Synopses & Reviews
John Connoly and James "Whitey" Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston. Decades later, in the mid 1970's, they would meet again. By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI's Boston office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob. What happened next a dirty deal to being down the Italian mob in exchange for protection for Bulger would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and, ultimately, the biggest informant scandal in the history of the FBI.
Compellingly told by two Boston Globe reporters who were on the case from the beginning, Black Mass is at once a riveting crime story, a cautionary tale about the abuse of power, and a penetrating look at Boston and its Irish population.
"[A] parable of what happens when law enforcement officers get too close to their informers....[It] should prompt a re-evaluation of the uses and misuses of informers by law enforcement officials throughout the country." Alan M. Dershowitz, The New York Times Book Review
"This is a heartbreaking and enraging story of corruption and crime, but it has its heroes, especially Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. These reporters were among the first to shine light on the shadowy collusion of heinous murderers and an FBI cut loose from its moral center. Now, with this powerful book, Lehr and O'Neill bring the whole story into the open. Black Mass is a work of rare lucidity, high drama, journalistic integrity, and plain courage." James Carroll, author of An American Requiem and Boston Globe Columnist
"More than an exposé on the abuses of power, Black Mass tells of the shameful betrayal of all things decent by two of our own native sons who climbed the ranks of both the underworld and the FBI. The good qualities of loyalty and pride that were raised on in Southie, were manipulated and perverted for their own gain as they promoted a culture of drugs, denial, and death on our streets. Lehr and O'Neill give us all the details with a journalistic precision that does not sacrifice the power of the story. After reading Black Mass, you might wonder if any of us really knows who are the good guys and who are the bad guys." Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls: A Family Story From Southie
"[Shows] how fragile FBI integrity can be when the good guys lose sight of truth, the rules, and the law." Washington Post Book World
About the Author
As a reporter for nearly two decades for the Boston Globe, Dick Lehr won numerous journalism awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A professor of journalism at Boston University, he is coauthor of the Edgar Award-winning Black Mass, the Edgar Award finalist Judgment Ridge, and The Underboss. He lives near Boston with his wife and four children. Gerard O'Neill is the editor of the Boston Globe's Spotlight Team, one of the nation's top investigative reporting units. He started at the Globe in 1966, and has won a Pulitzer Prize, the Hancock award, the Loeb award, and many others. He is the co-author of The Underboss: The Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family and Black Mass. Black Mass won the MWA's 2000 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.