Mafia family.

     Grace doesn’t know about the Catanettis’ either. There’s a lot Grace doesn’t know, and I’ve worked hard as hell to keep it that way. Believe me, it’s been exhausting.


“Ray, there’s a call for you from someone named Mr. Franco,” Grace shouts through my locked bedroom door.

     Grace and I haven’t shared a bedroom for ten years now, and I’ve never regretted it. The twins were at eighteen months old and into everything. Grace was always exhausted. She had no time for me. Shit, it didn’t matter. I never loved her, but I’ve cared and sacrificed my life to protect her. She’s not Carmelita.

     I snatch the door open and grab the kitchen phone from her, irritated that someone left the long cord wound into crazy knots. I can’t take the time to straighten it, and the damned thing won’t reach my bedroom. Now Grace can hear my every word.

     A phone call from Franco is serious. He never calls me at home. With all the wiretapping these days, he leaves cryptic messages with my answering service. It’s safer. He knows I’ve been dodging him. I won’t like what he wants me to do. That’s a death wish waiting to happen.

     It will be tricky finding the right moment to tell them I quit. Does anyone safely retire from the Mafia? Honestly? No. We take an oath, and it binds us until death. Retirement means you’ve stopped breathing. But right now, I need to alter my shitty attitude and accept this call from my oldest ally and boss.

     Franco Catanetti is a Mafia brother I can count on… I hope. You never know. Thank God, for Grace’s sake, Franco’s using an alias. I assume he’s calling from a safe phone. He sure better be.

     Trust no one is a bitter lesson I learned the hard way from his pop, Don Marco Catanetti Sr. The first time I met Don Marco Sr., I could tell he liked me. Eventually, he became my third father, not legally, but figuratively. That was way before his son, Marco Jr., stepped into his shoes.

     Marco Jr. is the Don now, and he’s a piece of work. He can be your best buddy or your worst enemy. Maybe that’s why Marco Sr. chose him to run the family and not Franco, his oldest son. Franco is Underboss or second in command and controls the family’s money.

     “Mr. Franco! What can I do for you?”

     “Dammit Ray, I’ve left several messages with your answering service. You haven’t returned my calls. You know the rules, brother. This can’t wait, so just listen. Carmelita hasn’t been answering her phone. We’ve got a huge, important shipment, arriving in Juarez this weekend. She’s gotta coordinate the details to get it out of Mexico. Pronto! I sent one of my guys to her apartment, and after some serious pounding on her door, she finally opened up. Ray, she looks terrible… my condolences, my friend. Losing your son has been tough for both of you.”

     My body sinks hearing those words. Does he think that’s the only reason I’ve been avoiding his calls? He sent a beautiful flower arrangement to my son’s funeral, and I can’t say a word about it since Grace is listening.                 Somehow, I manage a quiet thank you before he continues. “Be in Denver by Friday to get your semi. This cargo has to leave Juarez by the weekend. Don’t worry, Carmelita will answer her phone from now on.”

     With Grace tuned in like a hawk, I have to reply carefully.

     “Yes, Mr. Franco, I’ll secure the contract and deliver the product as soon as possible. Tell the client not to cancel. I’m coming.”

     “Be careful, Ray. There’s a lot on the line. Good luck with Carmelita. You know how much we all care about her.”

     “I appreciate the call, Mr. Franco. I’m on my way.”

     I don’t want to do anything else for them and now I’m forced to, which means I must tread carefully through this minefield of quitting. I hope they care enough about Carmelita and me to let us go. We’ve been part of the Catanetti family for over forty-two years, but that’s no assurance they won’t kill us both.

     I can feel Grace staring a hole through my back when I hang up.

     “What did that man want, Ray?”

     Quickly turning away from her to hide my turmoil, I hustle back to my room on a mission to pack and leave. I must act naturally when I explain it to her, so I mutter over my shoulder. “I have to be in Denver by Friday. The contract I’ve worked hard to put together will cancel if I’m not. This is big money for our company.”

     I close my bedroom door in her face shaken to hear about Carmelita’s desolate state of mind. I need to calm the hell down. This room looks just like I feel, stripped to the core. Over the last few weeks, while everyone slept, I stuffed parts of my life into garbage bags and disposed of them without knowing why. The top of my dresser and bedside tables are empty. I’ve left my Florida clothes for warm weather. I won’t need them at my farm in West Virginia or in Colorado, where Carmelita and my son live.

