BETRAYAL by Robert Fitzpatrick


Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought to Bring Him Down
Email this review


A courageous FBI agent recounts his battle against a corrupt law-enforcement culture that protected one of the nation’s most notorious criminals.

By the time he was ordered to Boston in 1980, Fitzpatrick had already distinguished himself, handling 1960s KKK bombings in Mississippi and uncovering crucial evidence relating to the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, but putting the Boston FBI office on the “straight and narrow” proved impossible. Fitzpatrick and novelist Land (Strong at the Break, 2011, etc.) trace the breakdown of discipline and order there back to the ’50s and the beginning of the furious effort to bring down La Cosa Nostra. Out of greed and ambition, agents went “native,” choosing their “Boston Irish roots…over loyalty to the organization.” In exchange for what turned out to be worthless information about the Italian gangsters, they leaked to and protected Irish mob chieftain James “Whitey” Bulger and his right-hand man, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, allowing them literally to get away with murder. Fitzpatrick understood immediately that Bulger should have been an investigative and prosecutorial target, but during three frustrating years he couldn’t “close” him as an informant. Pushback from colleagues, prosecutors and superiors with too much to lose—“Don’t embarrass the Bureau” was the overriding imperative—cost Fitzpatrick his job and his starry-eyed belief in the FBI’s efficiency and honor. The author’s assessment of the Boston Bureau has been vindicated in a series of civil and criminal trials, but he convincingly argues that the corruption ran much deeper than the single agent convicted. After more than 25 years on the lam, Bulger was recently arrested. Will Whitey sing? The FBI must tremble at the prospect.

An alarming, depressing tale of how law enforcement lost its way, how the insidious line between cop and criminal can be so easily obliterated.



Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3551-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2011


NonfictionJUSTICE by Michael J. Sandel
by Michael J. Sandel
NonfictionTHE INJUSTICE SYSTEM by Clive Stafford Smith
by Clive Stafford Smith
NonfictionPRESUMED GUILTY by Jose Baez
by Jose Baez
NonfictionLAW MAN by Shon Hopwood
by Shon Hopwood
NonfictionANATOMY OF INJUSTICE by Raymond Bonner
by Raymond Bonner


MysteryMURDER IN RED by Jessica Fletcher
by Jessica Fletcher
MysteryMURDER, SHE WROTE by Jessica Fletcher
by Jessica Fletcher
FictionTHE RISING by Heather Graham
by Heather Graham


NonfictionBLACK MASS by Dick Lehr
by Dick Lehr
IndieChicago Street Cop by Pat McCarthy
by Pat McCarthy
NonfictionALL SOULS by Michael Patrick MacDonald
by Michael Patrick MacDonald