The Company She Keeps / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
At 17, Georgia Durante was the dazzling “Kodak girl,” the most photographed model in the country. Things took a turn when Durante was raped by her brother-in-law, had a child and a failed marriage before she was 20, and became a Mafia wife all of it chronicled in this chilling true story.
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 2.50(d)|
About the Author
Georgia Durante is a former model, stuntwoman, and mafia getaway driver. Her modeling career began at the age of 12, and by 17 she was a "Kodak Girl" and one of the most recognizable faces in the country. Before she turned 20, she had endured a brutal rape, involvement with the mob, a failed marriage, and the birth of her daughter. After seeking refuge from a mob war across the country and later fleeing an abusive second marriage to the mafia-tied Joe Lamendola, she began a lucrative career in Los Angeles as one of the country's most successful commerical stunt drivers. The author of the powerful memoir The Company She Keeps, Durante now lives in Southern California and speaks across the country about her experiences with domestic violence.
Read an Excerpt
They found him in his trunk. Six bullets in his head. Five days had elapsed since he disappeared. The cool November air had kept his body from decomposing. I knew he didn't have long. He just couldn't keep his mouth shut. A little too hotheaded for his own good. It was just a matter of time, and his time had come. Jimmy "The Hammer" Massaro was a memory now, and a bad one at that. I shudder to think how he got that nickname. Thanksgiving Day 1973 would be the last holiday Jimmy would live to see.
I didn't want to go the funeral. Only went to comfort Bea. Such a gentle soul. She couldn't help that she still loved him, any more than I could help loving Joe. Now she was free to live without fear. She would realize that in time and find peace.
The room had a choking-sweet smell of roses. Old ladies with rosary beads twisted in their wrinkled hands took turns wailing as we moved through the crowd toward Bea. We sat in the front row, Joe and I on the left side of Bea, and her family on the right. I held her hand and stared at the picture sitting on top of the casket. There were no tears in my eyes. I had no fond memories. Only dark pictures developed in my head. I couldn't burn the negatives, no matter how I tried.
The entire Rochester Mob filed in before the night was over. The absence of color was the traditional attire for an Italian funeral. When Sammy G showed up with his entourage, wearing a cream-colored raincoathe made his point. The level of murmur in the room attested to his rank as he arrogantly strutted to the widow's side.
He took Bea's hand gently in his own. "I'm sorry, Bea," Sammy said with unbelievable sincerity.
Bea snatched back her hand and stared into his eyes with a icy glare. Sam looked away, unremorseful. He nodded in my direction, ignored Joe, turned, and walked to the casket. His bodyguards followed, making a solid wall of human flesh and muscle behind him as he stood with head bent for a brief moment. When he turned to leave, I thought I'd caught a hint of a smile on his lips.
Rose Rotundi, Jimmy's live-in girlfriend, sat across from us in the row of chairs against the wall. She was visibly shaken. She had a lot to be shaken about. It was she who had answered the phonethe call that sent Jimmy busting out the door, in a rage, to his death. She knew whose voice was on the other end of the linebut she wasn't talking. Now, her body stiffened, the little color she did have drained from her face. I followed her gaze to see Gene DeFrancesco making his entrance. "Big Gene" was the name used when referring to him. I had my own name for him: "The Accountant." Not only because he could pass for one, but because he could personally account for a number of bodies found floating in the Genesee Riverone mean son-of-a-bitch. He and Jimmy were tied on that score. But Big Gene knew how to keep his cool, and Jimmy couldn't. That made setting him up for the kill easy.
Rose was now holding her hands tightly in her lap, trying to keep them from shaking. Could he have been the trigger man? I watched the Accountant, and the interaction when their eyes met as he passed in front of her. That's when I knew for sure that he did it. And he knew that she knew. And she knew that he knew. Now, I knew too. Maybe others sensed it, but nobody was talking. They were pretty close. Jimmy trusted Big Gene. They say it's always the one closest to you, the one you could trust with your life.
"Bea, I'm so sorry," said the Accountant.
"Oh Gene, he's gone... he's gone," she said, a spurt of emotion escaping her.
"I know, honey, I know..." he said, tenderly hugging her.
I rolled my eyes. What a wonderful display of compassion. Something I had never seen in him before. Maybe he missed his callinghe should have been an actor.
"Jesus, Joe, can we get out of here now?" I whispered. "I think we've overstayed our show of respect, don't you? Bea has her family, she doesn't need us."
I waited alone while Joe disappeared into the packed parking lot. The silent air was brisk. I pulled my coat collar up over my neck and tucked my chin into my chest. A fine snow was falling now, the kind that accumulated fast. The ground would be covered with a soft white blanket by morning. Trudging through the snow to an open grave in the cemetery was not where I would be tomorrow. I'd had enough of this charade.
Suddenly, a chill surged through my bodyand it wasn't from the cold air.
"Hi there," said a voice that sounded like a rusty car muffler.
I turned to see the Accountant hunched inside his coat. "Hello, Gene," I said coldly, but I don't think he noticed.
"I wouldn't want to die in the winter, would you?" he asked, trying to make small talkI think.
Shoving my cold hands deeper inside my coat pocket, I answered, "Not if I had a choice, Gene, but unfortunately, I doubt I'll have that luxury. With your connections, why don't you put the word in that I prefer the fall," I said with a knowing look.
That was a pretty stupid thing to say to a guy like that, but it just came out. The silence that followed made it even worse. I looked everywhere except at him while I impatiently waited. Joe finally pulled up, and Big Gene opened my door. What a gentleman.
"See ya around," he said with a curious expression as he shut the door.
Hope not too soon, I thought to myself with a shiver.
What People are Saying About This
I spent a lifetime chasing gangsters out of the lives of decent people with the help of my colleagues in the FBI. Georgia Durante chased them out of her life by herself. She should have worked with us. This is an exceptionally intriguing book with eye-opening lessons for everyone. (Bill Fleming, Special Agent (Retired) -Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Georgia Durante has written a gripping, fast-paced, insideris look at an underworld she knew only too well. Breathtakingly readable.
Georgia Durante's life exemplifies many of the strengths I've written about. She refused to surrender to abuse, and moved from being a victim to being a victor. She's an inspiration for any woman who feels her situation is hopeless.
(Georgia Durante) has had quite a life, and the courage it takes to live it. I would have never imagined all (she's) been through. (She) hides a lot behind that lovely smile.
This wonderful story of courage offers an exciting and unique look at how organized crime in this country can destroy much more than the usual victims of its activities. Georgia Durante rose above it. I salute her. (James D. Henderson - Former Chief of the Los Angeles Strike Force on Organized Crime, United States Department of Justice)
We've all heard of the Mafia, and read about mobsters, but Georgia Durante saw them up close. She lived with them. She experienced their violence. She survived their wars. In The Company She Keeps, she tells her fascinating story. Once you read it, you'll never forget it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just read THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS by Georgia Durante!! This is definitely a must read!! It is written superbly with honesty and courage. It will hold you spellbound. The travesties Georgia endured at the hands of those she trusted and loved is unimaginable. The story will make your heart ache for her, and also bring a grin to your face as you read how she outwitted top figures. You will revel at her triumphs and find your own courage to deal with your own demons. Do yourself a favor and "BUY" this book. You will not be able to put it down. Geri Banville