What Readers Are Saying

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Immigrating from Europe, and many years of hardship, Betsy did not want the struggles her parents endured running a bakery in NYC. After their death, Betsy sold the bakery, eventually saving enough money to be trained in Paris before becoming an accomplished culinary and pastry chef. She soon discovered that life gets in the way when you’re making plans.  Set in the 1940s, Betsy, tired of slinging Blue Plate specials at the Crosstown Diner, takes what she thinks is a vacation to paradise. Being a young widow, she thought she could never fall in love again, until she met him; a handsome Italian psychiatrist. What happens to the two of them on Contadora Island will change their lives forever. 

Reviews: Murder on Contadora Island

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read October 18, 2020 Once again Fred Berri did not disappoint. Murder on Contadora Island was suspenseful and captivating. It kept my interest not knowing what was going to happen next. It was an easy read. I look forward to his next book. RK

Walter 5.0 out of 5 stars Murder on Contdora Island Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2020 This is the third of Mr. Berri’s mystery novels on my nighttime bookshelf. Can’t really say which I enjoyed more.
The time period, characters, all tie in very nicely to make a thriller with lots of twist and turns. Reminds me of the old black and white television dramas (Mike Hammer, Perry Mason and such). I recommend his new book for a good read, and am looking forward to the next thriller.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Interesting characters, twisty plot; enjoyable Betsy, a heartbroken widow, plans an exciting vacation, a welcome break from her waitressing job and lonely life. Contadora Island is known for its beautiful beaches, ghosts of pirates, and undiscovered buried treasure, but murder is not in the travel brochures. A chance encounter with Basil, a handsome, sophisticated man, provides romance, danger and a new direction to Betsy’s life. Her transition from grieving widow to a sexy, assertive woman surprises as much as the secrets in her past. The novel is peopled with interesting characters—a mobster’s daughter and a pompous inspector who is more capable than he seems. Murder on Contadora Island is an enjoyable read. J. C. Konitz

I just love the adversity and the prolific writing on the author, Fred Berri. He has become a favorite author of mine with his story telling. Mr. Berri puts you right there next to each character as if you were in the conversation. Murder on Contadora Island is unique as all of Mr. Berri’s novels with twists and turns that will always keep you wanting to turn the page with short chapter. Another surprise ending as all his books have. He is now also writing children’s books besides mystery and thrillers. I have also purchased the children’s series The Adventures of Carmelo. My grandchildren love them because it gives them lessons to learn from. Thank you Mr. Berri. I recommend this as well as all his other books. Michael A.

janet 5.0 out of 5 stars Another page turning novel Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2020
Murder on Contadora Island is Mr. Berri’s newest suspense mystery. As with all his novels, it does not disappoint and keeps you wanting more.


It’s the year 1949. The war is over. NYC Detective Johnny Vero has been promoted to Lieutenant partly as a result for capturing serial killer, Jean-Paul Vincent the year before in France with the help of Interpol (Ten Cents a Dance). Griff, a one-time frieght captain now smuggles opium and Chinese women for prostitution into New York’s Chinatown. Murders are mounting. Suspicions include Chinatown’s factions, undercover detectives and the M.E.’s office. In steps the FBI

Reviews: Bullets Before Dawn-Murder in Chinatown

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent, Entertaining Read August 6, 2019 Format: Paperback Fred Berri has done it again, I can’t get enough of detective Vero!!! As the reader you can definitively tell that the author, Mr. Berri, has found his writing cadence. With his easy going writing style and short chapters you keep telling yourself “one more chapter….”

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite—Bullets Before Dawn: Murder In Chinatown is a work of crime fiction penned by author Fred Berri, featuring central character Detective Johnny Vero. Following the events of the first book featuring Vero, Ten Cents a Dance, we now find ourselves in 1949 when the world’s largest war has come to an end. Now promoted to Lieutenant, Johnny Vero finds his next case in NYC’s Chinatown, where drugs and women are being freighted in to be used as commodities. As murders mount up in the Chinatown area, Johnny makes new friends and enemies as he delves into the mystery, including undercover detectives, a feisty D.A. and the FBI.

