True Crime Books

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences¬† woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

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Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | McMafia by Misha Glenny

mcmafia misha glenny book cover underworld criminal organized crimeAuthor: Misha Glenny
Title: McMafia
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 398
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love reading sensible literature on organized crime, where author doesn’t choose a side, and, due to moral obligations, doesn’t try to paint one or another side a deeper shade of one color. One of such well balanced books is McMafia by Misha Glenny, who has a very healthy view on this all.

About the Book: This book goes through a variety of organized, global crime, its underground industries and their origins. From the times of economy downfalls through, say, the fall of soviet union, or the breaking of Berlin wall, to today. And all across the world.

Crime takes many forms and shapes. And so do reasons for it. Be it extreme poverty and thus a need to make a buck for bread by stealing or selling, or selling the stolen. Or be it flaws in law, criminalization of something you require. It could be medication your country deemed illegal. Or it could be part of your lifestyle: from illegal caviar, to illegal counterfeits. And many more, including drug cartels, mafia, mafiozos of Russia, yakuza, hackers, crackers, and so on. And you know what’s the worst of it? We too are a part of it.

My Opinion: This is a very smoothly written book, with sensible steps from one topic, to another. Each one of those is explained in depths, with origins of criminal organization at hand, how it came to be, to what it does, how it does it, and why it does it, if applies. To actual governments, and law: how they’re handling it, if handling it at all. As for our involvement, well, that’s true. And it’s scary. From materials required to, say, build our laptops, where a company doesn’t ask about the origins of this metal, or that dye. To scam emails, engineered web pages, and our inability to take precautions while on that enticing world wide web.

This is a very worthy read that I would highly recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5, for many, many reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn

bonnie and clyde true crime go down together jeff guinn biography book coverAuthor: Jeff Guinn
Title: Go Down Together
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Biography
Pages: 468
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always had a liking to Bonnie and Clyde stories, but somehow never watched or read any true, not romanticized stuff about them. After all, I didn’t even know that at first they weren’t Bonnie and Clyde, but rather Clyde and Bonnie. But then, a few days back, I watched this great Netflix movie “The Highwaymen” and decided I must take that one book that I have on the pair of criminals two rangers were pursuing there. The Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn.

About: Everyone has at least heard of the famous bank robbers in love, Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed together, ran together, shot together, and died together too. But rarely anyone knows what those two were really like, and what was their life on the road, on the run.

Both Bonnie and Clyde grew up and lived during the Great Depression, when the economy in United States fell so very drastically, that a young man would find it hard to get a job, and a young woman would likely add to her meager pay by finding a different sort of clientele. Yet one shouldn’t be fooled. These two were not so much pushed into the life in crime, as they leaped to it seeking thrill, action, and fame. They got it, alright, but one’s left to wonder if they’d be happy with the price they paid for it. The cold nights in make-shift camping spots, cold food in fear that a fire would be spotted, injuries that left them both crippled, and no way back to a normal life.

Mine: This is a dark story with an almost humorous streak to it. Both Bonnie and Clyde had their share of misfortune and even cruelty. Luck seemed to turn away from them when they most needed it. But they rolled with the punches as best they could, charming public who, for once, had entertainment in their lives. Bonnie and Clyde stole from businesses and banks, rarely touching clerk’s wallet, so it’s almost like they didn’t rob the poor, poor thought. They’d steal your car, but leave it where you could retrieve it. And if you rather had insurance money, all you had to do was ask, and they’d happily drop it in a ditch, and set it on fire. This is what public saw, and this is why they often turned a blind eye on this pair. All while they dealt with the dark side criminal world, hell, barely its surface, for no true criminal took them very seriously, was serving.

Author did a great job of making a smooth story to not feel dull. At all times it’ll keep your attention, and you’ll come out knowing who the famous or infamous pair truly was. I’m giving it a strong 5 out of 5, and recommend you watch The Highwaymen at some point too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

science | “All That Remains” by Sue Black

1Author: Sue Black
Title: All That Remains
Series: –
Genre: Science, Memoir
Pages: 368
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’m surprised and a little bit ashamed that I’ve not heard of this author before, or at least I don’t recall. This was a very curious read of a very intelligent person, an amazing woman, and her job.

About: The book presents a handful of various cases with information on them available in public domains. Sue Black chose these as the most memorable to her, and proceeds telling us about it, of what happened, why it happened if it’s know, what exactly was done, how it was solved, and so on. There’s always this personal touch to every story, vividly painted surroundings, respectful jokes, and tales of adventures. And the cases themselves range from kidnappings, dismembering, mass murder, war, or mass death due to natural disasters.

Mine: The information provided will never be dry or left unexplained. You don’t have to have any knowledge prior to read this, for I certainly don’t. Author is very meticulous, but very human too, so it’s always very interesting to read what she has to say, her insight, and details of cases too. I was glad to read of her views, the science behind it, and I’m just in general glad I got to reading this.

If I get my hands on any more works by Sue Black, I am absolutely reading it. This one gets 5 out of 5 and I very much so recommend to those who aren’t made uncomfortable by death. It’s okay if you are, though. We’ve all the right to our feelings.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mafia Prince” by Phil Leonetti

1.jpgAuthor: Phil Leonetti, Scott Burnstein, Christopher Graziano
Title: Mafia Prince
Series: –
Genre: Biography, True Crime
Pages: 328
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I read this book twice, for I really wanted to make sure I understood what has happened, and how it all went down. It’s a beautiful story of a personal evolution. Ability to grow above the life you seemingly were born into.

About: This is a beautiful dark story of an often romanticized topic: Mafia. Little Nicky Scarfo ruled Philly’s Mafia Family, La Cosa Nostra, this thing of ours. Under his rule everyone got out of their way, for these people, this mob, was ruthless and cruel. On some incidence a man took his own life in fear they came to brutally murder him, even though it was a mere chance. Scarfo’s nephew, Crazy Phil Leonetti ruled as his second in command, earning his name as the crazy one, following the rules obediently, putting Family above all else, including his own son. But as time went by, and good men, loyal men died for mere fact his uncle thought they were too proud of the job they did under his orders, Phil started questioning him as the boss, and the whole structure too. And he wasn’t the only one tired of a ruthless, paranoid boss.

Mine: I greatly respect people who are able to rise above their given life. Phil Leonetti is a great example of it. Born into Mob to be as good as the Prince of Crime, he obeyed, he lived it, he breathed it, and he killed for it. But he evolved when the chance presented itself, and made sure his own son didn’t have to belong the way he did. He got out when he could, and took anyone willing and able with him, in a sense. Once he saw the stupidity behind aggression, he did his best to straighten himself, and build a better life, outside of the crime for himself and his family. I wish them all luck in it.

It’s a good book, good new perspective. Mafia is not Sopranos. It’s brutal, horrible, and death is easy. Being trigger happy will not keep you safe, loyalty will not keep you safe, for nobody is ever safe in a life like that. 5 out of 5, and then a few extra points for the final word of Leonetti.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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