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Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob Hardcover – February 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Union Square Press; First Edition edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402754434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402754432
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. NBA referee Delaney's fascinating account of his prior life as a New Jersey state trooper who infiltrated organized crime will be a must-read for those drawn to Joe Pistone's similar account in Donnie Brasco (or the movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp). In 1975, Delaney was a relative novice in law enforcement when he was tapped by a superior to help build cases against major Mafia families by creating and running a fake business, Alamo Trucking. With the aid of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times sportswriter Scheiber, Delaney captures perfectly the daily routine and perils of undercover work, and describes the psychological challenges he faced during the three years of Project Alpha: The granite foundation of my self-image... had given way to shifting sands of doubt and worry. While less heralded than Pistone's work, Delaney's achievements—which yielded multiple convictions of members of the Bruno and Genovese families—were significant precursors to the Feds' massive 1980s assault on La Cosa Nostra. Becoming a basketball referee after these proceedings was a return to an early passion of the high school all-state forward and captain of his college team—but the fear, he says, still comes back sometimes. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Feb. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A slam dunk, a bull's eye, and any other glowing mafia or basketball metaphor you can think of." -- Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007

"NBA Referee Delaney's fascinating account of his prior life...will be a must-read for those drawn to Joe Pistone's similar account in Donnie Brasco..." -- Publisher's Weekly Starred Review - October 15, 2007

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Customer Reviews

Writing was consistently superior...all in all, an A+ book!
Joanne Dann
You feel like you're right there with him, watching the police work, hanging out with the mob guys, your heart pounding.
Susan Spangler
One part I enjoyed the most was the story about a brief run-in at an NBA game that Delaney was refereeing.
Daniel Yang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on February 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This autobiography of current NBA referee Bob Delaney commences on April 18, 1999 at America West Arena in Phoenix Arizona. As Bob was going through his normal last minute pre-game rituals, he heard a voice from the crowd yelling "Hey Bob!"... "Hey Bob!" Delaney was now in his second decade of refereeing NBA games, and as a veteran he had developed a second skin, or an emotional armor if you will, against hecklers. NBA ref's, just like umpires in baseball learned to simply ignore the boo's and the catcall's that inevitably came with the territory. He'd heard them all: "Hey ref, get it right for once!"... "Hey ref, eat me!"... "Hey ref, your fly's open!"... "Hey ref, you suck!"... "Hey ref, don't quit your day job!"... And one of his personal favorites that rated high on the creativity chart: "Hey Delaney, I've seen better referees at the Foot Locker!" Bob had trained himself not to look at hecklers because that would only encourage them and possibly add fuel to the fire. Then the same voice from the stands yelled: "ALAMO TRUCKING!" All of a sudden every muscle in Bob's body tightened. This fan had information no average fan could possibly have. Delaney's pulse started to race and a prior lifetime of "shadowy" thunder rumbled in his head. Then the same voice yelled: "ALAMO!" Bob looked to the stands into the mega-expensive courtside seats, and the fan is yelling "ALAMO! ALAMO!" Bob looked straight at him and at first had no idea who the fan was, but "ALAMO TRUCKING" was "a loaded reference to a time almost a quarter century before, and a place nearly three thousand miles away on the New Jersey waterfront."

"Bob... it's me... Pat from ALAMO." Then the name, the face, the place and time, all came together in Delaney's hidden memory, unlocking the combination to his secret inner vault.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer E. Lyons on February 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the book that you can't put down, the one that you read all night long just to find out what's going to happen next. The words leap off the pages as if the events are actually unfolding before your eyes. It is gripping, the best combination of wonderful story and natural story-teller. It's a must-read. Get it today!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Dann on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Honestly, couldn't put "Covert" down ! Fast paced, intriguing, and with a happy ending, although my heart was in my mouth for a good part of it ! Writing was consistently superior...all in all, an A+ book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jim S. Melvin on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From childhood on, we all make choices in our lives, some inconsequential, others life-altering. Some of us, depending on what we're made of, make choices that are tough on ourselves but that benefit others. Often, the people who make these kinds of choices are labeled heroes.

Enter Bob Delaney. From early on, his love of family and friends and his respect for the law molded him into a person capable of self-sacrifice. A successful career as a law-enforcement officer was laid out before him, and that is unselfish enough. But Delaney took it further than that, going undercover at great physical and emotional expense to put "bad guys" behind bars. Once this complicated and dangerous deed was accomplished, no one could have blamed Delaney for going into hiding and living the rest of his life in the shadows of fear. Instead, Delaney chose to step into the limelight of professional sports and live life to its fullest.

Covert tells the amazing story of a heroic man who would claim to be anything but a hero. In Delaney's mind, he did a job that needed doing. In Delaney's world, good people fight on the side of good. It's as simple as that.

Covert is a great, thrilling read. But it's more than just a book about true crime or sports; it's a human drama. Delaney and co-author Dave Scheiber of the St. Petersburg Times create a ride that will keep you turning the pages from the time you pick up the book -- and ultimately uplift you.

To judge a man, you first have to walk in his shoes. In Delaney's case, these are big shoes to fill.

-- Jim Melvin, author of The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By BillT1620 on February 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A young New Jersey State Trooper, author Bob Delaney, goes deep undercover in order to infiltrate organized crime at it's highest and lowest level. A true and gritty story that will keep the reader captivated throughout the entire book. Not only does Delaney give a true and closeup look at the mob, but relates how it affected him after working three years undercover. You don't have to be crime drama buff to enjoy this book. It's for everyone. A fantastic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bucky on May 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book by an author who has lived a diversified life, from under cover state trooper to NBA referee. Bob Delaney is a special guy who exposes the mob for the exploitative, amoral group of criminals they are.

Delaney tells a serious story with humor and a style that keeps the reader turning pages. I recommend this book to everyone interested in criminal justice or just a good nonfiction read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor H. Stoddard on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This story of a cop who risked his life as an undercover member of the mob reads like fiction, but it's all true. In his own voice Bob Delaney tells how he played the role of Bobby Covert, doing business with ruthless "wise guys," recording on tape their words and actions, and feeding the damning data to his handlers in crime enforcement. We see his skill as an actor, his quick wit in dangerous moments, and his deep respect for the policeman's profession.

The book, by Bob Delaney and Dave Scheiber, moves at a riveting pace, revealing the interplay of rival cultures through sharp descriptions of the methods of the mafia and the methods of the law. The bad guys are finally put away after almost three years of fear and self-denial on Delaney's part. He pays a price in guilt and confusion in returning to his real nature but finds salvation in a new life as one of the top referees in the National Basketball Association. Here is an absorbing read, and I recommend it highly for anyone with a taste for adventure and an interest in human development.
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