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msleighm books

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Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer

Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer - Marc Songini I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This book confused me from the get-go. It's called "Boston" Mob, but in smaller print it's really "The rise and fall of the New England mob and its most notorious killer." Okay. But then, it never made clear who the "most notorious killer" was -- was it mob hitman Joseph "The Animal" Barboza or Whitey Bulger who are both mentioned on the back cover. In retrospect, I guess they were talking about "the Animal," but why the reference to Whitey when he's only referred to once in the book that I noticed. I was very confused by that.

In the Source notes at the end, the author states "This is a work of non-fiction." But on the next page he says "The conclusions I draw, in many cases, are my own." So he's deciding what is history, not giving the reader both or all sides of the story that are available. It may make for a better narrative flow, but leaves out possibilities.

The book seemed to be missing a beginning and an ending. It felt incomplete to me. I would have liked some background on when the mob first started in Boston, or was it Rhode Island? Really, couldn't they have found a less confusing name? Then, there are so many families and nicknames, it would be nice for the book to have a chart with the allegiances at least at the start (I know people switched sides at times, and that made it confusing, especially when alternate names were used to refer to them). And photographs? These are all real people, how difficult would it be to get copies of photo's of them? Since Whitey was alluded to in the text and the back of the book, a chapter at the end; what happened to the mob in Boston after "The Animal" was no longer in the picture? Is it still a presence? I grew up in Massachusetts in the 70's and 80's and was only slightly aware of a thing called the mob (supposedly one of my boyfriends step-fathers was connected, I never came out and asked), it would be interesting to know what came after the events in the book.

And then a final pet-peeve, and this is new, I'm just starting to notice it... I've read a lot of ARC's and you'll see a typo here or there, a punctuation that needs correction or a misspelling... In this ARC it seems like the editing hasn't been done yet. There were sentences that made no sense or were repeated. Just a mess. I'm sure most of it will be cleaned up for publishing, but not how I'd want to present myself to first readers. Especially with content this complicated.

If you're interested in New England, the mob, that kind of thing, this book has a lot of interesting detail and you'll probably like it. I may reread it now that I've gotten through it once and gotten the kinks out of my system.