Sonny: The Last of the Old Time Mafia Bosses, John Sonny Franzese

Sonny: The Last of the Old Time Mafia Bosses, John Sonny Franzese

by S. J. Peddie
Sonny: The Last of the Old Time Mafia Bosses, John Sonny Franzese

Sonny: The Last of the Old Time Mafia Bosses, John Sonny Franzese

by S. J. Peddie


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Based on exclusive interviews before his death in 2020 at age 103, SONNY is the first and only authorized biography of legendary mob boss John “Sonny” Franzese, the head of the Columbo crime family and financier of the infamous film Deep Throat. An old school Mafioso, he kept silent on his nine decade career in organized crime, remaining loyal to the Mafia oath throughout 30 years in prison, until he finally agreed to talk to award-winning Newsday reporter S.J. Peddie for this groundbreaking, never-before-revealed account.

John “Sonny” Franzese reportedly committed his first murder at the age of fourteen. As a “made man” for the Colombo crime family, he operated out of his Long Island home specializing in racketeering, fraud, loansharking, and other illicit deeds he would deny to his dying day. His career in organized crime spanned over eight decades—and was sentenced to fifty years in prison for robbery charges. But even behind bars, Sonny Franzese never stopped doing business…

This is the true story of an old-school Mafioso as it’s never been told before. Newsday reporter S.J. Peddie interviewed Franzese in prison—and uncovered a lifetime of shocking secrets from the legend himself:
  • Why FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a very personal interest in Sonny.
  • How Sonny managed to juggle numerous affairs with women, including a famous model.
  • How Sonny spent a third of his life in prison—and still managed to earn untold millions for the mob.
  • How Sonny accidentally revealed some of his worst crimes—to a “friend” wearing a wire.
  • How Sonny hobnobbed with celebrities such as Ava Gardner, Jayne Mansfield, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dionne Warwick, among others.

  • Through it all, Franzese refused to break the Mafia’s code of silence. Authorities believe he may have murdered, or ordered the murders of, forty to fifty people. Yet he earned a grudging respect from law enforcement and an absolute reverence from his fellow gangsters. Eventually he managed to outlive them all—until his death in 2020 of natural causes, a rare event in the Mafia. Thanks to a series of exclusive firsthand interviews with Newsday reporter S.J. Peddie, the astonishing life story of John “Sonny” Franzese can be told in all its bold, brutal, and blood-spattered glory. This is a must-read for anyone fascinated with Mafia history—and a rare look inside a criminal mind that has become the stuff of legend.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780806541600
    Publisher: Kensington
    Publication date: 03/29/2022
    Pages: 288
    Sales rank: 448,194
    Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

    About the Author

    S.J. Peddie is an investigative reporter at Newsday Media Group and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series of stories on police misconduct. Inducted into the Long Island Press Club Hall of Fame, she’s the recipient of the National Headliners, Casey, Scripps Howard, Silurians and New York State Newspaper Publishers Association Awards. In 2018, she won a New York Emmy for co-producing the documentary Cost of Corruption. Peddie served on the board of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and has been a featured speaker at national conferences sponsored by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Poynter Institute, as well as the International Center for Journalists, the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, Columbia University and New York State Archives. She has taught journalism at Hofstra and Stony Brook universities.

    Table of Contents

    Author's Note vii

    Cast of Characters ix

    Prologue 1

    Chapter 1 The House on Shrub Hollow Road 9

    Chapter 2 Making His Bones 19

    Chapter 3 Down to Business 29

    Chapter 4 Dazzling Nights 39

    Chapter 5 Cops Turn Up the Heat 49

    Chapter 6 The Hawk Surfaces 60

    Chapter 7 Sonny Makes Music 69

    Chapter 8 Public Enemy Number One 78

    Chapter 9 Sonny Goes on Trial 88

    Chapter 10 On Trial for Homicide 98

    Chapter 11 Peep Shows, Porn, and Pop Music 109

    Chapter 12 A Home Invasion 118

    Chapter 13 Sonny Goes Away 128

    Chapter 14 Family Fights to Survive Without Sonny 137

    Chapter 15 Business Behind Bars 147

    Chapter 16 Easy Betrayals 157

    Chapter 17 Michael Flying High 167

    Chapter 18 John Steps Up 177

    Chapter 19 Family Spins out of Control 187

    Chapter 20 Colombos Go to War 198

    Chapter 21 John Takes a Fateful Step 208

    Chapter 22 No Turning Back 218

    Chapter 23 The Tapes 228

    Chapter 24 A Protégé's Betrayal 238

    Chapter 25 John Testifies 249

    Chapter 26 Regrets and Reconciliation 259

    Bibliography and Source Notes 270

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