Author Fred Berri has done some excellent detective work of his own to research and portray such a lively year in the history of New York City. Each page comes alive with the spirit of the forties, from the grimy streets and shady criminals to the polished offices of the higher ups. Written for adults due to explicit violence, sexual content and language, this isn’t a tale which shies away from the reality and brutality of the crimes taking place, but it’s also about the real experiences of Johnny, Molly and the rest as their lives become embroiled in this new criminal threat. Equally strong on plot and character development, the mystery itself shoots along with short, compelling chapters that keep you wanting to read more. Overall, Bullets Before Dawn: Murder In Chinatown is an excellent read for fans of murder mysteries and crime fiction alike.

Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite —The year is 1949 and the war is over for the world. However, things are not improving, especially for Homicide Detective Johnny Vero. After his capture of the serial killer Jean-Paul Vincent, Johnny was promoted to Lieutenant and soon he found love in NYC’s District Attorney Molly Penett. Just when he thought his life was getting better, things went downhill. Something is happening in Chinatown and it is happening far too quickly. People are being murdered and it seems as if Chinatown’s boss Mo China is behind it all. The bodies are turning up faster than before and it is up to Johnny to find the person or persons behind it quickly.
Bullets Before Dawn: Murder in Chinatown by Fred Berri consists of short chapters and a smooth flow that kept me riveted and wanting more. From the very first chapter, I was invested in Johnny Vero’s story and his character. I wanted to know more about him and the author gave it to me. Fred Berri has a gift of storytelling, one that transports the reader into the story and makes them live the thrill and the action along with the characters. I felt as if I was standing next to Johnny Vero. I could see what he was seeing and feel his desperation. The flow was fast, the narrative was smooth and the descriptions were very vivid. Needless to say, I loved reading this novel in a single go. Even though my eyes were a little dry and tired the next morning, I regretted nothing! Fast-paced and very entertaining.

Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite—Bullets Before Dawn: Murder in Chinatown featuring Homicide Detective Johnny Vero by Fred Berri is set in 1949, following WW2. It’s a crime novel that features human and drug trafficking and murder, with compelling characters and an indefatigable detective. Chinatown is heading for catastrophe as a crime boss runs women and opium smuggled in from China. It’s a world of sleaze where anyone can be a criminal. Follow Detective Vero and the newly elected District Attorney as they work their way through a complex network of crime on a path filled with danger to solve a murder that gets more complicated with each passing moment. 
The novel features a cast of compelling characters like Griff, the freight ship captain, Alvise LaPoshio, Molly Penett and a cast of others. In a style similar to James Patterson’s, the author crafts chapters that are short, each ending with a puzzle or a cliffhanger that urges the reader to turn to the next page, hungry for an answer or looking for the next exciting event. There is an intense romance developing between two key characters against the backdrop of a crime-ridden setting. The characters are well developed and each has depth and humanity. The author explores themes of murder and human trafficking with a lot of realism, crafting scenes that are cinematic and plunging readers into the mindscapes of the characters. The prose is crisp and punctuated by exciting dialogues. I enjoyed the short sentence structure and the author’s ability to paint pictures in the minds of readers and to awaken strong emotions in them. There is both suspense and humor to spice up the writing. This is a fast-paced, intriguing thriller that keeps the reader reading through the night.

5.0 out of 5 starsBullets Before Dawn May 22, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Once I started it I couldn’t put it down !!! Great story easy read author gives such descriptions and details it feels like you are right there in the action!

Victoria C. Congratulations to this new author! I’ve just finished his third book and his writing and story lines just keep getting better. Compared to his previous book, Ten Cents a Dance, the main characters now show a marked development in Bullets Before Dawn-Murder in Chinatown, his third novel. The story is a balanced mix of mystery, intrigue and romance and kept my interest throughout the read. I truly look forward to his next novel. Keep ’em coming fred berri.

