Anthony A. Policastro
I have several degrees from Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey. I have a BA in Business and Economics and a BA in English. In 1999, I received The Ruth Fryer Memorial Award for academic excellence in creative writing from Rutgers University – University College Newark. I’ve written four novels – two published (The Cradle Above the Abyss and D.J. Nick) and two soon to be published (Murder on Schooleys Mountain and Billy and Bridget Meet the Magician) - numerous short stories (series), several creative nonfiction pieces (Uncle Sal Talks), articles, poems, and over thirty book reviews.
While attending Rutgers College, I wrote, produced, and directed several short films in Super-8 and 16mm film formats: The Duel, Vesper, and The Astronaut.
Moreover, I was an audiovisual project support specialist for The Postal Service Training and Development Institute, in Bethesda, MD, writing, producing, and directing training films, slide/tape programs, and print material for correspondence courses.
Where to find Anthony A. Policastro online
Where to buy in print
The Cradle Above the Abyss
by Anthony A. Policastro
Anthony A. Policastro’s debut novel about redemption, a life-changing trip from New York to America’s heartland and the powerful spirit and beliefs of America’s first Americans – the Native American Indian.
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Smashwords book reviews by Anthony A. Policastro
- Dark End of the Spectrum
on Jan. 11, 2010
When planes start dropping out of the sky and when people and their electronic equipment - computers and cellular phones - are baked and fried from a deadly energy pulse, the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and the President of the United States discover they are helpless against their own technology, which has been commandeered by a group of terrorists and turned against them. Without any plausible way for the government to prevent the terrorists from destroying the lives of millions of people on the East Coast - unless the government meets their demands - Dan Riker, a family man and an IT Security Expert, finds himself in the middle of a technological war that will remind the reader of the many patriotic exploits of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. If you like Jack Ryan, you’ll love Dan Riker.
Policastro’s second novel, Dark End of the Spectrum, is a blockbuster of a story, with nonstop action that will keep you turning the pages. You will be swept away not only by the nonstop action that is typical of such authors as Tom Clancy, James Rollins, and Harlan Coben, you’ll be captivated by Dan Riker’s wife, Amelia, and his daughter, Kaileigh, who are abducted and held hostage by the terrorists to prevent Riker from helping the government. You will be reminded of one of the more classical and memorable lines of Bogart when he says to Bergman at the end of Casablanca: “The problem of three little people don’t mount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” And this is significant because Bogart expresses the same sentiments Riker feels throughout the story, especially when he is forced to choose between saving the lives of millions of unsuspecting people or saving the lives of his beloved wife and daughter. Since reading Dark End of the Spectrum, I’ve often asked myself how would I respond if I woke up one morning and found myself facing a similar, undesirable situation or predicament as Dan Riker.
Creating fascinating prose, a wrenching human drama, and nonstop action is not an easy feat for any writer to accomplish, but Policastro succeeds superbly. He manages to explicate in layman terms the intricate workings behind modern technology, including PDAs, ultra wide band frequencies, heat seeking projectiles, direct energy weapons, direct energy pulses, global positioning systems, eye scans, computer chips with artificial intelligence, cellular phone technology, and the Internet. You will be more than a little fascinated by the workings of the neural bracelet that Riker and Takara wear on their wrists to communicate without the help of words their inner thoughts, emotions, and desires to one another over distance.
Dan Riker will find his way out of several interesting and deadly situations. For instance, Policastro will have him trapped in a buried school bus with Jake Stone, a former CIA agent and IT expert who will help Riker escape from the terrorists. Riker is also sent on a 150-mile trek across North Carolina to Wilmington in search of his wife and daughter, and falls into another trap. Your heart will be racing and pumping adrenaline as Riker narrowly escapes heat seeking projectiles, and cellular phones that are used by the terrorists to deliver deadly energy pulses.
Policastro portrays Riker as a well-rounded American male, whose life may be described as normal, serene, and unchallenging. However, all of this changes when his family is abducted and he becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge and doing whatever it takes to get his wife and daughter safely back home. While driving back to Raleigh from Wilmington, he recalls how he had argued with Amelia at the end of what had begun as a pleasant day-trip to the beach, and he feels both guilt and remorse, as he looks across at the empty seat where Amelia would’ve been sitting if she hadn’t been abducted and if he hadn’t thought he was the only man who could stop the terrorist and save his country.
Policastro skillfully breaks up the pacing and rhythm of the action by introducing comic relief at crucial moments in the characters of Jeanine Braggloisi and Gary Stakhower. You will find their repartee to be comedic, delightful, and promising. It is a wonderful touch to a fast-paced story.
