Book Review ARC ~ I SAW THE DEVIL’S FACE

I Saw the Devil’s Face: My Life With Joseph Michael Kalady

by Teresa Giglio


SYNOPSIS – “You better hope to God the cops don’t come,” my babysitter, Joe Kalady, threatened me that day on his boat at Burnham Harbor. He and the other man were planning to rob a liquor store. My divorced dad, who was on his way to pick me up, didn’t know anything about that — or the prostitution Joe had used me for at age eight. So he took me out for an Italian ice to stop me crying.

When we got home and mom found my panties missing yet again, it clicked. She forbade Kalady to babysit, and me to ever speak of it again.

Fifty years later I’m here to talk about the marauding Kalady, the children he raped with impunity, the near-death experience I had on his yacht, and the toddler he kidnapped on a whim. I can tell you what I’ve learned about his mafia involvement, and introduce you to the homeless man he eventually lured to his death in a vain attempt to avoid spending the last of his days in prison.

This is my personal story of one of Chicago’s most ruthless and successful undetected child predators. I knew a man who spent his whole life in and out of jail, the terrorist-adjacent thief, con man, and murderer Joseph Michael Kalady.


MY THOUGHTS – This is a heartbreaking book by a very determined lady. She suffered so much in her young life, but her resilience shines through. It’s frustrating to see how this man was able to dodge responsibility his entire life for his crimes against children. But at least his story is being told now by someone he hurt, who has spent a long time finding her way back.


I SAW THE DEVIL’S FACE

PUBLISHER – Ind. Published – 276 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Oct 31st, 2022

MY RATING – 5/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Teresa Giglio is a veteran firefighter and paramedic living with multiple disabilities. She writes true crime for survivors. Find her at teresagiglio.com


Book Review ~ GOING UNDER

Going Under: Kidnapping, Murder, and a Life Undercover

by John Madinger


SYNOPSIS – “I just want to make sure I’ve got this right. You hanged all three of them? …” That’s how it began, a case where the cops are crooks and the crooks are cops, a kidnapping where the victim is the bad guy, and the good guys must cross some lines to get him back. Welcome to the upside down and backward world of the undercover agent, where nothing is as it seems, and people – including the undercover – may not be what they appear.? GOING UNDER: Kidnapping, Murder, and A Life Undercover by former undercover agent John Madinger takes you into that world, and closer to the truth of the undercover experience than any other law enforcement memoir has ever gone. “”What is it like to work undercover?”” You’re a sheepdog in wolf’s clothing, running with the pack, and Madinger ran with the wolves for almost two decades. Now he shares his story to give you a unique look at American crime and the “”War on Drugs”” from the perspective of both cops and criminals. You’ll go with the undercover cops to meetings with street-corner hustlers and rip-off artists and into the lives of the America’s biggest rock stars, the world’s richest man, an Academy Award-winning actor, the marijuana traffickers conspiring to assassinate a federal judge, and the President of the United States. It’s an amazing ride, and there has never been another story like it.


MY THOUGHTS – I really liked this book about a cop who did undercover work in Oklahoma. He shares several different cases he worked on throughout his long career using both gravity and humor. There are plenty of surprises to keep it interesting. It’s action-packed with some really wild stuff.


GOING UNDER


PUBLISHER – WildBlue Press – 280 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Sep 13th, 2022

MY RATING – 5/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – John is a retired law enforcement officer and author of textbooks, history, and crime fiction. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, he still works providing training on money laundering, financial crime, and terrorism financing to police agencies around the world for the US Treasury Department. His book, Money Laundering: A guide for criminal investigators, 3rd edition, from CRC Press is a standard textbook for government agencies and universities. His first novel, Death on Diamond Head, was a bestseller in Hawaii and his second, Pipe Dreams: The dark secret behind Hawaii’s most infamous crime, will be coming from Watermark Publishing in July 2020. The Opium Kings of Old Hawaii: America’s first drug traffickers, will be published by The History Press in the Fall of 2020.


