While I was slogging my way through The Passage, this audio finally came in for me at the library. I hope I have time to listen to the whole thing before the book is due back.
As a life-long resident of Massachusetts, there's a lot to be proud of in my state. The Tea Party, Springfield Rifles, Indian motorcycles, basketball and Dr. Seuss. Unfortunately there's a lot to be ashamed of as well. Major corruption is one of those things. Police, (local and federal), city and local governments have all been infected by it at one time or another in this state. Never has there been a corruption case like that of John Connolly, (NOT the author, love YOU, John Connolly), but the former FBI agent.
You may have heard of John Connolly, perhaps not by name, but most likely in regards to the case of Whitey Bulger. John was the FBI agent who, along with his boss, Bulger had wrapped around his little finger. (Think Jack Nicholson as Whitey and Matt Damon as Connolly, if you've seen the movie The Departed, which was loosely based on this case.) Bulger and Steve, "the Rifleman", Flemmi ratted out all their enemies, (mostly the Italian mafia), for decades, in exchange for their freedom from prosecution. The story is so crazy and hard to believe, except for it happened.
This book begins by discussing another horrible miscarriage of justice-the case of Joseph Salvati, who was wrongfully prosecuted, convicted, and ended up spending over 30 years in jail. 30. Years. (He later received a pretty hefty judgement and a public rebuke of the FBI.) And rightfully so. The FBI deliberately withheld evidence (proof) they KNEW would exonerate Salvati, (and 3 others), while at the same time encouraging their informants to lie about the defendants in court. Two of the defendants died in prison before they too could be exonerated. In a way, what happened with Bulger drew attention to the Salvati case. Without Bulger, Salvati and the others might never have been exonerated.
I admit to a fascination with true crime-mainly serial killers and the mafia. The Whitey Bulger case is a prime example of how our system can be twisted around to serve evil. And where Whitey is concerned, it really is TRUE EVIL. However, what fascinates me most about this particular case is the level to which the corruption rose. If it were fiction,it would be panned for being too unrealistic.
It will be hard for any book on this subject to top "Black Mass", an excellent book written by two Boston Globe reporters who worked non-stop on the case for years. I thought it was excellent, well told and well researched. (And later turned into a movie with Johnny Depp.) However, I do have high hopes that this book will somehow give me more insight into how things can go so wrong in federal agencies. And also, what kind of neighborhoods, family lives and/or situations spawn a monster like Whitey? I'm looking forward to, perhaps, getting some answers to these questions.