By Dean Goranites, email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Author Joe Kosko grew up in North Tonawanda — the perfect setting, in his opinion, for his newest murder mystery novel.
Taking place in the early 1970s, right around when Joe himself was growing up in the city, “Before After” was first published under Joe’s pen name, Jethro Ford. Aiming at immersing the story into the culture Kosko knew best, “Before After” is stuffed with historical references, local landmarks and era-appropriate dialect.
Kosko considers his cousin Mark, who lost his battle with cancer years ago, a major influence on the novel.
“Many years ago, before personal computers, I hand-wrote a story about me, Mark and our friends. I put the papers in a shoebox and forgot about them,” Joe recalled.
“I don’t know how (Mark) got it, but a few years before he died, he said he read it and that I should re-write it. After Mark died, I pulled out the shoebox, and re-wrote it.”
Kosko, who was born in DeGraff Memorial Hospital in 1957 and remained a resident of North Tonawanda until 1977, has had an expansive career to draw material from. As an attorney, youth gang investigator and youth counselor, Kosko had had work published before, but nothing in the field of fiction.
“During those years I had a couple of criminal justice-related articles published in periodicals,” Kosko said.
The author’s sister, Debra Kosko, was recently on hand at the North Tonawanda History Museum to discuss the book’s release. Debra sees the work appealing to the entire community, but perhaps young males the most.
“Adolescent boys would love it. The story is based around boys at an age when they’re considering enrolling at NCCC,” Debra said.
Debra helped out with initial edits of the novel, a self-published piece that she explains might be just a little controversial in parts.
“It’s written the way teenage boys would talk back then,” Debra laughed. “They talk about sports, the Bills and their teenage views on the city’s police force.”
It’s racy enough that Joe’s godmother, “Aunt Renie,” has been forbidden from owning a copy.
“I don’t think he wants me to read it, but I’ll find a way to sneak it in,” she joked.
“Before After” centers around a series of similar murders in which a group of friends find themselves unintentionally involved. Geno Cantore, the novel’s main character, soon finds himself wrapped up in allegations from detective Charlie Corelli that he is the murderer. Tie in a subplot involving the beautiful attorney Cher Summerfield and her complicated romantic relationship to Geno, and “Before After” has all the ingredients of a classic “whodunnit.”
Joe Kosko is currently at work on his latest novel, a work he dubs “a Kerouac-like piece of non-fiction that will include numerous references to Western New York.”
Physical copies of “Before After” can be purchased online at www.createspace.com/3926471.
Electronic versions, priced at $2.99, are available on Amazon, at www.amazon.com/dp/B0054KNNA0.
“Before After” will also be on sale at the North Tonawanda History Museum while copies last, with a percentage of profits going toward museum renovations.