MAFIA COP by Lou Eppolito


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 A Manhattan cop breaks family tradition--his uncles, cousin, father, and grandfather all were members of the Gambino crime family--and is accused of selling his shield after a highly decorated career. When his cousin Jim-Jim and his uncle Jimmy were rubbed out for a scam that embarrassed the Gambino bosses, Eppolito--a highly decorated NYPD legend who made no effort to hide his contempt for the ``three P's: perps, pussies, and pencil-pushing prigs''--felt his East Flatbush roots stir. Here, writing with the help of Drury (coauthor, Incident at Howard Beach, 1989, etc.), Eppolito dwells long on his thicker-than-blood Italian upbringing in the 50's--street festivals, marbled funeral parlors, the Grand Mark Tavern in Bensonhurst (``sit-down central'' for wiseguys), and, particularly, the beatings by his father, pounding home the Neapolitan ethos of honor and respect. After his father's death, Eppolito joined the NYPD and became a can-do cop who divided humanity into two categories: those who deserved respect, and those beneath contempt. Here, he proudly describes an attack with buddy cops on a ``group of junkies, Rastafarians'' in Prospect Park. Putting pantyhose over his face, Eppolito broke wrists, legs, and arms, and crippled a man for life. For one stick-up suspect, the author invented a new interrogation technique: After punching ``Bugs forty times in the head,'' Eppolito filled a bucket with hot, fuming ammonia and slammed the man's face in it. In 1978, Internal Affairs made a case against the cop for passing police intelligence to Rosario Gambino (nephew of Carlo, capo da tutti capi). Eppolito was acquitted but retired from the force shortly afterward when Martin Scorsese offered him a part in Goodfellas. Flat characterizations with some sharp N.Y.C. detail (``Italian tuxedo--that's the white, sleeveless T-shirt''): mostly for Mafia/NYPD buffs. (Photos--16 pages of b&w--not seen.)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-74221-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992


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