Charlie Stella

5fd951c88da0d00a5c97d110.L._V192661982_Charlie Stella’s first two novels, Eddie’s World and Jimmy Bench-Press, received excellent reviews, establishing him as a new voice in the hard-boiled fiction market. His third novel, Charlie Opera, had the distinction of being selected as one of the Best of 2003 (Mystery) by Publishers Weekly.

Cheapskates earned him comparisons to such literary greats Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake, and Mario Puzo.

Stella’s novels have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Russian, German, and Polish.

Spiked with rare authenticity and crackling dialogue, his world is a kaleidoscope of danger, violence, humour, and sometimes love.

Author’s page:



charlie pornoIt’s the summer of 1973.  Disco is King and the New York mob is at the peak of its power.

John Albano, an out-of-work construction worker with child support and rent payments he can’t keep up with, is driving for a local car service when his quick hands and honourable nature place him in the middle of a perfect storm of danger. He’s just trying to make ends meet with a weekend stint counting heads and collecting the take at illegal screenings of the recently banned porno film, Deep Throat, for Mafioso Eddie Vento.

But a devious ex-wife, her more devious ex-husband, the wiseguys behind the film, and a host of cops snowball into an often humorous, sometimes violent, action-packed page turner loaded with the masterful dialogue that earned Charlie Stella six *starred* reviews.


“Don’t be fooled by the title – it’s just a gangster moniker. Elmore Leonard fans are going to love Stella’s entirely original contribution to the slice-of-criminal-life genre, down-and-dirty division.”     Booklist

“Stella’s vibrant seventh crime novel catches the cadence and daily grind of organized crime grunts… Stella tosses an eclectic cast of characters into the mix… admirers of Elmore Leonard and George V. Higgins will be happy.”  Publishers Weekly

Johnny Porno is a terrific Nixon Era crime caper reminiscent of Elmore Leonard.”  The Mystery Gazette

“This has all the trappings of classic Stella – decent guys, wise guys of various standing in the mob, good/dirty cops, but most importantly, dialogue that makes you want to stand up and beg for more.”  Men Reading Books

“Stella is carving himself a niche in crime literature somewhere between the late Eugene Izzi’s street noir and Elmore Leonard’s ironic tragicomedies.  Bottom line: it works.” —Booklist *Starred* Review

“Fresh, fast and darkly-funny.”   Kirkus *Starred* Review

Publisher: Stark House Press (2010). Rights held: World, ex. English N/A. Rights sold: Polish (Zysk), Spanish (Ediciones B Mexico), German (Suhrkamp, 2016).


Other novels by Charlie Stella:


“Stella’s capers are populated with criminals who are more clever than smart and lawmen who get stymied by clever but eventually prevail with smarts. A delight.” — Booklist

“Sort of like Goodfellas meets Fargo. Check out Eddie’s World and start right in on Rough Riders. You’ll love the ride … Then read everything else he’s done.” —Men Reading Books

MAFIYA (2008)

“Stella has been a “rising star” for some time now, and if his sixth thriller doesn’t place him in the firmament, it does confirm his rock-solid ability to deliver the goods… this revenge-driven tale will satisfy fans of strong women and contemporary crime—as you’ll guess from the title, the bad guys aren’t your father’s Mafia.” —Booklist

Mafiya is a fast, dark and compelling novel from an author whose work, if there is any justice, will be being read years from now as one of the classic authors of modern crime fiction. It’s already been said that Stella deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the greats of the genre, but as he proves his versatility and ability with this, his sixth novel, such statements become superfluous: Stella may just be the best crime writer you have yet to discover.”  — Crime Scene Scotland


“And so the dance along Mean Street begins, as complex as it is violent and brutal. Bobby will have to step lively to keep from paying the piper. With his fifth entertaining entry in the gangster follies (Cheapskates, 2005, etc.), Stella earns a place among the most readable writers in crime fiction.”  —Kirkus *Starred* Review

“Combine equal parts Mario Puzo and Elmore Leonard, throw in a dash of George V. Higgins and a pinch of Donald E. Westlake and who do you get? Charlie Stella, that’s who. His compelling and authentic portrayal of the urban netherworld and the savages who inhabit it place his crime thrillers among the best in the genre, past or present.” —San Diego Union Tribune


“It takes a finely tuned ear to write dialogue that rings true, and Stella (Charlie Opera , etc.) has it. With his hapless crooks and wry humor, he belongs in line behind Elmore Leonard and Donald E. Westlake…”      Publishers Weekly

“Stella writes with intelligence and wit, infusing his stories with the reality of the streets and a sly sense of humor.   He might just be the best crime writer you’ve never read.”  —Chicago Sun-Times


Mystery Book of the Year 2003 Selection – Publishers Weekly
Booklist runner-up to the Top Ten Mysteries of  late 2003/early 2004 – Booklist
A Crime Factory pick as one of the best crime reads of 2003.

” For his third brilliant crime novel, following Jimmy Bench-Press (2002)…Stella’s dialogue is electric and funny…”   —Publishers Weekly *Starred* Review

“Stella is carving himself a niche in crime literature somewhere between the late Eugene Izzi’s street noir and Elmore Leonard’s ironic tragicomedies.  Bottom line: it works.  Stella is a rising star.”   —Booklist *Starred* Review

“Combine Mario Puzo and Elmore Leonard, add a dash of George V. Higgins and what do you get?  Charlie Stella, that’s what.  His flamboyant characters, violent action and picturesque dialogue place his work among the best of underworld thrillers, past and present.”   —San Diego Union Tribune


“Stella moves confidently into territory staked out by Elmore Leonard … for fans of unrelenting underworld fiction … This solid follow-up to Eddie’s World should spread Stella’s name wider …”  —Publishers Weekly

“It’s even harder to be soft-hearted about the gangsters in Charlie Stella’s blood curdling, convincing “Jimmy Bench Press” … Stella is a kind of obscene Ring Lardner, finding a lean, rancid poetry in his characters’ vernacular, and rendering it with flawless precision and humor.”  —Washington Post Book World


“Fresh, fast and darkly-funny. A sure-footed debut from a writer with a spare, no-nonsense prose style who can make you like characters you think you shouldn’t.”   —Kirkus *Starred* Review

“This is Charlie Stella’s first novel. Readers may be reminded, in both style and substance, of George V. Higgins’ underworld thrillers, especially the classic “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.” The comparison is not odious; Stella stacks up well against the master. He plots cleverly, keeps his finger firmly on the suspense button and moves the action along briskly. He is also blessed with a gift for dialogue, likely springing from his experience as an off-Broadway playwright.”   —San Diego Union Tribune