Monday, January 19, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 5 -- SERPICO

by Peter Maas

Started: Jan. 15
Finished: Jan. 19

Notes: This non-fiction book is about a New York who fought corruption in the 1960s and early '70s. This book and I have a long history going back about 35 years, though I've never read it until now. When my mom and step-dad divorced when I was a kid, this was one of the books he left behind, which naturally fell to me because I was the reader in the family. I held onto that paperback through high school and into my college days, but then I lost it when I first moved away from home. Soon after I found another copy in a used book store, bought it, took it home, and never read it. About four years ago, during another move, I lost the book yet again. Then recently I once more found another of these old paperbacks at a used book store. I decided it was time to read it before I lose it again.

Mini review: This is a pretty good book. It's written in a style I kind of think of as '70s magazine style, quite breezy for the time but somewhat thick by today's standards. Yes, Frank Serpico fought corruption, and for it he took a bullet to the face. Yes, he survived, and as of a magazine interview I read with him a few years ago, he is still alive. The events of this book end more than 40 years ago, and Serpico has said (in the interview I read) that he plans on writing his own book. One of the things I found humorous about this book was that I was already familiar with all the police lingo from having read Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, which first started coming out in the 1950s, when Frank Serpico first became a cop in New York City (note: the 87the Precinct novels take place in Isola, a fictionalized version of NYC). Writers interested in police procedurals of the the 1960s and early '70s should read this book.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I have this book but at the moment can't remember if I've read it. I don't think so. NOt even sure what pile it is in at the moment