Posts Tagged With: crime

“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.

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

heist | “Vegas Heist” by Van Allen Plexico

1Author: Van Allen Plexico
Title: Vegas Heist
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Heist, Crime
Pages: 240
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’m not a big fan of the Ocean 11 times heists. I prefer modern stuff, where you need a lot more brain to not get caught, and get anything out of the job. But this book honestly surprised me, and amused me plenty with, well, Karma.

About: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was to open the doors for clients on New Years eve. Meaning fellas didn’t have much time to neither plan, nor prepare for the heist they’re about to pull. But they know just about enough to pull this off, and walk away with a large chunk of money. Yet, another problem, from the very beginning the team consisted out of guys who were no longer very keen on sharing. Especially when ever more people came in for a share, be it merely a half-share, or a full one. And, honestly, all it would take… Pull the trigger, press the detonator, stab your friend in the back. When the smoke settles, and rubble stops falling we’ll see who’ll walk away, and what share will remain in their hands. If anyone, if anything. For the net of angry criminals is wider than most of them think, and strings are being pulled from places far further than the vault room.

Mine: This book reminded me of the best bits from Ocean’s 11 movies, the very best parts. It was amusing, funny at times, but dealt serious business none the less. My favorite was the Karma, reminded me of a saying “easy does it“, but I won’t tell you why, just in case you might care to read it. Be sure, the ending is damn right perfect. And the book itself is written well too. If you follow the plot closely, it’s great, you get it, you know. Because of the names. That being the big minus for me; I’m not okay with is having to re-read parts, because it’s easy to mix up very, very similar characters pulling different ends of the web.

It’s a good, refreshing, and amusing book. I can give it a solid 4 out of 5, with only that one minus about too similar characters being my problem. I’d read more. And I might just read more by the author, just to see.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Crime Books, heists, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vanishing Games by Roger Hobbs | Jack White 2

1Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Vanishing Games
Series: Jack White 2
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Am I wrong or have I read the first Jack White book last year in December too? All I remember is that I loved it a lot. So when I saw second book among my audiobook recommended, I had to snag it. It’s almost as good as the first one, read it whole while making Holiday presents for people.

About: If you need Jack White, you’ll get to jump a lot of safety hoops and obstacles. For he can afford you not finding him. Because, if you couldn’t find him, you likely weren’t worth his time anyway. For Jack White is a Ghostman. He doesn’t exist, in a sense, for he can be anyone, anywhere, and then someone else the next minute. In this game his due to boredom, so the least you could do is have him an interesting job to offer…

What Jack definitely didn’t expect was to get a message from his mentor. The woman who once taught him this art of vanishing. She claims she’s in danger, and if she says so, it’s likely plenty serious. This time it all happens somewhere deep in Asia, where one of her crew members tripped over every local gang, it seems, and then disappeared together with the rest of the crew. The gangs smell blood and money, though, and they feel no scruples over tossing an outsider or two down the pier in trash bags. They’re able too, for the whole damn country belongs to them.

Mine: This is one of those rare books where very details is amazing and wanted. There’s plenty of books in my shelf where I could barely get through the details, mentally asking the author for how long can they be telling me all this unnecessary stuff. But not here, here everything was amazing. I learned a lot about counterfeit money, and payment of a crew member, a robber. And how that payment can shift depending on your experience, skill, and sometimes – role. Jack didn’t disappoint me either, he’s still just as interesting, even if at times I had my doubts.

I might be biased, for I always liked crime books told from point of view of criminals who lived to tell the tale. If you got books like that, recommend me some, I always hunt for new ones, for there aren’t many. This one gets 5 out of 5, for I loved it.

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

John Burdett “The Bangkok Asset” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 6

2Author: John Burdett
Title: The Bangkok Asset
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 6
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Pages: 307
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah, and so here we are, with the last book of Sonchai Jitpleecheep that left me utterly confused and strangely happy. Confusion comes from the characters. And happiness comes from the end. Both literal – series ended, and less so – the ending of the book was pretty meta.

