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Mineola Grad Eyes Spies

Guns, gadgets and girls. These are three spy novel mainstays that are the foundations of the genre, but not for Robert DiBella. The Mineola native chose a different approach for Memoir of a Variable, which hit Amazon on Feb. 19.

The book gives readers a glimpse into the underworld of espionage and professional killing. The tale follows “X,” an unnamed assassin for the C.I.A.’s subdivision, “Grey Sector,” who defies the odds when he turns on the organization that forced his hand to take the lives of innocent people. As the units best Variable, “X” fights for his humanity in an international chase that takes him from Hong Kong to New York.

DiBella, while attending Molloy College from 2008-2012, received a call from Mike D’Agostino attempting to enter a short film contest. The Mineola School District alum was tasked to write a three-minute story about a hitman contracted to kill a woman.

What started as a three-page treatment, turned into a 45-page screenplay. DiBella wants this novel to be the first in a five-part series.

“One day I just started writing, and it became a novel,” said Dibella. “I’ve always been interested in espionage and thrillers like that since I was little.”

DiBella, a substitute teacher in Nassau County and Queens, took a course in 12th-grade, titled “Who Done It?” which focused on mystery novels and thrillers. DiBella penned a number of short stories at Mineola High School, which sparked the prose forming frenzy.

“That’s where it all started,” DiBella said. “When I was in college, I took playwriting. I loved it. I was able to write about multiple genres. It just took off.”

DiBella started Memoir in 2011 and finished the book just before he graduated with a degree in history and education from Molloy last May. 

 “I just think there’s so many directions to go with the story that it needs more than one book,” DiBella said. “Once I finished [Memoir], I kept going back and making some changes.”

The 22-year-old canvassed numerous publishers and literary agents, hoping someone would put the same faith in his book that DiBella did in crafting it. The clouds parted Rainstorm Press, a publishing house that specializes in horror, mystery and spy novels, snagged Memoir.

“The reason Memoir stood out to me was because it’s an interesting, action-packed view on the men and women who secretly fight for our country,” Rainstorm Press Editor-in-Chief Lyle Perez-Tinics said. “Espionage, spies and C.I.A. cover-ups—it doesn’t get better than that. Robert has much potential as a writer; he is quickly moving up on the sales charts for this month and his writing is quickly maturing. We’re watching a star be born right in front of us.”

 The on-the-run plot of Memoir isn’t your normal action-packed chase story. The woman “X” is contracted to kill is the daughter of a U.S. Senator. After choosing the road of rogue agent, “X” decides the senator is his new target.

“He’s turning on his country to get his name back,” DiBella stated. “The character doesn’t have a name because the C.I.A. wanted to break him down and not make him a person…more of a tool. That’s where his name comes in. It’s his memoirs.”