Journalist brings experience as a fashion writer to new book ‘“Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel”


By Kristina Houck

After developing the main character and plot at the Rancho Santa Fe Library for months, local author Richard Torregrossa is set to release his first thriller July 1.

“Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel” follows Luke Stark, a Special Forces veteran, who returns home from his second tour in Afghanistan to learn that his wife has been murdered and his son has disappeared. Nicknamed “The Suited Hero” for his impeccable suit, Stark sets out on a path for revenge and a search for his son.

The novel is written in a “very cinematic style,” said Torregrossa, who wrote most of the book at the library while living in Rancho Santa Fe. He currently resides in Scripps Ranch.

“I wanted something fast-paced that conforms with all the conventions of the genre but transcends them at the same time,” he said.

Originally from New York, Torregrossa first moved to the area in the late 1980s. A professional writer for more than 30 years, he has spent most of his career as a journalist with his work appearing in the New York Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post and a number of other print and online publications.

In the late 1990s, he found his niche, covering men’s and women’s fashion.

“Fashion was really heating up at the end of the ‘90s. Those were the assignments I got and became interested in,” he explained. “I combined that when I was writing ‘Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel.’ Luke Stark is very, very meticulous about his suit, almost as if it has magical powers. It gave him a persona, sort of like a superhero has a costume.”

Although “Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel” is Torregrossa’s first thriller, it isn’t his first book. He released his first book in 1996. “The Little Book of Wisdom” was his first of several illustrated books. In 2006, Torregrossa published the biography, “Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style,” with the foreword by Giorgio Armani and the afterword by Michael Kors.

Terminal LifeA first-degree black belt in martial arts and a fan of Jason Statham crime films, Torregrossa decided to write his own thriller.

“I’m a martial artist myself and I enjoy those movies and the fight scenes,” said Torregrossa, who has practiced martial arts for more than 20 years. “I kind of combined all my passions — martial arts, men’s wear and the suspense-thriller genre. It all came together in a nice, organic way.”

Torregrossa will sign copies of his book at 7:30 p.m. July 2 at Warwick’s bookstore, located at 7812 Girard Avenue in La Jolla.

Published by Oceanview Publishing, “Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel” will be available online July 1 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

“I hope readers have very vivid entertainment but also recognize the serious themes,” Torregrossa said. “No matter what crisis you find yourself in, there’s always a road to redemption.”

For more information about Torregrossa and “Terminal Life: A Suited Hero Novel,” visit