A Review of The French Connection

The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International ConspiracyThe French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy by Robin Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cautiously recommend this book for anyone who likes cop books or true crime books. I use the word “cautiously” because the detailed, numerous chase scenes through the city on streets no one outside of New York would recognize render the reader nearly brain dead or perhaps dead of boredom. If you can get past the damn chase scenes, it’s an interesting read with an interesting plot. Two NYC detectives stumble across the nephew of a major Mafia boss who’s on the run and who might be involved in some nefarious stuff himself. Turns out they’re right. They get permission to use surveillance on “Patsy” and his family and friends and find themselves at the heart of what turns out to be the biggest heroin bust in US history. (This was 1961, so that record was broken a short time later and probably has been a hundred times since.) French mobsters smuggle in 112 pounds of pure heroin which Patsy takes over to distribute, without knowing he’s being tailed by up to 300 policemen around the city. The descriptions of the surveillance are fairly cool, but it was astounding to find just how often 300 cops could let three Frenchmen and several American mobsters slip right through their fingers while they’re watching them. If it weren’t for Detective Eddie Egan’s “Irish luck” in stumbling smack dab into the thugs while everyone is scrambling to find them, they probably would have gotten away with distributing 112 pounds of heroin and walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars. The climax of the book is exciting, but I do have a complaint. After reading 21 chapters and 250 pages, the court case(s) scenes in the book take up exactly one chapter — 10 pages — explaining the sentences for the criminals and that’s it. No court scene. No legal arguing before the judge and jury. It just ends. Talk about abrupt! Aside from the redundant chase scene, this is an exciting thriller that builds to a climax before it totally peters out at the end. I’m giving it four stars instead of three, though, because I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day. It was that compelling. So I’m going to overlook the negatives and just rest in the knowledge that I enjoyed a good, quick read.

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