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.