Mafia Hit Man Carmine DiBiase: The Wiseguy Who Really Killed Joey Gallo

Citadel. Sept. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780806541082. pap. $15.95. CRIME
DiMatteo and Benson (Carmine the Snake and His Murderous Family) add to a collection of books, articles, and films about the killing of mobster Joey Gallo; here, they use Gallo’s murder as a jumping-off point to explore the lives of dozens of New York–based mobsters. DiMatteo, who was born into a mob family, takes issue with many popular culture accounts of the Gallo hit, in particular Frank Sheeran’s claim to have killed Gallo. The authors give a detailed account of the suspected assassins, focusing on Carmine DiBiase, a rival mobster who was back on the streets, having managed to get a capital murder conviction overturned on appeal. DiMatteo and Benson don’t shy away from discussing Gallo’s flaws—his abuse of his wife, the murders he committed—instead attempting to offer a nuanced image of the man; this effort largely falls short. The authors’ writing style mimics a midcentury gangster voice, which frequently veers into clichés (“broads”; “dig?”); at one point, DiMatteo and Benson respond to claims about the accuracy of a congressional record with a simple “LOL.” Still, they offer detailed accounts of neighborhoods, restaurants, and characters in this unsavory world.
VERDICT Although the book adds little new information to the Gallo murder case, fans of true crime and mafia stories will appreciate the insider’s look at the figures and neighborhoods that comprised New York mob life in the 20th century.
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