NOVELS AND STORY COLLECTIONS

The following books by Venero Armanno are available for your purchase. Explore below. Click on the image to buy.

BURNING DOWN

A 2017 novel bout family, regret, love and the promise of salvation

What if you had one last chance to make amends? This gripping novel asks what’s the high price of success. Charlie Smoke is living out his early retirement from the boxing ring as a bricklayer. It is the mid-1970s and he believes his best days are behind him. He’s lost his wife and daughter to his questionable past, but when he meets Holly Banks and her teenage son, Ricky, he has a chance to do things differently. As an unlikely friendship develops with Ricky, Charlie is unwittingly pulled back into the gambling underworld he thought he’d left behind. In order to make a new future, first he must help settle some old scores. 

BLACK MOUNTAIN

Black Mountain is an eerie and compelling read … Like the best of fiction, it remains with you long after you have finished.’ Christos Tsiolka

Beginning in the sulphur mines of Sicily over a century ago, this 2012 novel is a journey through time and back again.
When a boy sold into slavery finds the courage to escape his brutal life, he is saved by a mysterious stranger, who raises the boy as his own. Renamed Cesare Montenero after Sicily’s own ‘black mountain’, Mount Etna, the boy grows up to discover that his rescue was no accident, that his physical strength is unnatural, and that he has more in common with his saviour than he could have imagined. And when he meets the enigmatic Celeste, he suspects for the first time that he many not be alone.
Based on factual events and ranging through Italy, Paris and the rural fringes of coastal Australia, Black Mountain is a haunting exploration of what it means to be human.

TRAVEL UNDER ANY STAR

My first story collection in nearly 25 years. This 2016 book contains a new novella (the 50,000 word title story), plus novellas and stories spanning a two decades.

As one reviewer wrote: ‘Travel Under Any Star is a collection of stories – old and new – in a style I now think of as Armanno-esque. Fans will know exactly what I mean: passionate men who grapple with fatal flaws, siren women who lure them to their doom, family legacies that haunt one generation after another, mundane happenings in exotic locations – and vice versa.’
AVID Reader Bookstore (West End), Title Books (Southbank) and Dymocks (Brisbane City) have stock. To read a sample story, click here.


THE DIRTY BEAT

Driven by music and passion, The Dirty Beat shimmers with an electric intensity.

Rock and jazz drummer Max is dead. Now, in his coffin as his friends prepare to bury him, Max is surrounded by the ghosts of his life and the dreams that never faded. All the old music is back too – from raw seventies rock-and roll to the type of cool jazz that made legends of John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
In this sea of memory, Max recalls the tragedies, people and relationships that defined his life. From his first love Maree Kilmister he learned about sex; from his great love Debbie Canova he learned about loss; and from the enigmatic Laetecia Sparks, he learned about hope. As the players in his life gather for his funeral, he has one last chance to relive his past and see it for what it was.

THE VOLCANO

Sweeping from Sicily to Australia, spanning generations and very different worlds, this is a novel of power, passion and sheer blazing brilliance.

Winner of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Fiction Book (2002) and
Shortlisted for the Courier Mail Best Book Award (2002).

The Volcano is a story about Emilio Aquila, a boy driven mad by love for a woman beyond his reach. His passion turns him into an outcast, forced to live away from his village in the caves high on the slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna. His determination to lead life on his own terms leads him to Australia, but he cannot escape the past. When the book was released in 2001, Murray Waldren wrote a nice piece in The Australian.

To purchase a paperback version of the novel, click here.

CANDLE LIFE

This 2005 novel deals with the nature of reality and dreams, of love, identity, despair and salvation.

An Australian novelist is living in an arts community in Paris, trying to write. He is mourning the death of the love of his life, Kiko. Still drowning in grief, one day he is harassed by a beggar, who claims to be a famous American writer, Sonny Lee. As his life is penetrated by Sonny it begins to unravel. Soon the novelist encounters Zoya, a mute Russian girl with whom he makes love, and in turn she introduces him to Les Belles Endormies – a place where, after drinking a potent green tea, clients fall asleep and experience hallucinogenic dreams about episodes in their past.

