- Paperback: 471 pages
- Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing (May 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1581820135
- ISBN-13: 978-1581820133
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,696,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago Paperback – Illustrated, May 1, 1999
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"What stories this old house could tell us now, if only the past could come alive and speak to the living from inside the drafty, barren rooms," is a sample of Lindberg's compelling, at times macabre, commentary. His tenth book, a journey into Chicago's dark side, is a priceless combination of architecture, history, and true crime. -- Tamara Shaffer -- Chicago Life, November 21, 1999
Lindberg does have a knack for telling stories. Sometimes this gets the best of him, for most quotes, references to names, dates, and facts are without reference or footnote. Therefore, one just has to trust him, like one would trust an old friend who shows you around town and seemingly knows everything. But one thing is probably true, he knows more about Chicago crime and misfortune than you. Within "Crime" Capone, "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn, the Black Hand, and more come to life in all their bloody, twisted glory. With thugs like these, it's best not to get any closer to them than this. -- Illnois Times, August 26, 1999
Richard C. Lindberg has become one of the most prolific authors on the vast subject of Chicago. His works include books about the White Sox, police corruption, ethnic Chicago, and local quotes. Now Lindberg has produced Return to the Scene of the Crime, subtitled A guide to infamous places in Chicago. To produce this massive tome Lindberg credits the help of such authorities as Pat Butler, John OBrien, Gera-Lind Kolarik and Paul Newey. . . . Lindberg is a facile writer and he knows his stuff. You dont have to actually walk the tours but you should buy his book. -- Near North News, July 24, 1999
The Chicago area is peppered with haunted locales. From Norwood Park Township, where John Wayne Gacy buried most of his victims in a crawl space, to the grassy patch on North Clark where the St. Valentines Day Massacre occurred, to the site on West Randolph where the Iroquois Theater fire claimed 571 lives, there are hundreds of spots where tragedy once reignedand where ghost stories are born. Verteran author and Chicago Crime Commission member Richard Lindberg has a fascinating book called Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago. This is the definitive road map of Chicagos dark history. -- Chicago Sun-Times, August 24, 1999
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sickened by the fetid odor emanating from the mint-green Cadillac, and horrified by the site of the mutilated human remains stuffed inside the trunk, Chicago police officer George Petyo quickly turned away. Covering his nose while desperately trying not to cough up his lunch, Petyo called the morgue. Send the wagon, I have a dead man here, he said, his voice cracking. For several days, the cops had been aware of the illegally parked and abandoned car with the flat tire on Lower Wacker Drive. Two parking tickets were tucked under the windshield wipers, but it was that awful smell that finally convinced the curious cop to check things out. The vehicle was registered to one William Kearney, one of the aliases used by the avuncular juice collector William Action Jackson.
In his younger years, Jacksons associates in the Chicago mob called him Fat Boy, a cruel sarcasm that he deeply resented.
The Cicero gambler, procurer, and part-time loan shark weighed three hundred pounds. He drove expensive Cadillacs and ordered custom-made, white button-down shirts tailored to fit his enormous girth. The mere sight of this plodding gorilla pulling up to the curb instilled fear in borrowers who had failed to keep up with their juice loan payments to his boss, Mad Sam DeStefano. The fleshy gangster finally shed the embarrassing nickname after he was released from prison in 1951. He had served four years for armed robbery, and the boys in the Chicago outfit finally accorded him a level of respect he believed he was entitled to all along. They began calling him Actionat least to his face.
In mob circles, things have a way of coming apart fast. Alliances are usually only temporary, and the man who is your friend today may stick a shiv in your back tomorrow. Action Jackson respected the code of silence. He was not a betrayer of the trustor a rat, as it is commonly understood in mob parlance. But Fiore FiFi Buccieri, lord high executioner of the outfit, believed otherwise.
Jackson, a married man with two children, was scheduled to appear before Federal Judge William Campbell in late September on charges of helping to steal $70,000 worth of electrical appliances from the Burlington Railway yards in Cicero, and Buccieri was starting to get the shakes. There was no telling what this Fat Boy might say if he wilted under the pressure in open court. For two weeks the Chicago Police had been seeking Action Jackson for questioning in the unsolved slaying of Ralph Del Genio, a truck driver for the Chicago Bureau of Sanitation, who by no small coincidence lived down the street from Jackson in Cicero. Del Genio was in debt to DeStefano, an impossible predicament for anyone to be in for long. It was the fifth unsolved murder linked to organized crime within two months, leading to nervous speculation that the city would soon explode in a bloodbath.
