Acidic account of the little-understood profession of bail bondsman.
“You don’t want to need to call me—but I’m a good guy to have on your side if you do,” writes Judelson, who is unapologetic about the strange inverse morality of being determined to provide for his clients’ well-being despite, in many cases, their involvement in serious crime: “I don’t give a shit if you’re innocent. That’s not my problem.” Furthermore, each bond Judelson writes represents major financial risk; as depicted in movies, clients do sometimes flee, requiring pursuit by bounty hunters. With Paisner (co-author: Qaddafi's Point Guard: The Incredible Story of a Professional Basketball Player Trapped in Libya's Civil War, 2013, etc.), Judelson explains all this, and tells his life story, in a street-wise patois fortunately leavened by self-depreciation, as regarding his misspent youth: “I had a criminal history....Like an idiot, I didn’t think [the state would] run my fingerprints.” The author eventually discovered that a distant relative, “Uncle Phil” Konvitz, was “the go-to guy for bonds in the whole metropolitan area,” and he was able to ease his entry into this generally closed-off profession. Much of the narrative is a colloquial overview of Judelson’s success since then, which he modeled on Konvitz’s discreet power-broker style of networking on both sides of the law. The ambitious author first pursued business with prominent defense attorneys, who connected him with high-level organized crime clients. They are prudently left unnamed, but Judelson claims these “made men” hold him in the highest esteem. He is equally proud of his relationships with famous rappers and athletes who’ve dallied with guns and drugs (DMX, Plaxico Burress) and with some notorious upper-crust transgressors, like former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan: “No one had ever written a $5 million bail before.” The author intersperses these anecdotes with discussions of his long-suffering family and the intricate calculations involved in developing bond packages, resulting in a flavorful if disorganized exposé of this gritty corner of the underground.
Will appeal to readers of true crime and law enforcement narratives.