"It was a reasonable move since it isn’t every day you target the head of an organized crime family as a Secret Service Agent. In fact, I do not think it had ever been done before or since."

The title of Perrotta’s autobiographical memoir refers to the dual mission of members of the Secret Service. Many people may not realize that they actually have two separate and distinct tasks. They are charged with protecting the President of the United States, as well as foreign dignitaries, plus investigating potential criminal activities involving America’s financial infrastructure. While the author’s book does include the time he spent in the protection role, the majority of his narrative revolves around his investigative activities.

In addition to chronicling his exploits for the government, Perrotta also provides relevant background information on his childhood and youth. His time spent growing up is relevant because many of the attributes he learned from his parents, as well as his time spent working in his father’s deli, were characteristics he put to use in his role of protector and investigator. A commitment to hard work, a confident and positive attitude, an innate ability to interact personally with the different kinds of individuals who frequented his families business—these were the traits that stood him in good stead as he put them to work in multiple assignments for the government.

Most of the author’s career reflections take place in the 1990s and early 2000s. He covers stints with the New York City Civilian Complaint and Review Board, the Bronx County District Attorney’s Detective Investigations Bureau, as well as his eventual assignments with the United States Secret Service. His New York roots are put to good use early as he begins to investigate gambling and loan-sharking activities by the notorious Gambino crime family. In fact, the majority of his recollections involve details of time spent in covert surveillance that eventually results in bringing down famed Mafioso John Gotti Jr., son of the even more infamous Teflon Don. Celebrities often loom large in Perrotta’s exploits, one of which was famous major league baseball pitcher Denny McLain who followed his big-league career with criminal enterprises that ultimately resulted in his incarceration.

Perrotta infuses his story with his own brand of confidence and personal swagger. He freely admits that he often eschewed the typical business suit attire of his cohorts, opting instead for jeans, T-shirts, and leather jackets. His ability to blend in with many of the unsavory types he was often investigating enabled him to acquire information that would frequently lead to more arrests and convictions than many of his brother agents.

A very conversational style of prose dominates throughout. Perrotta writes like he’s talking to you across the dinner table, or on a bar stool in a favorite tavern. Yet he never lacks for detail. Names, places, dates, and events are provided with copious detail. Descriptions of people he worked with, as well as felons he pursued, come vividly to life, like when the author says, “His predecessor…would be known as a ‘mamaluke.’ It’s a derogatory term in Italian, which equates to calling someone a simpleton…the village idiot.” Nor does he pull any punches when remembering how he was sometimes compared rather favorably to his associates by the miscreants they were often questioning. “You guys were assholes, and Nino, was so kind and gentle with me.”

The author also covers foreign escapades that took him to exotic cities such as Rome and Bucharest, and to somewhat less sophisticated enclaves like Sophia, Bulgaria. Whether abroad or stateside, from suspenseful encounters trailing fugitives on the loose, to boring interludes on Presidential details in hotel stairwells, Perrotta gives readers an inside look at what it’s really like to put it all on the line for your country. We should all appreciate his service, and readers who enjoy real-life stories will be particularly appreciative that he chose to share them in this book.

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