I finished reading THE STRANGE DEATH OF FATHER CANDY this afternoon. (I started it yesterday evening.) Obviously, it really had kept my interest. Good plot well told. Bruce is going to start it as soon as he finishes the book he’s currently reading.
This might be an unusual year but we’ve seen a blue heron at North Chagrin earlier this month. They now hang around as long as there is food available. Thanks, global warming.
It was a shame that Dominick’s parents died the way they did. By 1974, seat belts (but not the shoulder harness) had been around for more than ten years. (Wearing one in 1963 saved my life when I was forced off the road into a pole. I hit the steering wheel with my lower teeth because I was looking up but no other injuries from the windshield or steering wheel or column.) His father may have been injured but his mother would not have hit the windshield. If the car went into the water before they got out, though, the end would have been the same but more traumatic for them.
I really don’t like authors putting too much information and detail into their stories as they try to titilate their readers. For example, I really did not have to know the color combination for Frank Mangione, Sr.’s clothes. Yuck!
Was the last name of the final perp a tribute or a dig at the local family with that name?
Regarding your previous book, while we had never heard the term before, we now use “The Cleveland Creep” whenever we see someone doing it, which is rather often.
I hope you’re enjoying Summit County. It’s pretty and has a lot to offer. I lived in Cuyahoga Falls for several years and we get down there about once a month to see whatever is playing at Actors’ Summit.
Father Candy is a another great book from another great author. It focuses on a plot full of intrigue and mystery set in a time and place when the mob was still extremely powerful and many people thought everybody in law enforcement had been corrupted. Enter Les Roberts (the real Milan) and once again we find ourselves unable to stop reading. Putting down a Les Roberts book – especially this one – can be difficult and this one is definitely no exception. Soooo, if you haven’t read it yet, get a copy and enjoy. It will be worth the time and energy and most likely leave you wanting for another Les Robert book. I’m proud to know the man, as a friend, colleague, Emerald Society member, and as a successful author. God bless you, Les, and please give us more, more, more…and soon! JT McBride
Jim, how very kind of you for these wonderful words. Let no one forget it was YOU who first turned me onto Youngstown and spun for me so many of the wonderful—and true—stories I’ve incorporated and fictionalized into the writing of “The Strange Death of Father Candy.” With your assistance and your enormous knowledge of police procedures and the law, you’ve become my literary “partner in crime.” Thank you—for everything. Les
ENJOYED YR BOOK, FIRST BOOK OF YRS I HAVE READ,SO AM GOING TO READ YR REMAINING BOOKS. Cleveland, Ohio = well i would actually like to visit all the palaces y mention. ORIGINALLY i from LONDON AND now live in JAMAICA. Your writing is in itself keeps the reader ,reading. Brilliant! ALL BEST, CHRISTOPHER WOOD
Christopher, thanks very much. I hope you enjoy all the other books, with all different looks at Cleveland. It’s a good place to visit.
Happy Holidays, LES
I just finished “The Strange Death of Father Candy”. I was at the funeral mass for “Father Candy” as a 12 year old. Your opening scene brought me right back. Our family would visit him in the rectory on the weekends and I remember him as such a nice man. The idea of a priest commiting suicide was very unsettling to me, even into adulthood. I have always had a feeling that there might have been a different ending to his life. I hope some of what you have written is based on fact…not that murder is better but in a way it would be. Thanks for a great book and maybe some credence to a lifelong question.
Christine, it’s so good to hear from you. I’ve received several calls and emails from Youngstowners who recognized the setting and the history, but you’re the first to contact me who actually attended Father Iati’s funeral. You’re probably too young to have actually gone to Idora Park, but were you aware of the casino about which I wrote? It was REAL, even though it was against the law, and everyone in town knew about it—and the building still stands.
I am not a Catholic, but like you, when I heard the story some three years ago, I found it impossible to believe that a priest took his own life, I did speak to a few priests, none of which are from Youngstown, and one of my best friends, a retired police chief who was born and raised in Youngstown and was a cop there for a dozen years before moving to the Greater Cleveland area.Of course, my book is FICTION, but it’s based on a certain amount of fact—-almost all my 25 novels are—and the strange silence from the higher-ups in the church and from law enforcement is what compelled me to create the novel.
