BOOK REVIEW ~ They Called Him a Gangster

They Called Him a Gangster: My Secret Life with Meyer Lansky, the Financial Genius Behind the Mafia


 

Synopsis:
A powerful memoir about a secret life with the head of the mafia.

Only few people are well acquainted with Meyer Lansky, known as the ‘Mob’s Accountant’ who, in his youth, managed the investments of the New York mafia and was considered one of the leading figures of the city’s underworld.

Most of the stories known to the public are related to his past illegal activities. But as we are all aware, there is more than one side to every story.

The Other Side of the Story is a captivating biography that sheds a positive new light on the character of the “Gangster”.
Zali de Toledo was a teenager who arrived in Israel into a new culture, wishing simply to make a fresh start in her beloved country.

While working as a waitress in the “Dan” hotel lobby, the two met, as fate would have it. Soon, an intimate relationship developed between them and their secret love blossomed and flourished.

In this riveting unique memoir, de Toledo reveals the powerful love affair she had with Lansky, the hundreds of letters he wrote to her over the years, the other personality and sensitivity of the man who was, in the eyes of many, a criminal, the little things between him and her, and the tough decisions they had to make.


 

My thoughts:  This isn’t your typical gangster memoir, I found. It has a whole different angle and flavor to it. Be prepared for something different from your usual mob book. This is more intellectual and political, dealing with current affairs of the time, and affairs of the heart too, you could say. I enjoyed reading this book because it was different from your usual shoot-em-up gangster title, and more of a love story, with the very-married Lansky trying to return to Jerusalem to spend some time with his mistress. His detractors have been keeping him away based on his former bootlegging reputation, while his health declines. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, the author Zali de Toledo, and publisher BooksGoSocial, for my unbiased review.


 

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Publisher: BooksGoSocial – 250 pages
Publication: Aug 2nd, 2020
My rating: 3/5 Stars


 

From the author– Meyer Lansky always said that the truth has three realities: mine, yours and the truth’s own. So many books and articles have been written and movies have been made about him, mostly based on the FBI files or hearsay. In the 70’s, Gabriel Bach, former State Attorney and then Judge of the Supreme Court of Israel, brought these files over, and they found their way to Prof. Walkaway, a historian at the Tel Aviv University, who told me there was nothing for which Meyer could be put on trial.

I have written here my side of the story, the other truth, from Meyer’s point of view, as per his own words in the many letters he wrote to me.


 

BOOK REVIEW (ARC) ~ Broken Shield

Broken Shield: An FBI Undercover Agent’s Personal Perspective


 

Synopsis:
“Rays story as an Undercover Agent is legendary.” —Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, NYT Bestselling Auhtor of Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family

Broken Shield is the remarkable narrative of a young, inexperienced agent who became the primary undercover agent of one of the FBI’s largest police corruption investigations.

Ray Morrow’s fascination with justice and the FBI started as a young boy and was the catalyst for being a major part of the historic undercover operation, SHIRON. The physical and emotional toll that it took upon him and his new family brings to light the devastation that comes with the corruption living inside our justice system.

After years as the primary undercover agent in the Cleveland Police Department, a city previously unfamiliar to him, he was called to lead his biggest operation yet; the undercover investigation was the most important look into police corruption in Cleveland’s history. While gathering evidence that police officers have been accepting payments from illegal casinos and drug shipments, Morrow battles his own doubts and little experience. He also finds himself surrounded by threats not only armed with weapons but with the power and technology of modern policing.


 

My thoughts: This is an enjoyable, well-written story of author Ray Morrow’s life long wish to be an FBI agent from the time he was a kid, and how he strives for years to make that happen. You get to go along with Ray as he applies for different positions in the FBI and even works undercover in Chicago. You get to read all about it as he sets up the bad guys. If you like this kind of genre, you will probably like this book. I did for sure, I wanted to stay up all night to finish it. Ray seems like a super nice guy, someone you’d like to meet and have as a friend. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Ray Morrow, and the publisher.


 

BrokenShield


 

Publisher: BooksGoSocial – 204 pages
Publication: July 15th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars


 

REVIEW ~ Sunshine Skyway

SUNSHINE SKYWAY: A dark thrilling tale of obsession and hedonism set in Florida

 

I chose this book in error, thinking it was really a true crime book as it was in that category. I really hate when this happens, I must say. I try not to spoil books for myself by reading too much of the description, but enough to check that it’s not fiction. Here I slipped up, it happens. But I hoped that the setting being in an area I lived near for many years, that it might hold my interest anyway. I dove in and was pleased to find I could tolerate it 🙂 Young Roz finds herself newly married to Graham as a rebound after being dumped by someone she really was besotted with. On their honeymoon, she already feels she’s made a mistake, and finds herself looking to share the company of other couples and singles to avoid the awkwardness of being alone with her new husband. Especially the gorgeous man and woman she met jogging on the beach that have invited her and Graham to join them for dinner. Things become strained after they all have dinner, as she and Graham become even more estranged. Roz takes a break from Graham, and this is where things get mysterious and possibly put it into the crime category.

