True Crime Books

book review | The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff

evan ratliff the mastermind drugs empire murder betrayal true crime book reviewAuthor: Evan Ratliff
Title: The Mastermind
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 480
Rate: 4/5 | goodreads

Ah, criminal masterminds. Whenever I read books like “The Mastermind” by Evan Ratliff, I can’t help but hope a biography of someone like Andrew Scott’s Jim Moriarty.

About the Book: Evan Ratliff has spent a decade on the case of a black web of crime, drugs, murder and games with the law. He contacted all he could, from family, to passerby’s, from goons, to lieutenants. Picking up information wherever he could, refusing to leave any stone unturned, putting together a true story of a criminal empire that began with selling prescription drugs online. And its ruler, Paul Le Roux.

My Opinion: It’s so very well written, you can definitely tell author has put a lot of heart into this. The story itself, well told, was interesting enough too. One of those “rise and fall” kind of tales, and a real one to that.

A good, solid book. Firm 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Lufthansa Heist by Henry Hill and Daniel Simone

the lufthansa heist henry hillAuthor: Henry Hill and Daniel Simone
Title: The Lufthansa Heist
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 384
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Right. I’ve finished “The Lufthansa Heist” by Henry Hill and Daniel Simone. Henry Hill’s biographical retelling of the notorious heist. And I am very, very tired because of it.

About the Book: A heist you’ll be familiar with if you watched the Goodfellas, told by one of the organizers – Henry Hill. It starts at the need for such a heist, such a job, and goes through all of the phases of making such a grand job – successful. Up until the riches they didn’t even realize they stole erupt in murderous chaos…

My Opinion: The fun part ends as soon as it begins, leaving us with more than half a book of back-and-forth with the law, arrests and releases, the who slept with whom and what “that broad” was like.

It’s sad to say that a book of a heist like this is dull, but here I am. A 2 out of 5.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, heists, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Ice Man by Philip Carlo

the ice man philip carlo mafia contract killer book reviewAuthor: Philip Carlo
Title: The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 410
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer” by Philip Carlo is not an easy book to get into, but it’s definitely worth it. Dark, horrible, and absolutely fascinating tale of Richard Kuklinski, the ice cold killer.

About the Book: Fathered by a brutal man and not wholly there mother Richard witnessed his father beat his brother to death. Yet he doesn’t blame his upbringing for the things he did. In his words, paraphrasing, what he did, he chose to do. And the only thing he truly regrets is not killing his father when there was a chance. Other than that, it was all fair game. From rivals, snitches, bad guys in general, to passerby’s who just happened to be there when he was out to test his new toy, rowdy teens or just stupid drivers. The only taboo in Kuklinski’s book were women and children.

My Opinion: Rats eating people alive, body parts torn off, sharks, cyanide, an arsenal of weapons that allowed him to walk the streets for so long – no one suspected it could be one man doing so much work, from testing, training, to contract killing or outright justice slaying. Brutal to a point where it’s hard to wrap your mind around he went out of his way to save trafficked children, murdering rapists with pleasure. Never cheated on his wife, loved his children dearly, and at the end – did his best to lessen their involvement when it all came out.

It’s a tough book. This man here had golden traits to him that some good people are falling short on. But then, he was an absolute monster. Can only hope there’s no more of such walking the streets. A 5 out of 5, chilling tale indeed. Made worse by the truth of it.

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

book review | Hunting Whitey by Casey Sherman

hunting whitey casey sherman dave wedge book reviewAuthor: Casey Sherman
Title: Hunting Whitey
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Nonfiction
Pages: 368
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie, I had no clue who James “Whitey” Bulger was up until reading “Hunting Whitey” by Casey Sherman. A life and death book of a legendary South Boston mob boss.

About the Book: A ruthless mob boss, self proclaimed gentleman, and a loving father to his children. James “Whitey” Bulger’s name is mentioned along side such notorious ones as Al Capone or Vito Genovese. This is a book of his long overdue capture, long and tough years in prison, and death by murder.

