©2008 Philip Carlo; (P)2008 Tantor
The author, childhood friend of the subject, spends most of the book idolizing Gaspipe. Instead of a portrait of a low-life criminal and murderer (Gaspipe was both) we get a glossy picture of a "man of honor". The author glosses over the facts and insists that gaspipe is some sort of hero simply because he stayed married, refrained from killing too many people directly in his own neighborhood and managed to bribe his way out of legal trouble for a while. Aside from this, the writing is terrible. The author reuses certain phrases to the point of distraction.
I was looking for some insight into mob history in the United States. This book has some of that, but it was so biased towards Anthony Casso it was ridiculous. It got to the point where I thought the author had some sort man-crush on this guy. The narrator was fine, but I would not recommend this book.
José M. Batista
This is an engaging tale with fascinating characters - and nicknames to boot - and a superb narration.I only found it lacking when explaining why Gaspipe converted into a rat.
Entertaining and informative. Author writes the book more like an auto-biography vs that of an objective biography. However, it still provides interesting story lines about organized crime syndicates, mob life, and the government's treatment of the subject after his capture. Personally, I could not bring myself to empathize with Casso's reported 'unfair' treatment at the hands of the government given his life of crime. Ultimately, Casso's chickens come home to roost in a way you do not wish upon anyone. The book was worth the credit!
Gaspipe uses the author to tell his cherished view of his life. This is more like an autobiography. In this story Gaspipe is a criminal's criminal. He's loyal to his loving family, always keeps his word, protector of the downtrodden, and devoted to the rules of omerta. The author seems oblivious that this gold plated presentation runs contrary to the very facts he presents. Gaspipe is a vicious narcissistic murderer who in the end screws everybody he comes in contact with. He unfaithful to his personal family, his crime family, and his closest friends. Like Sammy Gravono's book, he presents himself as a victim of those that ratted him out. So he rats them out too, Omerta be damned. But you ignore the self-serving fluff the book is quite listenable to. In its favor is it names names & dates and does show the inner machination of the mafia world. If you are an aficionado of the NY families it doesn't break much new ground.
The book takes you into the inner sanctum of the mafia. From the start of Gaspipe's career to the very end when he turns on the LCN.
I'm always looking for that well written gem.
The writing in this book is superlatively bad. Was there an editor who read this? I don't think so. An English teacher would have rejected this by the first chapter. Words like trite, and every synonym you can use for trite will dance through your head as you read this thing: cliche' commonplace, hack, tired, stale, stereotyped, boilerplate. In the end just plain lazy and unimaginative descriptions. Several characters are described as shy but well dressed. When I read, "He shot him to death several times." I wondered how bad can this thing get?
Turns out pretty bad.
The narration is just ok. I lost faith in the narrator. He should have stopped at several points and said "Are you kidding me?" and then continued. But he plodded through it with a deadpan resolve. I plodded through all it the way to the end too. I suppose the story is interesting, it's just done very awkwardly. Bring your mental highlighter so you can remember the low points - amazing.
Rest his soul but the fatuousness and fawning of this author is almost beyond comprehension. It's almost painful to listen as the author reverts to street talk, obviously in imitation of his subject and idol, and editorializes wildly in desperate and hopeless attempts to make us understand as he does that "Anthony" is not the degenerate liar and paranoid sociopath who almost single-handedly brought the Lucchese family to its knees as surely as his almost identical, pathological twin Nicky Scarfo destroyed the Philly Mob.
This labyrinthian narrative of apparently devined thoughts and slanderous facts lurches forward and backward, grasping feebly at the same pointless points over and over in futile attempts to resurrect some semblance of chronological or topical order that never was buried because in this book it never existed.
This book did provide some colorful insight into the people and processes of the New York Mafia, so it was worth reading. However, the content was so self-serving and self-glorifying that it almost became a joke at certain points. This is what happens when narcissistic psychopaths authorize their own biography. Then came the writing. So many weak and silly metaphors. This book really deserves a C grade. It's not great, it's barely good, it's almost bad, but it's not horrible.
Like another reviewer stated I had first read Iceman which is by the same author and it was a great and entertaining book -- in retrospect I'm not sure how true it was but it was still interesting.
This book is not up to those standards -- it's not even close. The book is written like the author is afraid that a contract will be put on him if he is even remotely objective on any point. Additionally the author uses every cliche you can recall.
The story starts off extremely slow, the first quarter or more of this book is very boring. The reason I'll give this book 3-stars is the middle part of the book. During this part the story flows at a good pace, its interesting and it even for the most part seems well written. But then the author returns to the dull, non-objective filler for the final 3-4 hours. In this part you can hear about how unfair the government is not to give him a 6 1/2 sentence, I mean he plead guilty to killing many people, dealing drugs, corruption, etc -- but 6 1/2 years seems fair to me. You'll hear about how the government tricked him into a confession, how they gave him his lawyer, how they took advantage of poor Anthony. It's one of the most dull, boring diatribes I've ever heard and why the author didn't make this part of the book about 12 long is beyond me.
As for the read I'm convinced he's only reading the book in an effort to test the bass of your speakers. His reading style is annoying at best, dangerous to your health at worst. He's not the worst reader I've heard but he is not very good. He could become an acceptable reader if he stopped purposefully trying to make his voice so bassy, it's very annoying.
Overall this book is quite disappointing and worst it makes me think the entire Iceman book, which I did enjoy, is complete fiction.
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