On Oct. 23, 1935, a rusty, steel-jacketed .45 slug tore through the body Dutch Schultz. It was no accident. Schultz, 33, the Beer Baron of The Bronx who reaped $2 million a month as king of Harlem's numbers racket, had gone too far, threatening to murder Thomas E. Dewey—the racket’s prosecutor who’d drawn up the tax indictment against him. The result was the biggest gangland execution since the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Al Capone’s Chicago.
Schultz didn’t die instantly, though, lingering over a day, a police stenographer bedside recording his every word. Dutch’s surrealistic, Joycean stream-of-consciousness ramblings are reproduced in full and Sann explores the meaning of the poetic jumble of his last words: “I am a pretty good pretzeler [sic], Please crack down on the Chinaman’s friends and Hitler’s commander,” and his most majestic utterance, “Mother is the best bet and don’t let Satan draw you too fast.”
In this 1930s real-life whodunit, legendary New York newspaperman Paul Sann investigates the meteoric rise of gangster Dutch Schultz, mean-streaked bully, alleged killer and reader of books, tracking the blood-flecked story from the Lower East Side and Bronx sidewalks to Broadway night spots, to lavish Park Ave. penthouses and to City Hall—along the way uncovering the truces and alliances among politicians, judges, police, unions and racketeers.
“A masterpiece! . . . [Sann] makes us understand how the big cities of America worked in the years between the wars.” –Pete Hamill, author of Snow in August, A Drinking Life and Forever
“One of the essential reads on the larger subject of the Prohibition era and its criminal legacy. . . . Sann [brings] humanity and profound literary skills to bear on a difficult subject, elevating the art of crime writing to new levels. Now, a new generation of readers can benefit from Paul Sann’s labors, and also, perhaps, be enthralled by the timeless quality of something that will always have value, no matter the technology: a great story rendered with elegance and authenticity by a master of the craft.” –T.J. English, author of The Westies, Havana Nocturne and The Savage City
“Godfather readers will go for it.” –United Press International