Christine L. S. March 24, 2019 Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase Mr. Berri has brought us another fun, fast exciting read. Always thought I was born too late. Thanks to author, Fred Berri, I’m sure of it. Would have loved living in the forties. Would have loved knowing Lt. Johnny Vero in those days! Looking forward to more!

Aidan 5.0 out of 5 starsDefinitely a great read April 9, 2019Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase This book has everything in a good book, excitement, thrill and suspense. It was a easy read that kept me wanting to find out what happens each chapter!

Anna B. A.5.0 out of 5 starsBest of Three March 3, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Bullets Before Dawn is the third book and, by far, the best of the three novels offered by Fred Berri. His stories just keep getting better and better. This book involves us in the life and loves of Lt. Johnny Vero and his never-ending battle against crime in the 1940s. Each chapter flows easily into the next and keeps the reader wanting more. Congratulations, Mr. Berri, you’ve done it again!

Paula 5.0 out of 5 starsTotally entertaining. April 1, 2019Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase Awesome Read!!! Short chapters, crime, cops and a touch of smut….love it.

Michael A 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Homicide Detective Mystery February 22, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition fred berri is now for sure a favorite author. His story with short chapters is a page turner looking for what’s next. I like how he approaches his characters in introducing each and how they all seem to inter wind. A great homicide detective story. I like how he has some flash backs from the previous novel, Ten Cents a Dance. I like the cadence of his writing which keeps you in suspense of what’s next. I am definitely a fan and look forward to his next novel.

janet5.0 out of 5 starsA Page Turning Mystery March 5, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Mr. Beri has a knack for keeping the reader wanting more. Detective Johnny Vero lives on.

Ellen G.5.0 out of 5 starsStory sizzles in more ways than one February 23, 2019 Format: Paperback Sizzling romance against a backdrop of crime, cops, and intrigue. What’s not to enjoy?

Amazon Customer Ralph, New Jersey 5.0 out of 5 starsBest writer is here March 31, 2019 Format: Paperback Just finished Bullets before dawn was a well written book I do like Mr Berri’s format of short chapters making u turn the pages to keep going on liked it so much I picked up his 2nd book 10cents a dance then reread Bullets great writing absolutely loved 1st book Blood Cousins. Great Reading

Lore R Format: paperback 5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Chinatown finds you trying to solve the murders related to a prostitution ring originated in China. This novel has all the excitement and violence you would find in a murder mystery. Once you start reading, you will not be able to put it down. “Hats off to the author.” Excellent job, fred berri


Fred Berri’s Ten Cents a Dance is a suspenseful page turner! Can Detective Johnny Vero stop the strange string of murders? Homicide detective, Johnny Vero, travels to France and works with Interpol to hunt a serial killer. The killer targets dance hall women who charge a fee of ten cents for a 3 minute spin on the dance floor. The story takes a bizarre turn when it is discovered they are murdered in the Budapest Hotel in certain room numbers which have biblical meanings. Why is the killer choosing these rooms? Detective Vero needs to find the answers before more women are killed

Reviews: Ten Cents a Dance

beth 5.0 out of 5 starsA great murder mystery with a twist at the end that … December 15, 2016 Format: PaperbackVerified Purchaset this is the second book I have read by Mr. Berri. This book also takes place in New York. A great murder mystery with a twist at the end that you never see coming. Bravo, Mr. Berri. Hope to see your next book soon.

Anna B A4.0 out of 5 starsA good read! November 8, 2016 Format: Paperback This is the first in a series, I hope, featuring Johnny Vero, New York homicide detective. It is chock full of suspense and twists and turns. The end leaves the reader wanting more of the adventures of our hero, Johnny Vero. I will be looking forward to seeing Fred Berri’s adventure books in the near future!

