Author: Jon D'Amore
Author: Jon D'Amore
Although I am not one to condone the adoration and idolization of members of the Mafia clan, I still have to confess that I am always curious to read about their creative criminal escapades. After all, even though some may be charming, they are not exactly a nice bunch of guys, as they do “whack off” people without giving it a second thought.
Jon D'Amore in his The Boss Always Sits In The Back informs his readers in the book's Preface that what he is about to recount is not a memoir, an autobiography, and certainly not the story of his life. Rather, it is a fictional story “based on some guys he knew and some things he heard and saw.” These guys were not exactly very nice
Jon was a promising musician and when he turned twenty-two he was invited to Las Vegas by his cousin and godfather Jerry who promised to make his birthday very special, and as we are to learn, it turned out to be not only quite memorable but also his indoctrination into one of the biggest swindles that hit several of the well-known Las Vegas gambling casinos. As a result of the scam, the casinos along with the Nevada and New Jersey Gaming Commission eventually modified the laws concerning the line of credit guidelines that were often extended to some privileged gamblers.
Prior to the enactment of the new laws, it was fairly easy to obtain a credit line and enjoy the good life while gambling completely at the expense of the casinos. Furthermore, you even had six months to repay the casinos their loan without even having to pay any interest. Realizing this golden opportunity, some “wise guys” connected to the New Jersey Mob devised a scheme that would enrich their coffers to the tune of millions of dollars and at the same time enjoy a life of debauchery while staying at some of the most lavish hotels in the world.
One of these “wise guys” was Jon's cousin Jerry who was well-connected to the New Jersey Mob and in a way he was quite brilliant in the manner he conducted his gambling antics. Probably, Jerry, as with the case of many mobsters, could have easily become a successful legitimate businessman had he taken the straight path, however, his family ties were too strong to point him in this direction. Jon, who was young and very naive, had no idea that when his cousin invited him to spend his birthday in Las Vegas that he would be manipulated into becoming one of the players in this profitable and creative deception wherein lines of credit would be shared among several individuals that at times could reach over three hundred thousand dollars. And with the casinos' money, it would be possible to sometimes reap a net profit of over two hundred thousand dollars, free of tax and at the same time enjoying the time of their lives.
Jon was overwhelmed by the fun and pleasure of Las Vegas, which he describes as a Disneyland for adults and he was holding an “E” ticket for all the rides. It should be mentioned, and as we discover, not all of the mobsters associated with the scheme were Italian, and one important player was an Irishman who could never become a full-fledged mafioso, someone like Tom Hagen, played by Robert Duvall in The Godfather.
In his debut dazzling read, D'Amore is able to mirror the realness of the mafia world with his array of carefully realistically drawn characters that he even laces with a touch of humor and charm, yet he subtly reminds us that we should not mess with them if we want to stay alive. In addition, he vividly threads his narrative with themes of identity, respect and loyalty as it applies to the complex and often dangerous relationships among members of the “mob.” In the end, D'Amore leaves us sated yet desiring more. And again I ask, what is it that makes me want to read more about a bunch of thugs?
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