“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.” -- Michael Connelly, #1 NYT bestselling author and creator of Amazon's "Bosch".
My name is Thomas Maier, the author of several books, including most recently WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys for Crown. My 2009 book, MASTERS OF SEX, became an award-winning Showtime series starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
My new book is called MAFIA SPIES – – a non-fiction thriller about two gangsters hired by the CIA to kill Fidel Castro – – optioned by Warner Bros. Television. Here’s a preview summary on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mafia-Spies-Inside-Gangsters-Castro/dp/1510741712
Despite it brassy title, MAFIA SPIES is a serious nonfiction book about America’s first attempt at state-sanctioned political assassination -- the CIA-acknowledged attempt to kill Castro with the help of mobsters Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, the book's two main protagonists. It takes advantage of recently released National Archives files, which I wrote about in Politico last year, and speaks to many concerns in our current Trump era.
MAFIA SPIES will be published on April 2. While novelists such as Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer and James Ellroy have speculated about this era, the newly-released National Archives records now provide the opportunity, as Michael Connelly suggests, to tell the full true-life story.
Many thanks for your consideration!
Yours truly, Thomas Maier
Praise for MAFIA SPIES by Thomas Maier
“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.”
“Meticulously researched and sourced, MAFIA SPIES, the compelling history of the pact between the CIA and Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro, reads like a bestselling thriller. Thomas Maier’s swashbuckling story-telling takes you into a clandestine, paradoxical world where gangsters were patriots, spies were hapless bureaucrats, and political deception and murder were the prevailing currencies. For those who study U.S. foreign and domestic intelligence practices during the second half of the last century, this is a must-read.”
-- Libby Fischer Hellmann, Author of HIGH CRIMES and HAVANA LOST
“MAFIA SPIES shows how the CIA and the Mafia colluded in a wild 1960s scheme to kill Fidel Castro, covered it up for years, and eventually paid an awful price. Investigative reporter Thomas Maier reveals many new aspects of America's most extensive and shocking spy scandal. As a real-life drama, this non-fiction book blends the mob violence and intrigue of ‘The Godfather’ with the CIA thriller-like quality of TV's ‘Homeland’."
-- Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner “The Panama Papers.”
“This is Thomas Maier’s epic story of the CIA and the mobsters recruited to assassinate Fidel Castro in the 1960s. Maier’s spotlight sweeps across America, casting its sharp focus from Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to the lesser stars and starlets of Hollywood to Havana and finally to the White House itself. Maier’s prodigious storytelling ability recreates a shocking moment in U.S. history with unprecedented detail and drama, from the bungled attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro to the real possibility that John Kennedy himself was caught in the same seedy web.”
-- Peter Eisner, author “MacArthur’s Spies”, former Washington Post deputy foreign editor, and co-author “The Shadow President.”