by: Ovid Demaris

This is one of the first true crime books written in the period when the 5 New York Families and the Philadelphia Family were in crisis. Writer Demaris wrote that he had Paul “Skinny” D’Amato of Atlantic City’s “500 Club” as one of his sources. This man knew who had substance and who was a phony or a wannabe (and who couldn’t have been.) Skinny knew the big Mafia, men, the big politicians and the big businessmen of A.C. who were behind the casinos. The Philadelphia-South Jersey Mafia Family had a big part in these relationships, which is why it’s an important reference in Philly Mafia history. Donald Trump is mentioned, along with Nick Scarfo and the gang. There are politicians, judges, state officials, law enforcement, unions, and all of the traditional “connections” that were started decades ago, all for the sake of making a buck.

Try to get past Demaris’ use of “Chicken Wing” which was never used as a nickname for Salvatore Testa, and you’ll be able to see now, over 20 years later how the book holds up. There were not many books on the market on this extension of the Philly Mafia Family’s interest in Atlantic City, but this book ties together the reasons why Angelo Bruno wanted to keep this town for himself rather than share.

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