Book Spotlight · Guest Post

Guest Post by Jane McCulloch author of The Brini Boy @janemccwriter


Some time ago I came across an amazing story; of how one boy fought to save his friend from the electric chair.

I originally wrote this story as a screenplay. It seemed such an obvious candidate for a film I sent it off to Working Title TV. They were interested and even got as far as suggested casting with Robert Downey Jnr as Vanzetti; but after a while the idea was dropped and I filed the script away. However, the story continued to haunt me and three years ago I decided to write it as a novel.

“The Brini Boy” was published in May this year and has already received 5* reviews on Amazon on both sides of the Atlantic.

The story — which will be 100 years old in three years — deals with the events leading up to the trial in 1920 of two Italian immigrants living near Boston Massachusetts, accused of a hold-up and murder, and then, after the guilty verdict, the long fight to save them from the electric chair. By a quirk of fate, the young Trando Brini was with Vanzetti at the time of the crime and this starts for him a seven year struggle to prove Vanzetti’s innocence, clear his name and get him freed. The boy’s ordeal begins with a long cross examination in the witness box — and then, after the guilty verdict, continues throughout Sacco and Vanzetti’s seven years of imprisonment which ends on death row.

Trando is a brilliant young violinist and because of his actions in defending the accused he becomes ‘an enemy of the American people’, not only is his music career put in jeopardy but also his place at Harvard. It is a ‘David and Goliath’ struggle, where one boy courageously takes on the American Justice system and the Bostonian Establishment as well. He is so convinced of the truth of his evidence he never gives up, in spite of all the threats and the bullying. His fight continues to the end and he sees it through with extraordinary bravery, integrity and determination. There is great tension and drama in Trando’s story, even a love story as well, and through the seven years of struggle we watch him develop into an exceptional young man. In this true story of courage, bravery and determination, we can more fully understand the America of the present, by revisiting its turbulent past and it seems little has changed where fear and unjust treatment of immigrants is concerned.


Brini Boy Front Cover


Trando is only thirteen years old, but he knows he is the one person who can save his best friend from the electric chair… It is 1919 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Trando Brini, a promising violinist and the child of Italian immigrants, lives quietly with his parents and their lodger Bart Vanzetti. This is not a good time for Italian-Americans. Assassinations and bombings committed by a handful of Italian Anarchists on US soil has resulted in a tense climate of suspicion and paranoia. When known Anarchists Bart and Nick Sacco are arrested for their alleged roles in a fatal holdup, Trando knows for certain his friend is innocent. Thus begins seven years of trials and appeals, during which Trando, his community, and a growing number of political activists and intellectuals challenge a biased American Justice System. It is a struggle between David and Goliath, in which the ‘Brini Boy’ must risk everything — his musical career, his first love and the life of his dearest friend. In this true story of courage, bravery and determination, we can more fully understand the America of the present by revisiting its turbulent past.


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Also by Jane McCulloch:


Parallel Lines: Book One of the Three Lives Trilogy


In the 1970s, beautiful but unhappy Celia Roxby Smith reaches a crisis in her life and seeks help from a famous psychiatrist. During her intense sessions, she reveals a painful past that includes a bleak childhood in the postwar fifties, neglect from her parents at home in Oxford, and constant bullying received while at boarding school.

Now Celia is in her thirties and finds herself in a tragic and loveless marriage that resembles the same one her parents had. She sees frightening parallels between the past and present events of her life and is desperate to break away from her abusive and controlling husband. With the help of her psychiatrist and her new lover, she takes the first steps toward freedom and independence. But a shocking turn of events changes everything and leaves more questions than answers.

As intense as it is real, Parallel Lines is the first book in the Three Lives Trilogy. Author Jane McCulloch permeates this absorbing story with deeply relatable characters and situations that will appeal to fans of Daphne du Maurier, Elizabeth Jane Howard, and Nicholas Sparks, along with anyone struggling to find their way in life.