Scotti, R.A. 1946–
Scotti, R.A. 1946–
PERSONAL: Born December 25, 1946, in Providence, RI; daughter of Ciro O. (a physician) and Rita (in business) Scotti; children: Francesca E.M. Chigounis, Ciro E.D. Chigounis. Education: Loyola University, B.S., 1965. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Travel to Italy.
CAREER: Journalist and writer. Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ, editor, 1967–68; Chapter & Verse, Ink (independent publisher), cofounder, 1999–.
The Kiss of Judas (thriller), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1985.
The Devil's Own (thriller), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1985.
Cradle Song (nonfiction), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1987.
The Hammer's Eye (thriller), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1987.
For Love of Sarah (novel), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1995.
My Millennium Memories (for children), two books, Blue Frog Crossing, 1999.
Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: R.A. Scotti's 1985 thriller The Kiss of Judas is a fictionalized account of events following the 1978 terrorist kidnap/murder of Italy's prime minister and details a subsequent plot to seize the Roman Catholic pope. Critiquing The Kiss of Judas for the New York Times Book Review, Jacqueline Austin determined that "more complexity and imagination" might be desired from a suspense novel based on actual happenings and people. Austin nevertheless cited The Kiss of Judas for its vivid descriptions and lively dialogue while tracking the terrorists through Rome's streets.
Like Scotti's first book, her second, The Devil's Own, "is a fast-paced juxtaposition of fact and fiction," observed Los Angeles Times Book Review contributor Mark Schorr. Apparently patterned after a true-to-life scandal, the book presents a character who exploits his friendship with the pope and builds an international empire by looting millions of dollars from Italian banks. According to Schorr, the work provides an "understandable explanation of the sophisticated world of money laundering."
Scotti has also written a two-volume set for children ages eight to twelve titled My Millennium Memories; the first book is a scrapbook, and the second contains history and how-to directions for making the scrapbook. Scotti once told CA: "The Kiss of Judas—or the idea for it—came to me while on a trip to Rome when Italy's Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades. The logical question seemed to be: Who would be the next target? There could be only one answer: The pope.
"My research for Judas led me to The Devil's Own, which centers around the financial chicanery of a man who served as banker to both the Vatican and the Mafia."
Scotti later added: "There is an eerie footnote to my novel, The Devil's Own, an intricately plotted financial thriller in which three stories are woven together: importing drugs from Afghanistan through Europe to the United States; the rise and fall of the international financier Stefano Carlatti, who is patterned after Sindona, the Milanese banker responsible for the failure of the Franklin National Bank; and the involvement of the bishop who served as head of the Vatican Bank. At the end of the book, I have Carlatti/Sindona extradited to Italy and held in jail. While awaiting trial, he mysteriously dies in his cell from poisoning. A few months after The Devil's Own was published the real Sindona was extradited to Italy and held in jail. While awaiting trial, he mysteriously died in his cell, a victim of poisoning."
Scotti turned to nonfiction with her book Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. The book follows one of the biggest hurricanes to hit the United States. Beginning in Florida, the fast moving hurricane swept up the eastern seaboard all the way to Long Island and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Scotti "saves her most powerful writing for the hurricane itself, describing the storm watch and the havoc wrought when it reached land." The reviewer went on to call the book "a darkly intense portrait." William C. Symonds, writing in Business Week, commented that Scotti "has penned a fast-paced book built around a few of the most vivid tales." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Former journalist and mystery novelist Scotti successfully applies her skills in both genres to this detailed retelling."
In Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's, Scotti recounts the building of St. Peter's Basilica, a 120-year construction project. In addition to detailing the various scandals and trials that arose over the project, the author writes about its impact on faith and the church, such as her belief that the project greatly influenced the start of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the story "fascinating" and "a riveting portrait of the papacy." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the "absorbing story" and referred to it as a "fascinating tale of genius, power and money."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Business Week, October 13, 2003, William C. Symonds, review of Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, p. 23.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2003, review of Sudden Sea, p. 957; April 1, 2006, review of Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's, p. 339.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 3, 1985, Mark Schorr, review of The Devil's Own.
New York Times Book Review, March 31, 1985, Jacqueline Austin, review of The Kiss of Judas.
Publishers Weekly, August 4, 2003, review of Sudden Sea, p. 69; March 20, 2006, review of Basilica, p. 46.