About: A person is brutally murdered, their head torn off their shoulders with demonic strength. And a message is left for Sonchai at the crime scene, written in blood: “I know who <smudge> father is“. To help him with this case, yet another one that directly revolves around him, a Chinese inspector Krom is assigned to Sonchai. And she soon confirms Sonchai’s suspicion that there’s something inhuman at work here.

The deeper Sonchai gets, the closer he gets to his father, with whom killer baited him closer, deeper into the case, the more he realizes that the world as he knew it has long as ended. This is the new era, era where the only power, respect, and religion is money. The second coming or the apocalypse itself is at the gate. And Sonchai is to choose a role: will you be John the Baptist, or Judas?

Mine: Some of the characters simply disappeared. Everyone forgot about them completely, and it’s really annoying. Especially since the new ones were very basic one-sided, and lacked any depth. The author is really struggling to write any women, and the ones that he does write, end up becoming either lamps or one-tune sounds. Then there’s the whole “every case revolves around Sonchai” deal. People need to stop killing to get his attention. Ending was pretty great though, not the very far end, but the culmination of it, before Sonchai jumped the bathroom. It put the other books together: you had a man whose word was always valued, a man who was loved even when he was hated, a man who was a saint, finally, become a saint. This new Cult, these New Age Apostles, they reach their hands to him with a promise: come, we’ll love you, just sit on the throne, and be our God.

In Lithuania we only have three books translated for us, and I think that was a good call on the publishers. The first three books really tie up the good story with the “happily ever after” attached to it. The rest are darker, and by far, not always good. Yet I don’t feel like I wasted time reading these, they were worth it, even when I hated it. So all in all, final book gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ioan Grillo “Gangster Warlords”

1Title: Gangster Warlords
Author: Ioan Grillo
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, Crime
Pages: 384
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Gangster Warlords” is a very well researched, and very well written, informative book on the title topic. It’s pretty amazing to read given facts, given opinion, and not feel bias leaking, nor an attempt to steer the reader one way or the other. That’s some good quality journalism right here.

About: The book is about the rise of the CEO kingpins, gangster warlords. In the age of politicians being worse than organized crime warlords, it only makes sense majority of the world gets both touched and screwed over by both. It makes even more sense that often we find ourselves hating the politician more. Someone who was meant to serve us and help us is doing the opposite. At least the gangster didn’t lie. Hell, in some cases gangsters are notorious for their good deeds, and end up being well protected, to a point of being untouchable, by the common folk who love them. For paving the roads, for building schools, for funding education, for, even, fighting crime. But that’s only a small fraction of the whole story. And likely the most rosy one too.

My Thoughts: The book is well written. I said that already, but it really is. Not once did I feel author’s word to have weight in my opinion that I was allowed to form through facts given. And, sure, things might have been opted out, but what was there was enough. I learned a lot. Best of all, I learned how different is a person who was pushed into crime for the sake of survival, and the one who entered life of crime for the sake of power. And how very differently common folk treat these people.

This was a good read. It is mostly set in Mexico, and gives good insight for making your own comparisons by the news and documentaries that are flooding all the media places. Poverty breeds all sorts of survivors. Not all of them are goodhearted, and it’s not always their fault either. 5 out of 5, for being such an eye-opener.

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

John Burdett “Vulture Peak” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 5

10121431Author: John Burdett
Title: Vulture Peak
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 5
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 285p.
Rate: 3-5 | Goodreads

Ah well. I’ve decided, that since I got this far, I might as well finish the series. “Vulture Peak” is second to last John Burdett series Sonchai Jitpleecheep book, out of which only the first three are translated into Lithuanian. Which isn’t a big loss, since first three books form a pretty good trilogy and could really end there.

