Monday, March 11, 2019

Michael Connelly, bestselling author and creator of "Bosch," with advance praise for MAFIA SPIES

Here's what Michael Connelly, NYT Best-Selling Author and creator of TV's "Bosch", says about MAFIA SPIES:

“Just when you think you’ve read and heard everything there is to know about the CIA, JFK and the mob, along comes Thomas Maier with this meticulously researched and nuanced report that sets the record straight in some areas and breaks new ground in others. Mafia Spies reads like a thriller but its all true. I found it gripping from page one. And important. The events reported on here changed history and give us better understanding of current times.”

Friday, March 1, 2019

"MAFIA SPIES" features Spies, Sex, Mafia hitmen and James Bond-like killing devices in the CIA's hunt to kill Castro

Spies, sex, Mafia hit men and James Bond-like killing devices. They sound like the stuff of an Ian Fleming novel or a movie thriller. But these are true-life details from America’s first foray into the assassination business—a rather messy affair, as 007 might say. They are all contained in my new book "MAFIA SPIES" which comes out April 2. Here's a Politico article I wrote last year about the newly-released JFK documents that are cited in my book.

What MAFIA SPIES Learned from Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City"

In writing MAFIA SPIES, there were a number of books that influenced me. Fellow Long Islander Erik Larson’s book THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, about a serial killer at the 1898 Chicago Worlds Fair, was one of them. I tried to keep in mind the structure of his book when assembling my own tale of two gangsters hired by the CIA to kill Fidel Castro. MAFIA SPIES really is a paean to American violence:
-- there's the first (known) US state-sanctioned assassination attempt of a foreign leader, authorized in a bloodless way by the CIA who used "cutouts" and coded language to avoid any culpability;
-- second, the calculated corporate "hits" of the organized crime families, who strategically eliminated the competition especially in Chicago, Las Vegas and New York;
-- and then, there's the wildly psychotic, random violence of killers like Sam "Crazy Sam" DeStefano -- a favorite of Chicago boss Sam Giancana -- who kept a torture chamber in the basement of his house, just like the protagonist in Larson's tale.

Here’s Larson talking about his book.

https://www.bookweb.org/news/american-gothic-larsons-devil-white-city-tells-tale-grandeur-and-horror

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Winston Churchill in Cuba, A Master of Spying

Among those who once visited the Hotel Nacional in Havana was Winston Churchill, a subject of my last book WHEN LIONS ROAR. Today the hotel has named a posh bar in Churchill’s name. During a visit last week, it was good to see a reminder of Winston as I prepared for my new book, coming out April 2. MAFIA SPIES is all about spying and Winston was a master of it. Just ask Joe Kennedy and Tyler Kent, as described in LIONS. That chapter got me to thinking that I’d like to do a whole book about spying in the Cold War.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Advance Praise for MAFIA SPIES by Thomas Maier, https://amzn.to/2Gjk50W

   "Enormously fun ... Succeeds brilliantly." -- Booklist (starred review).  "This is a standout in the field of spy nonfiction. Fans of The Godfather movies and of spy novels in general will love how Maier portrays the ties between Sinatra and Giancana, the lush mobster weddings, and the intricate web of deception that drew so many, including Marilyn Monroe, into the mix. Maier succeeds brilliantly here in bringing this outrageous, long-hidden (if rumored) bit of history to vivid and fact-supported life." 

Michael Connelly, #1 NYT bestselling author and creator of Amazon's "Bosch"
“Just when you think you’ve read and heard everything there is to know about the CIA, JFK and the mob, along comes Thomas Maier with this meticulously researched and nuanced report that sets the record straight in some areas and breaks new ground in others. Mafia Spies reads like a thriller but its all true. I found it gripping from page one. And important. The events reported on here changed history and give us better understanding of current times.”

“Mafia Spies is one of those stories that is truly more amazing than fiction, about an unlikely alliance between America’s best and worst.  The tale is told at a relentless pace and makes great reading.”
- Scott Turow, bestselling author of Presumed Innocent, The Burden of Proof, Identical, Innocent and more

"Mafia Spies brings history to life in epic, page-turning fashion. The depth of Thomas Maier's research is astounding, as are the famous characters and fantastical events that quietly changed US history." -- Martin Dugard, the New York Times bestselling co-author  of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and others written with noted television personality Bill O'Reilly.

