cover image Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia

Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia

Kenny Gallo, Matthew Randazzo, V.. Phoenix Books, $24.95 (383pp) ISBN 978-1-59777-615-8

Crammed with the kind of characters and detail that make pages turn and moviemakers salivate, self-described ""mobster, drug lord, and porn kingpin"" Gallo's story of life as a criminal and mafia associate is tantalizing material. Straying far from his roots-an Orange County, CA childhood with parents in publishing-Gallo made so much money selling drugs that he was owner of a Palm Springs night club months before he could legally drink. Impressing various mafia family members with his success and arrogance, Gallo moved into the big leagues. Gallo's ability to capture the absurdity of a situation gives the book a fast, no-nonsense pace: for instance, mob boss ""Jackie,"" ""one of the Colombo Family's toughest enforcers,"" also did voiceover work for Sizzler's TV ads. Ultimately, after a quarter-century in the business, a disillusioned Gallo would turn FBI informant, changing the Mafia landscape by helping gather the evidence that brought New York's Colombo family to its knees (""As far as the New York Mafia was concerned, I drove off the edge of the Earth). Honest, critical, occasionally remorseful and always entrancing, this criminal memoir will keep readers on the edge of their seats.