My Opinion: A pretty good book, well written, with plenty of details and names (an important factor for fact-checking). I’m just surprised I had no clue who this man was, since he was second most wanted man in the USA, just after Osama bin Laden.

While the book is good, and I approve of it for October, if you just want a tale of mobsters and gangsters, I’d go with something more fun, like one of those Hollywood Godfather books (there’s a few “former” gangsters who wrote amazing memoirs). But this one gets a solid 4 out of 5.

hunting whitey casey sherman dave wedge book review instagram

Instagram | Ko-Fi

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

book review | Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell

flawless diamond heist history scott andrew selby greg campbellAuthor: Scott Andrew Selby, Greg Campbell
Title: Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; True Crime
Pages: 336
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’m a great fan of a great heist story, true or fictional. So “Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History” by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell was definitely my cup of tea.

About the Book: Months and months of painstaking planning, preparations, evaluations, allowed a group of robbers to enter what was considered an impenetrable vault at the heart of all diamonds, Antwerp, Belgium. They left with 108 million dollars worth of loot. Just to get caught over a bagful of refuse… But not before they stashed away their bounty.

My Opinion: It’s strange to think this really happened and isn’t a fictional story. The planning, the details of it, at times it reached Ocean’s 12 levels, just without the Hollywood magic – it took a very long time. The story is very interesting and intense, even when you know how it ends or why.

Not bad. Maybe not worth a whole 5 out of 5, but there’s nothing I can take anything away for.

flawless diamond heist history scott andrew selby greg campbell bookstagram

[IG] | [EN. IG]

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

book review | Dopesick by Beth Macy

dopesick beth macyAuthor: Beth Macy
Title: Dopesick
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Science
Pages: 384
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Dopesick” by Beth Macy is dark, strong, and very scary. Mostly because that the tale it tells is true, happening today and will happen tomorrow.

About the Book: Mind ruled by opium is mind not your own, and yet… How are you supposed to live in reality, when you saw life, world, at its very best? Starting with Soldier’s Disease, to whom opium was given for obvious reasons, later in form of heroin, from where the title of the drug originates. Continuing with pharma pushing medicine and claiming its not addictive, doctors who over-prescribed them, and people who believed these greed embodiments have their best interest at hand. And ending with a system meant to keep you, and never let you go. User, abuser, gets arrested, gets no treatment, then is thrown out with no means to get apartment or food stamps, with very vague possibilities of job… They go back to dealer, ask for a favor, resell some, pay back, use up some to not see this darkness a failed system put them in. They get arrested, get no treatment, and the cycle continues until, usually, young death.

My Opinion: It’s scary to read of a mother who cared for household and kids like a superhero. Who needed a simple surgery, and got oxyContin prescribed for the pain. It’s scary how fast her life becomes a slope going down at terrifying speed. Scary how systematic racism ties into this too. The book is strongly written, it’s very clear, and will scare off many, I hope.

Read it. Give it to your kids to read it too. 5 out of 5.

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

book review | Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkjian | true crime

master thieves boston gangsters stephen kurkjian art heist bookAuthor: Stephen Kurkjian
Title: Master Thieves
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Heist
Pages: 272
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I had to brush the dust off “Master Thieves” by Stephen Kurkjian, that’s how long it sat in my TBR pile.

About the Book: In 1990 thirteen pieces of artwork have been stolen from a low security Boston museum. And to this day the case remains open, with even the Boston gangsters trying to help out. For the heist was so perfect, covering every loose end so well, that the art remains missing, and the case remains unsolved.

My Opinion: The book is not very interesting to read, and I dare say its due to a tad dry-ish writing style, because its good for what it is. Well paced, with plenty of details, and on interesting topic. Doesn’t get you invested though.

