True-crime drama featuring a natural-born grifter who ingeniously scammed his way across the country.
The son of divorced parents, Glazer rebelled early, eschewing his studies in favor of rock concerts, drug experimentation, explosive pyrotechnics and dreams of becoming a gangster. In 1971, he and a few Arizona State buddies were robbed at gunpoint during a botched marijuana deal. Seeking the kind of vengeance he’d seen in his favorite mob movies, the enraged author aligned himself with seasoned drug smuggler Don Woodbeck, who put a .38 Smith & Wesson into his hand and taught him the art of gunplay. The men hatched plans to dupe Glazer’s muggers by impersonating law enforcement and busting them. A host of other Phoenix-area crooks joined Glazer and Woodbeck’s operation, which led to several more successful cons. The men posed as everything from police officers to IRS agents in stings that netted them huge windfalls. As their hubris escalated, the jobs began to get “dirty and messy”; after a gun battle in the summer of 1973 with the dealer who had ripped him off two years earlier, 20-year-old Glazer quit the sting business and headed back to school at the University of Missouri. The Kansas City Attorney General’s office had gotten wind of his activities in Arizona, however, and the AG needed Glazer’s help to bring down some notorious underworld drug lords. As a special narcotics agent for the state of Kansas, he used the same tactics he had used outside the law, supplying drugs to dealers to bust them. Eventually Glazer was singled out and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine in what he describes as political vendetta against his boss. But not to worry: Hollywood came calling soon after. The author describes his tribulations in a strangely effusive tone, and some readers may feel that a lifetime of duplicity is hardly something to gush about.
Too smug for its own good.