When Joel Momberg isn’t pounding out a mean New Orleans-flavored boogie-woogie on the nearest piano, he’s setting the tone as Chief Executive Officer for the University of South Florida Foundation. But Momberg’s hands have done far more than shape the historic direction of the recently completed billion-dollar USF Unstoppable Campaign, or raising money and raising the profile of All Children’s Hospital into a community treasure during his 30 years in executive leadership positions – helping create iconic events such as the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, the Taste of Pinellas and Regional Emmy-winning children’s music. They have been busy working the keyboard of his trusty laptop to produce his second novel, Sammy, a lively and unique mystery set in his native New Orleans. It follows his 2013 debut novel Home Movies, a whodunit that unfolds on the familiar territory of St. Pete Beach. Momberg resides in St. Petersburg with wife Debbie, and has three children – Nicole, Alissa, and Josh – and three grandchildren (two more are on the way!). Both books draw from Momberg’s rich life experience with engaging plot lines and characters from his fertile imagination.
Sammy Levine, 86-year-old resident of Star of David nursing home, was not happy with his daily existence and dreamed of taking one last trip with his wife Esther (who presently resided in an urn on the third shelf in his room). Sammy was careful about not exposing his plan to anyone, especially his son, Barry, who dutifully visited regularly and tried to make sure that he lived out his remaining days comfortably.
Through a carefully choreographed plan, Sammy managed to access personal information on three recently deceased residents from the nursing home’s computers. Then he applied for and obtained three new credit cards. Armed now with available cash and credit, he loaded up Esther, a knapsack and a walker and headed back to his hometown of New Orleans, where he would visit five the places and people he wanted to see before he died. It was a bucket list of all bucket lists concocted to take care of unfinished business – and serves as the engaging foundation of Sammy: The Novel.
This is a unique, coming-of-age road trip featuring a feisty, often salty and insensitive senior citizen, who still has some coming of age to experience in his twilight years.
It is the final ride of a lifetime that involves a most unusual cast of characters – a smart, streetwise stripper named Destiny with a soft heart beneath her hardened demeanor; Sammy’s musician son Barry, who longs to rekindle the magic of his old recording and touring act, the Chosen, while keeping tabs on his wayward dad and helping his career-minded daughter, Wendy; an array of despicable street thugs; and one very special urn on which this book turns ... containing the ashes of Sammy's late-wife Esther, whose posthumous presence is central to the novel’s unfolding mystery.
"Sammy is a delight to read ... funny, mysterious and sad but in the end you realize that Sammy was happy at last. Joel is a great story teller
and his characters come to life!" - Carol Morsani
"I absolutely loved Sammy!! I didn't want to leave 'til I had finished the book and then I didn't want it to end. Thank you for this treasure! " - Debbie Sembler
"Loved Sammy so very much and all the cast and crew that were his family and friends. It was an ADVENTUROUS, tearful, joyful, heart wobbling BOOK." -Patricia Rossi
"This was a well written story about real life, pleasures, and regrets. It made me laugh as well as cry.I reccommend this book to everyone! "- Leslie Young-Friley
HOME MOVIES is a fast-paced whodunit, featuring Buddy Rosen, a kindergarten teacher in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Buddy’s world seems settled and predictable — until the moment that it’s turned upside-down by an unexpectedly familiar face that flickers across his home movie screen.
Until now, Buddy’s hobby of collecting castoff amateur movies has been nothing but fun, fuel for his imagination, and an entertaining teaching tool for the kids in his classroom. The startling appearance of this figure on his screen changes all that in the blink of an eye, propelling Buddy into a frantic search for answers to questions he’s never realized he had.
The cascade of events that follows challenge Buddy’s lifelong assumptions about his background and his future, place his family in jeopardy, and set in motion a terrifying fight for his own life. The twists and turns of Buddy’s desperate struggle for understanding and resolution will keep readers guessing until the final page is turned.
Emmy winner Chicken Named Mac
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