Briefing Books: A bad guy (Stanley Hoss), and a good guy (Giuseppe Musolino) gone bad

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If you're a local writer of fiction, nonfiction or poetry and have had a book published recently, send it to: Tony Norman, Book Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 34 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. No pamphlets, oral histories or PDFs, please. Include your website and email.

• "Born to Lose: Stanley B. Hoss and the Crime Spree that Gripped a Nation" by James G. Hollock (Kent State University Press). James Hollock is a killer writer (and I mean that in the best possible way). In "Born to Lose," Mr. Hollock has crafted an impossible-to-put-down account of Stanley Hoss, a Pittsburgh thug turned prison escapee, kidnapper, rapist and murderer and how he landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for nearly a year in 1969. Nicknamed the "Pennsylvania Badman," Hoss did everything he could to live up to his reputation. Describing him as "evil" doesn't quite do Hoss justice. Even folks who are against the death penalty would've made an exception for this creep. Get ready for many sleepless nights. > Available everywhere;

• "King of the Mountains: The Remarkable Story of Giuseppe Musolino, Italy's Most Famous Outlaw" by Dan Possumator (Smoky City Press). Pittsburgh writer Dan Possumator has written a gripping account of an Italian peasant accused of a crime he didn't commit in 1897 and sentenced to decades of hard labor. When Musolino escaped from prison, he sought revenge on the men who framed him. He killed 25 people and eluded Italian authorities, including an army regiment, for three years. This short volume chronicles Musolino's capture, his trial and his ultimate fate. The author's admiration for the famous outlaw is clear in this well-written tale. > Available as a book or an e-book at Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, or

• "Three Tastes of Nuoc Mam: The Brown Water Navy & Visits to Vietnam" by Douglas M. Branson (Hellgate Press). University of Pittsburgh law professor Douglas Branson was a "Brown Water Navy" lieutenant JG (junior grade) in Vietnam in 1966. When he was 22, he was assigned to patrol and protect the inshore coasts from Viet Cong smugglers and guerrillas with a flotilla of wooden ships, tiny Coast Guard vessels and minesweepers. Decades later, Mr. Branson has collected his thoughts about the changes the country has undergone over the years. "Three Tastes of Nuoc Mam" includes maps and photos. Mr. Branson has rendered a very informed take on Vietnam. > Available on Amazon;

• "In a Moment's Time" by Dave Borland (Friesen Press). What happens when a man in his 50s gets a diagnosis during an annual physical that he has a black spot at the base of his brain? Much soul searching and medical testing ensue as Hugh Sloan tries to come to grips with his mortality and spiritual vulnerability. Meanwhile, Sloan meets two strangers -- a minister at Heinz Chapel and a woman who knows how to touch him in unexpected ways. The events that will change his life play out over a week. Author Dave Borland even throws in a family secret to keep the mystery rolling along. >Available at Amazon, Kindle and in hardback and paperback;

A scrum of scribes

The Peoples Library New Kensington will host "A Gathering of Authors" -- local writers published by Word Association Publishers, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. They will discuss their work, how they got published and what to expect once your book is published. Authors will include Chip Bell, George Boyle, C. William Davis III, Wayne Decroo, J.M. Dietz, Pat Condelli, Patti Faloon, George Guido, Dave Hammer, Dennis Marsili, Bill Mays Sr., Kimberly McCormick, Tiffany Cloud Olson, Deborah Sweaney, Joseph Szalanski, Bob Tatrn and Lou Vitti. The event is free and open to the public. > Word Association: 800-827-7903 or


Tony Norman: or 412-263-1631.


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