Synopses & Reviews
The amazing true story of the only white man to rise to the top of the Chinese mafia.
In August 2013, Bac Guai” John Willis, also known as the White Devil” because of his notorious ferocity, was sentenced to 20 years for drug trafficking and money laundering. Willis, according to prosecutors, was the kingpin, organizer and leader of a vast conspiracy,” all within the legendarily insular and vicious Chinese mafia.
It started when John Willis was 16 years old . . . his life seemed hopeless. His father had abandoned his family years earlier, his older brother had just died of a heart attack, and his mother was dying. John was alone, sleeping on the floor of his deceased brothers home. Desperate, John reached out to Woping, a young Chinese man Willis had rescued from a bar fight weeks before. Woping literally picks him up off the street, taking him home to live among his own brothers and sisters. Soon, Willis is accompanying Woping to meet his Chinese mobster friends, and starts working for them.
Journalist Bob Halloran tells the tale of John Willis, aka White Devil, the only white man to ever rise through the ranks in the Chinese mafia. Willis began as an enforcer, riding around with other gang members to encourage” people to pay their debts. He soon graduated to even more dangerous work as a full-fledged gang member, barely escaping with his life on several occasions.
As a white man navigating an otherwise exclusively Asian world, Willis was at first an interesting anomaly, but his ruthless devotion to his adopted culture eventually led to him emerging as a leader. He organized his own gang of co-conspirators and began an extremely lucrative criminal venture selling tens of thousands of oxycodone pills. A year-long FBI investigation brought him down, and John pleaded guilty to save the love of his life from prosecution. He has no regrets.
White Devil follows Willis through the workings of the Chinese mafia, and he speaks frankly about his relationships with other gang members, the crimes he committed, and why hell never rat out any of his brothers to the cops.
Told to Halloran from Williss prison cell, White Devil is a shocking portrait of a man who was allowed access into a secret world, and who is paying the price for his hardened life.
In this overtly sympathetic biography of a mob boss broadcast journalist Halloran (Impact Statement) draws on court records newspaper reportage and his own interviews with key players to chronicle the rise in ranks of a white man in Boston’s Chinese mafia. John Willis is only a teenager when he first becomes involved with the Chinese mafia in the late 1980s working as an enforcer who helps “encourage” people to pay their debts. Thanks to his passionate loyalty and capacity for violence Willis gains more power in the organization ultimately establishing himself as head of a drug selling operation before the FBI finally brings him down in August 2013. Halloran focuses on the human aspect of Willis’s career looking at how the deaths of his birth family early on made him willing and eager to serve the family he found in the Chinese organizations where he was accepted despite standing out due to his race. Although readers see much of Willis’s violent criminal nature and can understand how his self destructive side led to his downfall Halloran tempers this portrait with Willis’s love for his wife and daughter loyalty to friends and desire for simple human pleasures. The novelistic writing is highly accessible though it sometimes lacks an easy flow; in an effort to convey as much information as possible Halloran occasionally digresses from the main thread. Nevertheless this is an eye opening look at the inner workings of a larger than life criminal figure. Agent: Matthew Valentinas Mom’s Basement Management. (Jan.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Bob Halloran's White Devil
opens with a bang and doesn't let up. Halloran's in-your-face narrative, honest and straightforward, packs power and punch, not to mention the elegance and integrity of old-school, gumshoe reporting. The book is daring and dangerous, full of that gritty, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners storytelling found in any classic Boston crime book. Open White Devil
and enter the hell Halloran has created with this incredible . . . haunting read."
M. William Phelps, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
is a news and sports anchor at WCVB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Boston. His television career includes stops in Providence, Rhode Island, FOX-25 in Boston, and ESPN, where he also wrote for ESPN.com. He was awarded a New England Emmy Award for sportscasting, as well as two honors from the Associated Press.
Bob was born in Houston, TX, and grew up in Middletown, NJ. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA with a BA in Journalism. Bob is married with four children.