Before I begin the review of "I Heard you Paint Houses", I have to recognize the accomplishment that is this review: #50! Much like Derek Jeter's 3,000 hit, I have reached a milestone; this is my 50th review of a book on my blog. Who would have thunk that in a short 2.5 years I would have notched 50 book reviews? Not I.... Anyway, let's get started and find out who killed Jimmy Hoffa.
Jimmy Hoffa. When you hear the name, what do you think? Probably, like most, you think about how he was never found. Well, you don't need to worry about that anymore if you read this book. It's got the answers; all of them. What happened to him, how he was killed, where his body went... this book's spills it all.
First, a little background on the title; "I Heard you Paint Houses" is not really about painting houses (you already guessed that?) If you paint houses, you kill people... see, the blood splatters on the wall and that's the paint (yeah, there's some solid violence in this one). Basically, this book is about a mobster named Frank Sheeran. He died some years ago and prior to passing, told most of his life story to the author. Included in this story is what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
Although you find out much about Sheeran's life, this book's major focus if Jimmy Hoffa. If you don't know alot of about Jimmy Hoffa's life, this book is worth the read just for that. His influence on unions in this country and rivalry with Bobby Kennedy is historic. This book goes into a great deal about his life and Frank Sheeran's close relationship to Hoffa and other major mobsters during the 60s and 70s.
I am not sure what it is about mob and gangster things that make the same interesting. From the Godfather to Sopranos, I consistently fall in love with gangster stories. This one was no different. Although a bit slow in spots and not as excitingly written as other books (which is why it only garners 4 stars), this gangster tale is as good as any others. It's got it all, blood, violence, trickery, deception... all the fun stuff.
If nothing else, it's worth reading the book just for the chapter that explains Hoffa's demise. If you've seen the movie Hoffa, they depict his death at the end of that film.... that movie was made before the book and they got it wrong. There is no doubt in my mind what is described in this book is how Hoffa was really killed. And frankly, the chapter and pages that intimately describe how it went down were memorable. I was actually becoming nervous and sweating as it was going down while I was reading; it's rare for a book to do that to me but the buildup had been coming.
If you like gangster stories, are interested in Hoffa, or just want to read a great true crime novel, do check out "I Heard You Paint Houses" but do me a favor and don't actually paint any houses (you know what I mean).