Irish author sells fictional Donnie Brasco sequel to Amazon Audible
Feud by Paul D’Alton sends FBI agent back undercover to fight today’s organised crime gangs
Joe Pistone, 62, a former undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the notorious Bonanno crime family. The 1997 film Donnie Brasco was based on his life. Photograph: Mike Albans/NY Daily News via Getty Images
A Co Roscommon-based author has become the first Irish writer ever to have a book bought by Amazon Audible, the expanding publishing arm of the website sales giant, in a major five-figure deal.
Paul D’Alton, 53, and his American agent Bob DiForio have sold the fiction-based book about the story of Joe Pistone, an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the New York Mafia in the 1980s.
Pistone became a trusted associate of the Bonnano crime family in Manhattan and the movie of his undercover work for nearly a decade was made famous by the hit Hollywood movie Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp, who played Joe, Al Pacino, as his mafia mentor, and fierce crime boss Sonny Black, portrayed by actor Michael Madsen.
After Pistone was exposed as an FBI agent, a $500,000 contract was placed on his head and he spent years testifying against his former Mafia cohorts. He is credited with bringing the New York Mafia to its knees.
D’Alton, a Fleet Street journalist for many years, came up with the idea of transforming Pistone’s story into a fictional detective character going back undercover to fight today’s organised crime gangs, particularly the Russians and the Chinese.
D’Alton said: “We’re delighted that Amazon Audible saw the potential in the idea and with the work of our agent and an American co-writer, we’re bringing back to life one of the most seminal Mafia names in contemporary history. It’s also great that an Irish author and writer has managed to break into this mainly US-dominated publishing market.”
The book, provisionally entitled Feud, will be available for downloads by Christmas.
Amazon Audible has become the world’s largest producer of downloadable audiobooks and commissions up to 10,000 books a year.
Last month the internet book giant was sued by five of the top US publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, after its new text-to-speech feature for American schools was claimed to be breaking copyright law.
D’Alton’s first novel, Balance of Power, written under his pseudonym Paul Palmer, was a political thriller based in Washington DC.