Tom Cirignano ran an auto repair shop in
South Boston during the 1970s & 8os.
experienced the violent era of
Whitey" Bulger, first hand.
Tom's books offer readers an interesting perspective of
Growing up in Dorchester presented real challenges, but once the author took over the family's auto repair shop in the heart of Southie, life became intense.
Print, Kindle & Audio Editions:
An audiobook of The Constant Outsider: Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic is now available on Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes!
Available at Amazon.com, iTunes, and Audible.com.
The Author's Day at James "Whitey" Bulger's Trial
"On July 2nd, 2013, I was one of just ten private citizens allowed into the Bulger trial, held in South Boston's Federal Courthouse. I sat just 15 feet away from James Whitey Bulger, and he looked me right in the eyes as he scanned the public seating area to see any new faces that might be in attendance. The entire experience was quite intense.
I heard chilling testimony from an old friend of mine, Joey Tower, who I used to socialize with during the 1970s & '80s. In court, he was as dapper, confident, and imposing as John Gotti ever was. I learned things about Joey that I never imagined, such as a machine-gun sale he had “brokered” with Kevin Weeks, and that during the time I knew Joey he was selling up to 3 Kilos of rock cocaine per week. Whitey got his cut of $4,000 - $10,000 each and every week from him, as protection money. I met-up with Joey (“J” in my book) out in the hall after he left the witness stand, and we had an amiable visit reminiscing just the same. As I mentioned in the book, I'm glad these guys liked me back then. If they didn't like a person, it meant big trouble.
We heard testimony from William Shea, one of Whitey's top drug-deal organizers. 'Billy' testified that when he tried to leave the business and move to Florida, he almost paid the ultimate price. Shea also told some surreal stories about how they 'did business'. We heard from a CSI investigator for the Mass. State Police. She vividly described and showed photos of a murder scene from the 1970s.
The daughter of one of Whitey's victims took the stand and shared some heart wrenching details about her final words with her father. When she was just seven years old, her dad left the house after she picked up the receiver during a mysterious phone call from 'a man'. With tears in her eyes, she testified that 'Dad never came home again'. She said she awoke the next morning to find images of her father's gruesome murder scene on the televised news.
One thing truly bothered me during the proceedings. The jurors and others in the courtroom should think twice before chuckling and smiling during some of the antics and wisecracks of Whitey and his henchmen, which happened more than once. They need to remember that half of the courtroom is filled with family members of Whitey's murder victims, and, to them, none of this is funny!
It's also a travesty that news cameras were not allowed in court for this trial. If the public ever needed to know the truth about what went on within a criminal organization, this was the case! Whitey's Robin Hood reputation would quickly dissolve and the truth be exposed. Those of you who have pull within the Federal court system, please rally to allow news cameras in Federal trials. The public should have been able to hear and see the victims’ family members tell how these few thugs destroyed so many lives. Being in that courtroom was an experience I will never forget.
In the hall directly outside the courtroom that day, I met-up with another old acquaintance, named Steve 'Stippo' Rakes. He recognized me and seemed very happy to see me. We discussed the old days in Southie, and our mutual friends from back then. Stippo's interest in the Bulger case was this: Back in the 1980s, Whitey and his pals put a gun to Stippo's head, handed him a paper bag with $67,000 in it, and extorted his thriving liquor store from him by threatening his life and the lives of his family members. ("67" seems to have been a popular number with the Mob back then) Just days after my conversation with Stippo at court, his lifeless body was found dumped along the side of a secluded road in Lincoln. Ma. Stippo harbored an ongoing hatred of Whitey Bulger, and he mentioned to me how he was hoping to testify against Whitey. Unfortunately, that's no longer a possibility."
Reading the book, "Black Mass" inspired Tom to write his books.
"As I read Black Mass, I was amazed at how familiar I was with so many of the people and events. Johnny Depp portrays James 'Whitey' Bulger perfectly in the movie, right down to his piercing blue eyes! But trust me, the movie leaves much more that needs to be told. I'll never forget the day 'Whitey' pulled a gun on me."
Creation of a South Boston Killer
Tom's second book is a fictional adaptation of his memoir. Within 67 Cents,"Nick" embarks on a radically different path than Tom took in real life, saying "Yes" to every illicit offer that was made to Tom by the Mob while running his Southie shop.
With those few altered choices, things change dramatically!
"I've always wondered what my life would have been like if I had become one of them.
In "67 Cents: Creation of a South Boston Killer," I find out. "Nick's" life spirals out of control!" - Tom
Jordan Rich, of WBZ - Boston, says: "If it's insight you want, into what the crime scene in Southie was really all about, look no further than 67 Cents: Creation of a Killer. Tom Cirignano was an eyewitness to it all and captures the flavor of the city in this crisp, fast-paced novel!"
Get it now! Click here for Amazon Link.
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