Giovanni’s Ring: My Life Inside the Real Sopranos

Chicago Review. Jun. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781641603508. $27.99. CRIME
In this compulsively readable mix of memoir and true crime, former undercover FBI agent Rocco (a pseudonym the author is using to safeguard his identity) describes infiltrating a branch of an Italian American mafia syndicate in New Jersey and New York in the mid-2010s, leading to the arrest of multiple members. Better known to his mafioso friends as “Giovanni Gatto,” Rocco rose through the ranks of the DeCavalcante family—the violent enforcer arm of the famous Gambino crime family, and supposedly an inspiration for The Sopranos. Rocco chronicles his years in crime, during which he became the right-hand man to the DeCavalcante capo and convicted murderer Charles Stango. Drawing on the street smarts he developed during his rebellious childhood, Rocco seamlessly inhabited the role of a mobster. Short chapters punctuate the page-turning narrative, cowritten by lawyer and novelist Schofield, and will keep readers rapt, though more information about Rocco’s life after the undercover operation would have been welcome. Featuring strong language and violence, this book is not for the faint of heart.
VERDICT Fans of the Netflix docuseries Fear City, the films Donnie Brasco and The Irishman, or Selwyn Raab’s Five Families will enjoy this insider’s update on of one of the original Italian American crime families.
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