Thursday, December 22, 2022

Spotlight of Frank Costello - A Novel by Ronald K. Fried


In 1951, TV was a new medium and it was the first time in America that a congressional hearing was televised. 
Americans who didn’t own TV sets flocked to movie theaters to watch the Kekauver committee as it investigated organized crime. 
Why would Frank Cosetello, acting head of what is now called the Genovese Crime family, choose to testify in public when most other mobsters just took the Fifth? 
As a result of Costello’s decision, his lifelong lies and criminality were displayed for the whole country to see. 
December 1, 2022
SUNY Press/Excelsior Editions


"This book crackles with the same energy I felt when I prosecuted real-life mobsters in New York—the cinematic personalities, the whip-sharp dialogue, the humor, and the ever-present sense of menace. Some mob books and movies are cartoonish, but not this one. Frank Costello: A Novel is fiction, but it's also genuine, the real deal. It could only be told by somebody who has studied the life and truly understands all that it reveals about mobsters, and about ourselves." — Elie Honig, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and author of Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department

"Frank Costello's raspy-voiced tale is rendered with unmitigable brio by Ron Fried in this deeply researched and evocative novel, which rivals E.L. Doctorow's masterpiece, Billy Bathgate. I cannot laud this book enough." — J. Michael Lennon, author, Norman Mailer: A Double Life

"A brilliant work of fiction by a man who knows the true story of the mob inside out." — Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

"I loved this chilling, crackling yarn that feels like an inside job." — Robert Lipsyte, author and former New York Times columnist

"There is more truth about Costello in this historical novel than many 'nonfiction' histories of Cosa Nostra. A terrifically fun read for mob history aficionados." — Alex Hortis, author of The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York



In Frank Costello, A Novel, Fried weaves a historically accurate tale in Costello's imagined, bitter, streetwise voice. As Frank Costello looks back over his life as head of the most powerful crime family in America, he doesn't focus on the triumphs of his bootlegging empire, his nationwide gambling network, or his de facto control of Tammany Hall. Instead, Costello—the politically connected "Prime Minister of the Underworld"—remembers the lies he's told, the mistakes he's made, and his fateful decision to testify before the televised Kefauver hearings investigating organized crime in America.

The novel reaches its climax as Costello—in a naïve attempt to preserve the patina of respectability he's spent his life creating—tries to defend himself before senators out to expose the full extent of the Mafia's reach. The result is a humiliating, very public lesson about who holds the real power in America.



Ronald K. Fried is a writer and television producer.  Fried is a frequent contributor to The Daily Beast where he's written about everything from Honoré de Balzac, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Martin Amis to Trump, boxing, and the Mafia. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Millions, and The Norman Mailer Review. He contributed a chapter to Norman Mailer in Context (Cambridge University Press).

Fried's television credits include producing shows for Dick Cavett, Tina Brown, and Alec Baldwin. During his long association with Cavett, Fried produced shows with writers such as Saul Bellow, August Wilson,Gore Vidal, and John Cheever and John Updike (in a joint appearance), as well as Richard Pryor, Jean-Luc Godard, Billy Joel, and many others. He's been a writer and producer on series for PBS, AMC, History, USA, Amazon, and Netflix. He also produced Tina Brown's video interviews with Philip Roth, Ian McEwan, and David Remnick for The Daily Beast.

As Vice President and Executive Producer at MetroTV, a division of Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks), Fried earned five New York Emmy Awards and multiple nominations for a series shot entirely in the New York City subway system and coverage of New York's Fashion week. Production of Two Mailers, Fried's play about Norman Mailer and his son, John Buffalo Mailer, has been postponed owing to the pandemic.

Fried graduated from Columbia University where he won the Bennet Cerf story competition and the Cornell Woolrich Fellowship as outstanding undergraduate fiction writer. He was a 2010 Fellow at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony.  He is married to the writer Lorraine Kreahling. They live in New York City.Fried is a member of PEN America and the Authors Guild.
Find out more about the author here:


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