About: Sonchai’s boss, driven by very selfish motives, is up to finally rid Bangkok of the Organ Trafficking, market and all. For that, of course, he uses Sonchai, since he’s the only non-corrupt cop around, and seems to care about this whole justice thing or whatever. So, Sonchai, with a secret identity, and a cool box full of eyeballs that give him nightmares soon after he discovers what’s inside, travels off from home. And very soon meets two nasty big players in the game. Chinese twins, as crazy as they come, their insanity a danger to them, and those around them. People for them are no more than walking allowance, and they’re very able to attract the right kind of people. Thus, it comes to no surprise that the monster rapist that is rampaging Bangkok is also related to their work and them. Sonchai and now his wife too, are in grave danger as the game starts slipping out of his hands.

My Opinion: The Twins reminded me of Voerman sisters from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. The legends, secrets, and their origin story was very similar. That was a pleasant take, to be honest. For the rest of the story wasn’t so good, and made a bit worse by Sonchai’s karmic better than thou attitude. I get it, he’s beautiful and everyone loves him from the moment they lay eyes on him. I just don’t understand why. The best story here was that of the monster I mentioned before, but it was used as a filler, to add volume, or at least it felt that way.

So then. I’ll soon start the final book. I wanted to read them for forever now, in the times when I rarely ever used to buy e-books to begin with. So I’ll be able to strike out a lot of things from the TBR, even if it won’t be quality reads. For the time being, 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “The Godfather of Kathmandu” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4

1Author: John Burdett
Title: The Godfather of Kathmandu
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3-5 | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book twice, because by the end of it – you already couldn’t tell what it was about? That was the case for me with John Burdett book “The Godfather of Kathmandu”, the fourth book in Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. It wasn’t a bad book per se, but oh, brother, the lines to follow…

Sonchai has made a grave mistake. He got the Godfather movies for his boss, which then triggered a chain reaction of real ill trash luck. His boss kindly worked up Sonchai’s family with deals of good raise, and little to no change to Sonchai’s work, in attempts to make Sonchai hisĀ consilieri, like an adviser. Which then directly took a hit to Sonchai’s karma. That son, reincarnation of his beloved friend and partner, whom he wanted to put in a good school on his wife’s advice, with the new money he’ll be getting? Decided the world is too corrupt, and suicided. Wife? Guilt ridden ran away to a monastery to become a monk. FBI agent, his friend and former partner in USA? She felt disappointed in his new line of work, and due to broken arm – won’t rush to help him with the new case. As for the new case, Sonchai is determined to give this chance of promotion to his colleague, who hates his guts. Hates him for being the first choice for the boss. Hates him for being a better detective. And now also hates him for being morally superior about this promotion too, for showing this kindness and giving him the damn promotion. The only consolation Sonchai right now has is also not a spotless piece of sunshine. It is a a highest ranking monk who promised to teach him to reach the peace of mind. It’s just that this same monk has 14 mil worth of drugs he wants to sell to his boss.

As for the murder, now that’s something to get distracted by, no matter how unpleasant. A movie director was found dead, skull open, brain eaten. He was well loved in Bangkok by the bar girls, who describe him as kind, caring, loving, but a sex addict. He wasn’t visiting them for a while before his death, so they assumed he finally found that “something wilder” he was after. Did that wilder thing kill him too? And to top it all off, he left clues directly for Sonchai. Yes. Of course he did.

This was a strange book, with quite a few lines to follow, and Sonchai’s wasn’t the best. The murder was the most dull one though, so I had to remind myself this isn’t really a detective story to begin with a lot. But there were great points, like that monk, or such a shift in Karma. So all in all another 3/5, I guess.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Hobbs “Ghostman” | Jack White 1

4Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Ghostman
Series: Jack White 1
Genre: Crime, Heist, Detective
Pages: 400p.
Rating: 5/5 | Goodreads

I picked up “Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs almost by an accident. I simply wanted something different, this one got in the way, so I took it. Must say, has been forever since I accidentally found such a treasure. It’s a marvelously written heist book.

