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Undercover Cop: How I Brought Down the Real-Life Sopranos Hardcover – August 6, 2013
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“The book is a whirlwind of suspense, violence and moral ambiguity. The daily grind that reveals the inner workings, language and codes of the mafia are perhaps its most fascinating feature. It feels real, like The Sopranos, but it is both more thrilling and terrifying than any TV show could hope to be.” ―MrPorter.com
“Russell details his encounters with many notorious figures in New York's ‘Five Families' and provides a good sense of the nitty-gritty tradecraft involved in undercover investigations.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Billed as a true-crime version of The Sopranos, the story of Russell's violent life as an undercover cop cum trusted associate of the Genovese crime clan in Newark, N.J., has more plot twists than the acclaimed TV series. In fact, Russell predates Tony Soprano and company by a longshot--he was the subject of an HBO documentary that aired in the late '80s, and his is a thrill-a-minute tale. Within the first 20 pages, Russell's taken a bullet to the head, fended off a would-be corpse robber, and stumbled out of an alley to find help. Soon after, he returns to the tough work of weaseling his way back into the arms of the Mafia. Written in a street-savvy style reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and Mario Puzo, the nail-biting narrative moves from one crisis to another as Mikey Ga-Ga--his nom de guerre--infiltrates a profitable crew while rubbing shoulders with capos and bosses, all under intense mob scrutiny. Russell's bravery and professionalism--along with some crucial surveillance--eventually led to the busts of more than 50 "wiseguys" and public officials. This tell-all page-turner is all the better for being true.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Nobody did undercover better than Mike Russell. His story is grittier than The Sopranos, more volatile than Goodfellas. A must read.” ―George Anastasia, author of The Last Gangster and The Goodfella Tapes
“Mike Russell is one tough cop. This book is a great read.” ―the late Henry Hill, subject of Wiseguy, the basis of Scorsese’s Goodfellas
“Wonderful details. A bizarre world depicted with such accuracy that several times it made me laugh out loud. A very good read.” ―Robert Daley, former Deputy Chief of Public Information (DCPI) of the NYPD, author of Prince of the City and Target Blue
“What a nail-biter! Forget the Sopranos, real-life or otherwise. If you're a fan of Donnie Brasco because it actually had a good guy -- the undercover cop -- then this book's for you. Some of Mike Russell's story is so pulse-pounding that the only reason I could read it was, he lived to write the book so it must've turned out okay. This is the story of a cop who really knows, co-written by an ex-cop who can really write. I couldn't put it down.” ―SJ Rozan, Edgar award winning author of Ghost Hero
About the Author
MIKE RUSSELL spent twenty years in law enforcement and is currently the president of Mob Cop Productions, making films and other media about what he knows best. He lives in Delray Beach, FL.
PATRICK W. PICCIARELLI, a Vietnam vet, spent twenty years in the NYPD and is a licensed private investigator and adjunct writing professor at Seton Hill University. The author of Jimmy the Wags, My Life in the NYPD, he regularly contributes to Hardboiled magazine, among others. He lives in Monessen, PA.
Top Customer Reviews
He claims he was shot in the head, survived, then later showed up at the place of the guy who did the shooting and people barely say anything. "Did you learn your lesson" one guy asks. Really? No one wants to know how the hell he's alive after taking one in the back of the head. No one is surprised or amazed this guy survived? Just "did you learn your lesson? Have a nice day." Didn't ring true in any sense. Upon further review none of this happened and in fact, the guy he claimed shot him sued him and was settled out of court.
He's constantly talking about what a badass he is and how people were afraid of him and he fought semi-pro and all this other stuff and again, just seems suspect (upon further review I see some video of him and pictures and there's no way this guy fought semi-pro, amateur or anything else). A lot of the book was a little hard to follow because mobsters come in and out of the story briefly and it's hard to keep up with all the names.Read more ›
This book would be a great read after reading Mob Boss( the life of Little Al D'Arco )
The book is rather odd in that you won't find a single date mentioned anywhere in the book's 16 chapters (we finally encounter a date in the Epilogue - 1988, first showing of the HBO documentary - p. 296). Why were dates deliberately omitted from the text (surely this was not accidental)? Are the authors trying to fool us into thinking that the material is more recent (and thus possibly more relevant) than it actually is?
Though I now live in another state, I can't help but wonder how many of my childhood friends were actually innocent members of a mafia-related family. Fortunately, as the author wrote, wives and children etc were off limits to all mob activities.
Get this book if you want a terrific page turner. Don't read it at night if you have to get up early in the morning.You won't get much sleep.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I actually met the author and that prompted me to buy the book. Talk about spell binding. This police officer went above and beyond to protect and servePublished 7 days ago by David B Feldman
Great story. Loved the read. All the more amazing for being truePublished 7 months ago by Omar Syed
Would make a wonderful movie
It was a very interesting story kept your attention
The best book I've read in a long long time. If your from Jersey this is the book for you.Published on July 21, 2014 by Katherine Varone
Wonderful account of historic facts from our past. The authors really bring you into the story. Fast paced and fun all the way.Published on June 13, 2014 by mitch booher
I had to read this book for class and have to admit I started it unwillingly, I ended up finishing the book in 3 days. Read morePublished on February 16, 2014 by Taylor Thomas
Sure am glad there are cops like him to help stem all the illegal stuff. I somewhat knew about the Newark pd problem, although it really was hidden from the ordinary citizen.Published on February 2, 2014 by CHP
If you like the Soprano's and the God Father, you will love this book. This is the real life Soprano's and God Father story all wrapped up in one real life adventure! Read morePublished on January 28, 2014 by Joe Porreca,D.C