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"Read this excellent novel.  A pleasure awaits."

A Review by Frank Segers, Co-founder of


The early 20th-century Italian-American experience has provided the basis of an extraordinarily rich literary vein that rewardingly continues to be tapped. From Mario Puzo to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito -- via film directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola -- various auteurs have vividly etched and recorded the Italian immigrant assimilation into American life in their own disparate ways.   

Lesser known figures have also made their contributions. The latest and most welcome to emerge is first-time novelist Anthony DiPello, who in The Brooklyn Iceman tracks the rise of a humble, vintage 1910 delivery man in Brooklyn. DiPello's novel is a pleasure to read because of the directness and succinct quality of its style.  Once started, it is well nigh impossible to put down.

DiPello follows the rise of one Vincenzo Castella, a determined and intelligent man who confronts with dispatch almost every economic hurdle put in his path. One of The Brooklyn Iceman's many pleasures is the description of how protagonist Castella as an unlettered immigrant copes with various material challenges -- getting and keeping a job, managing greedy, short-sighted and sometimes corrupt bosses, and protecting his fellow workers through job-related (but not necessarily union sanctioned) organization -- while at the same time maintaining an almost atavistic sense of personal integrity. 

The Brooklyn Iceman's economic fears and personal desperation in those early days are almost palpable in the novel.  Castella's story is at heart a story of survival in punishingly harsh circumstances.  Also, it should be pointed out the The Brooklyn Iceman's protagonist is not some murderous psychopath in the making. Instead he is a figure playing the hand he is dealt as decently as he can.

Yes, the novel is explicit (and most suspenseful) in its recording of Castella's dealing with mob figures. And yes, depictions of his sexual misadventures are fully recorded.  

What makes The Brooklyn Iceman special, though, is that its author -- in his former day job -- was a successful entrepreneur and businessman who in his own way and time faced many of the same hurdles that confronted Vincenzo Castella in his. That experience lends the novel a genuinely authentic feel. It's hard to find a false note in Castella or in The Brooklyn Iceman. 

Over the course of some seven decades, Castella rises to an economic and social position of dignified security, yet ... and yet.... the past intrudes. 

- Frank Segers


“An exceptionally well writing novel about the life and times of Italian-Americans."

A Review by Dr. Eugene F. Ligotti; 


The Brooklyn Iceman is an exceptionally well writing novel about the life and times of Italian-Americans and their beginning of a new life in the ‘new world’. The story gives you not just a little taste or simply a flavor of the way life was in Little Italy in New York City, but it is quite authentic in its telling. Anthony DiPello is quite visual in his writing and he gives you the feeling of being there and actually living with the characters. I am a third generation Italian and my father-in-law was actually an iceman in Huntington Long Island shortly after the turn of the 20th century. He delivered ice for many years until his company switched to oil delivery.

Although as an Italian-American I enjoyed reading about the roots of early Americans of Italian descent and their struggles to gain a foothold here in America, this is a must read for all Americans, especially those who enjoy history and those who simply enjoy a good novel. An avid reader will not be disappointed.

- Dr. Eugene F. Ligotti