Book Review ~ BLOOD AND INK

Blood & Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder That Hooked America on True Crime

by Joe Pompeo


SYNOPSIS – Vanity Fairs Joe Pompeo investigates the notorious 1922 double murder of a high-society minister and his secret mistress, a Jazz Age mega-crime that propelled tabloid news in the 20th century.

On September 16, 1922, the bodies of Reverend Edward Hall and Eleanor Mills were found beneath a crabapple tree on an abandoned farm outside of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The killer had arranged the bodies in a pose conveying intimacy.

The murder of Hall, a prominent clergyman whose wife, Frances Hall, was a proud heiress with illustrious ancestors and ties to the Johnson & Johnson dynasty, would have made headlines on its own. But when authorities identified Eleanor Mills as a choir singer from his church married to the church sexton, the story shocked locals and sent the scandal ricocheting around the country, fueling the nascent tabloid industry. This provincial double murder on a lonely lover’s lane would soon become one of the most famous killings in American history—a veritable crime of the century.

 The bumbling local authorities failed to secure any indictments, however, and it took a swashbuckling crusade by the editor of a circulation-hungry Hearst tabloid to revive the case and bring it to trial at last.

Blood & Ink freshly chronicles what remains one of the most electrifying but forgotten murder mysteries in U.S. history. It also traces the birth of American tabloid journalism, pandering to the masses with sordid tales of love, sex, money, and murder. 


MY THOUGHTS – This is an interesting look at the Hall-Mills murders from way back in 1922. There is much intrigue involved in the case, as both parties were married, and Hall was a well-known minister. It also delves into the area newspapers, and how this case become nationwide news because it was so notorious for the times.

BLOOD & INK

PUBLISHER – William Morrow – 352 pages

PUBLICATION DATE- Sep 13th, 2022

MY RATING- 4/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Joe Pompeo is a correspondent at Vanity Fair, where he covers the media industry. He previously worked at publications including Politico and The New York Observer, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his family. 


Book Review ~ THE FLAT TIRE MURDERS

The Flat Tire Murders: Unsolved Crimes of a South Florida Serial Killer

by Michael P. Burns


SYNOPSIS – South Florida in the 1970s was one of the nation’s most dangerous locations. Behind the image of sun and surf, young women were the victims of a brutal killer. In the mid-1970s, over a dozen young women were murdered and found in canals. These cases became known as the Flat Tire Murders and the Canal Murders. Only one case was ever solved. More than four decades have passed since these crimes, and no arrests were ever made.

This is the first book to explore these murders in depth, as well as a bizarre series of murders occurring in the years earlier, known as the Gold Sock Stranglings. Interviews with the detectives that originally worked to solve these cases provide an intimate view of the attempt to capture the killer that terrorized South Florida. In addition to the cases themselves, the reader is introduced to a number of suspects, including Ted Bundy, the man who is still suspected by detectives to this day of having committed the Flat Tire Murders. Detailed maps of South Florida illustrate the complex canal system that became the victims’ graveyard.


MY THOUGHTS – This appears to be a well-researched book on a series of little-known South Florida murders in the 1970s. The possible culprits are many, including Bundy for a couple of them, and even spree killer Christopher Wilder, and a possibly a dirty cop, among others. A rogue’s gallery, for sure. But no charges have ever been pressed, and many of the possible perps have since died.



PUBLISHER – McFarland & Co. Inc – 242 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Sept 30th, 2021

MY RATING – 4/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Michael P. Burns is an attorney living and working in San Jose, California.


Book Review ARC ~ I’M STILL ALIVE

I’m Still Alive

by Roberto Saviano


SYNOPSIS – For the first time since the publication of his internationally bestselling novel, Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano shares his early-life experience with the violence of the Neapolitan Mafia and how exposing them irrevocably changed his life.

