A former rival and associate of Whitey Bulger tells all in this “profane, often brutal” true crime memoir about the inner workings of life in the Irish mob (The Boston Herald)
After serving in Vietnam as a combat Marine, Irishman Pat Nee returned to the gang-filled streets of Boston. A member of the Mullen Gang since the age of 14, Nee rejoined the group to lead their fight against Whitey Bulger’s Killeen brothers. Years later, the two gangs merged to form the Winter Hill Gang, at first led by Howie Winter and then by Bulger. But by the time Bulger took over, a wide rift had opened up between the infamous crime boss and Pat Nee, who was disgusted by Bulger's brutality.
A Criminal and an Irishman is the story of Pat Nee’s life as an Irish immigrant and Southie son, a Marine and convicted IRA gun smuggler, and a former rival-turned-associate of James “Whitey” Bulger. His narrative transports readers into the criminal underworld, taking them inside preparation for armored car heists, gang wangs, and revenge killings. Nee details his evolution from tough street kid to armed robber to dangerous potential killer, disclosing for the first time how he used his underworld connections as a secret operative for the Irish Republican Army. For years, Pat smuggled weapons and money from the United States to Ireland—in the bottoms of coffins, behind false panels of vans—leading up to a transatlantic shipment of seven and a half tons of munitions aboard the fishing trawler Valhalla. No other Southie underworld figure can match Pat’s reputation for resolve and authenticity.
Nee served 18 months for planning the largest shipment of arms from America to the IRA in 1984. He was also an associate of the notorious mobster Whitey Bulger in South Boston. But Nee's insider account of his career as a thug and an IRA gunrunner proves less interesting than one might expect. The details of his youth and teenage descent into gang membership will sound familiar to most readers. And while Nee attempts to present himself as a genuine Irish patriot, saying others merely pay lip service to the cause of the IRA, those claims are less than convincing, given, among other things, his declaration that "o this day, I'm not sure what was the deciding factor for me in linking our underworld activities with the IRA's cause. Maybe I was bored with Whitey." In the end, there is too little in this account (written with the help of journalist Farrell and screenwriter Blythe) to keep the attention of any but the most die-hard true crime buff.