RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

06 March 2007

To Drop a Dime: The Mafia Hit Man's Uncensored Story

A good comment came in this morning about Leon Krier's book on the Nazi architect Albert Speer. The person told of finding a copy and gave good info about how to get a copy and added that it was in English and French. This is the kind of input I hoped for when I started Bookride in November last year. Of course comments can be anything you like, except spam or flames, but something helpful about how to find the book and anecdotal evidence as to its rarity and value will always be especially helpful. Also any further useful observations about the work, like obscure points or other collectable editions.

So far most comments have been from teeny Rowling collectors with 33rd editions of the Goblet of Fire. Got to start somewhere and these readers are always welcome, one day they will move on to Kafka, King, Kierkegaard and Kerouac. Today it's the cosa nostra.



Current Selling Prices
$280-$480 /£140-£240 Want level 25-50 Highish



Paul Hoffman & Ira Pecznick: TO DROP A DIME. [The Mafia Hit Man's Uncensored Story]
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1976.


TRUE CRIME
Darn expensive but not especially rare book about a squealer who spilled the beans on New Jersey Campisi family. To 'drop a dime' refers to making a phone call from a phone booth. Probably the most expensive true crime book, although some JFK assassination theory books can just about match it. It was also a paperback by Jove Books, 1977. From the blurb on the back of the paperback:
"Ira Pecznick was a mafia hit man. Captured by the police, this professional killer took the ultimate gamble. He 'dropped a dime' -- turned state's evidence. His testimony sent a mafia family to prison. In return the law gave Ira Pecznick his freedom, a new name and a secret home far from the scene of his criminal life. Now, without apology and in naked detail, Ira Pecznick tells the story of his murderous career, his jungle-like world of fast money, casual sex and shocking violence and the sometimes subtle, sometimes savage operation of the mafia octopus whose tentacle he was. It is not pretty. It is true. And it just may scare the hell out of you."


VALUE? A copy of the paperback described (rather well for ebay) as ' solid and clean. Cover shows no obvious flaws, except spine has slight reader's crease, and is very, very slightly cocked...looks great overall for a 29 year-old paperback" made $180 in early Feb 2007. By the way 29 years is nothing in book life and the commonly used 'looks good for its age' (seldom used by decent dealers) is a bit of a red flag - it usually means 'rather worn.'

Meanwhile the hardback at a start bid of $599 attracted no bids, the jacket looked OK in the pic and was desctibed as slightly shelf worn. Book is not scarce just expensive and it is likely that before long dealers will break ranks on it and the price will gently fall as more copies become available for fewer punters. The book becomes 'net blown' --ABE is littered with once valuable books that the web has exposed as plentiful with the expensive ones hanging on year after year like deposed monarchs. Captain Corelli comes to mind, as always. The guys with copies 'Drop a Dime' at over $1000 are likely to have them until Godfather 8 comes out.

There are some who say that Pecznick shouldn't have done it and the Campisi family were allright but I've seen Goodfellas ( a much better movie than The Departed) and think of them all as petulant sociopaths as portrayed by the great Joe Pesci. Paul Hoffman was the ghost writer. The book 'Deal' by Harvey Aronson tells the same story for a lot less moolah.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

KNow it is all Knot true i know for fact you dont een have a clue staceyw162@aol.com stacy pio

Anonymous said...

I speak and write English better then the last post. this is a very interesting and over all a good read!

Anonymous said...

For Anyone Interested...I happened to know the people mentioned in this book as aquaintances, not true friends.
I lived in the "hood" and we took care of each other. We all knew who and what they were, but never had a problem with any of them. They took care of locals and the "hood".

Anonymous said...

If interested this is part of my fmaily in this book. It is all true and not fiction. Thankfully my grate grandparents were able to escape from this life and make a new one for their family!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a list of the family names mentioned in this book? It is said that my family is mentioned and that a copy of the book is somewhere floating around but I am just curious before spending so much money on this book...

Anonymous said...

Carlos Cruz ,Abraham Cruz, Nana Campisis ,Ira pecznick ,

Anonymous said...

Hey guy from the hood do u know bruno grenci

Anonymous said...

This not only happens to be true, but in actuality was a family that as near & dear to my heart and still is. They were from Irvington and mostly stayed on South Orange Avenue!!!! Great Read

Anonymous said...