"From CIA secret labs creating assassination tools first dreamed up by Ian Fleming in his James Bond novels, to poisoned cigars, exploding cats, Frank Sinatra, and two of the most well-connected mafioso in gangland history, Thomas Maier’s Mafia Spies is a revealing look into one of the most outrageous spy tales of the 20th Century. If you are unfamiliar with Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, and their connection to everyone from low-life mob hucksters to JFK, this is a book that will open your eyes to a world of political intrigue that reaches into the depths and heights of mid-twentieth century American culture.  Maier’s knowledge of politics and of gangland lore is impressive, and he uses it here to great effect in Mafia Spies, a work that reads like a novel but is, amazingly, a nonfiction tale of mobsters working for the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro. If Mario Puzo were more interested in journalism than fiction, this unrelenting page turner is the book he would have written instead of The Godfather.
--Ed Falco, author of the NY Times best seller, The Family Corleone


The United States doesn’t order foreign leaders killed. Unless it does. And it did in l960 when the CIA took the unthinkable step of recruiting two Mafiosi – Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli -- to murder Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. The existence of this misbegotten plot was exposed in the l970s during Senate hearings after the assassination of JFK, but we’ve been
denied a full accounting until now. Drawing upon documents recently released by the National Archives, Thomas Maier spins a vigorously picaresque tale of the hoodlums and their handlers
as they make run after failed run at the Cuban premiere with such lunatic ploys as exploding cigars and contaminated scuba gear. Castro’s crack intelligence network in Miami allowed him to
dodge every bullet. The strength of Maier’s account is that he delivers such richly detailed profiles of the players that they seem to unfold in three dimensions. Often frightening, at times
hilarious, this is a cautionary tale for anyone thinking it might be a good idea to “outsource” intelligence operations. Mafia Spies is a bracing read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.”
-- Teresa Carpenter, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of four books, including “Mob Girl: A Woman's Life in the Underworld.”

"This story exposes a dark chapter in America’s history, when the CIA teamed up with murderous Mafia hitmen in an ill-fated assassination plot.  Thoroughly reported and masterfully written, Maier delves deep into a world of political intrigue and underworld brutality. It’s a riveting, must-read." -- Shelley Murphy, co-author of the New York Times best-seller “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"Enormously fun ... MAFIA SPIES is a standout in the field of spy nonfiction"- Booklist (starred review)

  "Enormously fun ... This is a standout in the field of spy nonfiction. Fans of The Godfather movies and of spy novels in general will love how Maier portrays the ties between Sinatra and Giancana, the lush mobster weddings, and the intricate web of deception that drew so many, including Marilyn Monroe, into the mix. Maier succeeds brilliantly here in bringing this outrageous, long-hidden (if rumored) bit of history to vivid and fact-supported life." -- Booklist (starred review). 


BOOKLIST
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Issue: March 1, 2019

* Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK, and Castro.
By Thomas Maier
Apr. 2019. 440p. Skyhorse, $25.99
   This is a standout in the field of spy nonfiction. Maier, a Newsday investigative journalist for 30 years, uses a slew of documents (including the National Archives’ recently declassified files about the Kennedy assassination, along with sworn court testimony, congressional hearings, and CIA and FBI documents) to make what is a totally credible case that two gangsters worked with the CIA in the early 1960s to try to assassinate Fidel Castro. Not only does Maier give beyond-solid evidence for the strange alliance of politicians, mobsters, movie stars, entertainers, and Cuban-exile commandos in Miami seeking to bring down Castro, he also makes the whole book crystal clear (a rarity in spy nonfiction) and enormously fun. The focus is on Hollywood/Las Vegas gangster Johnny Roselli and Chicago Mob boss Sam Giancana, longtime friends made spies by the CIA. Fans of The Godfather movies and of spy novels in general will love how Maier portrays the ties between Sinatra and Giancana, the lush mobster weddings, and the intricate web of deception that drew so many, including Marilyn Monroe, into the mix. Maier includes fascinating details, like plans for exploding cigars, poisons, and drive-by shootings from speedboats. Nothing was off-limits when it came to this CIA-mobster plot. Maier succeeds brilliantly here in bringing this outrageous, long-hidden (if rumored) bit of history to vivid and fact-supported life.

Michael Connelly, bestselling author and creator of "Bosch," with advance praise for MAFIA SPIES

Here's what Michael Connelly, NYT Best-Selling Author and creator of TV's "Bosch", says about MAFIA SPIES: “Just when yo...