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Family Secrets : The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob
Painting a vivid picture of the scenes both inside and outside the courtroom and re-creating events from court transcripts, police records, interviews, and notes taken day after day as the story unfolded in court in 2007, this narrative accurately portrays cold-blooded--and sometimes incompetent--killers and their crimes. In 1998 Frank Calabrese Jr. offered to wear a wire to help the FBI build a case against his father, Frank Sr., and his uncle Nick. A top Mob boss, a reputed consigliore, and other high-profile members of the Chicago Outfit were eventually accused in a total of 18 gangland killings, revealing organized crime's ruthless grip on the city throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. After a series of other defendants pled guilty, those left to face off in court alongside Frank Sr. were James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, the acting head of the Chicago mob; Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, one of Chicago's most colorful mobsters; and Paul "the Indian" Schiro. A former Chicago police officer who worked in evidence, Anthony "Twan" Doyle, rounded out the list. The riveting testimony and wide-angle view provide one of the best accounts on record of the inner workings of the Chicago syndicate and its control over the city's streets.
Coen, a Chicago Tribune reporter, dissects one of the most pivotal mob criminal prosecutions, the Family Secrets case, in his revealing, shocking book on self-destructive Cosa Nostra members engaged in a death dance of suspicion and betrayal. Members of the Chicago Syndicate, also known as the Outfit, under the taut leadership of Frank Calabrese Sr., did their share of graft, bribery, extortion, bookmaking and murder, much like in the glory Capone days, but in 1998, Calabresi's son Frank Jr.-who had "had it with his father's abusive ways and broken promises"-decided to become an FBI turncoat and get the goods on his father and the powerful men around him. Giving an unfettered glimpse into the strata of the Chicago criminal organization, Coen tallies the strategies of the clever mob mouthpieces, the extensive wise guy body count, and the Feds' relentless pursuit through the indictment and sentencing. Superbly crafted, this is a tragic, clear-sighted account of how Chicago's mighty mob was brought to heel. Photos, map. (Apr.)
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Chicago Review Press
March 30, 2009
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