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent Book August 2, 2017 Format: Kindle Edition This review is long over due.
Last year I received a copy of Mr. Berri’s “Ten Cents A Dance” and really enjoyed the book.
I encourage you to pick up a copy, you will not be disappointed!
Good reading.

dianeh5.0 out of 5 starsAgain no disappointment with An unexpected twist and surprise ending making this … February 11, 2017 Format: Paperback Main character Johnny Vero , A New York City detective, takes you on a journey of suspense and adventure tracking down a serial killer . Again no disappointment with an unexpected twist and surprise ending making this another hit for Fred Berri. Looking forward to next adventure .

Lisa 5.0 out of 5 starsA Real Page Turner!January 23, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition A big shout out to this newcomer! This book keeps the reader entertained throughout. Always on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens. I love the introduction of new characters often. A real page turner!

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book, Great Detecting! November 8, 2016 Format: Paperback Wow, Fred Berri has hit the mark right in the middle. This book leaves you engaged, intrigued and wanting more of Detective Vero!!! Well written, well paced and what an ENDING, I didn’t see it coming.

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsMr Berri is a very good writer. His last book was a can’t put down … November 23, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Mr Berri is a very good writer his last book was a can’t put down book until it’s finished a now we have the same feeling Great job looking forward for next book 👏👏


Like many immigrants of the early 1900s, Michael Pellegrino’s family arrived on Ellis Island in search of the American dream. Through hard work and humble beginnings, he watched his parents struggle to make a life for themselves in their new surroundings–but it wasn’t long before tragedy forced young Michael to find his own way.
With plenty of determination and charm, Michael works his way from grocery clerk to business owner, and he even manages to find the love of his life. But when prohibition hits the United States, he sees an even more lucrative business opportunity, quickly amassing power and wealth through the bootlegging trade.
Now sitting on the throne of a thriving criminal empire, Michael will do anything to protect what’s his–lying, cheating, and destroying any obstacle in the way. Even the White House isn’t safe from the Pellegrino family influence, which has grown to include real estate, loan sharking, and a wine import business.
But when it comes time for Michael’s son Charlie to take up the torch, will he be able to rise to the occasion and protect the family name? Or will the Pell empire finally come crumbling to the ground?

Reviews: Cousins’ Bad Blood

5.0 out of 5 starsWorthwhile new book by Fred Berri December 16, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseFrom the beginning of Cousin’s Bad Blood, to the surprise ending, this book will hold your interest. As a young boy, Michael Pellegrino, along with his family immigrated to America hoping to find streets paved with gold. He learned there were two kinds of people; those who had and those who had-not. He was determined to use the opportunities to become one of those who had. He developed a mantra to work smarter, harder and longer to get ahead. He went from being a clerk in a grocery store, to owning his own produce market. With the support of his beautiful wife Regina, they found other avenues for increasing profits; money-lending,bootlegging, real-estate, prostitution, horse-racing, etc. In the book you will read about power, sex, deception,love, murder, and of course, the family. This book has short chapters and each chapter makes you want to keep reading to see what happens next. I hope that Fred Berri will write a sequel to continue the saga of the Pellegrino family.

Trebor5.0 out of 5 starsHighly Recommended! September 5, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseCaptivating and engaging story that will keep you reading and wanting more. A book that grabs hold of your attention and you will not want to put it down. Author paints a lively and true to life story that brings you inside the drama and struggle of family, particular the intrigue surrounding its patriarchs. A must read and must buy.

Connie 5.0 out of 5 starsI fell in love with Michael September 12, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseI fell in love with Michael…
there were 2 of him…
of course, I loved the husband, father, family man…
the other him was just business…
I especially looked forward to the next page…
not knowing what to except…
I never expected the ending…
I even screamed!
it’s no fun to be able to guess the ending…
then why bother readying?
I always read my favorites a second time…
and Cousins’ Bad Blood will always be on my favorite list.
and this was for sure one of my favorites!

beth g5.0 out of 5 starsWould highly recommend this. Chapters are short August 20, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseI could not put this book down-the ending chapters will surprise you. Hope he writes a novel continuing where this left off. Would highly recommend this. Chapters are short, so you can pick it up and read when you have a few minutes.

