The life of a career criminal, from a thug on the streets of Chicago to a trusted lieutenant in Tony Spilotro’s gang of organized lawbreakers in Las Vegas.
From burglary to armed robbery and murder, infamous bad guy Frank Cullotta not only did it all, in Cullotta he admits to it—and in graphic detail.
Cullotta’s was a world of high-profile heists, street muscle, and information—lots of it—about many of the FBI’s most wanted. In the end, that information was his ticket out of crime, as he turned government witness and became one of a handful of mob insiders to enter the Witness Protection Program. Some of that information has since been responsible for solving a decades-old cold-case double-homicide.
Mystery and nonfiction writer Griffin covered the Vegas reign of kingpin Tony the Ant Spilotro in The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. the Mob. Digging deeper into mob history, he now focuses on Spilotro's lifelong pal, career criminal Cullotta, who appeared in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film, Casino, recreating an actual murder he committed in 1979. Spilotro and Cullotta met in Chicago as teenage troublemakers, and early chapters detail the violent escapades of Cullotta's youth before he escalated to major crimes. Spilotro rose in the ranks of the mob and became the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas, and Cullotta eventually joined him, running a robbery and murder crew. Together, Spilotro and Cullotta extorted illegal bookmakers and drug dealers throughout Vegas. But in the early 1980s, Cullotta became a government witness, bringing down the house. In addition to poring through newspaper archives, Griffin interviewed various sheriffs, attorneys, agents and detectives, while primarily relying on information from retired FBI agent Arnoldy and what Pileggi calls the phenomenal memory of Cullotta himself. Griffin's flat, unemotional yet potent writing makes the bloodletting, murders and mayhem chilling and unnerving throughout. 30 b&w photos.