Matera, Dary 1955-
MATERA, Dary 1955-
(D. M. Matera)
PERSONAL: Born 1955. Education: Attended University of Maryland; graduated from University of Miami.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—1628 South Villas Lane, Chandler, AZ 85248-1804. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Author and journalist. Arizona Republic, Phoenix, columnist. Miami News, Miami, FL, reporter; Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, editor; also did public relations work with Spector/Anker Associates.
(With Ellis Rubin) Get Me Ellis Rubin!: The Life, Times, and Cases of a Maverick Lawyer, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Michael Franzese) Quitting the Mob: How the "Yuppie Don" Left the Mafia and Lived to Tell His Story, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992, revised edition published as Blood Covenant, Whitaker House (New Kensington, PA), 2003.
(With Joseph Stedino) What's in It for Me?: How an Ex-Wiseguy Exposed the Greed, Jealousy, and Lust That Drive American Politics, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
(As D. M. Matera) Strike Midnight (novel), Vine Books (Ann Arbor, MI), 1994.
(With Donna Theisen) Angels of Emergency: Rescue Stories from America's Paramedics and EMTs, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Octavio G. Peña and Bruce C. McKenna) The Peña Files: One Man's War against Federal Corruption and the Abuse of Power, Regan Books (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Edward George) Taming the Beast: Charles Manson's Life behind Bars, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Donna Theisen) Childlight: How Children Reach out to Their Parents from the Beyond, New Horizon Press (Far Hills, NJ), 2001.
A Cry for Character: How a Group of Students Cleaned up Their Rowdy School and Spawned a Wildfire Antidote to the Columbine Effect, Prentice Hall (Paramus, NJ), 2001.
FBI's Ten Most Wanted, HarperTorch (New York, NY), 2003.
John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Columbia Journalism Review.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Nonfiction books; screenplays; the "Chandler Chronicles," a mystery series.
SIDELIGHTS: Dary Matera, a former reporter for the Miami News, specializes in nonfiction books that examine true-life cases, especially those involving crime figures. A 1992 book, Quitting the Mob: How the "Yuppie Don" Left the Mafia and Lived to Tell His Story, examines the life of Michael Franzese, a member of the Columbo crime family who made millions of dollars through a gasoline tax scam. After marrying his second wife, a born-again Christian, Franzese reformed and helped send two other criminals to prison. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Franzese's tale "in some respects a conventional gangster saga, and not altogether credible." In Entertainment Weekly, Joseph Nocera found Quitting the Mob to be less an inside look at the mob than "a promotable property." As Nocera stated, "Not only does it have a 'hot' college-educated mobster at its center, it also offers up the Mafia of fantasy, in which narcotics are frowned upon and the scams seem victimless. This is the made-for-the-movies Mafia."
The Peña Files: One Man's War against Federal Corruption and the Abuse of Power recounts the exploits of private investigator Octavio Peña, who battled with underworld figures, including Mafiosi and Jamaican kidnappers, during his career. Peña's stories "will keep readers rapidly turning the pages to find out how our hero solves his many life-and-death cases," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor.
Taming the Beast: Charles Manson's Life behind Bars looks at the infamous mastermind of the Tate-LaBianca mass murders in 1969. Cowritten with Edward George, a corrections officer at San Quentin State Prison where Manson is housed, Taming the Beast "confirms that Manson remains without remorse, unstable, [and] frightening," wrote Library Journal contributor Gregor A. Preston. Booklist critic Mike Tribby observed that, in the book, Matera "succeeds in horrifying his readers."
In the 2004 work John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal, Matera chronicles the exploits of the legendary gangster whose daring bank robberies in the 1930s made him something of a cult hero. Commenting on Dillinger's popularity, Matera told Lucio Guerrero of the Chicago Sun-Times, "People wanted to see him. He was front-page news and was on all the news reels. When he was committing a robbery, people would come to watch him." "The rather rigid straightforward storytelling obscures Dillinger's personality," observed a Publishers Weekly critic, "and the countless heists and running gun battles tend to merge into one another." According to Charlie Cowling in Library Journal, however, John Dillinger "is written in a light, breezy style that casual readers will enjoy," and Booklist contributor Jay Freeman noted that "the blow-by-blow descriptions of the battles between Dillinger's gangs and law-men are engrossing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1998, Mike Tribby, review of Taming the Beast: Charles Manson's Life behind Bars, p. 1399; May 1, 2004, Jay Freeman, review of John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal, p. 1530.
Chicago Sun-Times, July 22, 2004, Lucio Guerrero, "How Public Enemy No. 1 Became Celebrity No. 1," p. 18.
Chicago Tribune, November 11, 2001, Joanne Trestril, "Books Open New Chapters on Teachers and Students," review of A Cry for Character: How a Group of Students Cleaned up Their Rowdy School and Spawned a Wildfire Antidote to the Columbine Effect, p. 5.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 13, 2001, Russell Lissau, "Book's Portrayal of School Ignites Criticism," p. 1.
Editor & Publisher, February 12, 2004, Jennifer Saba, "Arizona Republic Scribe Says Criticizing Mormons Led to Suspension."
Entertainment Weekly, April 10, 1992, Joseph Nocera, review of Quitting the Mob: How the "Yuppie Don" Left the Mafia and Lived to Tell His Story, p. 55.
Library Journal, April 1, 1998, Gregor A. Preston, review of Taming the Beast, p. 110; May 1, 2004, Charlie Cowling, review of John Dillinger, p. 128.
Publishers Weekly, May 17, 1991, Calvin Reid, "Author Cites Arizona Press Shield Law in Resisting Subpoena," p. 12; September 6, 1991, Calvin Reid, "Arizona Judge Rules Book Author Is Not Protected by Press Shield Law," p. 10; December 6, 1991, review of Quitting the Mob, p. 64; July 15, 1996, review of The Peña Files: One Man's War against Federal Corruption and the Abuse of Power, p. 66; June 4, 2001, review of A Cry for Character, p. 66; April 12, 2004, review of John Dillinger, p. 51.
Wall Street Journal, August 13, 1992, John H. Fund, review of What's In It for Me?: How an Ex-Wiseguy Exposed the Greed, Jealousy, and Lust That Drive American Politics, p. A12.
Dary Matera Home Page, http://www.darymatera.com (November 15, 2004).