Blood & Volume: Inside New York's Israeli Mafia
This debut true crime from journalist Copeland is a thrilling guts-and-glory look inside the Israeli organized crime machine of 1980s New York City. The Israeli mafia was small-""core membership numbered fewer than twenty men""-and lacked the ""codes of criminal conduct"" intrinsic to their Italian and Russian counterparts; as such, it didn't last long: ""by September 1990, all the gang's core members had either been arrested, entered the Witness Protection Program, fled the country, or been murdered."" The narrative centers on three members-de facto leader Johnny Attias and narcotics dealers Ran Efraim and Ron Gonen-but sticks closely to the perspective of Gonen, the first to get arrested and turn state's evidence. The wild ride Copeland unfurls has all the insane highs and lows an audience familiar with Blow and Wiseguy expects, and they don't disappoint: ""Gonen was one step removed from a Colombian cocaine cartel and, in a good month, netted $100,000."" In the late 1980s, failing health and concern over his family prompted Gonen to consider retirement. When he was arrested in 1989, it was ""just in time to save his life."" It would mean the end of the Israeli mafia, capping a story so entertaining that, were it not rooted in such ably handled characters-at once despicable, pitiable and human-it might be unbelievable.