From Publishers Weekly
Mystery and nonfiction writer Griffin covered the Vegas reign of kingpin Tony the Ant Spilotro in The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. the Mob
. Digging deeper into mob history, he now focuses on Spilotro's lifelong pal, career criminal Cullotta, who appeared in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film, Casino
, recreating an actual murder he committed in 1979. Spilotro and Cullotta met in Chicago as teenage troublemakers, and early chapters detail the violent escapades of Cullotta's youth before he escalated to major crimes. Spilotro rose in the ranks of the mob and became the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas, and Cullotta eventually joined him, running a robbery and murder crew. Together, Spilotro and Cullotta extorted illegal bookmakers and drug dealers throughout Vegas. But in the early 1980s, Cullotta became a government witness, bringing down the house. In addition to poring through newspaper archives, Griffin interviewed various sheriffs, attorneys, agents and detectives, while primarily relying on information from retired FBI agent Arnoldy and what Pileggi calls the phenomenal memory of Cullotta himself. Griffin's flat, unemotional yet potent writing makes the bloodletting, murders and mayhem chilling and unnerving throughout. 30 b&w photos. (July 1)
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It soon becomes apparent when reading Griffin's biography that the author has presented a particular non-biased view of the mobster. Cullotta is a name that would strike fear into the hearts of most illegal bookmakers and small-time criminals in both Las Vegas and Chicago, but Griffin attempts to steer clear of such glamorisation...for those who can stomach it, Cullotta: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness is a must. Few crime authors have such intimate access to key figures such as Cullotta, so savour Griffin's book while you can: Other than meeting the man himself, there's really no other way to gain such intimate knowledge of one of Vegas' most dangerous and interesting criminals. --Casino Online, UK