Last Mafioso

Last Mafioso : Treacherous World of Jimmy Fratianno

3.78 (189 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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Product details

  • Paperback | 592 pages
  • 110 x 176 x 48mm | 322.05g
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Ill.
  • 0552119172
  • 9780552119177

Review Text

The life and times of Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno, the highest-ranking Cosa Nostra member ever to turn government informer - in the nonfiction-novel mode, by a veteran mobwatcher. Working from extensive taped interviews, Demaris chronicles Fratianno's 40-year criminal career, from smalltime bookmaking in Cleveland's Little Italy to a stint as acting boss of the Los Angeles family: a short history of the underworld, with a cast of thousands. Fratianno ran into just about everyone - among the mob (Siegel, Lansky, Roselli, Giancana), in politics (Alioto), and in show biz (Ol' Blue Eyes, whom Fratianno got into the Knights of Malta). Still, though street-smart, he comes across as a loser: when he fell from grace and the organization put a contract out on him, after decades of hustling he could put his hands on only a hundred grand in assets. So he went to the Feds. Demarts knows the underworld scene and has done his homework, but Fratianno's world seems almost more tedious than treacherous - interminable dialogues about how this guy got whacked, how so-and-so whacked that guy in Detroit back in 1951, who should get whacked next unless he straightens out. . . . Pluses: some fine gang-who-couldn't-shoot-straight vignettes (the innumerable attempts to "clip" Mickey Cohen) and Demaris' perfect ear for thugspeak ("Listen, cocksucker, let me tell you something, you fucking prick. Why're you calling this Markovics a fucking con-man? Do you know what the fuck you're talking about, you motherfucker?"). Minuses: there are over 400 pages of thugspeak; background information on most characters is scanted or dropped into a one-line appendix reference; and Demaris' pure slice-of-life approach fails to illuminate whatever dark spirit drove Fratianno. Numbing and, except for Mafia freaks and Strike Force people, not worth the effort. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

189 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 26% (50)
4 36% (68)
3 29% (55)
2 7% (13)
1 2% (3)
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