Excerpt from Black Mass by Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Black Mass

The Irish Mob, The FBI, and A Devil's Deal

By Dick Lehr, Gerard O'Neill

Black Mass
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jun 2000,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: May 2001,
    424 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter Six
Gang of Two?

Like a curtain rising, the garage doors at the Lancaster Foreign Car Service flew open in the spring of 1980 on a new era in Boston's underworld order. Howie Winter had fallen, and a re-alignment was underway. It was an industry shake-out, and standing in the bays of the repair shop were Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, arms folded, ready to take center stage and exploit any and all opportunities.

The old haunt, Marshall Motors in Somerville, had been abandoned in favor of this new downtown location. Though some of the former Winter Hill gangsters were on the run, others had come along. George Kaufman, who operated Marshall Motors as a front for Howie Winter, now operated the Lancaster Street Garage for Bulger and Flemmi. In the mornings the bays might be filled with the clanging and banging of mechanics' tools, but by early afternoon the tone of the place changed markedly. Most days around 1:30, Bulger and Flemmi arrived to take over the show. Whitey pulled into an empty bay and climbed out of his shiny black 1979 Chevy Caprice. The hushed conversations, the stream of visitors -- it all revolved around Bulger and Flemmi. And accompanying them was the big and beefy Nick Femia, an enforcer with a reputation as a killer hooked on shotguns and cocaine. Femia, Kaufman and other wiseguys stood outside as look-outs as Bulger and Flemmi took up in an office inside.

The Lancaster Street site represented an upgrade, the mobster equivalent of a law firm or bank moving its base from the margins to the center of a city's business district. It was a location that came with certain frills coveted by just about any Bostonian -- a couple of blocks west and across the street stood Boston Garden. The Celtics, led by a rookie named Larry Bird, had just fallen short in their surprising run at the Eastern Conference title against Philadelphia.

More importantly, the Lancaster Street Garage was situated in close proximity to the city's Mafia heartland in the North End. In a matter of minutes you could walk from the garage and to the front door of 98 Prince Street, where Gennaro Angiulo and his four brothers oversaw the region's LCN racketeering enterprise. Finally, there were Bulger's neighbors a few blocks south. The Lancaster Street Garage stood practically in the shadow of FBI's Boston field office in Government Center, where John Connolly and John Morris were stationed.

In many ways, Bulger was on a roll. Even though their former Winter Hill gang had suffered a crippling blow from the government's wildly successful prosecution in the horse race-fixing case, Bulger and Flemmi seemingly adopted the optimistic view that in life there were no setbacks, only new opportunities. They'd heard that an unaffiliated East Boston wiseguy named Vito was running a loansharking and gambling business without either Bulger's or the Mafia's blessing. Soon the gun-toting Femia paid Vito a visit and put a pistol to his head. Then Bulger and Flemmi had their own session with Vito in the backroom of a downtown smoke shop and explained the meaning of life. Vito decided to retire and Bulger, Flemmi and Femia took control of the East Boston franchise.

No question, when the need arose, Bulger and Flemmi were hands-on. If a person was late on a loan payment, they would take the wayward client for a ride in the black Chevy. Flemmi would drive with the recalcitrant debtor seated by his side. From the backseat, Bulger would whisper in a low but unmistakably firm tone about the need to "get it up" or "face the consequences." If a second trip was necessary, Bulger and Flemmi would have someone like Femia trash the debtor's apartment while the two crime bosses talked over the problem during the ride-along.

Usually there was no call for a third ride.

Copyright 2000, Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and ambitious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.