Mystery Writer Vincent Zandri Brings Albany to Life in “The Concrete Pearl”


Vincent Zandri: The Concrete PearlWith his talk “The New Publishing Model Demystified,” local author Vincent Zandri shares his insight into the new world of contemporary publishing, including eBooks at 7pm on Tuesday (January 22) at the Albany Public Library.

Also as part of his presentation, Zandri will read from his new novel “The Concrete Pearl,” a mystery-thriller about the underbelly of the construction business that’s set right here in the state capital of New York. Along the way, Zandri references Albany Medical Center, Channel 13, Waterford High School, radio station WGY, 677 Prime, The Times Union and more.

Key scenes in the murder mystery are set in such familiar locations as Tess’ Lark Tavern, the Miss Albany Diner, Dott’s Garage and the Thatcher Street Pub.

And because Zandri used to play drums with such Albany bands as the Verge, Cost of Living and most recently the Blisterz, Zandri drops some music knowledge, too, referencing Black Cat Elliot and transforming the members of the Blisterz into minor but crucial characters in the tale.

Mostly, however, we loved the book because of the way Zandri kicks off Chapter 31:

“I met Joel at the Miss Albany Diner on Pearl Street, maybe a stone’s throw from the Thatcher Street Pub to the north and PS 20 to the south. The old trailer-and-hitch-style mobile eatery had been permanently grounded decades ago beside the old RCA building, the six-story concrete monstrosity topped off with a gigantic fifty-foot-high plaster-and-mesh Nipper the Dog. The black-on-white Nipper sat obediently atop the flat roof’s edge, big black eyes peering down the Concrete Pearl like a monster guard dog. His heavy body bolted down by chains and iron bars, tail end pointing to the Hudson River like an insult.

“The diner, the giant plaster dog, the RCA building…Much of it would be relegated to the wrecking ball in a matter of months to make way for the new-and-improved Concrete Pearl Convention Center.”

WAIT A MINUTE… Nipper about to be destroyed?!? I just had to keep reading to find out what happens to our iconic rooftop canine…

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  1. Michael Hochanadel says

    Before actually reading this, I thought “Concrete Pearl” MUST refer to The Egg…

  2. Rick Reuben says

    Interesting. Although I think it is a little far fetched to say there is an “underbelly” to the Albany construction business. What next, books about crooked Albany politicians? Kickbacks? The very notion is absurd.

    Can we get Jim Coyne to sign a copy?

  3. Vincent Zandri says

    Thanks Sarge…
    Always honored to grace the digital pages of Nippertown…
    I’m still hoping we can get The Verge back together for a reunion gig!!

  4. elyse says

    great line: “tail end pointing to the Hudson River like an insult”

  5. Alan G. says

    Well, I’m relieved to now know that a “Save the Nipper” campaign won’t need to be implemented – at least not yet.

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