Yup remember the Round Table South Orange Av. great times the cocktail waitresses were fine. Everyone was there the cops and the outlaws. Da

Anonymous said...

Been to both their After Hour Clubs on S Orange Ave in Vailsburg and Jefferson Street in Orange. Nice people, just don't cross them

Anonymous said...

I arested john cabara,alexander poteet and ira pecznick in the town of mt holly nj in the early 60's. They were attenpting to break into a sporting goods store on mill st mt holly. They were transfered to north jersey (Newark)where they were wanted for other crimes at the time.

Charles Newbold

Anonymous said...

WHAT HAPPENED TO IT'S PECZNICK

Anonymous said...

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO IRA PECZNICK

Anonymous said...

My Dad is in this book and it is all true. Heard the stories growing up.

Anonymous said...

Did you know geatano (guy) tedesco from so. Orange ave and 14 th st ?

Anonymous said...

My Dad/ family is to

Anonymous said...

Went to school with Ira(the rat). Also new some of the Campisi from Vailsburg section of Newark my girls went to school with their kids in Maplewood. Good people the Campisi.

Anonymous said...

I knew nana and his immediate family throughout the 80s. I grew up in the neighborhood where he lived. Nice old man. Used to give us kids chocolates and fireworks. I remember an epic scene once when his wife was throwing his clothes out the window while he packed them up in the trunk of his caddy. Looked cool in his tank top with a hat on his head and cigar in his mouth.

Anonymous said...

my uncle once drove my grandfathers car in to a mob member named happy belina he went to a bar in Newark nj and requested a sit down with my grandfather and his son my uncle Richie also my other uncle jerry was there and he told me the story also once the same uncle Richie owed shylock money for gambling and a car picked him up in front of my grandfathers house on mulberry st in Newark nj he thought they were gonna make a payment arrangement but he was gonna be beat up badly or killed as an example so when he was in the car in the back seat sitting between two guys one on each side they pulled up to a red light on emmet street and mccarther highway and a police car was stopped at the light on the opposite side of the road my uncle reached over and got outta the car on the passenger side and ran up onto the elevated railroad line the Pennsylvania railroad was big then going into Newark nj penn station I was standing on my grandfathers back porch with my grandpa joe and the next time I saw my uncle Richie he was running down the tracks running from the hitmen he made his way back to the house and my grandpa joe spoke for him at a sitdown and somehow a arrangement was made to pay off the debt over time I thought when I saw my uncle get into the car was the last time I may have seen my uncle Richie as I was filled in by my grandpa on the back porch it went from a sad time to happy in a matter of minutes although I really didn't understand the whole thing until I was older and I asked my uncle about this time and like I said my other uncle jerry filled me in also boy u cant make this shit up you had to be there to see it

Anonymous said...

I was a female corrections offider in a N.J. state prison when all this was going down Our facility housed a few mafia members who were state witnessess. One mafia member out on furlough was blown away at the Red Bull Inn Somerville N,J.

Anonymous said...

I went to Seton Hall in the very early eighties and one night I got into a fight on S Orange avenue with a local. After beating this kid up I got jumped by about twenty guys who were in a social club around the corner. Obviously the kid I fought was one of there own. I took an ass whooping. It happened by Paul's Tavern, anyone remember that? I'm pretty sure one of the guys was a Taccetta. There both in prison for life.

Chris Passanante said...

When I was a kid we lived in Irvington he lived in the apartment above us

Chris Passanante said...

When I was a kid we lived in Irvington he lived in the apartment above us

Chris Passanante said...

When I was a kid we lived in Irvington he lived in the apartment above us

Anonymous said...

My Uncle Joe was a card dealer,it was right on So. Orange Ave, across the street from the pizzeria, can't think of the pizza store, right on the corner also. Drives me crazy when I can't think of the name, a lot of stories there.

Connie Andes said...

Always wondered about Peters young son that lived in TN when he was around 5 with his mother Kathy. Cute little boy his grandmother came and took him back to Jersey.

Anonymous said...

Everybody's a wise guy haha

Anonymous said...

Petey Black had the bar on s.orange ave paulies....been there many times and the book is all true.

Chaly Afflitto said...

My cousin Charley Afflitto was the bail bondsman who handled all the money transactions. My grandfather was a detective in Newark, James Afflitto, he would lock em up and my cousin would bail them out. It was a very lucrative family business... Lol