I’m pleased you enjoyed it, and hope you’ll scout down some of my other books. Most of them are available in ink-on-paper editions as well as on ebooks.
I really appreciate your taking he time to write to me. Have a joyous holiday season.
Good afternoon Les,
I also attended Father Iata’s funeral and I had so many encounters of him after his death. I knew right away Father did not kill himself and that he was killed to which he told me himself in a dream. I was an alter server from 5th grade all the way up to my senior year. My dad cleaned the church hall and my mom taught religious ed for many years. In one dream I remember asking all these questions to him and only remember 1 answer and that one answer was that he was killed and sucide was not a way out. I remember when I was a little girl my sister and I singing a song for Father in the Church basement at a Church function. He was such a wonderful Priest with lots of compassion. I remember attending Mass during Easter and Father laying face down on the Floor with his arms stretched out as if he was on a cross to the blessing he would sing after every mass just talking about this brings aches in my heart. I miss him dearly and will never forget him.
Having gone to collage in Cleveland, I’ve enjoyed some of your books on Cleveland–brings back memories. Now living in Youngstown, I was excited to see you had written a book on our area. Yes, we have some challenges, but it’s a good place to live and raise a family. I just finished your Father Candy book and enjoyed it. I don’t know how much you base your writing on accuracy of facts, but there were some points on the Catholic church that were incorrect. Just a note: there haven’t been “high” masses since Vatican II (in the 60’s), Father Richard would not have been in a parish in New Philly, because that’s not a part of the Youngstown Diocese. For a funeral mass, esp for clergy, Bishops would not be sitting in the front pew in their “blacks”, they’d be fully vested and on the altar if concelebrating the mass, if not, they’d still be seated in the sanctuary. The priests and deacons might be in the front pews but they, too, would be vested. This is a sign of respect. The residence of priests is not a vicarage, but a rectory. None of this may make a difference to anyone but me–I am a stickler for accuracy. The Youngstown Tune Ups, were not restricted to the Youngstown city limits-we had at least one I can remember while growing up in Hubbard.
By the way, have you ever had Brier Hill pizza? And yes, it originated in Brier Hill! You can only get it in our area and it’s VERYgood.
What’s so special about Brier Hill pizza? I’d really like to know, so the next time I’m in Youngstown I’ll know where to go. I was born and raised in Chicago—and back then, before pizza was nearly as popular as hamburgers and hot dogs, the ORIGINAL Pizzeria Uno was one of my favorite hangouts. (You’d go inside the small restaurant, place your order with the waitress, and then go outside and wait on the sidewalk until you were called. The mobs of pizza-lovers that went there all the time didn’t even care that it was winter in Chicago and the sidewalk wait was a chilly one—as long as they could get their teeth into a Chicago pizza.
After growing up and living in the Youngstown area my whole life, it was really fascinating to find that there was a great novel set in our area that really took into account the rich history we have here. A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate it and view Youngstown has an old “has been” city, so it was great to finally see some of the city’s roots appreciated. It’s always interesting to wander past some of the old icons around town and I’m glad you took the time to utilize this setting accurately. I actually came across your book after a family discussion during Christmas dinner of the mob history in Youngstown that I guess sparked my interest in what had substantial influence in and around our area. It was nice to see some of the things my family talked about at dinner in your book. Thanks for a good read, hopefully there will be more on our area as I know there are many more stories like this that can be told!
I was born and raised in Youngstown. You wrote a great story that included descriptions of many of our interesting sites. I do gave one question that. Continues to intrigue me. Is there any factual basis that Fr. Candy/Iata was under investigation orabout to be subpoenaed for mob association?
John – The story of Father Iata committing suicide in 1985 intrigued me. I’m not Catholic, but I certainly know that Catholic priests do NOT commit suicide. From this I created a completely fictional story. All I heard about Father Iata’s “mob associations” were a shrug and a “Who Knows?” From what I learned of Youngstown police at that time, THEY sure as hell weren’t going to subpoena him. I certainly knew that almost everyone in Youngstown KNEW about the mob and often had (mostly legal) dealings with them (and probably STILL do), but again, I created fiction out of kernels of truth.
You might want to look into the testimony of former Mayor Patrick Ungaro regarding Fr. Iati. Your fictional account may have more kernals of truth than what you admit to. As a side note, i attended school with some of the children of Youngstown mobsters.
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