The author also brings into discussion major themes and conflicts that keenly differentiate between old and new technology, and human and artificial intelligence. Happily for mankind, the author creates a world in which human intelligence with all its flaws still has the mental wherewithal to outsmart the artificial intelligence it strove to create through computer silicon chips. It is the old technology of radio vacuum tubes and the courage of Hildy Grummenweurkes that eventually outsmarts the artificial intelligence of the computer chip that was growing exponentially stronger or more intelligent with the passing of each day. The scale representing human intelligence on one side and artificial intelligence on the other side is shifting. Riker, Friedheld, Sanchez, Motega, Bastille, Braggloisi, Stakhower, Taraka, Grummenweurkes and others are able to thwart or slow down the shift in balance, keeping it, for the moment, in favor of humanity. But, the author has made us aware that a shift in balance is occurring, and that a day might arrive when the balance of power might shift in favor of artificial intelligence. If this should occur, will humanity becomes slaves of machines with higher artificial intelligence? I don’t know. But, I am thankful that we have authors like Anthony Samuel Policastro who raise our awareness to these possibilities, and create interesting characters like Dan Riker who will strive to keep the balance of power in favor of humanity.
- The Legend of the Seahawk
on Aug. 19, 2010
Adele Clagett’s The Legend of the Seahawk comprises the elements of fiction and a narrative style that makes it an ideal story for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. While few seafaring ghost stories have the substance to hold my interest very long – because they all seem to focus on the same elements of the genre – characters feeling cold whenever visited by a ghost- or spirit-like energy, Clagett’s narrative is different from many others that I have read. Skillfully combining facts about lighthouses, the life of lighthouse keepers and their families, and the story of the Seahawk with its paranormal aspects – psychic readings, residual haunting, non-intelligent ghost entities - Clagett has created a seafaring ghost story that is interesting, compelling, and illuminating.
As I delved into the text, I was reminded of the other ships that had been lost in the 1950’s – My Lady in 1952, and The Echo III in 1955 – and the movie The Perfect Storm. Like The Perfect Storm, Clagett gives the reader a basic seafaring tale: On August 1, 1956, while trawling for fish, a storm unexpectedly shifts its direction and catches the Seahawk out at sea before it can return to port at Stuart Cove, a small New England town situated on the coastline of Connecticut. Captain Scott Spear and his crew of five are lost to the sea. His wife, Helen, his daughter, Cynthia, his brother-in-law and lighthouse keeper, Danny Pierce, and the townsfolk were deeply affected by the incident.
I thoroughly enjoyed Clagett’s milieu of Stuart Cove, which included Saint Margaret’s Church, the fishermen’s memorial - a small circular area, consisting of a flower garden, a few benches, a granite tablet etched with the names of those from Stuart Cove lost at sea - the Fishhook Pub, the Stone Ridge Lighthouse, and Main Street. I particularly enjoyed Father Kealy’s prayer and the blessing of the fleet, the description of the waterfront, the feast, the floats, and Saint Andrew’s statue – the patron saint of fishermen. Here, everyone knows everyone else’s business – there are no secrets in Stuart Cove - creating a sense of closeness, friendliness and intimacy.
Hence, it isn’t very long after David Parker, an investigative reporter who works for a newspaper in New York City and who returns to Stuart Cove to sell a house on Kings Creek he had inherited from his Aunt Gina and Uncle Walter, that you’ll come to realize that, aside from a seafaring ghost story, Clagett has fashioned a delightful tale of romance that springs up between David and Claire Reid, a young woman who lives in Stuart Cove, attends college, and works at the Stone Ridge Lighthouse.
The scene at the Fishhook Pub, where David and Danny Piece share a few beers, is hauntingly mysterious. Later, at the fishermen’s memorial, Danny approaches David, as he is reading the memorial, and proclaims, “That don’t tell the whole story.” David agrees to meet Danny at the lighthouse the next day, at which time, Danny reveals a portion of the truth of what happened on the night the Seahawk was lost. Intrigued by the old fisherman and his legend, David believes he might write a story about the Seahawk for his newspaper.
Realizing that he would have to conduct his own investigation, David solicits Claire’s help and together they work to uncover the truth behind the paranormal occurrences surrounding the Seahawk.
To help him solve this paranormal mystery, David solicits the assistance of Owen Skinner, a paranormal investigator who lives in New York City, and Emerson Hathaway, an expert in lighthouse restorations.
The anticipation of what was to follow is electrifying, and as I read the narrative, I felt goose bumps running up and down my arm, and the excitement David and Claire must’ve felt as they approached the shoreline the day after the storm. I shan’t reveal the ending, but you will certainly enjoy and appreciate Clagett’s resolution and the closure it brings for Helen, Cynthia, and the townsfolk of Stuart Cove.
Overall, I highly recommend Adele Clagett’s book, The Legend of the Seahawk, to all readers, and I’m sure that, after you read this story, you will feel as strongly as I do, that this story is a wonderful tale – one that might easily lend itself to a wonderful Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.