Deal with the Devil: The FBI’s Secret 30-Year Relationship with a Mob Killer

Peter Lance, Author
Peter Lance. Morrow, $29.99 (672p) ISBN 978-0-06-145534-6
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
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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)
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