Our protagonist doesn’t have a name anymore. He’s a ghostman. The kind of a criminal who melts in the crowd and becoems a whole other person, elsewhere. But for the time being, we can call him Jack. For that was the last name his former employer knew him by. Employer who had a need to call in an old debt. For, you see, back in the day, this genius evil mastermind had Jack and a few others on a heist. It was meticulously planned and went pretty well, assuming the risks they were taking. It would’ve made them all a couple millions richer. But a few days prior, Jack has made a mistake. And they all paid for it during the heist. With money, with lives. Simply, Jack owed more, so now he has to pay one last time.

Another masterful heist went south. This time there were no real mistakes. Another group has attacked them after they robbed the money convoy. And while Jack is a chameleon, this man today, another tomorrow, his inner world doesn’t change. And on the inside he’s in this game for the thrill, for the passion. He liked complex things, and interesting deals, dangerous crime games. And this mess is nothing but all that. Because, for one, there’s honor among thieves too. Criminal organisations need each other to survive, there’s rarely such insane attempts to cross each other. After all, they’re not some amateur gangbangers. Second, the money will become void in 48 hours or so, becoming as worthless as the paper banknotes are printed on. And third, why the hell his former boss even steal that hard to liquefy cash? It’s a game of “are you that powerful, or that dumb” from the moment Jack steps on the trail of the only heist member who escaped. With some luck the man will be alive and will be able to answer some question. Hell, with some luck, he didn’t ditch the money either.

This was such a great and intense read, I loved it. I loved Jack’s details, so precise, so professional. If you want a heist thriller slash detective, story told from the criminal point of view, then this is it. 5 out of 5

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

K.J. Charles “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal”

3Finally I got me another chance for some leisure with K.J. Charles. This time I read “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal” (ASIN B06XVF3GW8; 232p.; Goodreads), a sort of a prequel to Green Men series I’ll be starting right after this. It’s a very sherlocky book, but all cases are supernatural, and clients are mostly angry spirits.

Robert Caldwell worked as a journalist when he met Simon Feximal. You see, he inherited this old, crumbling little manor or castle, or whatever the hell, and a raging spirit of his angry ancestor with it. I mean, one can deal with many things. Things moving, doors closing, sounds and moans. But once the walls start bleeding, well, most of us would probably draw a line. So Robert called for help. Simon showed up, with his mysterious demeanor, body of a boxer, and impressive knowledge on the occult. He made them a circle and told Robert to not put a finger out, whatever happens. Spirit started raging, strange symbols appeared on Simon’s skin, and… Well, of course, Robert broke the damned circle.

From there on adventures and cases begin. Robert soon learned what World under the World is, and just how much more there is than meets the eye. And it’s not just angry spirits! There’s angrier zealous colleagues, England’s Secret Service, and even a war at the gate.

If you fancy a supernatural detective, than this is definitely for you. It was damn great, with lots of amazing characters and secrets. 5 out of 5 from me, can’t go any less.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Haunts” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3

22So then. I really loved first Sonchai Jitpleecheep series book by John Burdett. And I hated the second one just as much. Thus I picked up the third book, “Bangkok Haunts” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3; ISBN 0307263185; 305p.; Goodreads) very carefully. I was really worried it’ll now become a common detective with some family drama to it, set in Asia. Lucky for me, that did not happen.

Sonchai received a snuff movie. The kind of a pornographic video where one of the parties gets killed. And while it’s strange in itself that someone would sent it to a cop, it is far stranger that the victim seemed to be willing and encouraging the killer to get on with it. What kind of logic could get someone so willing to die, on a video too, for someone’s sick pleasure? It’s not like the dead need money, but there’s definitely a hint towards some kind of gain the dead woman got.

Worse than the video itself for Sonchai is the fact that he knew the woman in the video, and was madly in love with her at some point. To add to injury, in the video she wore a ring he gave her, as if expecting him to one day see the tape. Sonchai, thus, has no choice, but to try and solve this master plan someone birthed.

This was a strange and interesting read. It definitely got better at the end. I loved the crazy occult things, spiritual reaping, madness, and even the description of human cruelty. I can give it a strong 4 out of 5 for sure.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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