Local author Steven Grosso, who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, released Those Who Seek this past October, which is the third book in his mystery/detective novel series.
Local author Steven Grosso, who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, released Those Who Seek this past October, which is the third book in his mystery/detective novel series. The book comes on the heels of The Divine, the second book in the series, which was released in 2014. The first book in the series, released in 2013, is titled The Highway.
“[The whole series] features two Philadelphia police detectives, and it’s set throughout Philadelphia,” said Grosso. “The first one is primarily in Old City, the second one is in Rittenhouse, and this one takes place in South Philadelphia.”
The book’s premise involves two detectives, Benny Steel and Marisa Tulli, who left the Philadelphia Police Department and opened their own private investigation firm in South Philadelphia, which is where the book is based.
“I still live in South Philadelphia, so I know the locale,” said Grosso, who grew up at 10th and Wolf. “I know how the people talk, I know how they think, and I grew up there and almost all the scenes are set in South Philadelphia in real areas — not necessarily real locations but real areas within South Philadelphia … [Readers] will be able to feel the characters are real, genuine and authentic and so is the setting.”
The two main characters, Benny Steel and Marisa Tulli, met in the first novel, fell in love, and are in a relationship throughout the series. They work and live together in South Philly. Tulli is from South Philly and she and her family are a part of this book.
“The internal issues my main detective struggles with are self-doubt, pessimism and, at times, depression,” said Grosso.
Grosso initially started writing short mystery stories when he was a kid. In his teens, he stopped reading and writing as much, but returned to it in his 20s.
“In my early 20s, maybe a few years before I wrote my first novel, I started getting into reading a lot,” he said. “I was reading different novels by Michael Connolly, Dennis Lehane, John Grisham, and as I was reading more and more, I said to myself ‘I love this. I can do this.’ That’s when I started.”
The first book to get him into reading was Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.
“After that, I read everything I could get my hands on until I discovered a love for mystery novels.”
There’s one important thing Grosso wants readers to know about all his books, and that’s how he tries to end all of his novels with a sense of hope.
“In the end I always try to leave the readers with hope,” Grosso said. “For all the tragedies that the detectives see, for all the experiences that they go through as detectives to see the dark side of humanity, they always grow in the end, and there’s always a hopefulness at the end of each book. They grow throughout the book. So you’ll see their evolution as human beings, not just detectives.”