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Record Store Day 2018


























Jimmy Breslin

The Good Rat Lp

Jimmy Breslin The Good Rat Lp Large Print
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Main description:

Of course Pulitzer Prize winner Jimmy Breslin recognized Burton Kaplan right away as the Mafia witness of the ages. Breslin comes from the same Queens streets as mob bosses John Gotti and Vito Genovese. But even they couldn't match Kaplan in crime—and neither could anybody else.

In his inimitable New York voice, Breslin, "the city's steadiest and most accurate chronicler" (Tom Robbins, Village Voice), gives us a look through the keyhole at the people and places that define the mafia—characters like Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, Gaspipe Casso (named for his weapon of choice), Thomas "Three-Finger Brown" Lucchese, and Jimmy "The Clam" Eppolito, interwoven with the good rat himself, Burt Kaplan of Bensonhurst, the star witness in the recent trial of two New York City detectives indicted for acting as hit men in eight gangland executions.

Breslin takes us to the old-time hangouts like Pep McGuire's, the legendary watering hole where reporters and gangsters (all hailing from the same working-class neighborhoods) rubbed elbows and traded stories; the dog-fight circles and body dumps at Ozone Park; and the back room at Midnight Rose's candy store, where Murder, Inc., hired and fired.

Most compelling of all, Breslin captures the moments in which the Mafia was made and broken—Breslin was there the night John Gotti celebrated his acquittal at his Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry, having bribed his way to inno­cence only to incite the wrath of the FBI, who would later crush Gotti and others with the full force of the RICO laws.

As in his unforgettable novel The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, Breslin brings together these real-life and long-forgotten Mafia stories to brilliantly create a sharp-eyed portrait of the mob as it lived and breathed, as it sounded and survived.

Review quote:

“[Breslin’s] writing, like the Mafia itself, breezily transitions from humorous to horrifying.”

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“[The Good Rat] is Jimmy Breslin at his best.”

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The Good Rat tells us about the corkscrew workings of the criminal mind where Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment left off.”

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“A great look at the ugly and anything-but-glamorous truth of organized crime. This is Breslin at his Runyonesque best.”

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“Bad cops, good crook, great story.”

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“Breslin chronicles the cops’ sordid tales with a mixture of awe, repugnance and perfect diabolical detail. He remains a master at transforming crookery into opera.”

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“Breslin is a writer of the heart. It’s hard to name another author who demonstrates a better understanding of the passions of urban misrule.”

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“Breslin put his notes to brilliant use in a colorfully nuanced depiction of Burt Kaplan. Kaplan is The Good Rat, and while Breslin doesn’t put a gloss on his crimes, he uses him wisely and well to tell us once again about New York’s underbelly. And, in such memorable terms.”

Review quote:

“Breslin returns to us from brain surgery intact, writing the way he writes, which is very good stuff indeed.”

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“Completely sure of what he’s doing, the author knows how to hook a reader.”

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“Jimmy Breslin still hits the high notes...entertaining, insightful and 100% Grade-A Breslin.”

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“Smart and stinging—Breslin in fine form, which means a winner.”

Review quote:

“The ineffable Breslin, the mob’s Homer, may not have done much to ensure Kaplan’s longevity, but he has surely granted him immortality.”


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