Italian journalist Roberto Saviano was twenty-six years old when he published his first book, Gomorrah, to international acclaim. The book, which has gone on to sell 10 million copies worldwide, was a detailed exposé of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, whose organized crime tactics have permeated all matters of industry in Naples: government, infrastructure, high fashion, and drugs. Over fifteen years after Gomorrah’s release, Saviano’s life has been under constant threat from would be assassins who forced him to leave his native Italy and to live under constant police protection. For the first time since then, Saviano shares his deepest thoughts and experiences of early life in Naples, witnessing the power and violence of Camorra firsthand, his current existence living under guard, all the while continuing to call attention to the deeply rooted crime and corruption that plagues his home. Collaborating with award-winning cartoonist Asaf Hanuka (The Realist, The Divine), both writer and artist examine a life behind armed guard whose best recourse against oppression is through old fashioned pen and paper.


MY THOUGHTS – The author writes about his life and how it changed after writing his book Gomorrah. In it, he spoke out against the Camorra mafia clan in Italy and had to go into exile in 2006. He’s been that way ever since, and has had to learn to live like that, both in Europe and the US. A quick reading graphic novel.


I’M STILL ALIVE

PUBLISHER – Archaia – 144 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Oct 11th, 2022

MY RATING – 4/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Roberto Saviano (Italian: [roˈbɛrto saˈvjano]; Naples, September 22, 1979) is an Italian journalist, writer and essayist. He is the author of international bestsellers Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero.

In his writings, his articles, his books and his television programs, he uses literature and investigative reporting to tell of the economic reality of the territory and business of the Camorra and of organized crime more generally.

After the first death threats of 2006 made by the Casalese clan, a cartel of the Camorra, which he denounced in his exposé and in the piazza of Casal di Principe during a demonstration in defense of legality, Saviano was put under a strict security protocol. Since October 13, 2006, he has lived under police protection.

He has collaborated with numerous important Italian and international newspapers. Currently he writes for the Italian publications l’Espresso and la Repubblica. Internationally, he collaborates in the United States with The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek and Time; in Spain with El Pais; in Germany with Die Zeit and Der Spiegel; in Sweden with Expressen; and in the United Kingdom with The Times and The Guardian.

His courageous positions have provoked appeals on his behalf from many important writers and other cultural figures, such as Umberto Eco.

In 2015 he launched his own editorial project, RSO-Roberto Saviano Online.

Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by piero tasso (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.


Book Review ARC ~ FRANK SINATRA AND THE MAFIA MURDERS

Frank Sinatra and the Mafia Murders

by Douglas Thompson and Mike Rothmiller


SYNOPSIS – All the varieties of power – star, political, sexual, criminal and emotional – are on show in this definitive, untold story of Frank Sinatra and the Mafia.

Drawing on an enormous archive of previously unseen records held by international law agencies, the FBI, the CIA and big-city police departments, Rothmiller and Thompson reveal Sinatra’s pact with the Mob in shocking detail.

With additional evidence from decades of investigations and testimony, they expose Sinatra’s lifelong association with the Mafia, which he always denied, and its deadly collateral damage.

This revelatory showstopper is a wild dance made coherent by intelligent choreography. Sinatra may not have been an actual made man, but the Mafia certainly made him.


MY THOUGHTS – This was quite an eye opening read. I’ve learned bits and pieces of some parts of this book in other books thru the years, including Rothmiller’s. But nothing like this more detailed look behind the scenes, thanks to the release of many previously withheld documents of several law enforcement agencies. Sad to say, it just makes me feel even more hopeless for the situation our country has ended up in today, as you can see where some of it started way back. A good read for Sinatra fans, and those who enjoy revealing mob books.


FRANK SINATRA AND THE MAFIA MURDERS

PUBLISHER – Ad Lib Publishers – 259 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Sep 15th, 2022

