The Coffey Files: One Cop's War Against the Mob

Joseph Coffey, Author, Jerry Schmetterer, With
Joseph Coffey, Author, Jerry Schmetterer, With St. Martin's Press $19.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-312-06934-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-92922-0
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Coffey is one tough cop, dedicated and competent. But he's also given to posturing and self-righteousness, at least as depicted by Schmetterer, crime reporter for the New York Daily News . The former New York City police officer (coauthor of The Vatican Connection ) has had a notable career, which involved him with the 1977 Son of Sam serial killings; with the Mafia, as head of a unit dubbed the Coffey Gang; with the Cosa Nostra's ``Ruling Commission,'' as member of a U.S. Attorney squad. Piecing together his cases taxes the reader of this disorganized memoir, however, for we're told so many tales within tales as to lose the thread of the major stories. They variously have to do with organized crime, a Manhattan gang called the Westies, an evening as security guard that had Coffey dancing with first lady Nancy Reagan, four days protecting Joe Frazier before the 1971 heavyweight championship bout with Muhammad Ali. But there's lots of excitement here, if readers are patient enough to plod through the underbrush. Coffey, who retired from the NYPD in 1985 in ``great bitterness'' after accusations of corruption (he was cleared), is now principal investigator of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force. Photos not seen by PW . (Feb.)
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