A MATTER OF HONOR by Remo Franceschini


One Cop's Lifelong Pursuit of John Gotti and the Mob
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 A former top cop's rough-and-tumble memoir of mob-busting in the NYPD. Franceschini is all business--certainly on these outspoken pages, where he tells us little about his personal life but more than most cop-memoirists do about the hazards of cop life; and apparently on the job as well, where as head of the Queens D.A.'s Squad he won a no-nonsense reputation. His long NYPD tenure (1957- 91) saw great changes in police work: ``In [1957] we controlled the streets''--and Franceschini pins blame for today's soaring crime rate squarely on Supreme Court rulings, especially Mapp v. Ohio, which required probable cause for searches; after Mapp, ``criminals didn't worry about us the way they always had, the way they always should have.'' The bad guys the author fought changed too, with new mobs arising (he devotes a chapter to the Colombian and Chinese mobs) and with Mafia reins slipping from the hands of the strong and silent ``Moustache Petes'' like Carlo Gambino to the ``Young Turks'' led by John Gotti. Franceschini's mob-hunting started early (he helped i.d. N.Y.C.'s five Mafia families) and was interrupted only by a late-60's stint spent tracking Weathermen and Black Panthers. By the early 80's, the author had zeroed-in on Gotti's dark star and, here, devotes much space to bugging (figuratively and literally) the Godfather, including breaking into his headquarters and suborning his chauffeur. Franceschini's Gotti is charismatic but terrifying: ``Gotti's face was all contorted. It was twitching like something inside was trying to claw its way out....'' The author traces Gotti's fall to his acting more like a street capo than a don, and he predicts that Thomas Gambino, Carlo's son, will likely succeed Gotti as head of the Gambino family. Tough-talking and full of intrigue--a far more involving ride than, say, top-narc Robert M. Stutman's comparable Dead on Delivery (1992). (Eight pages of b&w photos--not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-73947-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993


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