Michael A5.0 out of 5 starsWhat a captivating story! June 18, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase What a captivating story! It held my attention ALL the way through, not just some of it. I connected with most of the characters. They were so real to me. In fact, knowing many of the locations in the book, I felt as though I was right there with them. The short chapters made it a fast read. I couldn’t wait to turn the page. I never expected the twist at the end. I’m looking forward to Fred Berri’s next book. I highly recommend this book.

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsGreat Story July 1, 2016Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseThis book is gripping and a fast paced easy reader. Mr. Berry is insightful and vividly portrays the times with a lingering nostalgia. It would make a great movie! Be ready for graphic erotic episodes. Had they been omitted, the story is enough to carry itself.

Lisa5.0 out of 5 starsThis book should be your next read. October 3, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseUnexpected entertainment from this first published book by Berri. This is a story of deception, and greed and how wealth and power can change people. Fred Berri has produced a page turner. The characters have come alive so much so, that I can’t wait for a sequel. If you liked The GodFather and Sopranos this is your next read.

Dinorah5.0 out of 5 starsHighly recommend it! August 15, 2015Format: Kindle EditionVerified PurchaseGreat book! Easy to read and loved the short chapter concept. Being an immigrant myself, I could totally relate to the struggles they faced. It was also very informative and intriguing. Couldn’t wait to turn the page.

greg dav5.0 out of 5 starsEngaging September 11, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseWhat a nice read, I have short attention span issues and this was like watching the sopranos.. Unreal, kept me reading in my car, at the bar and so far I love it, 14 chapters in and I’ve had it 12 days…

Deborah & Kenrick 5.0 out of 5 starsGreat Book!!!! August 11, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified PurchaseAmaing book unable to put down the book read it over the weekend. When is the next book coming out LOVED IT!!!!! Had the privilege to meet the author!!!!!

4.0 out of 5 starsFour Stars January 11, 2016Format: Kindle EditionVerified PurchaseGreat 1st novel. Stay tuned for Mr. Berri’s next work!

Linda5.0 out of 5 starsA fantastic read – its fiction that reads like a real story January 16, 2016 Format: Kindle EditionThis book was excellent and a fast read with short chapters. The characters were very believable. My husband and I both read the book and
enjoyed it very much. It definitely appeals to both men and women. Definitely not a childrens book however. It is amazing that this is Mr. Berri’s first published book. The writing is amazing and there are no boring spots to skip over as you will want to read every word. I will certainly be watching for his next book to read. Hope it comes out soon. I also heard there will be a sequel to this book someday. If anyone is looking for an exciting
book, pick this one and be prepared to be entertained.

Paul5.0 out of 5 starsBAD BLOOD. An interesting and compelling novel especially if … July 15, 2016Format: PaperbackI just read this novel by Fred Berri, COUSINS, BAD BLOOD. An interesting and compelling novel especially if you grew up in New York or any other metropolitan city that was a melting pot for immigrants.
Michael Pellegrino assimilates into the culture of America and aggressively rises to the top of the ladder doing what ever has to be done.
This is reminiscent of other novels but Berri captures the mindset of a young Italian immigrant achieving almost impossible goals. A good read, especially if you are on a plane for a couple of hours…

Edward S 5.0 out of 5 starsBad Blood Fan!!!!! December 10, 2015 Format: PaperbackI read this book in 3 days. It was an intense enjoyable book. I could not wait to pick it up and continue reading. I loved the fact the author wrote short chapters as I do not like to stop reading a book until I get to the end of a chapter. This made it easy to stop when I needed to and pick it up to continue reading. It was not predictable at all and kept my interest throughout. The characters in the book seemed like a normal every day family at first but wow! I always heard of things like this going on but I felt I was living it. I would highly recommend this book as it really brings to light an era that we have heard about but its basis still continues. I’m not going to say more as you should read it to find out for yourself what I am talking about. Enjoy reading!!!!!

