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The Good Guys Hardcover – January 6, 2005

3.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the impressive credentials of coauthors Bonanno, billed as "the former head of the Bonanno crime family," and Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco), whose undercover work inside that Mafia organization while an FBI agent laid the groundwork for the historic federal organized crime prosecutions that decimated New York's five families, the collaborators have produced a routine FBI vs. the mob novel. Set in New York City in the 1980s, the story uses alternate chapters to focus on two FBI agents, Connor O'Brien and Laura Russo, and on Bobby Hats, a brutal thug aiming to become a made man. Their paths cross after the disappearance of a Columbia University Russian language professor, Peter Gradinsky, who may be connected with a rising Russian mafia syndicate working a fuel-oil scam. Fans of Pistone's recent nonfiction debunking of popular mob myths, The Way of the Wiseguy, may be disappointed by the romantic stereotypes about La Cosa Nostra (Bobby observes that his Mafia cronies provided "a level of friendship and trust, honor and pride, that he had never experienced before in his life"). Still, the pairing of two high-profile opponents in the New York crime wars of yore can't help generating media attention, which should translate into healthy sales.
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Review

Fuhgeddaboudit! Bonanno and Pistone: a pairing made in bookseller heaven." -- --Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (January 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446529656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446529655
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Americans love the Mafia. It's an odd sort of affection, given our reported high regard for moral values. But if actions truly speak louder than words, then we have a serious wise guy addiction. Consider the popular success of HBO's "The Sopranos," the return of "Growing Up Gotti" for another season on A&E, and the fact that Mario Puzo's GODFATHER saga no longer sleeps with the fishes, thanks to the efforts of author Mark Winegardner. So let's be stand-up guys and dolls and own up to it: we can't get enough badda-bing badda-boom.

So who better to fill our minimum requirement of whacking and wisecracking than a couple of guys with explicit knowledge of the life? Bill Bonanno is a former high-echelon member of the Bonanno crime family. Joe Pistone is a former FBI agent whose undercover exploits as Donnie Brasco made their way from the page to the big screen. This unlikely pair constitutes a kind of mob fiction dream team, the product of which is THE GOOD GUYS.

Bonanno and Pistone, along with co-author David Fisher, have crafted a surprisingly entertaining mystery that manages to combine insider knowledge of the mob and the FBI with well-drawn characters (including several large, dangerous men with interesting nicknames like "Tony Cupcakes"), frequently hilarious dialogue, and enough gunplay and violence to add a satisfying edge.

The story revolves around the search for the missing Professor G, a Russian language educator. He's simultaneously being sought by FBI agents Connor O'Brien and Laura Russo, and by Mafia career climber Bobby San Filippo, aka Bobby Hats, aka Bobby Blue Eyes.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Good Guys" is a flawed, but entertaining story written by retired undercover FBI Agent Joe Pistone and coauthor Bonanno, former head of a well-known New York crime family. Pistone, better known by his alias Donnie Brasco, runs into Bonanno during the investigation of a fuel-oil scam supposedly operated by the Russian mafia. Overall, this book based on real events that make it believable, but not essential.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Some of the previous reviews seem a bit harsh, as if the reviewers were expecting a sparkling literary achievement. If that's what you want, keep looking; but, on the other hand, if you are interesting in a fast paced, highly entertaining story with a bit of everything from sex, violence, murder, revenge, suspense, and a satisfying conclusion, you should give this book a whirl. I have just finished listening to the abridged audio cassette version (6 hours on 4 tapes) and loved every minute of it. As one reviewer has already mentioned, Bonanno and Pistone read their parts like first graders, but if you are willing to tolerate the juvenile delivery and concentrate on the story they are telling, it is well worth the effort. Whether the portrayals of the relationships between the FBI and the Mob, between the Mob and the Russians, or between the various Mob members is realistic or not seems irrelevant since this is, after all, a work of fiction, but presentation of those relationships seemed consistent with other novels I have read, thus they are quite believable in the context of the story. All in all, the language is crude, the violence is over the top, the characters are interesting, and the plot has enough twists and turns to satisfy most mystery lovers. In a post-story interview, the authors say that they intend to write more novels about the primary characters and I, for one, am looking forward to the sequels.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a high-interest, easy-reading commercial crime novel with a hint of romantic tension, some nice mob atmosphere and a gruesome act of revenge that ties everything up.

The disconcerting narrative style has the authors speak in the first person at times, to reinforce the plot with anecdotes from their personal experiences. Stranger still are second-person segments in which the reader is admonished ("you should always..").

Those quirks aside, this is a pretty fun read.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
GETTING TO SLEEP IS AN ISSUE FOR ME. I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THIS BOOK ON MY IPOD NIGHTLY. IT TAKES MY MIND OFF EVERYTHING AND I FEEL VERY RELAXED. INTERESTING STORY. I NEVER GET TIRED OF HEARING IT. IT IS FUN FOR ME TO LISTEN TO A BOOK AND REST MY EYES.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an enjoyable story told from the point of view of a mob guy and an FBI agent. Each chapter alternated between these points of view. I think the reason why it only was worth three stars, however, was due to the fact that it was too realistic. As a result, many parts of the book were tedious--just like real life. I like my fiction "over the top." It has to be very exciting for me to really like it. While this book certainly had exciting parts--mob hits, etc., much of the book seemed very mundane.This was certainly not a bad book, but it could have been better.
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