This is a follow up to my post yesterday concerning a one-star review on one of my books. And it also shows a writer can fight back against vicious trolls, especially with a little help from their friends.



“I’m overwhelmed by the enormous support I’ve received from my readers concerning the one star review of my New book “Mob Rats – Volume 2 – The Cleveland Canaries.” The review, by a fictitious “Frankie Russo,” who a late bail bondsman and a close friend of my father’s,  said, “Joe Bruno Stinks like a writer. He should have stuck to parking cars.”

Of course, I owned Bruno’s Parking Lot from 1969-96 and I parked hundreds of cars a week for 27 years.

Since this review went viral yesterday, 36 people have visited the site and voted “No” as to the review being helpful. In addition, 10 comments have been posted in response to the review, but Amazon took one down because they found it too offensive, which is surprising, since it was written by an attorney who knows both me and the real Frankie Russo.

As of now, Amazon has not taken down the one-star review. But a computer whiz friend of mine (he does this for a living) discovered that “Frankie Russo” has several aliases on Amazon, and has used at least one to give another one of my books a one-star review.

The good news, though extensive detective work and a lot of dumb luck, I finally know who “Frankie Russo” is.

Five years ago, his person, who will remain nameless, sent me a glossy photo of 134 White Street, the building I grew up in in Lower Manhattan, across from the city prison called the Tombs. The photo shows only the ground floor of the building, which housed a Bail Bonds office owned by, you guessed it, the late Frankie Russo.

The photo has been on my office wall for five years. While I was sleeping last night, in the middle of the night I jumped from my sleep, and it all became clear to me. I raced into my office (in the next room), and there was the photo which said, “134 White Street – Bail Bonds – Frankie Russo.”


It took me three adivan to finally fall back to sleep, so I‘m a little groggy this morning. I’ll be taking a nap pretty soon.” 🙂
Below are some of the remarks written by readers who defended me. I know some, but I don’t know others. Three are fellow writers, one of whom I’ve known for almost 40 years.
Dennis Vespi says:
Hey Frank , sounds more like a personal attack instead of a review. What’s the parking thing about? Did you think you got over charged or something?. And what has that got to do with the book?

Buster Stronghart says:
I have read a few of this series of Bruno’s books. If you’re interested in the subject matter, they are always interesting and full of new stuff. I can’t exactly figure out what you’re trying to say but it doesn’t sound like a book review. Maybe it’s a remark by a disgruntled lobby guy for Nicky No Fingers. Hope I nailed you. I don’t think that Joe Bruno should have bothered to answer you.

Endangered Herculite says:
Dumb personal attack of the variety usually reserved for scam sites like Yelp…
Not only is Joe great at making this true crime subject matter interesting but he is great on radio interviews as well….
I bet the author of this dumb personal attack is one of the “canaries” documented in this book….
I’ll make sure I read the book now so I could figure out who the “canarie/rat” is….

Ted Sares says:
Frank, give it a rest and do your personal stuff off line.

William says:
This is a blatant attack on the author. This isn’t what you call a constructive review and goes against the review process. What chance do authors have if Amazon allow these futile remarks to stand, they should be removed in the first instance! In any case genuine readers will be able to see through these silly comments but that’s besides the point!

maggiemaenj says:
Hey Frankruss, I‘ve check your other reviews and it seems you keep purchasing books by Joe Bruno and giving them a 1 star review with absolutely no constructive criticism….. what’s up with that!!??? If you don’t care for these types of books why do you continue to buy them? This seems to be a personal problem, and Amazon should not allow this type of unrepresented attack this is not the forum for your personal issues!

Endangered Herculite says:
Does anyone remember the “Jerky Boys” from 20 years ago? (remember they used to hilariously prank call mostly businesses, tape the calls and market the tapes?)….
One of their main repeat characters was “Frank Russo” who used to call and mostly threaten people and get HILARIOUS responses….Maybe this dumb “Frank Russo” took his name from the Jerky Boys….

Silver Screen Videos says:
I have read and reviewed several of Joe Bruno’s books on Amazon and corresponded with him by e-mail a number of times. He’s a friendly outgoing guy who loves to tell stories and his books reflect this. They are also meticulously researched, many of them better researched than are some books by “noted scholars.” There’s room to criticize his style or the organization of his books (I’ve done that on occasion), but there’s absolutely no reason to attack his character, hard work, sincerity, or integrity. This so called review is a disgrace and an insult to Joe, to Amazon, and to the many honest reviewers on Amazon who try to evaluate products fully and fairly.

What sort of person is “Frank Russo”? If you look at his Amazon activity page, you’ll find he has posted several pictures of a bust of Adolph Hitler. I think that tells you all you need to know about him.

Joe, keep those books coming. You’ve got a whole lot of people here who do appreciate you, your effort, and your books.


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