Otherwise known as The Pelican Novels, featuring investigator Dante Mancuso, a former government operative.  These hard-hitting novels, set in the old Italian neighborhood of San Francisco,  have been widely praised for their rich portrayal of the ethnic and political sub-cultures of San Francisco.  Books in this series include The Ancient Rain, which topped Booklists 101 Best Crime Novels of the Decade, as well as Naked Moon, Shamus Award Finalist.  The books here are listed in the order of publication.



“What could be better news than the start of a new series by Domenic Stansberry—the dark poet of San Francisco crime… historically and sociologically fascinating in its look at the Italian community of that California city.”  Chicago Tribune

"A gripping novel... incendiary.... this gritty, noirish exercise in murder and drugs feels uncomfortably like the real thing" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


The second Dante Mancuso. novel

"Takes a seemingly soulless contemporary phenomenon--dot-com speculation--and gives it the same chilling, metaphorical resonance that the postwar noir masters gave to a darkened city street or a tilted Venetian blind. " BOOKLIST(starred review)



A fellow investigator is locked away for murder and the ghosts of the Symbionese Liberation Army haunt the streets of San Francisco in  this Kafkaesque crime drama.   Shamus Award Finalist.

"This brilliantly imagined version of real events packs an emotional wallop genre fiction rarely delivers."

Kirkus  (starred review)


"We’ve said it all along: whereas others play at noir, Stansberry delivers the real thing. That was true with the marvelous Ancient Rain (2008), and it’s even more true with this latest entry in the Dante Mancuso series. This time the San Francisco P.I.’s shady past (working for a clandestine government security outfit called the Company) comes back to haunt him. . . . Think of the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls—Robert Jordan with a Gatling gun between his legs and the Fascists coming up the mountain en masse—and you’ll have some idea of just how dark the world looks to Dante’s shrouded eyes (and, unlike Jordan, Dante harbors no illusions about honor). As always, Stansberry combines his unrelenting noir world view with remarkably lyrical prose. You want a similar title? Try Mozart’s Requiem." -BILL OTT In BOOKLIST




"This series... revitalizes the classic detective story, injecting it with a noir sensibility that both evokes the old masters and seems altogether new. "  Booklist on NAKED MOON (Starred Review) 


“[it's] TRANSPORTING to view San Francisco's colorful Italian-American neighborhood, North Beach, through the eyes of Domenic Stansberry. ... this underrated crime novelist really GETS UNDER THE HOOD of this part of the city.... in a HABIT-FORMING series about Dante Mancuso, a private eye who knows everyone to talk to—or goes to the funeral of anyone unable to talk." New York Times Book Review on THE ANCIENT RAIN


"Dante Mancuso... is one of the most tight-lipped and tightly wound protagonists in contemporary crime fiction."San Francisco  Chronicle


"Compelling….Equal parts contemporary crime fiction and dark, existential poetry."   Publishers Weekly on NAKED MOON


"Excellent… fans will read this strong suspenseful tale in one shocking sitting.”  The Mystery Gazette on Naked Moon                                                          


"To all those mystery readers who believe that the classic detective story has played itself out, Stansberry delivers a bracing slap upside the head.  And it feels so good."  Booklist on The Big BOOM (starred review)


"A hypnotic, compelling read.  It’s one part Sopranos, another part Greek Tragedy. " The Boston Globe on THE BIG BOOM


"Broodingly atmospheric… Readers will find themselves absorbed."   San Francisco Chronicle on THE BIG BOOM


“Stansberry’s strong, no nonsense crime novel, the first in a new series, pulls few punches…. This gritty, noirish exercise in murder and drugs feels uncomfortably like the real thing."         Publishers Weekly (starred review)  on CHASING THE DRAGON


"Perfect…with its lonely lyric voice raised in lament for the old people and the old ways that are dying out.  While all the characters have strong faces, what lingers in the mind are the group studies: of fishermen hanging out on empty wharves, of grandfathers crouched over their bocce games, and of all the ghosts of the dead who wander the streets, pointing their fingers at the living" The New York Times Book Review on CHASING THE DRAGON


“Triumphant… a wonderful exercise in lyrical simplicity… noir in its finest form with near flawless execution and style.” Baltimore Sun on CHASING THE DRAGON


“Brilliant and evocative…  The author brings the streets of North Beach alive … Anyone familiar with that lovely old section of San Francisco - and even those that aren't - will feel the fog brush against their cheeks and their calves begin to tighten as he or she walks with the novel's characters up the steep stairways and sidewalks…”  Mystery News on CHASING THE DRAGON

“An exciting crime thriller where actions are shades of gray and people are not always who they seem.”  Midwest Book Review on CHASING THE DRAGON

“The demographic collision of the area's Italian and Chinese residents serves as an apt metaphor for the cultural (and criminal) forces at play in this complex yet unvarnished story…  Stansberry doesn't write with a lot of frills and flourishes. Instead, he stays out of the way of his characters and develops a strong sense of place in which his tale can unfold.” San Francisco Chronicle on CHASING THE DRAGON