In the meantime the death of a friend brings the novelist into contact with Emilie, and slowly love begins to seem possible to him again. The story moves from Paris’s artistic community to the maelstrom of a dance party in the city’s streets to its chilling subterranean catacombs to the eerie thermal springs of Pamukkale in Turkey.

To purchase a paperpack version, click here.

GABRIELLA’S BOOK OF FIRE

Also known as FIREHEAD

At fifteen, Sam Capistrano is a normal Australian teenager. The object of his desire is Gabriella, the Italian-Irish girl next door. Then one day Gabrielladisappears abandoning Sam. Bitter and resentful, Sam moves on with his life: into the shady side of Brisbane. Over the next two decades, Sam and Gabriella will find their lives inextricably, painfully, and passionately linked.

Around late 1999, just before Firehead was published in Australia, a literary agent in the US went a bit nuts for that manuscript and started something of a bidding war among publishers based in NYC. The winning American publisher suggested a change of title, so Firehead became Gabriella’s Book of Fire. The novel was published under its original name in Australia, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, but remains with the latter name in the USA.

I think it’s my bestselling book to date.

MY BEAUTIFUL FRIEND

A dark, brooding and erotic ghost story.

Can you imagine what it must be like to take the souls of others? Marcello Mansini has been dead for more than two months, his body lost in the icy depths of Lac Leman. But when Aaron and Rebecca stumble across his gravestone, their hearts full of human despair, Mansini slips into their lives like the ancient viper he is. Soon, very soon, he will summon them both into the freezing darkness of the lake … but only when their fear and horror have reached sickening heights.

To purchase a paperpack version, click here.

STRANGE RAIN

From one of Australia’s hottest writers comes a brooding novel of suspense and dark secrets, retribution and rock ‘n roll.

A lonely road on a dark night when the rain comes sheeting down. A motel room in a small town where fantasies fester and money changes hands.

One man determined to preserve the past, at any cost. Another man trying to escape it. And between them a young woman with ink-black hair and secrets she doesn’t want to tell.

Joe’s a man with memories he’d rather forget. Memories of driving through the rain one night when the world turned upside down. Now the rain’s come again and Joe’s world is spinning out of control.

ROMEO OF THE UNDERWORLD

‘Armanno writes with such intensity, his words detonate off the page…The real surprise is the unfolding humanity of the novel. Armanno writes of people with a deep and loving kindness…an opera, full-blown and gut-wrenching.’
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD


For Romeo Costanzo and the gallery of tempestuous characters he meets in the languid city of Brisbane, barriers of time and family and death barely exist. All that is important is the rage and compassion that may one day lead them to understand the ‘river of memory’ that twists and turns though their hearts.

A passionate story of love and desire, Romeo of the Underworld brilliantly realises the promise of The Lonely Hunter and confirms Venero Armanno as one of our finest and most original writers. 

THE LONELY HUNTER

A novel of great strength and imagination, The Lonely Hunter is a journey into evil and redemption by one of Australia’s most original and passionate writers.

Rich, successful Eddie Bevelacqua has it all, or so it seems to his poor second cousin and gardener, Romeo. But while Eddie is intent on a strange psychological odyssey to purge himself of ‘the tapestry of sins’ in his past, there is only one thing the romantic Romeo really covets: Eddie’s wife, Kelly. Watching Eddie’s descent into Hell, trying to win Kelly’s heart but shackled by his own mistakes and memories, Romeo can only dream of his own salvation and try to make sense of ‘the dark romance of this world’.

A novel of great strength and imagination, The Lonely Hunter is a journey into evil and redemption, into the ‘twistings and turnings and treacheries of the human heart’.