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Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Girl She Used To Be" by David Cristofano~Mafia Makes Nice


When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody's name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others—everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she's stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name.

Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down, knows her, the real her, and it's a dangerous thrill that Melody can't resist. He's insistent that she's just a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family. But can she trust her life and her identity to this vicious stranger whose acts of violence are legendary?


Published by:  Grand Central/Hachette Publishing
Pages:  241
Genre:  Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Author:  David Cristofano
Website:  http://www.davidcristofano.com

Nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author (2010).

The movie rights for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE have been sold to Mark Johnson’s Gran Via Productions (THE NOTEBOOK, MY SISTER’S KEEPER) and Julie Lynn’s Mockingbird Pictures (ALBERT NOBBS, THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB), with screen adaptation by Laeta Kalogridis (SHUTTER ISLAND, AVATAR


David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade.  He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his wife, son and daughter. 


I'm a huge fan of David Cristofano since I read his first book "The Exceptions."  He does mafia better than anyone.  You learn to love them more than hate them.  It's a fantastic ride.  The primary mafia son, Jonathan, in these novels is absolutely irresistible.  I couldn't stop myself from fantasizing about him...gorgeous and good!  This is a book you can't put down until the end. 

Cristofano is not only a wizard at characterization in that he makes his people come jumping off the pages at you, but they are so sympathetic.  The bad guys are as love able as the good guys!  He has a way of turning the ordinary on its ear, so you find yourself rooting for the "wrong" side most of the time...  He has the feds down perfectly and enriches the life of Melody in her world of Witness Protection Program in its stark reality.  Great descriptions of both sides of the law.

I fell in love with Jonathan, the mafia son who sadly had the experience of seeing Melody's parents flee the scene of his dad's crime when she was so little.  His life and her life are sculpted by the one event.  He becomes the anti-mafia amongst the core of gangsters.  He's beautiful in so many ways.  Just irresistible as a character.

This is a book I found so moving and intriguing that I couldn't stop reading it.  Finally, this one picked up the slack from the recent downers I've had in the last weeks!  There really are great books out there and I'm not losing it!!

I promise you'll love "The Girl She Used To Be," as the girl's side of the horrific life in the Witness Protection Program and being chased by mafia hit men, and you'll want to read Jonathan's side of the story afterwards, "The Exceptions."  I've now read both and they're both heart-wrenchingly good!

Better than "The Godfather..."  Take a chance on this one and you won't look back.

5 stars                           Deborah/TheBookishDame