Pascal Marco, a Chicago native and Phoenix resident for over two decades, masterfully constructs an intricate thriller focusing on our country’s fragile infrastructure while addressing head-on the complex issues between citizens and non-citizens of the land. Render Safe is sure to be another success, following in the footsteps of his award-winning, best-selling debut novel, Identity: Lost. Born and raised on the far South Side of Chicago, Pascal Marco grew up in the Calumet region of Lake Michigan where, prior to the EPA’s arrival, steel mills shamelessly yet proudly belched orange-colored particulates around the clock from their scores of smoke stacks. Friendly neighborhood taverns book-ended most city blocks, holding tidy brick homes with plush and meticulously manicured lawns. It was a place where formal education often stopped after high school and a future was determined more by whom one knew rather than what. It was a rough area where the school of hard knocks ruled and outsiders were not readily trusted.
Known as the “East Side,” its residents habitually flipped to the obituary section of the local newspaper first–wondering who had died, when they’d be waked, and where they’d be buried–making readers curious if the dearly departed had found a more expeditious way of leaving the old neighborhood.
Pascal’s East Side was a place responsible in helping create his vivid imagination, and he’s thankful to this very day that he grew up there, proud of his deep, Italian, working class roots.
Pascal went to the University of Illinois Chicago, known at the time he attended as UICC-University of Illinois Chicago Circle. Located just southwest of Chicago’s famous Loop, attending the one-time “commuter school” had a significant influence on fostering his love of the city of broad shoulders.
Ever so gently coerced by his wife to move to the Sonoran Desert in 1994, he dutifully followed her to a brave new world in Arizona. Here, Pascal returned to writing, especially fiction, a passion which re-emerged after he had relinquished his budding wordsmith career in the latter years of grade school.
This unwanted flight from creativity came about when one of the good Franciscan sisters at St. Francis de Sales caught him filling steno pads with graphic stories about glorious secret agents. In her opinion, his time could be better spent by reading about the glory of God in his Baltimore Catechism.
Prodding him like a steer by poking him with her bony index finger into his chubby chest, the nun scolded him to “quit wasting your time writing that trash,” traumatizing and scarring the impressionable youth.
Nonetheless, some habits die hard (what a great pun, eh?) and Pascal now spends as much free time as he can writing and not thinking about scary old women in chestnut-colored habits.
From time to time, though, he still dwells upon where he’ll be waked and buried.