Books by Vincent Cosgrove

Released: Sept. 19, 1991

First-person recital by a former New York City detective who was an active felon with Mafia connections. Manca was raised by his grandfather, an old-style ``made'' man. When Frank LoCicero emigrated from Palermo, he reestablished his friendship with Lucky Luciano, and drilled young Manca in omerta—the code of silence—and other mob ethics. At 18, hoping to escape his family destiny, Manca joined the NYPD. Straight life was brief. On his first night in a prowl car, Manca's partner kept stopping to go into a slummy building. Angry that he was being cut out of the action, Manca followed him and found the cop checking up on a whorehouse he ran. Fourteen months later, Manca was promoted to detective with the help of mobster Carmine DeSapio's men in the Department. Finally getting some scope to operate, he put the arm on bookies, sold watered-down affidavits to his arrestees, burglarized Wall Street offices, and mugged pimps—enough action to have a new house, a cherry Buick, racks of hand-tailored suits, and regular trips to Vegas. Flagrant as he was, the brass ignored him- -they were all on the pad, too. He was kicked out of the Department when he and his civilian partner were arrested for stealing multiple Cadillacs; Manca then became a ``half-wise guy,'' sometimes free-lancing, sometimes working with the mob. His first undertaking was playing phony detective to frame an immigrant doctor, putting the squeeze on him for $30,000. Soon, he was flimflamming banks in Queens, and had scammed three Vegas casinos for $200,000 in one weekend. The aesthetic details of Manca's various hustles are given careful (and fascinating) exposition. Caught passing stolen traveler's checks, he was given three years, ratted out the mob, and was placed in the Witness Protection Program. An engrossing evocation of the pre-Knapp Commission NYPD, the voice of a sociopathic petty hood, and the siren song of greed. A must-have for cop-tale collectors. Read full book review >