BN.com Gift Guide

Serpico: The Classic Story of the Cop Who Couldn't be Bought

( 1 )

Overview

The 1960s was a time of social and generational upheaval felt with particular intensity in the melting pot of New York City. A culture of corruption pervaded the New York Police Department, where payoffs, protection, and shakedowns of gambling rackets and drug dealers were common practice. The so-called blue code of silence protected the minority of crooked cops from the sanction of the majority.

Into this maelstrom came a working class, Brooklyn-born, Italian cop with long ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.83
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$15.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (33) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $4.72   
  • Used (22) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

The 1960s was a time of social and generational upheaval felt with particular intensity in the melting pot of New York City. A culture of corruption pervaded the New York Police Department, where payoffs, protection, and shakedowns of gambling rackets and drug dealers were common practice. The so-called blue code of silence protected the minority of crooked cops from the sanction of the majority.

Into this maelstrom came a working class, Brooklyn-born, Italian cop with long hair, a beard, and a taste for opera and ballet. Frank Serpico was a man who couldn't be silenced -- or bought -- and he refused to go along with the system. He had sworn an oath to uphold the law, even if the perpetrators happened to be other cops. For this unwavering commitment to justice, Serpico nearly paid with his life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Newsweek
“Excellent.”
Detroit News
“An absorbing story of what one angry, honest man can do … told by a master of factual reporting.”
Rolling Stone
“Maas’s reportage is detailed and of high narrative quality ...[Full of] tension and drama.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“[A] raw and moving portrait.”
Rolling Stone
“Maas’s reportage is detailed and of high narrative quality ...[Full of] tension and drama.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“[A] raw and moving portrait.”
Newsweek
“Excellent.”
Detroit News
“An absorbing story of what one angry, honest man can do … told by a master of factual reporting.”
Newsweek
Excellent.
Chicago Sun-Times
[A] raw and moving portrait.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060738181
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/4/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 263,536
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Maas's is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller Underboss. His other notable bestsellers include The Valachi Papers, Serpico, Manhunt, and In a Child's Name. He lives in New York City.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

it is a warm September afternoon in New York as I watch Frank Serpico, age thirty-five, the son of a Neapolitan shoemaker, walk with the help of a cane toward the entrance of a fashionable Manhattan hotel. The hostility of the hotel doorman, white-gloved and resplendent in a forestgreen, brass-buttoned, epauleted uniform, is immediately evident. His nose, with crosshatched tiny red veins, sniffs disdainfully; his watery blue eyes grow suspicious at Serpico's approach. Clearly he does not like what he sees.

Serpico is a short, muscular man, with a shock of brown, curly hair that brushes his shoulders and a full beard. He is wearing leather sandals, a pullover shirt of coarse white linen with leg-of-mutton sleeves, a leather jerkin, and brown velour trousers with flared bottoms. The trousers are supported by a wide belt with a huge brass buckle that Serpico found in a flea market. Emblazoned on the buckle are the heads of two bearded gentlemen of historical note, Henry Wells and William Fargo. Between them are crossed American flags and underneath the legend SINCE 1852. On Serpico's right wrist there is a silver bracelet, and on his left a double strand of varicolored quartz love beads. His shirt is open almost to his waist, and suspended from a slender gold chain around his neck is a gold Winnie-the-Pooh. It was given to Serpico by a Swedish girl he met during a trip to Stockholm. One night he was reminiscing about his childhood and happened to mention that the Pooh stories had been his favorite book, and the next day the girl went out and bought the gold figurine for him.

Serpico has dressed with some care for this visit uptown. InGreenwich Village, where he lives, he would normally turn out in a striped T-shirt and a pair of faded jeans which he himself, being handy with needle and thread, has repaired and patched from time to time. Still, the hotel doorman would like nothing better than to spot a small sign of hesitation on Serpico's part, a hint of indecision, anything to enable him to confront Serpico with an accusatory, "Can I help you?" But Frank Serpico has been through all this before; he knows exactly what the doorman is thinking, and he limps past him as if he did not exist.

I wonder what the doorman would do if he knew that inside the cane Serpico is leaning on-an eighteenth-century English cane of tightly wound

stripped leather with a carved ivory cardinal's head for the knob-there is a twenty-nine-inch-long sword with a razor-sharp edge and point, or that beneath Serpico's jerkin, in a holster clipped to his belt on his left side, the butt facing forward, there nestles a big, loaded, fourteen-shot, 9-mm. Belgian-made Browning automatic pistol in well-oiled, working order. Serpico never goes out without the automatic; it is the reason why, even in the hottest weather, he always has on a jerkin or vest of some sort.

Serpico has just returned to the city after a two week vacation in Nova Scotia, and since he had a doctor's appointment near the hotel, we arranged to meet there for a drink so I could hear about the trip. He orders a Bloody Mary and asks for a stalk of celery in it. The waitress, a pretty blonde, says with a touch of annoyance, "Celery? I never heard of that."

"You ought to try it," Serpico says. "It'll cure all your ills." He looks directly at the waitress as he speaks. Serpico is not, by any conventional standard, handsome. His nose, for example, is too large for his face and is bent slightly sideways, as if it once sustained a blow from which it has never recovered. But one's impression of him at any given moment is governed by his eyes. They are dark brown, and when he is angry, they smolder with rage. On the other hand, when he smiles, as he does now, they dance instantly with their own inner amusement, the lines around them crinkling in concert. Together with the suggestive note in his voice, the effect on the girl is magical. She smiles back, blushing, and says, "Oh, wow! I guess I will."Over drinks, Serpico speaks longingly of his trip to Nova Scotia, of the brilliantly crisp days, the marvelous, silent nights. He had gone north while the word was carefully passed that he was headed south, even to the extent of purchasing an airline ticket to Florida. He had driven to Nova Scotia in his Land Cruiser alone save for his English sheepdog, Alfie, specifically because of a death threat on his life, but also to get away from the city for the first time in more than a year, to reflect on a series of personal crises, past and present, and to think about his future,

Except for a two-day stay with a farmer he encountered on the road, Serpico recalls, he spent his time driving leisurely along the coast, stopping occasionally to fish or to walk on the beach to exercise his left leg, which was still weak from a severe attack of phlebitis, a painful and sometimes dangerous inflammation of the veins that had first put him in a wheelchair, then left him with the cane.