Dean 5.0 out of 5 starsA great read… July 9, 2015Format: PaperbackAs the grandson of Italian immigrants Who came through Ellis Island, I loved reading this book. It’s historically factual as to the period and rich in culture and in plot. The author’s words paint a vivid pallet of what it was like growing up in an Italian family in New York. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a behind the scenes view of an intriguing era!

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsI was able to finish reading ‘Cousins’ Bad Blood’ on my flight home November 15, 2015 Format: PaperbackCharlie boy’s 7th birthday party…what a BLAST! I was able to finish reading ‘Cousins’ Bad Blood’ on my flight home, with its short chapters it was a very easy read. This author takes you on a very compelling journey with two generations of the Pel Family and I would highly recommend to keep reading to the very end – did that just happen?! Wow! This book would make an epic movie -way to go Fred Berri! Signed: St. Christopher (For mature audiences only)

Anna B A5.0 out of 5 starsI loved this book July 5, 2015Format: PaperbackI loved this book! The author describes the rise of an Italian immigrant and his rise to power in New York. The chapters are short and concise and left the reader eager to read the next chapter. I was born in the Bronx and can remember many of the places the author so vividly describes places I had been as a child. The book is fast-paced and well written. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good suspense novel.

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsA must!! November 6, 2015 Format: PaperbackI haven’t read any good books in a very long time, as I could never find any that kept my interest. However, this book was given to me by a very good friend and once I opened it, I couldn’t shut it. It makes you wish you were a part of this family, the details and descriptions of that era transforms you to that time. It is an awesome read! Absolutely recommended

Rachel K5.0 out of 5 starsThe chapters were short which made reading quick and easy. It was a real page turner August 19, 2015 Format: PaperbackThis book was a pleasant surprise. The characters were so likable. The book was captivating. The chapters were short which made reading quick and easy. It was a real page turner! I didn’t want it to end. I look forward to reading more books from this talented author. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

knotworque5.0 out of 5 starsA fast pace story which holds your interest throughout the … October 19, 2015 Format: PaperbackA fast pace story which holds your interest throughout the entire book. The characters are real…especially if you grew up in New York. These people existed, and probably still do. Fred Berri has captured their essence and wound it into a thoroughly interesting tale. I look forward to his next book.

5.0 out of 5 starsAwesome story I couldn’t put it down and very easy to read chapters to submerge into. The story flew by October 11, 2015 Format: PaperbackA very easy going and interesting read! Love how developed the plot and characters were. Not a dull moment throughout the book. A perfect insight into that time period and the journey of Italian immigrants. Never wanted to put the book down. Highly recommend, because I couldn’t put the book down. Excited for what’s next!

Chris R5.0 out of 5 starsMust read! October 23, 2015 Format: PaperbackWhat a great read, could not put it down until the end and then I got my wife hooked. Looking forward to reading more!!!

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsgreat read reminds me of my growing up days in … March 20, 2016 Format: Paperback great read this is one of those books u start can’t put down when finished sorry it’s over so u read again make sure u didn’t miss anything thoroughly enjoyed it Fantastic plot

dianeh5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars July 27, 2015 Format: PaperbackGREAT READING! FAST MOVING, SHORT CHAPTERS, AND HARD TO PUT DOWN, LOOKING FORWARD TO FUTURE READINGS BY THIS AUTHOR. One person found this helpful

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book! I loved the mix of historical with … October 25, 2015 Format: PaperbackGreat book! I loved the mix of historical with the fiction of Michael’s story. It was a great read that kept me wanting more.

Harold W4.0 out of 5 starsGreat first book August 15, 2015 Format: PaperbackVery enjoyable read. I cannot wait to see what further books this author will write.

mickey5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars July 22, 2015 Format: PaperbackKept me on edge from beginning to end.. I hope Mr. Berri writes a sequel

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