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
  • First Published:
    Jun 2000, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 424 pages

  • 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!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.