It’s worth the while if you like books about heists. A 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Call me God by Jim Clemente

call me god jim clementeAuthor: Jim Clemente, Tim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
Title: Call Me God: The Untold Story of DC Sniper Investigation
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 7.4 h
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

As recommendations go, “Call me God” by Jim Clemente was a very fair one. Got to rest from all the sci-fi and learned more of god complex.

About the Book: First of its kind, a duo team of snipers is terrorizing United States, and so soon after the 9/11 attacks. Snipers usually work alone, taking life from afar, unseen, almighty. People are getting shot at random, panic and misinformation spreads like wildfire. No one is safe anymore. And how does one catch someone who thinks himself god, who rules masses with a pull of a trigger?

My Opinion: I generally like true crime, but it’s always hard for me to enjoy tales of murderers and killers. A life should never be cheaper than own ego, and most of them, this one (or two) included, are fools. Like children who didn’t get to do whatever the hell they wanted, they take a tantrum to a whole new level. How does one think self so very right, that one never stops to think of the actions being committed? What a base beast one must be…

In general, the book is written and told well. It’s just not my cup of tea. 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, murder, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff

fentanyl inc ben westhoffAuthor: Ben Westhoff
Title: Fentanyl, Inc.
Series: –
Genre: NonFiction; Documentary
Pages: 356
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Got “Fentanyl, Inc.” by Ben Westhoff recommended to me as befitting my usual Netflix docuseries love: that of drug world. It was indeed very fitting, and taught me some things.

About the Book: Author ventures out to find some answers about Fentanyl. Why and where is it produced, how does it get places, and why so many drug users still keep dying from it. While the first two questions are hard to answer, the last one becomes clear early on: it is because a drug user out to get their fix don’t usually seek out fentanyl, but got no power over what their drugs were cut with. And governments are extremely reluctant if not outright hostile towards any attempts to keep them safe by, say, providing drug-test kits or safe-houses. So, overdosing becomes a daily occurrence.

My Opinion: It’s an oversimplified review I’m doing. The book is informative, but not dry, and is accessible even to someone like me: with no knowledge on medical or chemistry topics. So while not the best out there, with some added annoyance every time author falls off topic and doesn’t stop until you half-forgot what was the original theme here, it’s still pretty good.

Might be worth reading on a free day. A solid 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Science Books, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Hollywood Godfather by Gianni Russo | memoir

hollywood godfather gianni russo gangster mobsterAuthor: Gianni Russo
Title: Hollywood Godfather
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; True Crime
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

While “Hollywood Godfather” by Gianni Russo has its own issues and problems, deriving mostly from the times it all took place in, and the inequality dominating the masses back then, the story itself was a fascinating read.

About the Book: If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name or seen the face – Carlo Rizzi from Godfather, and many more. A real life mobster in a movie about mobsters, and he wasn’t even the only one. Gianni Russo tells us in detail how the movie got produced, what events took place, and what people got to be in it. Being a business man at the core, he also mentions what markup he made on soda cans he was selling to the crews. From estrangement with his parents, to first business ventures re-selling pens, to meeting a mobster who’ll become a father figure, to making it in the world. Gianni Russo leaves us with words: “yes, you can“, so if you needed any more motivation…

My Opinion: It was funny to read about the need to fake danger for the bright stars rubbing shoulders with mobsters, wanting to imagine they’re part of this thrilling world. From trash bags filled with newspapers, to introductions. Even more fun was to read about all the people Gianni Russo knew, such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and so on, what where they like. There’s many historical events too, mob orchestrated happenings involving politicians, assassinations, and such. And while I wish he would’ve spoken out about some issues, instead of just glossing over them, I enjoyed the book, and the people I get to know in it. Some things will never look the same ever again.

I never know how to rate a memoir. It’s one thing to rate a creation, a whole other to rate someone’s life. So, taking in writing, and how captivating it was, I give it a 5 out of 5.

 

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

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