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Michael Codella p6

The author of Alphaville, 1988, Michael Codella, talks about some of his favorite crime books…


READERSVOICE.COM: Do you read a lot of crime books, fiction or nonfiction, and if so can you recommend some favorites, especially any memoirs or true crime books?

MICHAEL CODELLA: I actually don’t read as much as I used to, and when I do, it’s more spiritual stuff.  I did for a long time read nothing but true crime. Except of course for The Godfather [Mario Puzo], which I read probably once a year for many years. 

As far as the true crime stuff however, I really enjoyed mostly mob stuff. T.J. English’s The Westies is a great book [about an Irish American gang that operated in Hell’s Kitchen in New York in the 1970s and 80s], as is Nick Pileggi’s Wise Guy.  Also, the late Philip Carlo wrote a few really good mob books [Iceman]. 

I really enjoy books that I have a connection to.  In most of the mob books, I may have known one or two of the wise guys in the book; or I remembered when a particular incident occurred; or in the case of Pileggi’s Wise Guy, I grew up around the corner from the bar where all the mobsters hung out (like I speak about in my book).

I also love gritty books that actually get the reader into places they’ve never been. There’s a really good book about a California thug called Monster written by a guy called Sanyika Shakur [the autobiography of a member of the Crips gang in Los Angeles]. I highly recommend the book.

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