CONTRACT KILLER by William Hoffman


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 Who killed Jimmy Hoffa? ``I pumped two slugs into Hoffa's forehead,'' free-lance hit-man Donald Frankos says here--and that's only one of many murders that ``Tony the Greek'' claims in these cruel, compelling memoirs, told to journalist Hoffman (Doctors on the New Frontier, 1981, etc.) and p.i. Headley, who died earlier this year. If half of what Frankos states here is true, these are the crime confessions of the decade. The pages run crimson as Frankos details hit after hit (``I shot and killed a gangster who had been moving in on Spanish Raymond's numbers business. No sweat''; ``I whacked still another a favor to a big-time fence''; ``I received a contract from John Gotti to whack three...karate experts for sticking up his loan sharks''). Frankos's killings alternate with newsworthy revelations of others--e.g., who hit Joey Gallo and Murder, Inc., boss Albert Anastasia--as ``the Greek'' traces a life that began in a violent Pennsylvania home. A Navy stint wound up with Frankos going AWOL in Manhattan, connecting with a whore and a longtime heroin habit, and committing his first murder, of a troublesome pimp. His ease at death-dealing, plus his tough-guy stance during several incarcerations (much of the narrative takes place behind bars), caught the eye of the Mafia, and soon Frankos was making big money as a hit man. Along his crooked way, he met a who's who of crime--colorfully profiled here--including Gotti, Gallo, Frank Costello, Harlem kingpin Nicky Barnes, crime boss Fat Tony Salerno (who, Frankos says, ordered not only the hit on Hoffa but an aborted one on Frank Sinatra), and legendary Irish mobster Joe Sullivan (``the outstanding contract killer of his generation''). Finally sentenced to 25-to-life, Frankos, currently in Attica, turned federal rat--and, now, budding author. The real thing--ugly, savage, unforgettable: an absolute must for true-crime fans. (Photographs--not seen.) (First printing of 125,000)

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56025-045-3
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992


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