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The Lufthansa Heist


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About the Author

The late Henry Hill entered the Federal Witness Protection Program in 1980 and assisted the government in building cases against forty-six top Mafia associates, severely wounding the major five gangland organizations. He collaborated with author Nick Pileggi on the book Wiseguy, which became a New York Times #1 Best Seller. In 1990, Nick Pileggi and Martin Scorsese adapted Wiseguy to a screenplay, and with Henry Hill's guidance, Mr. Scorsese directed the film. Until he died in 2012, Henry Hill toured the country on speaking engagements lecturing high school students not to emulate his past life and career. Daniel Simone is a writer who has co-written autobiographies and published numerous shorter pieces on prominent figures in film, theater, and fiction. He created and wrote a monthly feature for Long Island Pulse magazine called "Between the Lines" where he interviewed and profiled renowned novelists. In September of 2012, he appeared in the one-hour Biography Channel documentary Mobsters: Jimmy the Gent Burke, which centered on the life and career of Jimmy Burke.


For about a fourth of this remarkable true-crime story, readers will feel these low-level mobsters are the cutest little psychopaths ever. Boozing, gambling, wrenching, stealing- just guys having fun. Their charm fades, though, as we move into the meat of the story, the 1978 heist of $6 million from the Lufthansa safe at Kennedy Airport. The late Henry Hill- Ray Liotta played him in Goodfellas - was on the fringe of the action. With coauthor Simone's help, he narrates much of the story- up to the end, when he turns snitch. Simone tells the rest of this engrossing tale directly, and he is one helluva writer. One man's "temper ignited as easily as gasoline vapor." A woman's running mascara "made her look like a spider." Simone spends much time on officialdom's attempts to jail these reprobates, and maybe it's unintentional that he makes the cops out as no brighter than the perps they chase. Like many of the most compelling true-crime tales, the distinction between cops and robbers is blurry at best. Fine reading. - Don Crinklaw * Booklist *
Cinematic in style, this enthralling read is one you won't want to miss.
The Lufthansa Heist is an amazing, in-depth look at one of the most notorious heists in American and Queens history. * The Queens Gazette *

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