1988, Crime, Punishment, and the Battle for New York City's Lower East Side
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312592486, 320pp.
Publication Date: November 9, 2010
A raw, gritty memoir—part true-life cop thriller, part unputdownable history of a storied time and place—that will grip you by the throat until the explosive end
Alphabet City in 1988 burned with heroin, radicalism, and anti-police sentiment. Working as a plainclothes narcotics cop in the most high-voltage neighborhood in Manhattan, Detective Sergeant Mike Codella earned the nickname “Rambo” from the local dealers, as well as a $50,000 bounty on his head. The son of a cop who grew up in a mob neighborhood in Brooklyn, Codella understood the unwritten laws of the shadowy businesses that ruled the streets. He knew that the further east you got from the relative safety of 5th Avenue, Washington Square Park and NYU, the deeper you entered the sea of human misery, greed, addiction, violence and all the things that come with an illegal retail drug trade run wild. With his partner, Gio, Codella made it his personal mission to put away Davie Blue Eyes—a stone cold murderer and the head of Alphabet City's heroin supply chain. Despite the hell they endured—all the beatings and gunshots, the footchases and close calls—Codella and Gio always saw Alphabet City the same way: worth saving.
Alphaville, Codella’s riveting, no-holds-barred memoir, resurrects the vicious streets that Davie Blue Eyes owned, and tells the story of how Codella bagged the so-called Forty Thieves that surrounded Davie, slowly working his way to the head of the snake one scale at a time. With the blistering narrative spirit of The French Connection, the insights of a seasoned insider, and a relentless voice that reads like the city’s own, Alphaville is at once the story of a dedicated New York cop, and of New York City itself.
"A rollicking recollection of what Alphabet City was like a generation ago." --New York Times
"Codella describes [Alphabet City] so vividly, with such hardboiled language that you feel like you’re in the squad car with him." --New York Post
"Written in a hyper-noir style reminiscent of Richard Price and George Pelecanos, this memoir features all the stuff of an excellent police procedural complete with drug gang rivalries, beatings, killings, and endless dealer collars and convictions. Raw, bloody, and very real, Codella's book is a historical snapshot of what was one of Gotham's most dangerous neighborhoods and the men who brought order to its frightening mayhem." --Publishers Weekly
"From dodging Internal Affairs and a hit ordered by a drug kingpin to making a huge dent in New York’s drug trade, Codella’s life makes for a real page-turner. This should be popular with true crime readers whether or not they agree with him that the ends justified the means. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"Codella secures justice of a sort in this taut true-crime tale... genuinely exciting." --Kirkus
“Terrific… It's one of the best cop books I've ever read, and sits on my bookshelf beside such classics as "The French Connection," "Serpico" and "Prince of the City." Codella has written a hair-raising, suspenseful, pull-no-punches true-crime tale about the hunt for Davy Blue Eyes through the bloodstained streets and murderous housing projects of Alphabet City.” –Denis Hamill, The New York Daily News
"A blistering cop’s-eye view of the Drug War during the heady years of the late-1980s. Codella and Bennett take the reader down alleyways and into shooting galleries, capturing the mood and patter of a time when a cop nicknamed Rambo and a gang of smack dealers called the Forty Thieves were caught in a dance to the death. You will feel as though you are pounding the pavement and dodging bullets. Alphaville is the real deal.” – T.J. English, New York Times bestselling author of Havana Nocturne and The Westies
“Alphaville is a quick, nitty gritty, page turning read that will leave you breathless. Through the eyes of former undercover cop Mike Codella we are given a bird's eye view into one of the most dangerous neighborhoods anywhere in the world- Manhattan's Lower East Side. Though the book is a true account, its characters are so colorful and vivid it reads more like a well-paced novel. I highly, highly recommend this read.” --Philip Carlo, New York Times bestselling author of Ice Man
"A balls out cop tale from the bad old days of New York City. Watch your back in Alphaville." --Tom Folsom, New York Times bestselling author of The Mad Ones"A narcotics cop's front-line exposure of the battles to eradicate one of America's most drug-infested landscapes. A penetrating primer on how street-savvy investigators struggle to overcome corruption, hitmen, frustrating internal rivalries and bureaucratic red tape in an often disheartening campaign to relieve the miseries generated by well-heeled, sadistic traffickers on a captive community." --Selwyn Raab, author of Five Families
“Nerve-shreddingly real. Addictive, brilliant and compelling. A staggeringly well-written true-life drama, which had me breathless from the first page to the last. Stunning!” --R.J. Ellory, author of A Quiet Belief in Angels and A Simple Act of Violence