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by Don Santina

358 pages
When someone pushes a celebrity poet off the roof of his pad, Homicide Inspector Brennan needs to arrest somebody. His prime suspect is John Maletesta's daughter. The one-armed professor must clear his daughter, even as their own lives are in danger.

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Category: Fiction:Mystery
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About the Book
A Bullet for the Angel is a murder mystery set in 1959 San Francisco during the twilight of the Beatnik Era in North Beach and the dawn of urban gentrification in the Fillmore.

Though John Maletesta leads a mostly uneventful life as a white college professor, he walks his foggy city shrouded in thought. He digs Rhythm and Blues, dotes on his teenage daughter Talah and loves a gorgeous Black woman, Cayenne Phillips.

When Homicide Inspector Michael Brennan tries to pin the murder of a North Beach celebrity poet on Talah and Cayenne's brother is shot dead in a Fillmore alley, Maletesta's life flips upside down.

Overnight, he must become a detective, a gumshoe like Dashielle Hammet, his literary hero. He needs to find the evidence to clear his daughter and find out why Cayenne's brother was killed. Are the murders connected? It does not seem likely, but he does not trust the police to pursue honest investigations in either case.

Maletesta still suffers bouts of PTSD stemming from the loss of his left arm in WWII. He has doubts that he can conduct a successful investigation but recruits an odd assortment of allies in his quest: a waitress at Vesuvio's, a Black PI in the Fillmore, an eccentric poet, the president of his college and his maybe-Mafioso uncle. His pursuit takes him to poetry readings and night clubs, pool halls and wrestling matches. Another poet is murdered.

As Maletesta uncovers the diabolical scheme behind the crimes, he and Talah themselves become targets of the murderers.


"I enjoyed Maletesta's tough, caring character even more than the suspense which kept me on edge . . Santina writes with grit and rhythm like a fine Miles Davis composition."
- Jon Michael Miller, Love and War at Kent State


Related Title
  • A Prize for All Saints by Don Santina
    A Prize for All Saints is the story of John Maletesta, a one-armed vet who is engaged to ride shotgun for a risky expedition to Borneo in search of the Missing Link. An unknown enemy wants to stop the expedition by any means necessary.


About the Author
Don Santina is a trial consultant for criminal defense attorneys, a musician and a firearms authority. His first John Maletesta novel, A Prize for All Saints, was published in 2013.



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