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Hank Messick Books In Order

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Syndicate Wife: The Story Of Ann Drahmann Coppola (1968)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Syndicate Abroad (1969)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lansky (1971)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mobs and the Mafia: The Illustrated History of Organized Crime (1972)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Beauties and the Beasts: The Mob in Show Business (1973)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Gangs and Gangsters. The Illustrated History of Gangs from Jesse James to Murph the Surf (1974)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Private Lives of Public Enemies (1974)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kidnapping: The Illustrated History (1974)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
King's Mountain: The epic of the Blue Ridge "mountain men" in the American Revolution (1976)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Only Game in Town: An Illustrated History of Gambling (1976)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Politics of Prosecution: Jim Thompson, Marje Everett, Richard Nixon & the Trial of Otto Kerner (1978)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Of Grass and Snow: The Secret Criminal Elite (1979)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Desert Sanctuary (1987)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Razzle Dazzle (1995)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Hank Messick was an American author and investigative journalist who was best known for his spectacular biography of Meyer Lansky and the combination of historical fiction with crime mysteries. Messick was an expert in organized crime and his later novels would continue in the same vein as his journalistic writing. He was born in Happy Valley North Carolina in 1922 and went to the University of Iowa, from where he graduated with a master’s degree. After graduating from college, he went on to work as a professor at Colorado A & M College where he taught journalism for a time. He then got a job at the Waynesville Mountaineer, a weekly where he worked as a reporter. From there, he would work for several newspapers in the state before he changed direction. Between 1957 and 1963, he was a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal where he was charged with providing stories on the illegal gambling rampant in Newport Kentucky during this time. Between 1963 and 1966, he investigated police corruption for the Miami Herald. One of the most interesting of his reporting jobs was when he was let go by the Boston Traveler after investigating the former associate of Charles “King” Solomon Joseph Linsey who happened to be one of the biggest shareholders in the newspaper. Tired of the newspaper game, he decided to become a full-time author and given his experience as a journalist investigating organized crime he believed he had all the material he needed for his novels. Most of his work was set in Hollywood, New York City, Cleveland, Chicago, Bahamas, Florida, and Kentucky and were all about organized crime.

By the time Hank Messick died in 1999, he had written 19 books that were primarily themed on law enforcement and organized crime. “The Silent Syndicate” his debut novel came out in 1967 and was reminiscent of the dangerous times he had to endure while he was a reporter. In the novel and subsequent ones he published, he tells of how journalists are alternatively offered bribes and threatened to stop them from writing a story. He had at one time been charged with a bogus charge and a dirty cop had assaulted him for writing a story about him. In later years, he lost his sight to Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease and he had to dictate a story that he had been writing. “Razzle Dazzle” which was fully dictated from memory was published in 1995.

“The Mobs and the Mafia” by Hank Messick is the story of the Cosa Nostra, The Mob, The Mafia, The Syndicate whatever name you want to call it when it comes to organized crime. Regardless of how many changes are implemented, the Mafia has always been a violent organization that protects its huge profits. The novel tells the story of the origins of organized crime, its contemporary iterations, and its future. They have been involved in gambling, drugs, prostitution, and bootlegging alcohol. Their specialization is everything and anything where supply is lower than demand as they intend to go in and provide the goods or services at exorbitant prices. They have managed to corrupt politicians, legitimate business, labor unions, local police, and top entertainers. J. Edgar Hoover made himself a hero when he fought them hard. However, there has also been a fascination with the Mafia and “The Godfather” became a box office hit and the novel an all-time bestselling title. The novel also provided a great platform and made money for hundreds of imitators and predecessors.

Messicks’ “Razzle Dazzle” is not a fictional work as its events, the settings, and people are real. It is the story of organized crime how it grew, gained power, and was finally ousted from Northern Kentucky. Hank traces the history of Little Mexico the small patch of land across from the Cincinnati River. The area had been impacted by the social and geographic alienation from the rest of the Kentucky Commonwealth, religious divisions, small-town/rural divisions, a strange blend of urban realities, and dark capitalism that resulted in influential power brokers, power blocks, and bizarre morality that separate public from private ethics.

Hank Messick’s “Syndicate in the Sun” is a no holds barred story of wild Miami. Hank tells a story set in the 1960s where dirty politicians ruled the roost. The only people who were probably dirtier were law enforcement higher-ups who had been put in those positions by the same politicians. The story is set in Dade County, a place so vile during that time that hardly anyone would have wanted to be live in. While front page and headlines reported that gambling houses were being raided, the connected elite was making record profits from the many gambling houses protected by the authorities. It is a story full of legal hang-ups and fascinating courtroom drama that speaks to the superb writing skills of Hank Messick

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