Jim Fusilli is an American writer who is the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal. He’s also founder and editor of ReNewMusic.net, a website dedicated to introducing new music to grownups. He resides in New York City.
Fusilli is the author of seven novels and one non-fiction book, “Pet Sounds,” his tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’ classic album. The book, which Fusilli described as “an experiment in music journalism,” combines the rhythm and emotional weight of his fiction with the often-unorthodox observations of his music criticism. A favorite of novelists inspired by contemporary pop music, it was translated for a Japanese language edition by Haruki Murakami.
Fusilli’s novel, “Narrows Gate” is an epic set in the years surrounding World War II in a gritty Italian-American community in the shadow of New York City. Its principal characters include an Italian-American crooner, a collection of gangsters, military men and intelligence operatives, assorted Hollywood types – and two young friends who must choose which path to take to escape the dangerous environment. Narrows Gate is based loosely on Hoboken, New Jersey, where Fusilli was born.
Fusilli’s debut novel “Closing Time” was the last work of fiction set in New York City published prior to the 9/11 attacks. The following year, Fusilli’s novel “A Well-Known Secret” addressed the impact of 9/11 on the residents of New York City. Two novels for adults followed: “Tribeca Blues” and “Hard, Hard City,” which Mystery Ink magazine named its 2004 Novel of the Year. Subsequent mystery novels including “Road to Nowhere” and “Billboard Man.”
Fusilli served as the editor of, and contributed chapters to, the serial thrillers “The Chopin Manuscript” and “The Copper Bracelet.” His novel for young adults “Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin” was published in 2008 by Dutton Juvenile.
He has written and published many short stories that have appeared in a variety of anthologies. “Chellini’s Solution,” which appeared in an edition of the Best American Mystery Stories, features Narrows Gate in the years following World War II. “Digby, Attorney at Law” portrays the fictional city in the early 1960s. It was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards in 2010.
Fusilli is married to the former Diane Holuk, a global communications executive. They have a daughter, Cara, a graduate of the New School.