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Mafia Son: The Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI, and a Story of Betrayal Paperback – 2 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848310919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848310919
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.1 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,102,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A disturbing, jagged true-crime thriller worthy of prime Hammett, Chandler or Puzo' Publishers Weekly 'A tense, penetrating psychological portrait of the Wiseguy who went right and paid the price. A true thriller in the tradition of Donnie Brasco and Goodfellas.' Robert Graysmith, author of Zodiac 'A vivid and accurate account of one of the most notorious and ruthless families in the history of organized crime. Sandra Harmon has captured - the very essence of the Scarpa family in all its savage, corrupt, and murderous glory.' Michael Vecchione, Chief of the Rackets Division, Kings County DA's Office. 'A punchy account of a poisonous familial relationship' Daily Express --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Sandra Harmon is the author of several bestselling books, including ELVIS AND ME, which she coauthored with Priscilla Presley. In MAFIA SON, Harmon was granted intimate access to the principals of the book--access that eventually got her subpoenaed in the highly publicized Lindley DeVecchio trials.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TJH74 on 9 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
It was great to read something about the Colombo's. I have been reading mafia books for the last few years and had pretty much exhausted everything on the Gambino and Bonnano families and most of the ones read recently only seemed to be repeating the same things. Sandra Harmon's style makes the book very easy to read and does not seem to offer a biased view which is quite unusual for a Mafia writer. I would recommend this book to all, whether you have read previous mafia books or not.
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By codgie on 16 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
brilliant book i could not put this book down harman writes with a fast pace that is direct and pulls you straight into this gritty tale of the scarpa family a must read for all mob junkies this book shall go straight into my collection for a future read
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 12 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Always read the back cover for reviews but this is a very interesting book . I will pass on to others to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 50 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A Mafia book that reads like a bad romance novel 23 Sept. 2009
By Jared Castle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Call this book what you will but it is not a "epic story" about FBI informant Gregory Scarpa Sr. and his "Mafia Son", Gregory Scarpa Jr. Author Sandra Harmon performs a bait and switch, filling the pages with cloying details about Linda Schiro, whose claim to fame is serving as Scarpa Sr.'s gumare for more than 30 years.

Harmon is also the author of "Staying Married and Loving It" and "Getting to `I Do'". She served as a contributor for "Elvis and Me", authored by Priscilla Presley. I mention these other books not as an endorsement but rather to offer an explanation why "Mafia Son" reads more like a romance novel than a Mafia book.

With most of the central male characters either dead or unreachable behind bars, Harmon regurgitates Schiro's stories and glosses over the business details of the famed Scarpa mob family. Harmon attempts to humanize both father and son but the syrupy narrative fails to evoke sympathy. This excerpt from the chapter entitled "Dementia" illustrates the mind-numbing details and adverb abuse:

"They settled into a routine, with Linda dutifully and lovingly flying to Rochester each Friday morning and flying home on Monday. She and Greg St. sat in the visiting room together, with Linda fetching food and coffee from prison vending machines. If it was a nice day, they walked outside. On these occasions Linda made sure to hold his arm tightly, to keep him from slipping and falling."

The high praise from Robert Graysmith, Phil Carlo, Michael Vecchione, Vincent Bugliosi and Michael Levine is baffling; endorsements like "a vivid and accurate account" and "an absorbing and intriguing look" ring hollow after reading excerpts like this one:

"So despite where she worked, and despite the affections of wealthy suitors, Linda remained a poor girl from Brooklyn. Most of her meager salary was passed on to her father. Lacking the resources to buy new outfits, she borrowed dresses from Maryanne, or from her friend Annie, whose father owned a Bensonhurst poolroom."

"Mafia Son" is billed as " epic story of crime and betrayal" but it reads like a bad romance novel. Rating: one star.

UPDATE: The author contacted me to say she did not appreciate my original review and, specifically, my opinion that her book might be "the worst Mafia book ever written." In fairness to Ms. Harmon, I have not read every Mafia book ever written so I cannot pass that judgment.

I deleted that comment and tightened the rest of my review to focus on the book's specific problems. I regret my error. The goal is to provide constructive criticism and, occasionally, I fail to meet the challenge as well as I should.

I will do better.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
reads like fiction 4 Jan. 2010
By M. Fencl - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It was obvious to me that the author had a definite agenda when writing this book - selling fiction as fact. Most of what the author alleges in the book is double hearsay from a woman, Linda Schiro, who is a master manipulator, and who got much of her information from even a bigger manipulator, Greg Scarpa. The author tells the story from their perspective with little, or no, attempt of documenting many of her assertions, particularily those leveled against law enforcement and the FBI in particular. Its a fun read, full of all the juicy and tawdry details that are associated with life in the mob - much like the Soprono's. The author accuses the FBI Agent, Lin Devecchio, who handled Scarpa as getting "too close to him," resulting in Scarpa corrupting the agent. She, it seems, is a victim of what she alleges. She bought Schiro's story, hook line and sinker, the same story that was deemed inadmissable in a Federal Court of law. I'm all for a good book on the mob, but my advise to the author would be the same she would get from Tony Soprono - "don't believe everything you hear on the streets."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Loved this book 13 Sept. 2011
By Johanna Angelos - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put it down. And reading previous reviews, I wonder if we read the same book. I was fascinated by the insights of how these people think and live and how they could justify what they did. I didn't feel that we had to have sympathy for the son, but instead gain an understanding as to why he became the way he was. The style in which this book is written makes for a thrilling ride and a great, informative read. I particularly liked to hear about Linda and how these woman could be so turned on to these men. And it gave a clear understanding of how conditioning shapes human beings. I recommend this book highly. It's a very entertaining way to become informed on how a Mafia son is shaped. Great read!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Unconvincing but some good tidbits about the Mob 2 April 2010
By The Historian - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Yea l tried hard to like this book but was unconvinced by the author about the accuracy and content of this book.
She obviously does not like the FBI and this distorts her sense of judgement and objectivity, she seems too willing to belive most things Scarpa Jnr told her and she comes across as a bit naive. I completely disagree with her opinion of FBI agent Lin D De Vecchio and think her comments here are way off beam. There are much better books around on this subject so try Unfinished Business by Joseph Pistone, that book is a pearler and well worth the read!
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Boring Biased Attempt at Non-Fiction 4 Jun. 2009
By Samantha L. Sayre - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this easy to read book extremely boring even with the Mafia being the main subject. It's hard to believe, but true. I felt that Sandra Harmon was passionate about the subject, Gregory Scarpa but not really reliable about the facts and issues. This man was raised by his Mafia gangster father to be a killer and did kill about 25 men not to mention his drug dealing and racket schemes, however Ms. Harmon tries to portray that this man deserves to be out walking our streets because he didn't have a chance because of his father and because he was in prison with a mastermind of 9/11. The first part of the book is very quick and interesting. However it feels like she's writing more about the father than the son. Then she switches about middle of the book to the FBI agent that was supposedly dirty and back to the son. The book then becomes extremely boring and bogged down. Once the son goes to prison then there is almost no thought about what has happened and why. It's more about the oh poor me syndrome...I'm like this becauase of my dad. There is very little citations and documentation. I wonder if Ms. Harmon got most of her material from the son himself instead of other sources. I felt this book was poorly written about a fascinating family. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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