Welcome to my site!

My name is John Vocale and I’ve led an interesting life. I was born in New York City, but lived most of my life in Florida, home of lightning strikes, hurricanes and blankets of humidity. Within the confines of a personal historical record, humidity owns millions of acres of land in Florida and I’ve been to each and every one of them.

I’m also a bit of a world traveler. I’ve been to Europe on countless occasions (more like twelve), Australia, Thailand, South Korea, Cambodia and Dubai. While in Dubai, I visited a slave labor camp filled with Pakistani workers who had signed a “contract” for indentured servitude. In Australia, I dived and viewed the deteriorating Great Barrier Reef. In Sydney, I learned that the visually pleasing Opera House is covered in cheap ceramic tile to affect its pleasing appearance. In Cambodia, I shared a hut and an outhouse with Buddhists, living in dirt floor abodes who display a life of tranquility unseen in the United States. They have few material possessions and have replaced anger, blame and rage with an inner calm–quite an accomplishment from my perspective, and exceptional considering the ongoing exorcism of the ghost of Pol Pot.

When I was three years old my father was murdered by the mob. Details of the murder are recounted in my novel, A Tale of Two Times. Shortly thereafter, my mother married a master check forger and my last name was changed to Baumel.

When Baumel stole the family car and departed, to never be heard from again, my mother married the cab driver that chauffeured her oft inebriated persona around Sarasota, Florida until she could afford a new mode of transportation. The hack’s name was Allen and mine was soon changed to match. Yes, I’ve had three surnames. Their volatile relationship resulted in several beatings to my mother and four consecutive marriages followed by four consecutive divorces. At fourteen I ran away from home, never again to be the son of the woman that bore me.

I sought refuge with my grandmother who, with open arms, welcomed me into her minuscule 8′ x 20′ house-trailer. I was the only child in a senior citizen trailer park community where the minimum age for acceptance was sixty-five. When my grandmother was ordered to oust me under the six-month visitation limits of the “no young whippersnapper rule,” she circumvented the age requirements by legally adopting me. Like the Cambodian Buddhists, we had nothing of material value, and I was never happier. My grandmother was and always will be my hero and the most giving person I have yet to meet. She saved my life.

At nineteen I was drafted into the military but elected to join the Air Force. When my grandmother became ill, they stationed me in Tampa to be close to home. When her conditioned worsened, I was granted an early discharge to help care for her. She died a few days later.

Immediately after her death the trailer was confiscated by park officials and I was homeless. I never got a straight answer on the confiscation. I could only presume that our trailer was a rental and without its signed lessee, I fell victim to the “no young whippersnapper rule” and was tossed to the curb.

As a master of internal locutions, a barbed voice in my head informed me that the least desirable aspect of becoming a penurious whippersnapper is finding a place to sleep. An order to seek employment followed immediately thereafter.

In the military I netted only $128.50 a month and, resultingly, I wasn’t much of a saver. Since I lived off base, I blew my monthly stipend on rent and food. Because of this aversion to parsimony, I had to reconfigure my long body to sleep in the backseat of my VW Bug. It was a contorted effort. On occasion, I was granted access to a couch or floor by some of my friend’s parents (thank you Mr. & Mrs. Frosch!). Luckily, in what some might call a forced expeditious maneuver, I was able to get a job as a carpenter’s helper where I met two former high school buddies who were looking for a roommate. I was off the street in a month!

Then, I met a beautiful …

I know–if you have made it this far, you’re probably thinking, ‘boy, does this guy feel sorry for himself!’ All I want to know if his books are worth reading!

You’re right–I’ll try again.

Through the years, as I told my tale of woe to the one or two people that found it interesting, I kept getting the same reply that has been cast upon millions with a story to tell: “You ought to write a book.”

So, I did. I called it Don’t get Mad–The Ins and Outs of Getting Even as An Entry Level Assassin. And then I wrote another, the aforementioned A Tale of Two Times. And then I wrote another, the recently released The Jewish Nazi.

If you read one or both, I hope you get a laugh or two. If you read The Jewish Nazi, I hope you empathize with the multiple plights of Benjamin Bauman and learn a thing or two about love, brutality, heroism and a history that should never be repeated.

Boredom over. Thank you for the visit.

A hard-hitting fast-moving thriller that manages to be humorous at the same time as it’s suspenseful. I heartily recommend it.

Don’t Get Mad-The Ins and Outs of Getting Even as An Entry Level Assassin


Don’t Get Mad . . . by John Vocale is a terrifically clever and entertaining novel that I enjoyed right from its opening to its surprising and disarming ending. Sturgis, the main character, has been terribly mistreated by Mike DiMarco, one of the more miserable specimens of humanity ever to crawl across the pages of a novel. With his bizarre circular mouth and his foul turns of phrase, DiMarco manages to be a constant source of humor even as his proceeds to commit one heinous act after another. The central focus of the plot of Don’t Get Mad comes from Sturgis’s plan to assassinate DiMarco. The frame of Sturgis’s planning out the murder of Mike DiMarco becomes engagingly fleshed out with funny, vivid stories from Sturgis’s past.
Sturgis is likeable, world-weary, and charming in a self-deprecating way; the reader’s awareness of how completely out of his element he is as a hit-man provides an additional layer of amusing dread (the scene where Sturgis buys the gun is a hoot). Vocale has a fine ear for dialogue and an engaging writing style – Sturgis’s banter with his best friend Paul is a constant source of amusement. A handsome chick magnet, Paul is troubled by addictions yet simultaneously seems well adjusted in his sense of self-awareness (“Then reality set in that the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in my life had made me an idiot, once again”).
Indeed, all of Vocale’s secondary characters are distinctive. Describing the proclivities of Melissa (one of Sturgis’s ill-fated romantic interests), Vocale notes she requires the dishwasher stacking just so: “All coffee cups had to be on the outside row of the top shelf with the stem points in.” The coy, older seductress Maureen becomes increasingly attractive to the reader as she engages in her conflicted, vulnerable romantic intrigue with Sturgis.
Vocale skillfully bounds along in time in place constantly amusing and intriguing the reader with a narrative that manages to propel forward even when it heads sideways. The book even subtly develops a few shrewd Trump allegories. I highly recommend Don’t Get Mad and look forward to reading further works by this wise and gifted writer.

Michael P. Hartnett-Author