Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia

William Knoedelseder, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-016745-5
Though former Los Angeles Times reporter Knoedelseder has dug up much dirt, his fast-paced tale of music industry nefariousness suffers from convoluted detail. In 1984 a minor tax investigation sics Justice Department attorney Marvin Rudnick on Sal Pisello, a reputed mobster who had planted himself inside MCA Records managing sales of budget ``cutout'' discs. The story eventually involves strange upheavals inside MCA, a counterfeiting ring, a corrupt cutout dealer who turns on the Mafia, and a band of dishonest record promoters. As Rudnick probes deeper, he faces threats from MCA and odd pressure from his superiors. Knoedelseder suggests that a greater scandal has been missed because the Justice Department, under Attorney General Ed Meese, backed off from making a deeper inquiry into mob involvement in the record industry. Knoedelseder's effort to weave together several court cases, competing investigations and a large cast of characters makes for a confusing narrative. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
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