At night he usually camped out. Serpico carried a large plywood board with attachable supports in the back of the Land Cruiser, and when he spotted a suitable site, he would set up the board so that it extended out through the rear double doors, place a sleeping bag on it, and rig a tentlike tarpaulin overhead in case it rained. Then he would build a fire, feed Alfie, and cook himself a steak he had bought or a fish he had caught during the day after coffee...

Serpico. Copyright © by Peter Maas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Serpico

Chapter One

It is a warm September afternoon in New York as I watch Frank Serpico, age thirty-five, the son of a Neapolitan shoemaker, walk with the help of a cane toward the entrance of a fashionable Manhattan hotel. The hostility of the hotel doorman, white-gloved and resplendent in a forestgreen, brass-buttoned, epauleted uniform, is immediately evident. His nose, with crosshatched tiny red veins, sniffs disdainfully; his watery blue eyes grow suspicious at Serpico's approach. Clearly he does not like what he sees.

Serpico is a short, muscular man, with a shock of brown, curly hair that brushes his shoulders and a full beard. He is wearing leather sandals, a pullover shirt of coarse white linen with leg-of-mutton sleeves, a leather jerkin, and brown velour trousers with flared bottoms. The trousers are supported by a wide belt with a huge brass buckle that Serpico found in a flea market. Emblazoned on the buckle are the heads of two bearded gentlemen of historical note, Henry Wells and William Fargo. Between them are crossed American flags and underneath the legend SINCE 1852. On Serpico's right wrist there is a silver bracelet, and on his left a double strand of varicolored quartz love beads. His shirt is open almost to his waist, and suspended from a slender gold chain around his neck is a gold Winnie-the-Pooh. It was given to Serpico by a Swedish girl he met during a trip to Stockholm. One night he was reminiscing about his childhood and happened to mention that the Pooh stories had been his favorite book, and the next day the girl went out and bought the gold figurine for him.

Serpico has dressed with some care for this visit uptown. In Greenwich Village, where he lives, he would normally turn out in a striped T-shirt and a pair of faded jeans which he himself, being handy with needle and thread, has repaired and patched from time to time. Still, the hotel doorman would like nothing better than to spot a small sign of hesitation on Serpico's part, a hint of indecision, anything to enable him to confront Serpico with an accusatory, "Can I help you?" But Frank Serpico has been through all this before; he knows exactly what the doorman is thinking, and he limps past him as if he did not exist.

I wonder what the doorman would do if he knew that inside the cane Serpico is leaning on-an eighteenth-century English cane of tightly wound

stripped leather with a carved ivory cardinal's head for the knob-there is a twenty-nine-inch-long sword with a razor-sharp edge and point, or that beneath Serpico's jerkin, in a holster clipped to his belt on his left side, the butt facing forward, there nestles a big, loaded, fourteen-shot, 9-mm. Belgian-made Browning automatic pistol in well-oiled, working order. Serpico never goes out without the automatic; it is the reason why, even in the hottest weather, he always has on a jerkin or vest of some sort.

Serpico has just returned to the city after a two week vacation in Nova Scotia, and since he had a doctor's appointment near the hotel, we arranged to meet there for a drink so I could hear about the trip. He orders a Bloody Mary and asks for a stalk of celery in it. The waitress, a pretty blonde, says with a touch of annoyance, "Celery? I never heard of that."

"You ought to try it," Serpico says. "It'll cure all your ills." He looks directly at the waitress as he speaks. Serpico is not, by any conventional standard, handsome. His nose, for example, is too large for his face and is bent slightly sideways, as if it once sustained a blow from which it has never recovered. But one's impression of him at any given moment is governed by his eyes. They are dark brown, and when he is angry, they smolder with rage. On the other hand, when he smiles, as he does now, they dance instantly with their own inner amusement, the lines around them crinkling in concert. Together with the suggestive note in his voice, the effect on the girl is magical. She smiles back, blushing, and says, "Oh, wow! I guess I will."Over drinks, Serpico speaks longingly of his trip to Nova Scotia, of the brilliantly crisp days, the marvelous, silent nights. He had gone north while the word was carefully passed that he was headed south, even to the extent of purchasing an airline ticket to Florida. He had driven to Nova Scotia in his Land Cruiser alone save for his English sheepdog, Alfie, specifically because of a death threat on his life, but also to get away from the city for the first time in more than a year, to reflect on a series of personal crises, past and present, and to think about his future,

Except for a two-day stay with a farmer he encountered on the road, Serpico recalls, he spent his time driving leisurely along the coast, stopping occasionally to fish or to walk on the beach to exercise his left leg, which was still weak from a severe attack of phlebitis, a painful and sometimes dangerous inflammation of the veins that had first put him in a wheelchair, then left him with the cane.

At night he usually camped out. Serpico carried a large plywood board with attachable supports in the back of the Land Cruiser, and when he spotted a suitable site, he would set up the board so that it extended out through the rear double doors, place a sleeping bag on it, and rig a tentlike tarpaulin overhead in case it rained. Then he would build a fire, feed Alfie, and cook himself a steak he had bought or a fish he had caught during the day after coffee...

Serpico. Copyright © by Peter Maas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)