MY RATING – 5/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHORS –

Douglas Thompson is the author of more than twenty books. A biographer, broadcaster and international journalist, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers and magazines worldwide. His books, published in a dozen languages, include the television-based anthology Hollywood People, and best-selling biographies of Madonna, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dudley Moore, John Travolta, Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio. He collaborated with the billion dollar dancer Michael Flatley on his Top Ten story ‘Lord of the Dance’. His books have been serialised in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. With Christine Keeler, he wrote her revealing memoir The Truth At Last, an instant best-seller. He worked as a consultant on the tie-in television documentary on the Profumo Affair. Working with eminent psychotherapist Pauline Sutcliffe, he told the poignant story of her brother Stuart, who named and helped found the Beatles with John Lennon. His book ‘The Hustlers’, about gangsters and gambling in 1960s’ London, is being developed for film and was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary. His DVD contributions to a celebration of Clint Eastwood’s career were commemorated in a special box set of Eastwood movies. He has worked with many Hollywood stars on their memoirs. A recent success was Stephen Ward: Scapegoat , a study of the rakish charmer at the centre of the Profumo Scandal. His upcoming ‘Shall We Dance? The True Story of the Couple Who Taught the World to Dance’ tells one of the most romantic, tearful but uplifting stories of the 20th Century. He is a director of one of Britain’s leading literary festivals, and divides his time between a medieval Suffolk village and California, where he was based as a Fleet Street correspondent and columnist for more than twenty years.

Mike Rothmiller is a New York Times Bestselling Author, nominee for the Pulitzer Prize, historian, former cop and Army medic. He’s also served as a TV reporter, an award winning documentary producer and television host for ESPN, PBS and other international television markets. He’s written and produced over 25 television documentaries, numerous TV and radio ads and has authored movie scripts. His nonfiction book, “My Hero. Military Kids Write About Their Moms and Dads” (St. Martin’s Press) received international acclaim and holds the honor of being the only book in history to have forwards written by three living Presidents and General Norman Schwarzkopf. He has served on numerous non-profit boards. Additionally, he’s been a corporate President/CEO and directed three divisions of Sony Electronics EMCS-America.

He’s authored 23 books and his most recent; Secrets, Lies and Deception….And Other Amazing Pieces of History was featured on Fox News and over 40 Television News Stations across America.

Readers of his books include; three Presidents, former First Lady Laura Bush, the late Charlton Heston and Queen Elizabeth II.

Book Review ~ THE LAST JEWISH GANGSTER

The Last Jewish Gangster: The Middle Years

by David Larson


SYNOPSIS – The second installment of this saga of gangland lore follows gregarious gangster, Michael Hardy, further down his twisted criminal path. The Last Jewish Gangster, The Middle Years, starts in 1968 with Hardy sentenced to twelve years in the world’s most dangerous prison in Mexico after taking the rap for his mother’s counterfeiting scheme, hoping to have finally earned her love and respect.

Once he’s released from prison, Hardy returns to Brooklyn and tries to go straight, but drifts back into a world of crime. He gets Sammy “the Bull” Gravano to join his crew to pull major heists like kidnapping drug lords for million-dollar ransoms, and robbing cop bag men. To evade the law, he goes to Europe and ends up in Israel where he works on a Kibbutz, touching the hem of his Jewish heritage.

Hardy devolves further into a gangster’s life when he returns to Brooklyn, running a finger of the Mob’s Five-Fingers International Car Theft Ring, participating in a stolen airline ticket scam, and doing fourteen hits for the Mob, still hoping his mother will take notice. When she gets busted for the car theft ring, she turns him in to reduce her time.

Crushed by his mother’s callous self-interest, Hardy ends up cutting a deal with Rudy Giuliani to nab a dirty cop to reduce his time and negotiate his place in the witness protection program. Relocating to LA under an alias, it doesn’t take long for Hardy to land a gig as muscle for a Hollywood studio and meet his future wife, a sex worker who stole from his mother. The lines between love and revenge begin to blur.




MY THOUGHTS – I really like this type of gangster book, and this one didn’t disappoint. The second in a series of three, it’s one wild story, driven by his relationship or lack of one, with his mother. Michael Hardy goes above and beyond. He builds his cred as a mega-gangster trying to gain the unattainable. This kept me up late reading.


