Mr. Untouchable by Leroy Barnes

It’s hard not to read a book like this and feel like you’ve been a chump all your life for being an honest man. Leroy Barnes spent many years in prison paying for his misdeeds, but while he was at the top of his game he was awash in money, drugs, women, and adventures. The Council, the organization he created, initially sounds like a sinister cabal of drug lords, but to hear him tell it he was the only one with any business sense and the others were two-bit hustlers. But the story gets really interesting as he winds up his life in prison and, in revenge for being double-crossed, decides to destroy the organization he created. In the final chapter he waxes philosophical about why black organized crime is not as successful as the Italian mafia, and chalks it up to the Italians having a cohesive family culture and blacks growing up in fractured families. He seems sorry that his life took this turn–but because he went to prison, not because of all the lives he destroyed with drugs.

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