Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mob Novel Is Based on Author's Real-Life Godfather

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mob Novel Is Based on Author's Real-Life Godfather

Article excerpt

Since 1975, Jon D'Amore had wanted to write a book about some members of his family - and, by extension, "La Famiglia." But the timing wasn't right back then. Many of the Hudson County mobsters central to the tale were still alive - and definitely not seeking publicity.

"It was while things were going on," D'Amore, who now lives in Los Angeles, says on the phone from Secaucus, on a visit home to promote his first, self-published novel. "I felt that these people deserved to be written about. I really believed they needed to be immortalized. I thought, 'What a great story it would make!' but for obvious reasons, I couldn't write that."

Not then. But now, with most of the primary players dead ("of either natural or unnatural causes"), comes "The Boss Always Sits in the Back," his novel based on a true story.

"This is a fictional story based on some guys I knew and some things I heard and saw," D'Amore writes in the preface, informing readers that he has changed all names ("except anyone named D'Amore").

He stresses that he has never been in the mob ("I wrote the book about being on the edge of it!") but because of several "connected" relatives, he knew of "people who were fairly high up in the food chain."

The book's central character is Gerald D'Amore - his oldest cousin and his godfather - whom he called Jerry. D'Amore describes him as underboss to New Jersey mob boss Rocco Casiano, a "made" member of the Genovese crime family.

A good chunk of the book takes place in Las Vegas, where Jerry invites the character based on the author, Jon, to join him for a celebration of Jon's 22nd birthday. Then Jerry enlists him in an elaborate scheme to scam the casinos out of lots of money. When their long-running operation was finally detected in October 1977, it led to gambling-law changes regarding credit lines, D'Amore says.

How much of the book (which includes sex, drugs and murder) is true? …

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