THE LAST JEWISH GANGSTER


PUBLISHER – WildBlue Press – 369 pages

PUBLICATION DATE – Aug 16th, 2022

MY RATING – 5/5 STARS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Over the course of two-and-a-half years, I met weekly with Michael Hardy in his Section-8 studio apartment in San Diego, up until his death. We were introduced by his therapist, Dr. El. For the first several months Michael told me what he did, the stories often unbelievable. When he gained enough trust in me, he told me why he acted with such fearlessness and committed heinous crimes. It was all done to impress his mother, Shirley, so that maybe she would love him. Shirley rejected Michael after his birth to be raised by her parents, so she could run with Bugsy Siegel and other powerful men in the Mob, rather than raise her son to be a good man.

Confined to a wheelchair most of the time we met, because he lost half of both feet to diabetes, this 325-pound aging gangster regaled his stories with such gusto, he often slipped into the present tense with his recall. I tried to capture that in his story as he trudged through decades of crime, from coast to coast, north to south, to Mexico, even Europe, and the Middle East.

The meetings with Hardy were sometimes useless, Michael wrapped around the axle of some injustice that befell him—car impounded because it had expired registration, arguments with neighbors over the use of community washing machines, Catholic Charities not coming through, Jewish Family Services late with their support, doctors not worth a damn, dentists not much better, and run-ins with local businesses who barred him after numerous infractions. His long-suffering wife was always at his side, caring for him, and loving him for the man he became. Raised Jewish, Michael discovered Christ in 1974 while in federal prison in Connecticut, then believed in Christ in 1991 when he appeared to Michael in his cell. But don’t for one minute think he was a Christian. He was a Jew who believed in Christ.`

The unpublished version of his story has been optioned three times in Hollywood over the past five years, to develop into a TV series or movie. Since I also write screenplays, I’ve developed scripts for both. They’ve been circulating slowly, the pandemic causing delays.


REPOST – Book Review ~ Hard Road: Bernie Guindon and the Reign of the Satan’s Choice Motorcycle Club

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by Peter Edwards

Originally posted on July 8th, 2017


I got little sleep while reading this book about Bernie Guindon and his wild life. He wore a lot of hats during his life and has been a great friend to many people. He was a son, a brother, a biker, a boxer, a fighter, a lover, a husband more than once. He’s most well known as the now retired leader of what was at one time the biggest Canadian biker club, Satan’s Choice and for his boxing skills in the ring and out. I found this a very entertaining look at him and his club, and how they fared through the years against the American clubs like the Outlaws and the Hell’s Angels when the American clubs wanted to expand and things got violent between all the clubs. I’ve always enjoyed biker books, regardless of what country they were based…

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REPOST – Book Review ~ A Special Kind Of Evil: The Colonial Parkway Serial Killings

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By Blaine L. Pardoe & Victoria R. Hester

First posted on July 15th, 2017


Synopsis – The New York Times bestselling coauthors uncover new information in the Colonial Parkway Murders of 1980s Virginia in this true crime investigation.

For four years a killer, or killers, stalked Virginia’s Tidewater region, carefully selecting victims and terrorizing the local community. Again and again, young people in the prime of their lives were targeted. But the pattern that stitched these killings together was more like a spider web of theory, intrigue, and mathematics. Then, mysteriously, the killing spree stopped. The unknown predator, or predators, who stalked the Colonial Parkway seemingly disappeared.

Now, father-daughter true crime authors Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester blow the dust off of these cases. Interviewing the victims’ family and friends, as well as members of law enforcement, they provide the most complete and in-depth look at these horrifying murders and disappearances. The…

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REPOST – Book Review ~ Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood

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By Kirk Douglas, Anne Douglas, and Turner Classic Movies

First posted on July 8th, 2017.

UPDATE – Kirk Douglas passed away on 2-5-2020 at the age of 103.


With a foreword by their son, Michael Douglas. I’ve long been a fan of reading about the ever dwindling “Old Hollywood” stars and what their lives were/are like. Kirk Douglas, now over 100 and his wife Anne surely have one of the most enduring Hollywood marriages (65 years), filled with many longstanding friendships with people in many industries and government. This book is filled with many of their memories in the form of pictures and letters, many of the letters written between them going back before they were even married. They both speak several languages and traveled to countless countries during their careers and vacations. They take turns sharing memories of different times and happenings as they go along, some good, a…

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