One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title centers around the divergent journeys of Leon and Michael Spinks as they grew up in the St. Louis ghetto, each became heavyweight champions, and then had to deal with fickle fame. The book features a celebrity cast of boxing legends, including Muhammad Ali (who Leon Spinks defeated), Mike Tyson (who Michael Spinks fought), Larry Holmes, Gerry Cooney, Dwight Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and many more.
Check out the thrilling trailer below, which was Trailer of the Day on Shelf Awareness:
The book has been featured on several sports broadcasts this month. Florio was interviewed by Jeremy Schapp on ESPN's The Sporting Life (listen here), Jim Rome on CBS Sports Radio (listen here), and The Rock Newman Show (listen here).
Excerpts were also featured in a Sporting News exclusive. You can read them here.
The book has gotten fabulous reviews, including the below sampling:
“Revealing detail...An excellent read for boxing fans.” --Booklist
“A great introduction to the heavyweight division from the late 1960s to the early '80s...Just as much about America's racial and socioeconomic situation as it is an exploration of the dynamics of family and the history of the sweet science...Teaches a lesson.” --Publishers Weekly
“Well written and deeply sourced, One Punch from the Promised Land fills in a lot of blanks.” --Bob Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award winner, NBC sportscaster and host of Costas Tonight
"It's a story that transcends boxing." --Jerry Izenberg, sports columnist for The Star-Ledger, four time Pulitzer Prize nominee for sports reporting, and author of Through My Eyes
“A vivid and compelling dual biography populated by the giants and demons of boxing's last golden age.” --Jeremy Schaap, ESPN reporter and New York Times bestselling author of Cinderella Man
John Florio has had quite the publishing season. He also had a fiction crime novel, Sugar Pop Moon, released from Seventh Street Books in July. The novel tells the story of Jersey Leo, an albino of mixed race nicknamed “Snowball,” who bartends at a speakeasy in Prohibition-era Hell's Kitchen. Jersey gets embroiled in a great deal danger after inadvertently purchasing counterfeit moonshine for his boss.
Sugar Pop Moon was named to the “Best Mysteries and Thrillers” category on iTunes in July:
Florio gave an interview on The Big Thrill, in which he speaks to why he chose an albino character to be his novel's hero and how a prior stint as a music composer helped him write and structure Sugar Pop Moon. Read the full interview here.
The sequel to Sugar Pop Moon, Blind Moon Alley, will come out in 2014 from Seventh Street Press.
Below is a sampling of the excellent reviews for Sugar Pop Moon:
“Don’t miss this absolutely riveting, gritty debut coming-of-age tale. Absorbing and briskly paced.” --Library Journal, starred review
“This is a hard-boiled, Prohibition-era novel and Jersey Leo is a well-developed, engaging character. The story moves fast, the violence is appropriate to the times, and there are laugh-out-loud moments amid the mayhem. Sure to appeal to fans of Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, and, more currently, Robert Fate’s edgy Baby Shark series." --Booklist
“The brisk story and its unusual hero pack a considerable punch.” --Publishers Weekly
“A fast-paced tale where you never know what’s coming next…One of those good, old prohibition-style mob stories that brings a tear to the eye and a laugh out loud …After this small taste, readers will definitely hope that the author produces more Jersey Leo stories.” --Suspense Magazine
“Crackling with Chandleresque crack-wise charm, a breakneck pace and wonderful characterizations, Sugar Pop Moon delivers the goods...Jersey is a wonderful character, in league with great ultra-outsiders like Beverle Graves Myers’ Tito Amato. Highly recommended.” --Historical Novel Society, Editors' Choice
Seventh Street Books, July 2013
Lyons Press, September 2013