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Richard Torregrossa at the RSF Library for the Local Writer Showcase Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Richard Torregrossa at the RSF Library for the Local Writer Showcase Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Arts Arts News Rancho Santa Fe

RSF Library welcomes Richard Torregrossa

RANCHO SANTA FE — Richard Torregrossa served as a recent guest at the RSF Library’s Local Writer Showcase. Well known for his book, “Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style,” with a foreword by Giorgio Armani, Torregrossa was there for another piece.

His newest novel is the mystery crime thriller, “Terminal Life: A Suited Hero.”

Haley Kwon, RSF Library’s branch manager, did the introductions.

“We’re very, very excited to have Richard here,” she said, adding the accolades he received for “Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style.”

Torregrossa, a native New Yorker turned San Diegan, gave the crowd a warm welcome.  He told everyone how his background started in journalism and branched into writing gift books like “The Little Book of Wisdom” and “Fun Facts About Dogs.”  He also did the illustrations.

Torregrossa noted he remains an active journalist.

He then shifted toward his Cary Grant novel.  This nonfiction work netted much praise and attention over the years.

“As a journalist I was covering fashion.  I was at a fashion show and Giorgio Armani said that his collection was inspired by the understated elegance of Cary Grant in the Hitchcock classics ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘To Catch a Thief.’

“So when Giorgio Armani speaks, you listen.” He continued, “So I watched some Cary Grant movies, and I realized what he was talking about and that got me interested in Cary Grant and then I saw that there wasn’t really a book about how he created his style which is really what he’s known for.”

This spurred Torregrossa to research this more by talking with Grant’s tailors, and movie costars, such as Eva Marie Saint.  He was searching for insight into Grant’s persona.

According to Torregrossa, he believed Grant was one of the first actors to think of himself as a brand.

“So, the book goes into not only his suits and ties, but it goes into his style as a reflection of the inner man,” he said.

In his newest novel, “Terminal Life: A Suited Hero,” Torregrossa took what he knew best and blended it all together.

The literary recipe was excellent writing, exceptional knowledge of the martial arts as a first degree black belt, and men’s fashion. The suit worn by the main character is the epitome of fashion.

While nonfiction is restrictive, this current piece gave him literary freedom.

“‘Terminal Life’ is about a former Navy SEAL who comes back from Afghanistan to discover that his wife has been murdered and his young son has disappeared,” he said.

Torregrossa pointed out that his main character, Luke Stark, goes on a wild journey to discover the killers.  As readers discover, everybody in the novel is not who they seem to be.

“And I think that’s what gives it a mystique,” he said.

Torregrossa also wanted a novel which moved very quickly.  It’s entertaining and is peppered with violence

“It was not my intention to exploit violence, but to reflect the violence in society and to show sort of an extreme situation after one is in a crisis and how does one redeem him or herself,” he said.

So far, Torregrossa said the reviews have been great. Ken Bruen, who has written six movies and 22 bestsellers, said in his review, “I loved this book. This novel gives us a whole new genre of noir. Introspective noir.  Almost metaphysical in its subtle understatement. But make no mistake, it is vastly entertaining. That rare breed.  A thinking persons’ artistic vivid entertainment.”

Following Torregrossa’s showcase, he welcomed questions from the audience and was available for book signings.

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