True cases basis of Richland attorney's novel

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Pittsburgh lawyer Lou Vitti of Richland was eating dinner to a jazz tune from “Good Night, and Good Luck,” the 2005 film directed by George Clooney.

The song “Who's Minding the Store?” by Dianne Reeves struck Vitti as the perfect tune to open his own movie.

His wife, Edith, suggested that Vitti write a screenplay.

Instead, Vitti, 72, penned his first novel, “Ghosts of Bars and Christmas Past” (Word Association Publishers, $24.95 and $14.95).

“I didn't know who the killer would be until 30 pages from the end,” Vitti said.

Copies will be available for purchase at a book signing and publication party set for 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. Hard- and soft-cover editions also are available online through Amazon and Word Association Publishers.

“It's selling well. We're getting a lot of orders,” said Tom Costello, owner of Word Association Publishers. “It's an extremely easy read, and a fast read, and a fascinating read. Almost everything takes places in well-known bars and places in the area.”

“Ghosts of Bars and Christmas Past” is about a lawyer with old acquaintances who get in trouble, and “he tries to legally help them escape their problems,” Vitti said.

“This thing was intended to be a screenplay.”

The book's back cover sums up the tale: “Lou DiAngelo is a Pittsburgh attorney with many friends. He drinks expensive Scotch, dates a gorgeous woman, and knows the right waiters and bartenders all around the three rivers. When he gets a call from a new client who is also a friend from the old neighborhood, his worlds begin to collide — in surprising and dangerous ways. A violent murder, missing $400,000 and 30 kilos of cocaine — punctuated with good food and drink, and a passionate romance keep the pages turning through this legal thriller.”

Vitti, an usher and Eucharistic minister at St. Richard Catholic Church, wrote the 199-page book in about five months.

“It took more time to edit it,” he said. “I got tired of reading the book.”

Vitti, chief partner and president of Vitti & Vitti & Associates in downtown Pittsburgh, mined his lifetime of legal wrangling for the book's characters and crimes.

“I represented a lot of mob guys. I represented bars ... These are real characters based on people I know. In many cases I used their real names,” Vitti said.

“These are actual cases I dealt with in real life. I wove them together into a story.”

Vitti now is working on his second novel: “Drink While You Can.”

Reservations are requested for Vitti's publication party and book signing. Call Mystery Lovers Bookshop at 412-828-4877.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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