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The Good Rat, By Jimmy Breslin

Just like the steam billowing from a manhole on Broadway, Breslin's prose reeks of New York. His staccato style is well suited to this mug's gallery of Mafia nogoodniks, such as Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso (so called because he used one "to break heads") and the foul-mouthed John Gotti, aka The Teflon Don. Breslin rubbed shoulders with the real Sopranos, but claims that "I chased stories not beatings". Many of his stories come from McGuire's bar in Queens, where Jimmy Burke (who was famously played by De Niro in GoodFellas) paid his tab from $6m stolen from Lufthansa. Checking Breslin's unlikely yarns, Abe Rosenthal, the editor of the New York Times, visited the bar and found a man cleaning an automatic.