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The Good Rat


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A streetwise saga of the Mafia's golden era and an account of its current demise by Pulitzer Prize winner Jimmy Breslin

About the Author

Jimmy Breslin was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in 1986. His critically acclaimed books include The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?, The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez, several anthologies and a memoir. He lives on Broadway in New York.


Throaty New York dialogue is wonderfully realized by Richard M. Davidson, who leads the way for a small cast of narrators who assume various roles in this powerful Mafia tale. Davidson is so firm and solid in his delivery, he actually becomes the hard-nosed characters in question: Sammy "The Bull" Gravano and Gaspipe Casso. Kaipo Schwab offers a fantastic supporting performance as U.S. Attorney Robert Henoch, while Richard Mover takes on the role of turncoat mob associate Burton Kaplan. Each character is so well developed and believable that listeners will suspect they're listening to actual recordings rather than outstanding performances. Breslin's words are perfectly suited to these fine readers, who make them their own in three stunning performances. Simultaneous release with the Ecco hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 12, 2007). (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Breslin (America's Mayor, America's President?: The Strange Career of Rudy Giuliani) presents a personal view of the heyday and decline of the New York Mafia. Its central framework is Burton Kaplan's testimony during the 2006 federal trial of police officers Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. Kaplan, who worked for the Lucchese organized crime family, cooperated with authorities when he learned that Caracappa and Eppolito would implicate him for murder. The excerpted trial transcript presents a detailed account of kidnapping, money laundering, drug dealing, obstruction of justice, imprisonment, and murder over the course of 50 years. Interspersed with the account of the trial are Breslin's asides and remembrances of organized crime in New York. The narrative features figures such as Paul Castellano, John Gotti, and Joe Massino; even actor Robert De Niro makes a brief appearance. At the trial's end, Caracappa and Eppolito were convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy, while Kaplan was released on bail. This is no scholarly study of the modern Mafia but a longtime observer's lively, well-written memoir of a notorious institution as it passes into history. Breslin fans will certainly enjoy; recommended for all libraries.-Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. at Parkersburg Lib. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Offers a tantalising glimpse of the heyday and fall of a crime institution (*****)" * Metro *
"Just like the steam billowing from a manhole on Broadway, Breslin's prose reeks of New York" * The Independent *
"Breslin's writing, like the Mafia itself, breezily transitions from humorous to horrifying. His storytelling is set to the sweet background music of one of the mob's biggest canaries, Burton Kaplan, as he sings to a grand jury" * Publishers Weekly *
"Delivers canny anthropological insights into organised crime. . . this book is Jimmy Breslin at his best" * New York Times *
"Jimmy Breslin still hits the high notes . . . entertaining, insightful and 100 per cent Grade A Breslin'" -- T. J. English, author of Old Bones and Shallow Graves and The Havana Mob

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