MOB NEMESIS: How the FBI Crippled Organized Crime

Joe Griffin, Author, Don DeNevi, Joint Author with Don DeNevi. Prometheus $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57392-919-6

Retired Special Agent in Charge Griffin, currently CEO of an investigative firm, found his way to the FBI for pragmatic reasons: hailing from humble West Virginia beginnings, he wanted to work for the government in order to attend Georgetown at night. Initially rejected as too "immature" for special agent training (he was given a job as a clerk), Griffin was eventually accepted and soon developed an appetite for crime fighting. And as with many younger agents, he wanted to go after infamous La Cosa Nostra; how he does so is the subject of this no-frills memoir of the FBI-mob wars of the 1960s and '70s. Griffin details several protracted campaigns in unglamorous locales like Cleveland and Buffalo, which were hotbeds of Mafia activities like gambling, loan-sharking, prostitution and drug-related murders. His distant, hardboiled perspective is appropriate to the material, though the prose might be described as workmanlike at best, wooden at worst. Still, Griffin and DeNevi (Riddle of the Rock) offer ample unadorned recollections of the nitty-gritty a part of American underworld in its death throes. While the aging Rust Belt gangsters Griffin pursued were extremely violent and mercenary, their downfall seems foretold by their cheapness (they refused to hire lawyers for jailed underlings, whom Griffin was then able to "flip") and stupidity (they failed to dispose of cars, guns and loot from major crimes). (Jan.)

Forecasts: Although this book's limited stylistic palette may fail to engage casual readers, mob and crime-fighting cognoscenti and die-hard Sopranos fans will certainly enjoy Griffin's detailed recollections of these lesser-known mobsters' downfall.

Reviewed on: 12/24/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61592-402-8
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