Literary Las Vegas: Daniel O’Connor

Salvatore Salerno grew up in Brooklyn surrounded by organized crime minions with names like Nicky the Zipper, Tommy Box o’ Cookies and Staten Island Lou. But Sal was different. They called him Sally the Pope, a nickname that fit a young family man determined to stay clear of crime and violence. Henderson author Daniel O’Connor, with the help of Peter Randazzo, brings Sal and the Brooklyn of his childhood to life in the novel “Sons of the Pope.”

When O’Connor was 4, he lost his mother to cancer. His father suffered the same fate two years later. O’Connor lived with his grandmother until she died when he was 10. Rather than lose himself in grief, he found solace in books, movies, music and writing and went on to serve as a New York City police officer. For more on the author, visit

Excerpt from ‘Sons of the Pope’

“Here he is!” shouted Vito as he spotted Sal.

Sal approached with a smile.

“If you want lemonade, ya gotta get in line,” joked Vito.

“You’d better not be spiking these kids’ drinks.”

“Boy, some impression ya got of me, Cuz,” replied Vito.

“Sally, where’s little Joey? You shoulda brung him to the carnival.”

Sal pointed to his uniform. “I’m working!”

“Then Mary should have come over with him.”

“He’s still too young for this kind of thing, Vito.”

“Nah. He’d love it. The balloons. The clowns. You kiddin’ me?”

Sal leaned closer. “Vito, to tell you the truth, Mary would never set foot in here. You know how she feels about Biaggio Falcone and these guys.”


“She thinks they’re a disgrace to her parents, her grandparents, and all of the real Italians.”

Vito looked at his wife.

“Francine, can you pour for a couple o’ minutes?”

Vito stepped aside and grabbed his taller cousin by the arm. “Sally, the fellas are doing a wonderful thing here. They run this whole shebang for the parish. The money goes to the poor. How do you think the church will feed the needy come Thanksgiving?”

“I guess. Well, I’m supposed to see Falcone here…”

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