Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Go to Jail in Naples, Italy

Two Metro policemen boarded and began shoving their way between the wall-to-wall passengers. The police approached each passenger in turn, and each passenger extracted a ticket for the policemen to see.
“Billete,” one said when they reached me. I produced my ticket.
The two policemen looked at each other. Motioning between my ticket and my face, they began a heated discussion in Italian. Finally, the dialog ceased, and one of them turned back to me. “Settanta-cinque euro,” he said.
“Huh?” I asked and shrugged my shoulders.
The policemen turned back to one other, and they began yelling back and forth again, shaking their heads. Finally, one took out a small notepad and wrote on it. “75€” his script read.
“Does anyone here speak English?” I asked, straining to turn my head and peer through the crowd. Dozens of pairs of eyes dropped to the floor of the bus. Others continued to stare straight ahead as if I had not spoken at all.

-Excerpt from The Vesuvius Isotope, debut novel by Kristen Elise, Ph.D.

Order your copy of The Vesuvius Isotope on Amazon (print or Kindle version,) (print or Nook version,) (Kobo version,) or iBookstore (iBooks version.) Or purchase a SIGNED copy at

Author's note: This really did happen to me in Naples. Unlike my protagonist, I refused to pay the fine for not stamping my bus ticket. I really did get arrested. The moral of the story: stamp everything in Naples. Your bus ticket. Your ferry ticket. Everything. Just stamp it. 

This blog post explores a non-fictional theme or locale that is incorporated in The Vesuvius Isotope, the first Katrina Stone novel. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope in print or ebook.

From the ancient ruins beneath Mount Vesuvius, a two-thousand-year-old document has emerged. It is the only text ever attributed to the ambitious, inquisitive, and cryptic last pharaoh of Egypt...

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that has increasingly pervaded his recent behavior. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist and the author of The Vesuvius Isotope and The Death Row Complex. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 

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