Cover image for 1906 : a novel
Title:
1906 : a novel
Author:
Dalessandro, James.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books ; Vancouver, B.C. : Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
361 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780811843133
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Every disaster has a backstory, none more thrilling than this one. Set during the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, this page-turning tale of political corruption, vendettas, romance, rescue--and murder--is based on recently uncovered facts that forever change our understanding of what really happened. Told by a feisty young reporter, Annalisa Passarelli, the novel paints a vivid picture of the Victorian-era city, from the mansions of Nob Hill to the underbelly of the Barbary Coast to the arrival of tenor Enrico Caruso and the Metropolitan Opera. Central to the story is the ongoing battle--fought even as the city burns--that pits incompetent and unscrupulous politicians against a coalition of honest police officers, newspaper editors, citizens, and a lone federal prosecutor. With the appeal and texture of The Alienist , Carter Beats the Devil , and the novels of E. L. Doctrow, James Dalessandro weaves unforgettable characters and actual events into a compelling epic. Movie rights to the novel have been bought by Barry Levinson/SpringCreek Productions/Warner Brothers. The movie will enter pre-production soon.


Author Notes

James Dalessandro is a San Francisco-based screenwriter and author of several books, including mystery and true crime novels.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Screenwriter and novelist Dalessandro (Bohemian Heart) pens an imaginative and dense interplay between fact and fiction in this story of corruption, crime lords and the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Annalisa Passarelli, the Evening Bulletin's music critic, narrates the tale with a mix of first-person intimacy and cool omniscience. She's secretly helping the chief of detectives, Byron Fallon, gather dirt on a corrupt political syndicate headed by Adam Rolf, city attorney and power broker. Rolf (a fictional character) owns the "puppet-mayor," Eugene Schmitz (an actual person), and is supported by an army of goons and waterfront toughs led by the infamous Shanghai Kelly, who, as Dalessandro notes in his afterword, was actually dead by 1906. Byron aims to arrest the mayor, the police chief and the city attorney in one fell swoop, but when he is killed investigating a murder at the waterfront, it's up to his son Hunter, a Stanford graduate and fledgling police detective, to carry his mantle. Annalisa and Hunter appeal to an association of honest cops known as the Brotherhood (co-led by Hunter's brother, Christian), who are dedicated to destroying Rolf's machine, although Hunter also has personal vengeance on his mind. They secure incriminating evidence, but before justice can be served, the earthquake strikes, plunging the city into chaos. This plot-and all its subplots, one starring a beautiful Kansas runaway, another featuring tenor Enrico Caruso-might have worked beautifully, but Dalessandro employs too many B-movie theatrics, and the love story falls flat. Still, there's plenty of suspense to keep readers turning pages to the bittersweet conclusion. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved