D'Ammassa, Don 1946–
D'Ammassa, Don 1946–
(Donald Eugene D'Ammassa)
PERSONAL: Born April 24, 1946; married Sheila D'Ammassa, 1968; children: one son. Education: Michigan State University, B.A.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Five Star, 295 Kennedy Memorial Dr., Waterville, ME 04901. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, businessperson, and administrator. Taunton Silversmiths, production control manager and vice president, 1971–92; Computer Network Administrator, Air Products and Chemicals, computer network administrator, 1993–c. 2004. Military service: U.S. Army, 1968–71; served in Vietnam war.
Blood Beast, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1988.
Twisted Images (short stories), Necronomicon Press (West Warwick, RI), 1995.
Servants of Chaos, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Haven, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.
Murder in Silverplate, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.
Scarab, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.
Short fiction has appeared in anthologies, including Hotter Blood: More Tales of Erotic Horror, 1991; Deathport, 1993; The Ultimate Zombie, 1993; Borderlands 4, 1994; Return to the Twilight Zone, 1994; Shock Rock II, 1994; 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories, 1995; 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, 1995; Adventures in the Twilight Zone, 1995; Blood Muse, 1995; Peter Straub's Ghosts, 1995; The Ultimate Alien, 1995; Singers of Strange Songs: A Celebration of Brian Lumley, 1997; Terminal Frights, 1997; In the Shadow of the Gargoyle, 1998; and Whitley Strieber's Aliens, 1998. Contributor of short fiction to periodicals.
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2004.
Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2006.
Book reviewer for Science-Fiction Chronicle and other publications; contributor to many reference books.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A sequel to Scarab.; The Sinking Land, a novel, for Lost Continent Library.
SIDELIGHTS: A reader of science fiction and horror since he was fourteen years old, Don D'Ammassa began his career primarily as a science-fiction and horror short-story writer before producing several novels. Commenting on the author's short fiction, a contributor to the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers noted that the author's "best … work deals with mental disorders" and that "D'Ammassa avoids the more visceral brands of horror." Commenting on his writing process, the author said in an online interview for Book of Dark Wisdom: "I usually get a single image or scene in my mind. The story then expands in both directions over the course of time and eventually I sit down and write it. I find it very difficult to write a story unless I can watch the movie version of it in my mind first."
D'Ammassa originally wrote his novel Scarab nearly a decade before it was published. Although it was accepted for publication at that time, it was eventually set aside by the publishers. The author rewrote it and submitted it to another house, which released the novel in 2004. Scarab tells the story of a serial killer living on the planet Tashista who is known as the Scarab. The killer's victims are the Nashamata, who come from the poor section of the city of Soshambe. Because of Soshambe's rigid class demarcations, not much is done to stop the killer until a city official is found slain in the district. Unable to solve the case, the local police call in an amateur detective named Sandor Dyle. The Scarab has claimed twenty-seven victims, and Dyle is known for the ability to trace a criminal's patterns to capture the perpetrator. Writing for AllSciFi.com, Harriet Klausner noted: "This science fiction police procedural is action packed, exciting and will appeal to readers of both genres." In a review in Booklist, David Pitt wrote that "there are many excellent things about this novel," citing D'Ammassa's "highly detailed, internally consistent world" and dubbing the book an "entertaining take on a traditional mystery format."
In Haven D'Ammassa presents another science-fiction murder mystery coupled with a political conspiracy on the planet Meadow. Avery, who creates virtual, sensory movies, starts hallucinating from stress because of a strange viral infection. He goes to Meadow to relax but discovers a body that disappears when he reports it to the police. Convinced that he was not hallucinating, he enlists the help of Dona Tharmody, a technician who has worked for several years on the planet. Because she is well connected to Meadow's leaders, Dona seeks the help of some political elites, only to involve herself and Avery in a complicated political conspiracy that may make them targets for death as they investigate the murder. D. Douglas Fratz, a contributor to SciFi.com, noted: "All of the characters and plot elements play integral roles in the story….
Haven is an extremely well crafted mystery/suspense/adventure novel." Fratz also noted, however, that the novel "is almost totally devoid of the kind of thematic power and sense of wonder evoked by superior science fiction." Jackie Cassada, writing in the Library Journal, called the effort a "taut mystery-suspense adventure."
Murder in Silverplate follows the investigation of a series of slayings at a plant that manufactures silver-plated giftware. The first death is made to look like an accident, but then several more employees are killed, including the company's chief executive officer. Vicki Antonelli, who is a quality-control manager at the plant, starts to investigate the deaths. Also on the case is Vicki's estranged father, Detective Walter Henderson, who begins to suspect that there may be more than one murderer involved and that the deaths may involve a complicated conspiracy. "Detective Henderson remains baffled, but pretty, perky Vicki puts on her Nancy Drew hat and saves the day," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Another reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly, commented that "D'Ammassa … paints a credible portrait of a work force either demoralized or Machiavellian enough to treat murder as a labor-saving device for climbing the corporate ladder."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998
Booklist, April 15, 2004, David Pitt, review of Scarab, p. 1431.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of Murder in Silverplate, p. 892
Library Journal, December 1, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Haven, p. 105.
Publishers Weekly, March 22, 2004, review of Scarab, p. 68; November 1, 2004, review of Murder in Silverplate, p. 47.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (September 25, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Murder in Silverplate.
AllSciFi.com, http://www.allscifi.com/ (September 25, 2005), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Haven and Servants of Chaos.
Book of Dark Wisdom, http://www.darkwisdom.com/ (September 25, 2005), interview with author.
Council for the Literature of the Fantastic Web site, http://www.uri.edu/artsci/english/clf/ (September 25, 2005), information about author.
SciFi.com, http://www.scifi.com/ (September 25, 2005), D. Douglas Fratz, review of Haven.