Lord High Executioner: The Legendary Mafia Boss Albert Anastasia

Citadel. May 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780806540139. $27. CRIME
Dimatteo (The President Street Boys) and Benson (Betrayal in Blood) tell the story of Albert Anastasia (1902–57), one of the founders of the modern American Mafia and Murder, Inc., an organized crime gang of hit men in New York City. The authors promise “never-before-revealed” facts about the man nicknamed the Lord High Executioner and the Mat Hatter, stories that apparently come from Dimatteo’s personal family connections. Dimatteo and Benson do deliver, albeit roughly. The writing is unpolished, and the book relies heavily on page after page of invented dialog, and there is no source material cited. While the information may be new to readers, there are more readable accounts of Murder, Inc.’s crimes, such as Burton B. Turkus’s classic Murder, Inc.: The Story of the Syndicate. Readers do gain insight into this sociopath’s life, death, and many, many crimes, but it’s a tough read.
VERDICT This title will please Mafia fans looking for gruesome details, but collections that already have robust Mob material should skip.
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