With the upcoming release of GANGSTER SQUAD, The Hollywood News are looking at the book that started it all off, and seeing if the upcoming film, starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Sean Penn, and its hype applies to the book too.

GANGSTER SQUAD: COVERT COPS, THE MOB AND THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES looks at the eight men who put their own lives on the line to make sure that LA law could capture the biggest gangsters around. However, two of the men were eager to capture the ultimate gangster of them all, Mickey Cohen, a petty criminal who managed to take the law on a ride for 15 years. Sgt. Jack O’Mara and Sgt. Jerry Wooters, two cops that had nothing in common other than wanting to take down Cohen, try to take him down. Wooters then becomes associated with Jack ‘The Enforcer’ Whalen, one of Cohen’s biggest rivals, and Whalen ends up getting shot dead in a shootout between Whalen and Cohen’s gang.

The narrative of GANGSTER SQUAD is immediately captivating. Author Paul Lieberman took years to track down old members and associates with the squad and the interviews definitely help capture the time and place of the 50s.  However, the only problem is with GANGSTER SQUAD, is that it has an hefty amount of information present within one sitting can get a little overbearing if you are not an avid reader or a fan of books like this one. But again, the narrative manages to make the information easy to digest.

Another great thing about GANGSTER SQUAD is that there is a well-rounded view of the situation itself. Lieberman managed to get interviews with everyone from law enforcement to family members of the gangsters that the cops were changing. Some non fiction narrative books tend to favour one side of the story simply because they could not get the other side of the story (We’re looking at you, The Social Network) so it is amazing to see just why everyone did what they did, and that sometimes the cops were just as violent and abrasive as the gangsters.

Judging by the book, there is no doubt that GANGSTER SQUAD is going to be an action packed gangster film, but if gangsters are not your cup of tea, it might be a hard story to sink your teeth into.

Four Out Of Five Stars

GANGSTER SQUAD is released January 10th. The book is out now.

Character art for Gangster Squad