Deal with the Devil: The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer
Booklist Reviews 2013 June #1
The use of criminals as paid informants is always a dicey proposition, and it becomes especially risky and morally ambiguous as law-enforcement officials move up the criminal food chain to try to nail organized-crime figures. Lance, a former correspondent for ABC News, illustrates this point in a meticulously researched and frightening account of the long-term relationship between the FBI and vicious Mafia thug Gregory Scarpa Sr., who liked to be called "the Killing Machine." Helped by the often unwitting cover provided by his FBI handlers, Scarpa continued his criminal activities, including drug dealing, robbery, and multiple Mob hits. He was also a master manipulator of his Mafia colleagues, managing to avoid detection and helping to instigate factional violence among them. In return, Scarpa provided a steady stream of information to the FBI, including outlining the command structure of Mafia families. After these stunning revelations, readers must ask if the information was worth the carnage that Scarpa continued to inflict. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2013 May #1
When do the crimes of a Mafia informant outweigh the benefits of his cooperation with law enforcement? Lance's thrilling account of the murderous career of Greg Scarpa Sr. engages with that complex question and makes a convincing case that the cost of utilizing the "Grim Reaper" was far too high. Among the numerous revelations that Lance's dogged research turns up is that Scarpa actually provided the FBI with its first insider look at the Cosa Nostra, years before Joe Valachi did the same. The mobster's relationship with the Bureau began in 1960, during the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, and his contributions ranged from outing notorious wiseguys to strategically providing misinformation and helping solve a civil rights murder case that required dubious investigative tactics. But his handlers had to intervene time and again to spare Scarpa from the consequences of his crimes—despite evidence of his role in at least 25 murders, he spent only 30 days in prison. Lance, a five-time Emmy Award–winning ABC News correspondent, also examines the equally dramatic case of one of Scarpa's FBI handlers, Lin DeVecchio, who was accused of aiding his informant in multiple murders. This scrupulously investigated tale (Lance pored over more than 1,150 pages of previously secret FBI files) will have true crime fans on the edge of their seats. Photos & appendices. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC