Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review: “RIFLEMAN: The Untold Story of Stevie Flemmi, Whitey Bulger’s Partner” by Howie Carr, Frandell LLC, 2013.

We read a lot of crime here on Lurid-lit and without a doubt we covet the subject here. I’m sure our own personal libraries are bulging with volumes of sordid and near sordid tales. We love it. Sometimes we can’t get enough of it; theft, murder and mayhem, all the ingredients necessary for a quiet, relaxing and thought provoking evening at home.

But thank God, our interests manifest themselves only in intellectual pursuits; mere portrayals of acts grounded in academic theory, wishes against enemies, simple whims of envy and even a few psychosexual frustrations. But overall the practice is harmless. Overall the practice keeps our minds active against the numbing dullness of existence, and look on the bright side no one is ever harmed in the creation and/or enjoyment of a taught murder mystery.

But not with ‘RIFLEMAN’; ‘RIFLEMAN’ is far, far different. Everything between the covers of this book is all too real and downright sickening. For those who may have never heard or those who didn’t care to follow; this summer The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and for that matter the Northeast, showcased the trial of one of America’s most dangerous men, South Boston’s Whitey Bulger.

The Winter Hill Gang under the guidance of James Joseph Bulger, Jr. or ‘Whitey’, Stevie Flemmi, and John Matorano formed the last of the great organized crime families. The term ‘great’ is only meant in terms of describing a crime dynasty like the Gambinos or Bonannos and the term ‘organized’ as you will read has a much broader meaning. Based in South Boston the gang was aided and abetted by the FBI, The Massachusetts State Police, The Boston Police, and let us not forget, the Massachusetts Legislative and Court systems. The Winter Hill Gang spread fear and death throughout the Commonwealth as well as other states with a seemingly terminal ‘Get of Jail Free’ card.

“RIFLEMAN” is not a mere recounting, but the actual FBI DEA-6 that details, and even redacts, information from Flemmi’s own statements and recollections as to decades of extortion, mayhem and volumes of cold blooded murder.

This is one of the best true crime books you will ever read.

Now before you roll your eyes and utter, ‘Well all true crime books are regional and I live out West, Ho Hum.” Yeah, that is true if you are talking about pick pockets and shop lifting. But the evil perpetrated by this gang was far worse and their story’s impact has even farther reaching consequences. The extensive institutional roots that financially had their hooks into and sucked off of the misdeeds of these sociopaths; the off the chart corruption that existed in government, local, state and federal, that gave a free pass to the darkness Winter Hill cast is truly, I believe, more insidious in its totality than any single serial killer or the collective doings from any of the strict corporate principled Italian Mafia families could ever hope.
This is government sanctioned crime and while at age 82, after years and years on the lamb, Bulger is the last of the principals meeting justice and the complete scope of this horror he wielded has yet to be fully mined.
Howie Carr, a radio hall of famer, and host of Boston’s number #1 radio show syndicated throughout New England is also an award winning columnist with the Boston Herald. Mr. Carr has written extensively on this subject and was personally targeted by ‘Whitey’ Bulger for a hit.

Mr. Carr’s coverage is objective and relentless with absolute and meticulous detail. 
Buy this book.

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