Fred Venturini

About Fred (Visit his blog here.)

NEW UPDATE: Fred and his agent just announced a deal with Picador to publish a newly edited version of The Samaritan to be titled THE HEART DOES NOT GROW BACK. Expect it on bookshelves in August 2014!

UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO FRED! Fred Venturini recently signed with the William Morris Endeavor agency and he now has talented literary and film agents working on his behalf. Although his books–THE SAMARITAN and his next one DARK REVELATIONS–will not be available from Blank Slate Press, we are delighted for him and will always be among his biggest fans. So, if you didn’t pick up a copy of THE SAMARITAN while it was available from BSP, you may have to wait awhile…in the meantime, read below to see what you missed.   

UPDATE: Blank Slate Press is delighted to announce that we did indeed win The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book: Fiction for THE SAMARITAN by Fred Venturini at the annual IBPA awards dinner.

Kudos to Fred! We just learned THE SAMARITAN is a finalist for the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Fiction). The winner will be announced in a ceremony in NYC the night before BEA opens.

Other notable acknowledgments: THE SAMARITAN made Shelf Unbound’s List of Best Small Press Books of 2011 (a list picked up by USA Today), that it won the Cross-Genre category from USA Book Awards, and that it was short-listed for a Kitchie Golden Tentacle Award for best progressive, intelligent and entertaining debut fiction published in the UK. Learn more about the history of the Kitchies here.

Fred’s official bio:

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois, where he survived being lit on fire by a bully, a neck-breaking car accident, and being chewed up by a pit bull. His fiction has appeared in places like River Styx, The Death Panel, Sick Things, Johnny America, and Necrotic Tissue, and he is a two-time Chuck Palahniuk anthology finalist. He lives in Southern Illinois with his beautiful wife, Krissy. The Samaritan is his first novel.

Blank Slate Press is delighted to feature Fred Venturini as one of our two flagship authors. He received a B.S. in English from MacMurray College in 2002, and an MFA from Lindenwood University in 2009. He has 19 short stories published or due to be published and is currently hard at work on his second novel. You can find a list of his published stories here:

Here’s what others have said about his work:

“Pure noir…visceral, punch to the gut tale of revenge.” That’s how T.T. Zuma of Horror World described Fred Venturini’s “Detail,” included in Death Panel, a collection of short stories published by Comet Press. Bookgasm’s Rod Lott called it “Quite possibly the best in the collection.” Fatally Yours, a book review blog said, “My absolute favorite of the collection …. Precise and perfect, this short story had me by the short hairs,” while another reviewer described it as “where CSI meets Car and Driver.”

From tightly woven horror and unmitigated creepiness, to evocative literary fiction, with a few auto restorer hints thrown in for good measure, Fred’s gift for pacing and clarity—and for getting under your skin—is powerful.

About The Samaritan

Dale Sampson lives in isolation, hiding a super-human gift that could change the course of human history—a gift he believes he doesn’t deserve.  He is unemployed and unmotivated, a fractured friendship, love lost, and the tragedies of childhood have locked him in place.  Empty days tick away until a chance encounter with a woman from his past sets in motion one last shot at redemption and love and a spiral of small-town violence that will end a thousand miles away with his flesh as the battleground as millions tune in to watch . . .

Praise for Fred Venturini’s The Samaritan

>> Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page of The Samaritan … one of the most engaging and ultimately satisfying that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time. -Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All The Time

>> Venturini’s accomplishment with The Samaritan lies in that single moment, and the way he explores its fall-out, and how guilt lacerates a body as horrifically as any physical trauma. Healing from guilt is just as difficult as healing from injury. And guilt leaves scars, too.  -Pornokitsch, Discussion of nominees for the Golden Tentacle, 2011

>> Reading this was like finding an autobiography I forgot I’d written. Like Venturini had access to all my secret thoughts. It was strange and wonderful, and I’d pay to do it again. - Stephen Graham Jones, author of many books and short stories including Demon Theory, It Came from Del Rio

>> You’ll find it impossible to set this book aside. - Harry Levins, St. Louis Post Dispatch

>> This book was, for lack of a better word, F’d up….AND I LOVED IT FOR THAT SPECIFIC REASON!The Bookish Brunette

>> The Samaritan is part comic book and part fantastic novel – together, a deadly mix. – Jay Slayton-Joslin

>> Have I found the book of the year already? Human drama has never been so raw and powerful. – Stanley Riiks, Morpheus Tales

>> So what is The Samaritan? Think Extreme Makeover: Organ Edition … Venturini can write his ass off. - Brandon Tietz and Michael Sonbert, We are Vespertine

>> I don’t know what weight class Venturini naturally falls into, but based on what I experienced in The Samaritan I feel confident stating that he is pound for pound, word for word, one of the best authors in the game. -Elizabeth A. White, Musings of an All Purpose Monkey

>> Who knows how many books it will take for Venturini to garner the attention he deserves, but why not say you knew him when? Pick up a copy of The Samaritan and find out for yourself. – Ranting Dragon

>> This is an overwhelming, uncomfortable and excellent book. Dale Sampson may be the closest thing our world ever gets to either a saint or a hero – what does that say about us? – Pornokitsch

>> Fred Venturini’s writing is incredibly captivating and never misses a beat. The flow of his prose softly lulls and embraces the reader while hurtling them toward the inescapable train wreck of life’s manic ups and downs. – Renee C. Fountain, New York Journal of Books

>> The Samaritan gives those of us who love well-crafted offbeat literature a reason to cheer. -Margaret Brown, Shelf Unbound magazine

>> An excellent read … I would recommend it to anyone! - JoJo’s Book Corner

>> Awesome. The first 7 chapters were very real. And then the twist comes in Chapter 8. And you can’t help but hold on for the ride. – The Sunday Book Review

>> Chuck Palahniuk’s razor wit, but with more humanity and less nihilism and misanthropy. Engaging, funny, and intelligent. – Jacob Gustafson, Toxic Graveyard

>>The Samaritan is the sort of debut that catches a reader off-guard. It lures you in with one thing then plays bait and switch, giving you something more than you could have ever expected, a perfect mix of disturbing and uplifting – Erik Smetana, Stymie Magazine

>> Just finished The Samaritan from @blankslatepress. Great read! Very Palahniuk-like. - @shep, St. Louis blogger –

>> Explicit, furious and sensational with tight, impressive writing, and lines and phrases that I suspect will linger for me, all moving a fantastical plot made believable by its humanity. – R. Till, St. Louis 

>> Forget trying to catch your breath — just buckle your seatbelt and plant yourself where you can dive into The Samaritan … gripping well beyond the last word. – Nancy L. Baumann, Publisher, Stonebrook Publishing