Monday, September 9, 2013

"Undercover Cop" by Mike Russell (2013)

Take all of the wise guys in all of the movies you have ever seen and put them in one place, and then you will have an idea of what this book is like. If it weren't true, it would be comical in the way that Jimmy Breslin’s “The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight” was. The sad part is that this book is all true and represents several years of Mr. Russell working undercover, using his own name as a disgraced cop, in order to ingratiate himself with the local mob in New Jersey, comprised of the Lucchese family and their interactions with the five families that make up the mob in the New York area.

In a world were one wrong word can tip your hand in the wrong direction, Mr. Russell operates under his real name, working as an oil delivery man while looking to make an inroad with the local crew. A “chance” mugging provides the opportunity for him to “save” a mob Don from harm and helps to usher him into the inner circles of the leading crime families in New York and New Jersey. At one point he is even shot and left for dead in an alley, before making a remarkable comeback as a “stand up guy” entrusted by the very people who tried to kill him. Talk about method acting!

The toll taken on the author, and his family, was immense. At times he did not see his wife and kids for weeks at a time, straining a wonderful marriage. More than once during the investigation he was sure that he was never going to get to see them again.

Mr. Russell takes the time to carefully explain many of the mob’s rules and rituals, which provide a sort of window into the minds of these “wise guys” who have become like celebrities thanks to movies and television.

From garbage collection to cargo heists at the Port of New Jersey, this book shines a light on just how far, and how deeply entrenched, the mob has become in our everyday lives, affecting the price of just about everything you purchase.

Filled with tense situations; as well as comical ones, which have to be real simply because no one could be so stupid; this book moves at lightning speed. But, when all is through, and the government pulls the plug on the investigation, what happens to the men and women who have put years of their lives and mental stability on the line? 

In Mr. Russell’s case, he approached a major TV newsman while the investigation was still ongoing. Together they created a real life, real time documentary about an ongoing criminal investigation of the mob. It was the first of its kind.

Mr. Russell has gone on to further fame with his series “Mob Cop”. You can learn more about the author and his exploits on his website which is located at;

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