cover image Marked Man: Frank Serpico’s Inside Battle Against Police Corruption

Marked Man: Frank Serpico’s Inside Battle Against Police Corruption

John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro. Roaring Brook, $21.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-62195-5

In a first-person POV preface, which briefly introduces why Frank Serpico (b. 1936) is still persona non grata in the NYPD, previous collaborators Florio and Shapiro (Doomed) write, “Open your mouth, and you’re no longer one of us.... I opened my mouth.” This edge-of-the-seat read chronicles Serpico’s becoming a New York City police officer in the 1960s and the pervasive corruption he found therein. Via gritty, rapid-fire prose, the creators detail instances of cops taking bribes and organizing deals with gambling dens, actions that Serpico refused to participate in or look away from. During his tenure, he reached out to mayoral officials and reporters, hoping to shed light on the unscrupulous goings-on, and in April 1970, the New York Times published an exposé of Serpico’s findings, resulting in the convictions of numerous dirty cops. But because he testified, Serpico was ostracized by his peers and, many believe, ultimately “set up” to be shot during a drug raid, an event that forced him into retirement. This riveting tale of an intrepid whistleblower highlights a long history of corruption in the NYPD and offers lessons in remaining true to oneself and one’s values, even if it means standing alone. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)