A memoir of a law enforcement agent’s illustrious career, including his role in the investigation of Mafia crime boss John “Junior” Gotti.
Debut author Perrotta was born in 1967 in Mount Vernon, New York, the child of Italian immigrants. He was a rambunctious child—at 13 he stole his father’s revolver to intimidate some local toughs. His parents eventually purchased a deli—the consummation of the American dream—and working there provided the author valuable practice honing the observational skills central to his later investigative work. After graduating from Fordham University with a degree in political science and a philosophy minor, he received an Army commission as a second lieutenant. He trained in, among other things, military intelligence. Perrotta landed a job with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Detective Investigators Bureau and was eventually assigned as a special investigator to the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, where he participated in the pursuit of infamous organized crime boss John “Junior” Gotti. This chapter in the author’s life is the dramatic centerpiece of the narrative, and Perrotta chronicles his role in the investigation—including surveillance and wiretapping techniques—in microscopic detail. The author joined the Secret Service in 1995, investigating financial crimes like check forgery as well as providing protective services to high-level political figures. He was also sent on various missions to Italy and Bulgaria. Perrotta discusses the culture of the Secret Service like an anthropologist—the hierarchies that form within the agency, the kinds of watches worn and luggage used, and the tension between the investigative and protective details. The author writes in straightforward, clear, but also lively prose, delivering anecdotes with both precision and friendly informality. His career is a genuinely fascinating one—cinematically gripping—and much of the remembrance reads like a true-crime drama. The author covers so much ground in a single volume that the material following the Mafia investigation, while thrilling in its own right, seems anticlimactic in comparison to the battle with Gotti.
An insightful look at the world of criminal investigation.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)