Buccieri fixated on Jackson. He was convinced that Action was tipping off the FBI about juice loan activities in the Western Suburbs. Suspecting betrayal, FiFi acted with ruthless abandon. Jackson was lured to a Southwest Side meat-rendering plant to face his destiny. There, Buccieri, James Turk Torello, Jackie the Lackey Cerone, Dave Yaras, possibly DeStefano, and other unnamed goons were lying in wait. After securely binding his hands and feet, the outfit heavies impaled Jackson on a meat hook. Howling in pain, Jackson pleaded for mercy. They answered him by whacking the bulky gangster in the kneecaps, before applying a cattle prod to his genitals. Are you a rat? they asked. Jackson shook his head no. His sweat and blood formed puddles on the floor of the plant. In Hollywood, Florida, about a year later, Torellowhile the FBI secretly listened inhappily reminisced with his mob pals about the techniques of torture applied to Jackson and his stubborn refusal to fess up. I still dont understand why he didnt admit he was a pigeon.
Jackson had nothing to confess, because he had flatly refused to cooperate with the Feds. He was an outfit guy, not a rat. Why couldnt the G (the Government) understand that? For two harrowing days, Jackson precariously clung to life. His killers inflicted unimaginable tortures, until finally the shock and loss of blood proved to be too much. As they loaded Jackson into the trunk and wiped the blood from their hands, Buccieri glibly remarked, Jeez, Im really sorry the big slob died so soon. No one was arrested for the murder of Action Jackson. It was just another unsolved hit, among a thousand unsolved gangland hits, dutifully recorded by the Chicago Crime Commission, record keepers of that sort of thing since 1919.
However, this latest example of syndicate handiwork was something all together different. Veteran law enforcement officers, who had examined scores of crime scene photos and had come to view such daily horrors with cynical detachment, were shocked by the savagery of the deed. They talked about it in low, hushed tones for many years to come. Lest anyone daydream about mob lifethe after-hours allure of wise guys, nightclubbing with glamorous showgirls, and driving showy Cadillacsthe black-and-white morgue shots of Action Jackson offer convincing proof that the wages of sin can have a terrible price attached. Each day, thousands of motorists rush by this desolate crime scene, which is engulfed in shadows, dust, and road grime. When the snow and cold and winter winds buffet the streets above, the underground intersection offers the homeless temporary shelter from the storm and a place to bunk in an uncaring world.
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Home Boy Richard Lindberg has done a fine job of plotting tours with concise briefings, maps, and photos from Chicago's worst. Sure, there are some errors - but, as other reviews here attest, the True Crime buff knows what they are, for example: the perpetrators of the Brown's Chicken Massacre have been apprehended since the book's publication and this reviewer disagrees with Lindberg's speculation that, were it not for Nicole Brown Simpson's violent death, O.J "would have drifted into permanent obscurity remembered by a handful of autograph chasers at sports memorabilia shows and admirers from his football days." What is OJ doing in this book, you ask? Remember, he was flying out of LA that night? The Chauffeur came to get him at the house in Brentwood to take him to the airport to Chicago. The Hotel where he may or may not have cut his hand on a broken glass is on the Tour, just about a mile north of John Wayne Gacy's former residence.
In the Grand Scheme, the errors or disagreements are a minor nuisance and the tour just moves on. The book is arranged in geographical groupings, so that a reader could take the walking tour of the Loop and Near Neighborhoods and then continue on by car. The Tours are:
1. On the Waterfront: Downtown Chicago
2. The Gold Coast and the Slum: the Near North Side from the Chicago River to Division Street
3. North Side Pursuits: Lincoln Park to Rogers Park
4. The Land Approaching O'Hare: Chicago's Northwest Side
5. North by Northwest: Kenilworth to Barrington
6. West Side Stories
7. Residences of Organized Crime: the Western Suburbs
8. South Side Sinners
Tour takers will take in the sites of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929, John Dillinger's "bad date" at the Biograph, the office of Eliot Ness and "the Untouchables," Richard Speck's slaying of the Nurses, the "Police Riot" at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and many other "low Lights" in Chicagoland history. All this and Mrs. O'Leary's cow, too! Reviewed by TundraVision, former friend of Garfield Goose, Amazon Reviewer