John Connoly and James “Whitey” Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston. Decades later, in the mid 1970’s, they would meet again. By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI’s Boston office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob. What happened next — a dirty deal to being down the Italian mob in exchange for protection for Bulger — would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and, ultimately, the biggest informant scandal in the history of the FBI.
Compellingly told by two Boston Globe reporters who were on the case from the beginning, Black Mass is at once a riveting crime story, a cautionary tale about the abuse of power, and a penetrating look at Boston and its Irish population.
The movie Black Mass was one that I really needed and wanted to see. I Have always been curious about crime bosses and Whitey is one of those larger then life characters. You would expect him to actually be a character in a movie not someone who was real. However, as someone who has committed to the read it first challenge no book no movie. So I dove into the book happily, but put off writing that review. I admit I have not been the best book blogger this year but I am working on changing that for the better. The new design and domain name as well as being the new hostess of long running meme’s Musing Monday and Teaser Tuesday gave me a breath of new life for book blogging. Alas I have gotten off subject, Black Mass the book.
This book is gritty and raw and honest. Some of the things that Whitey does whether himself or by order are just beyond the pale. He tries to act like he is a good guy a king of Robin Hood for his area and for some people he is. There are many in his neighborhood who like and respect him. The bottom line is that for me in this book Whitey was not the main bad guy, the FBI was in fact the main bad guy from my point of view. I might get stoned for that comment but I truly do believe it.
The FBI wanted to put a stop to a lot of mafia crime, which is of course understandable and plenty of people remember this era and how many top bosses went down. The problem is they essentially created a monster. Whitey was no choir boy when they got to him, but he was a relatively small little thug. That was until the FBI basically gave him carte blanche to do anything he wanted so long as he gave them information. Whitey gamed the system and played the FBI and continued to say he was not a rat.
This book is riveting and it is a warts and all kind of book. I was glued to the book from cover to cover and was a little bit sad when it was over. So to make a long rambling post short, I recommend it. The only reason that I gave it four gems instead of 5 is that honestly I really wanted it to be a little longer. What can I say I am a girl who loves research and enjoyable historical real life stories.
My Gemstone Rating: