On January 18, 1983, New York City Police Detectives were called to the scene of a grisly murder all too common in the streets battles of organized crime. An abandoned Cadillac was found with a surprise in its trunk, the body of mobster Roy DeMeo, the homicidal enforcer for the Gambino crime family. He had been brutally shot several times before his tragic demise. During his career, it is believed that he participated in dozens of murders, running a modern-day version of Murder, Inc. His death came as no surprise to some in law enforcement who know very well that many in that life eventually leave it in a body bag. But for DeMeo’s family, his disappearance and death, shook the family to its core.
Albert DeMeo, his oldest son, stepped into his father’s shoes following the murder and his life changed in ways no one could have predicted. To the public, DeMeo was a feared mobster whose reputation preceded him but to this family, he was a father and husband who never failed to show his love and teach them the ways of life so that they did not end up in the life that he chose. Through Albert’s eyes, we see Ray as the stereotypical American father with a wife and three children who lives on a quiet street in an even nice neighborhood. Albert is aware that his father has a job that is not the standard nine to five but is carefully shielded by his loving father. After Ray’s death, Albert does not glorify the life or reveal any smoking guns. But he does recall events involving figures such as Nino Gaggi, Dominick Montiglio, Anthony Senter and Joey Testa. Senter and Testa became known as the Gemini Twins in mafia circles.
In the beginning, all seems as if there is one big happy family. But DeMeo’s death changed everything and as Albert tells us, the world turned upside down and those once considered to be Dad’s friends, are seen in a different light as a veil of secrecy develops in the wake of the crime. And it is here that the story changes pace as the fallout begins. Albert finds himself in the cross hairs as the Mafia wants to see what he knows about the organization and the police want to know what he has to tell about his father’s associates. He becomes a pawn on a chessboard as two titans wage their war against each other. The tug of war that ensued would have profound effects on DeMeo and his revelations about the effects on his personal life are eye-opening and tragic.
With this intimate account of his life as a Mafia child, DeMeo joins the group of authors who have published their memoirs that tell the story of life under the roof of an organized crime figure. And what is clear from his words and theirs, is that life as a Mafia child is exciting as good times come and money flows in but at some point, things inevitably change, typically for the worse and the family is left to pick up the pieces. In this story, DeMeo picks up the pieces as best as possible but not even he can overcome the adversity that stared the family in the face in the wake of the demise of one of the Mafia’s most prolific killers.
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