Book tip: "Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years"

Tony Consiglio, as told to Franz Douskey

Tantor Media, Incorporated

Tony Consiglio was Frank Sinatra's right-hand man for decades. The two met as teens (Consiglio grew up in New Haven, and his family runs Sally's Apizza there), but Consiglio never talked about Sinatra or the other famous folks he befriended - earning himself the nickname "The Clam." Before his death in 2008, Consiglio finally spoke, to author Douskey. The resulting book is a fascinating glimpse into Sinatra's life and his often-tough-as-nails personality. It's also an intriguing look at the odd relationship between Sinatra and Consiglio. Consiglio considered them friends, but he was also Sinatra's gofer - someone Sinatra seemed to rely on and yet take for granted. When Ava Gardner tossed her engagement ring out a 14th-floor hotel window during a fight late at night, Sinatra ordered Consiglio to find it. After scouring the sidewalk for an hour and a half, he did, and was rewarded by a single word from Sinatra: "Great." There were plenty of times, though, when they laughed (Sinatra was a fan of practical jokes involving cherry bombs), but Consiglio knew never to question Sinatra. About anything. Consiglio was a Zelig-like character, turning up everywhere. He became friendly with the Kennedys and a who's who of Hollywood stars. Consiglio offers an insider's portrait of an era. (Douskey will read and sign copies of the book at 7 tonight at R.J. Julia in Madison.)

- KRISTINA DORSEY

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