Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Heroin's Teflon Don

Overview

A generation ago, Nicky Barnes was notorious as Harlem's prime retailer of quality heroin. Now he tells his gripping story.

Of course, it must not be the whole story, but what there is smacks of attitude. It is a chronicle of Barnes's thug life, complete with his crew, his women, his warriors and his enemies on both sides of the law. It's low life living the high life, tax-free, with lots of freaky sex, many penthouse apartments, pricey cars and heavy bling before it was called ...

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Overview

A generation ago, Nicky Barnes was notorious as Harlem's prime retailer of quality heroin. Now he tells his gripping story.

Of course, it must not be the whole story, but what there is smacks of attitude. It is a chronicle of Barnes's thug life, complete with his crew, his women, his warriors and his enemies on both sides of the law. It's low life living the high life, tax-free, with lots of freaky sex, many penthouse apartments, pricey cars and heavy bling before it was called bling. Barnes was featured in a lead piece in the New York Times Magazine and inspired the hit "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." Back in the day, he says, the city was his. Learning from the mob, he formed a Council to manage the distribution of drugs and eliminate any DEA snitch who was fingered by his potent counterintelligence. We learn, in pointed language, of booze, weed and guns. The ways of each mo-fo and of every ho is sharply etched. Eventually, his "continuing criminal enterprise" collapsed. (Insufficient family values, Barnes supposes.) The author went to federal prison and when he couldn't run the Council (or his women) from the joint, he destroyed it (and them). Now, still proud of his superior intelligence, he is in the witness protection program. His fierce text says virtually nothing of the effect of his enterprise on the customers he supplied. That isn't a concern in this brutal, scorching book.

The tale of a crime lord that's as vicious, graphic and entertaining as anything out there today.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The New York Times called him Mr. Untouchable; others pegged him the Heroin King of Harlem or the Black John Gotti. Whatever his tag, Leroy "Nicky" Barnes kept New York City's inner city awash in heroin for more than a decade. Arrested, convicted and sentenced to life without parole for drug trafficking, Nicky spent four years in the cooler before he decided to become a very talkative Witness Protection candidate. Now free after spending 21 years behind bars, Barnes tells the story of life and afterlife as a drug kingpin.
Publishers Weekly
This memoir by a former New York heroin kingpin-reportedly the inspiration for the song "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and the movie New Jack City, among others-pulsates with the criminal street life it depicts so well. In the 1970s, Barnes, a former junkie, built a heroin operation that delivered tens of millions of dollars worth of dope annually to the New York area. He became a street hero for his flamboyant lifestyle. Using a heavy dose of street slang to add flavor, Barnes portrays a dangerous but exciting life, the allure of the money and power he and his associates accrued, even as the drug trade sowed the seeds of their destruction. With documentary filmmaker Folsom's help, Barnes shows how he built his empire, creating a ruthlessly efficient drug organization modeled after the Mafia and known as "The Council." Barnes's ability to elude prison earned him the nickname Mr. Untouchable, but eventually prosecutors caught up to him, and in 1977 he was sentenced to life in prison. Eventually, Barnes turned state's evidence, earned his release in 1998 and joined the federal Witness Protection Program. But even now, Barnes's lack of regret gives this captivating work an added air of authenticity. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A generation ago, Nicky Barnes was notorious as Harlem's prime retailer of quality heroin. Now he tells his gripping story. Of course, it must not be the whole story, but what there is smacks of attitude. It is a chronicle of Barnes's thug life, complete with his crew, his women, his warriors and his enemies on both sides of the law. It's low life living the high life, tax-free, with lots of freaky sex, many penthouse apartments, pricey cars and heavy bling before it was called bling. Barnes was featured in a lead piece in the New York Times Magazine and inspired the hit "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." Back in the day, he says, the city was his. Learning from the mob, he formed a Council to manage the distribution of drugs and eliminate any DEA snitch who was fingered by his potent counterintelligence. We learn, in pointed language, of booze, weed and guns. The ways of each mo-fo and of every ho is sharply etched. Eventually, his "continuing criminal enterprise" collapsed. (Insufficient family values, Barnes supposes.) The author went to federal prison and when he couldn't run the Council (or his women) from the joint, he destroyed it (and them). Now, still proud of his superior intelligence, he is in the witness protection program. His fierce text says virtually nothing of the effect of his enterprise on the customers he supplied. That isn't a concern in this brutal, scorching book. The tale of a crime lord that's as vicious, graphic and entertaining as anything out there today.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590710418
  • Publisher: Rugged Land, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2007

    Excellent Throughout

    This was an excellent read... Being from NYC it was amazing to see how one man basically ran Harlem and the drug game... Even more amazing was the efforts made by the government to bring him to justice... Great read...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2008

    Very Promising read.

    Growing up in Harlem Nicki Barnes had many stories about himself that I heard through the yrs! This book really set the record straight and answers alot of question related to Barnes himself. You always hear the other side of the story but in this book Nikki gives you his side. Very promising read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Powerful

    Poignant and raw depiction of the psychological pathos and pain that grip a man of tragically misguided principles. It is haunting to discover how a man who could have competently run a Fortune 500 company'I know people always say that about any criminal smart enough to wipe his own arse' devoted his talent to the destruction of a multitude of lives. Barnes cynically and sincerely recounts his life in vivid detail and is unapologetically accountable for his missteps. A refreshing break from the repetitive, self-absolving 'woe is me', 'product of my environment' gangster fare. I would love to see the accounts of other Council members just to provide more balance!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Not a Must Read, but a Must Learn

    This book is more than a easy understandable read. If you take in what he is talking about you'll learn so much more than that. This book is not so much about drug dealing as Greed, 'Two wrongs don't make a right', Children are our future, Spare the rod spoil the child & Good vs. Evil. You learn how a young boy growing up did not have guidance from family. He then learned from reformatory. He gets into drugs as a user/dealer. Then he believes that the Italian Mafia shouldn't be the ones putting dope in Harlem, it should be blacks. You see, there are differences that he points out in the value systems of all of us. He acknowloges the fact that heroin was bad enough for him not to use, but he saturated Harlem with it. Most importantly he gets into the inner politics of Drug Dealers. He had a novel idea to form his version of the drug mafia. The only problem is that greed runs amuck. Where he alleges he wanted to go legit, he still stays in the dope game. When the police are clamping down, it is his cohorts who start to cya, leaving him out to dry. Instead of doing what they agreed to do, they didn't. Now as for the snitching (as it is called), he did the right thing. Its not that he dimed out his buddies. When they stopped looking out for him they were not friends, buddies, his boys etc. We see this all to often today. When everything is said and done, what goes around comes around. Parents should read this & then give to their teen children. Opening eyes to current Rappers, Athletes, singers makes this all to real. We 'Reward' dealers who 'Go legit'. They don't necessarily go legit, they create fronts. Rap music has become the largest front of all. Even Mike Vick couldn't leave the gambling from dog fighting behind, and we all know that no one he bet against made as much as he did! Everyone starts off saying once I make enough, I'll get out. They never make enough, because they are more interested in greed, which leads to jail & death.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2007

    :/

    I was dreadfully excited to read this book when I saw it on a shelve at the store. But, after reading the first few chapters i was a bit disappointed with the editing. It should have been proof-read a bit more carefully. At points, the author jumps around, leaving the reader confused. Its a good read but the book should have been compiled with more thought.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2009

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