On the surface it seemed like MOB COP was going to be just another chapter in the already embattled history of the Chicago Police Department. It was definitely more than I bargained for.
Sam Reaves does an excellent job of weaving together the story of Fred Pascente who was a 26 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. While a police officer, Pascente, managed to maintain close personal friendships with a great many “outfit” guys including the now infamous Tony Spilotro.
Pascente, who passed away in 2014, tells his story in his own, uncensored, streetwise manner and the various chapters are backed up by Reaves with historical background research.
Pascente makes no excuses for his sometimes criminal actions both before and after becoming a Chicago Police Officer but if as a reader you are able to keep an open mind you definitely can feel yourself pulled into the huge expanse of gray area that exists between real-life good and evil.
I am a former criminal investigator who grew up in Cicero, Illinois and am more than familiar with many of the outfit characters that Pascente rubbed elbows with including Tony Accardo and Joey Lombardo so for me it was like going back in time a bit.
The book is chock full of the dark side of both the police department and the mob but it is surprisingly also full of strong friendship, family devotion, unswerving loyalty and at times had me laughing out loud at some of the ridiculous antics on both sides of the law.
I found the book a very enjoyable and quick read mainly because it gave you the feeling that you were sitting across from Pascente at his mother’s Italian deli as he was telling his story.
The only regret I had after reading the book was that I didn’t get a chance to meet Pascente before he died and share some war stories over a couple of beers.
Sam Reaves is the author of ten novels (MOB COP being his first in the genre of non-fiction) and has served as president of the Midwest chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Evanston, Illinois
MOB COP is available for pre-order on Amazon.com with a release date of June 1, 2015
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