Friday, September 13, 2013

Cocaine Cash Cow

American Desperado: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government AssetAmerican Desperado: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Couldn't put it down. Carried the book around like a weapon for a week. It awoke something in me, as only a handful of other books have done.

Jon Roberts lays all his cards on the table, tells the brutal truth about a lifetime of violent crime, an unrepentant "wise wiseguy" who always learned from his mistakes and lived by two rules: crime does in fact pay and evil is more powerful than good. Still Even Wright, who co-authored the book, manages to show us a more vulnerable person than the one Roberts portrays. It wasn't just to avoid the heat after he murdered his business partner that he abandoned organised crime in New York City and moved to Miami in the mid-70s. He had aspirations beyond the Mob, and he wanted to have fun in the sun. His arrival in South Florida coincided with a rising tsunami of Columbian cocaine that was about to engulf the US. Roberts made sure he rode the crest of the wave, earning hundreds of millions of dollars as a smuggler until his arrest.

Wright skilfully organises Robert's vivid recollections into a gripping narrative, giving full flow to his rapid wit and fast-flowing streams of consciousness. Robert's memory is like a newsreal, countless detailed observations of crime scenes in which he was usually the perpetrator. Wright seeks to corroborate stories he hears from Roberts, especially his more audacious and savage claims. Chillingly, he finds evidence to back most of them up.

American Desperado is a well-researched and touching profile of one of the most successful criminals who ever lived, a fascinating insight into the mind and the heart of a man you will not disagree is totally beyond redemption.

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