This book is for those who like women’s fiction, set in Florida. I liked it in spite of it not being the non-fiction I was expecting. The writing kept me interested and turning those pages on my Kindle. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Jeannie van Rompaey, and the publisher.


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Publisher: BooksGoSocial – 252 pages
Publication: Sep 1st, 2019
RATING: 3/5 Stars


The Author- Born in London, Jeannie van Rompaey now lives on the subtropical island of Gran Canaria with historian husband TJ. When not walking on the beach, she spends her time writing and painting. She also runs a poetry group, Poems out Loud, and a Bookclub on the island.

Jeannie has an MA in Modern Literature from the University of Leicester and has spent much of her life as a lecturer, theatre director and actor. As Jeannie Russell she is a member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators and adjudicates drama festivals in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Passionate about reading, writing and the theatre. Jeannie writes novels and short stories about the complexity of relationships and the joys and difficulties of parenting, as she speculates about the future of our planet. She is not restricted to writing in any particular genre but similar themes can be traced in all her work. She writes with humour and compassion. Enjoy!


 

BOOK REVIEW ~ They Must be Monsters

This was simply an amazing book about the McMartin Preschool abuse case back in the 1980s that was all over the news. I remember seeing it, but was busy starting a family, so I didn’t really follow the details then. So this gave me a chance to really dig in and see what it was all about, and wow what a story! What started with one child sexual abuse allegation, eventually snowballed into over 100 at 7 different businesses. It went from molestation to killing animals and devil worship, pictures taken for porn purposes, all kinds of allegations. People never knew who could be next to have the police beating on their door early in the morning with a warrant to search their home or business, and/or taking their kids away to be medically examined for signs of being molested, regardless of your wishes. It really got out of hand and is a good lesson.

This is a very eye-opening case, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t read a thorough run down of the full story. This one is written by two college student who took time off to cover this and spent three years doing so. This book is what they came up with and put together nearly 30 years later, but it’s worth the wait. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, authors Matthew LeRoy & Deric Haddad, and the publisher.

 

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BooksGoSocial – 381 pages
Publication: Aug 12th, 2018
RATING: 5/5 Stars

Paw Prints

Paw Prints

This is the sweetest little sentimental farewell book to a younger dog that’s being missed by its loving owner who wants to celebrate its all-too-brief yet meaningful life. Touching, and the illustrations grew on me, with all the cute activity it was showing. Short but sweet, it won me over.  Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Morgan J Muir, and the publisher.

Publisher: BooksGoSocial
Illustrator: Sava Andreea
Published: April 10th, 2019
RATED: 4/5 Stars

The Author- Morgan J Muir lives in Utah with her fantastic husband, three offspring, and as many cats.

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Behind the Murder Curtain

Behind the Murder Curtain: Special Agent Bruce Sackman Hunts Doctors and Nurses Who Kill Patients

This is a quickly paced book that I really enjoyed about a man who finds himself having to learn about investigating killers in the Veteran’s Administration hospitals that he is responsible for keeping crime covered in. When he’s made aware of a serial killer named Swango, he gets in gear to check it out and learn what he has to do to catch him and put him in check and prove the cases against him.

I’d read about the Swango case years ago, and this book interested me on how the author set up his protocol for catching him and any other Medical Serial Killers (MSK) like him in the future, and the program he used to log in the data that helped him do it. He also had teams of great people that helped him too, and Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden helped out and taught him a lot and got him going in the beginning, along with Dr. Rieders, who handed the toxicology testing. It goes on to tell about other cases they investigated such as Kristen Gilbert, Charles Cullen, Richard Williams, and Paul Kornak.

This is like a medical thriller with a serial killer but with multiple cases all through this guy’s career. It’s better than fiction. It’s one of my favorite kinds of books, where the good guy goes up against the bad guy (or gal) and catches them so they can’t kill anyone again. And these are our veterans these killers are murdering! So that makes it even worse, in my estimation. I found this to be a very good biography and true crime read if you like either of those categories or medical stuff. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Bruce Sackman, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: BooksGoSocial. 204 pages
Publication: Sep 20th, 2018

The AuthorBruce Sackman served as the Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Northeast Field Office until May 2005 when he retired after 32 years’ service. In this capacity, he was responsible for all major criminal investigations involving the VA from West Virginia to Maine. During his tenure, he was involved in hundreds of investigations involving allegations of fraud, corruption, false claims, thefts, patient assaults, pharmaceutical drug diversions, and suspicious hospital deaths. He was also responsible for supervising the successful investigation of the nation’s first homicide conviction in connection with pharmaceutical research. His cases have been featured on the Discovery Health Channel, CNN, MSNBC, America’s Most Wanted, and on Home Box Office. He is the recipient of many awards for his investigations and for his efforts in encouraging the profession of forensic nursing. Sackman has lectured at several forensic-related conferences, state police organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, universities, and medical related symposia.

Sackman is self-employed as a licensed private investigator in New York City specializing in healthcare-related matters. Under contract, he directs all major investigations for a major New York metropolitan regional healthcare system. He is president of the Society of Professional Investigators in New York City and serves on the board of directors of the American Academy for Professional Law Enforcement.