     My son.

     Those two words stab me through the heart. It’s hard not to double over screaming in pain. All I want from this house is my antique trunk and the cashmere sweaters he and Carmelita gave me the last Christmas before his accident. Those two things contain my past and my future. God, I sound trite.

     I store the sweaters in my trunk, lock it, and hide the key in one of my snow boots. I could bring the boots with me, but they never fit right. I’ll just buy another pair if I need them.

     After a quick shower, I pack my black duffle bag with a couple of pairs of clean underclothes. The bag still has lots of room for the cash I’ll pick up in Denver for the Juarez job.

     Since Frank made sure Carmelita will answer her phone, I’ll call her before I leave. She should know I’m coming back, no matter what she said to me after our son’s funeral. I’ve called her every day, but she wouldn’t answer.

     As for Grace, I don’t care what she hears and for some dumb reason, that makes me feel better. What she sees is what she gets.

     The kitchen phone cord is still a tangled mess but screw it. I dial Carmelita’s number and on the sixth ring she picks up, sobbing as soon as she hears my voice. That rips me up and I can hardly hold back my own tears. Goddammit!

     “Ray, I’m going crazy. His trophies are everywhere, and my heart’s breaking. I’m so sorry I pushed you away. I was wrong. It wasn’t your fault our son died. Please help me leave this place. Take me home, Ray. Please, I need you so much.”

     Home is my farm in West Virginia, where she spent much of her childhood and adult life. “I’m on my way. Wait for me. I’ll be there soon,” I assure her.

     The moment we hang up, Grace goes detective on my ass, wanting to know “what’s going on.” Well, that’s a first. When did she care?

     “That was the Denver client. They agreed to wait for me, but I need to leave right now.”

     “You can’t drive straight through in that big semi. It’s dangerous, Ray.”

     “Done it many times, Grace, with the help of lots of coffee. I’ll be fine.” I’m lying again, and as usual, she doesn’t ask questions or know the rig is already in Colorado.

     Then the truth hits me. This may be the last time I see Grace as her husband. And who knows? I could get my ass killed on this trip. But when I leave tonight, our connection from now on will be our daughters and our company, Hunter and Hughes Trucking. I’m ashamed and relieved that I’m deserting them. I’m ashamed of stealing an enormous part of Grace’s life. She deserved to be loved by an honorable man. A better man than me. But there is a sense of relief knowing when I’m finished with this last run, I’m going home. To Carmelita.

     Twenty-one years ago, my partner, Steven Hunter, died and left his share of our trucking company to his wife, Grace. Unfortunately, he left her no life insurance or extra cash in the bank, either. I pulled her out of the depths of grief and depression and put her back together. Slowly, I won her trust and confidence and proved that I could manage the business for the two of us. A couple of years later, I married her.

     It was the crowning moment of a plan Papa Marco had proposed to me, his young Mafia soldier, over two decades before. He called it “playing the long game,” and I have played it so well, I am a master at it.

     Grace is a good person. She’s been a caring wife who’s tried to please me. But we have a history she doesn’t know about. Sorry to say it affected our intimacy, rendering it, well… deficient. It wasn’t her fault and I feel bad about that.

     Did I mention I am a miserable bastard? Back then, I was a cold-hearted, ego-driven prick. I was more interested in my own selfish motives and those of my Mafia family. Now, all that’s left under this ripped off band-aid, is a dumb shit who’s asking for a lot of trouble. And I’m probably about to get it.

     Grace watches as I close my bedroom door and slip the padlock on. When I leave tonight, I will change her life again. She just doesn’t know it yet.

     “Ray?” she asks.

     Shaken, I grab my bag and down jacket. When I turn, her lovely dove gray eyes, so like my mother’s, stare at me, confused and questioning. She tucks her short blond hair behind her ear, which is her tell, a calming gesture she uses in times of turmoil. But I know she won’t probe further. She never has, and she won’t start now. Life taught her to be silent, don’t ask questions. Be a good girl.

     The important thing is, the Mafia won’t hurt her and the girls if I mess up. Their code of ethics ensures a made man’s family, home and possessions are sacred. Never steal from him or even look at his female family members, let alone touch them. But Carmelita and me? Yes, they will. We work for them.