Will appeal to readers of true crime and law enforcement narratives.



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.

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9933-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?