ALL THE WAY DOWN by

ALL THE WAY DOWN

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

When Riccio first trafficked with teenage hoods, the boys didn't know whether he was a pusher, a fag or a cop; the first two could offer profit and pleasure, the last nobody wanted. Riccio was a Youth Board field man, his precinct downtown Gowanus, a top Brooklyn slum: boozer pops, termagant moms, cold water flats. Irish, Italians, Poles, along with Negroes and Puerto Ricans, made up the sub-marginal set and snob status (who's ""white"", who's ""black""). There were rumbles and boppings, dice and drunk rollings. Riccio, an ex-pug with an M.A., did his best: work with Father Kean at the St. Francis Lyceum, set-ups for athletics and dances, picnics and camp- outs, man-to-man bull sessions about sex, always, steering the boys away from whores, gangbangs, psychopathic ""debs"", mediating ""summit"" meetings (""Stay off my turf"" ""Don't bug my pal""). Riccio found that law and order for the kids simply meant shysters and finks, grafters and cutters (""You pay the law, man. For Everything""). And he adamantly says night sticks and left hooks have done more harm than social workers- ""And that ain't easy"". Riccio's constant heartache: Tommy, the fool rebel, who got hooked on hop, died at 18 in a public toilet from an overdose. His solution: give the addicts dope in moderation; kill the profits and you destroy the criminals; victims deserve clinics, health farms, legislation etc. Riccio once inspired an Arthur Miller Esquire piece; now with Bill Slocum's help he tells his own fast, furious, endlessly frank tale, surely a bold entry in the evergrowing are-these-our-hot-rods? list.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster