THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

  • Stay tuned for THIEF! book signings, media interviews and other THIEF! events
  • Media Reviews posted periodically
  • Mobwriter comments on true crime events and books

THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Joe Batterz...What a prince!

I nearly fell off my chair when I visited Joe Batterz blog, today. Very close to the top was a special promotion of our book THIEF! Thanks a million, Joe.

The Chicago Syndicate blogspot is an absolute must if you want the latest on what's going on mobwise in the Windy City and elsewhere. Joe does a first rate job!

While we're on the subject, most everyone knows about another great site, Rick Porrello's Do yourself a big favor if you haven't checked it out.

I believe these are the 2 greatest sites for mob info...period!

Details on Slick's upcoming big media appearance soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Slickster Adds More on Mobster Ken Eto

"For the record," says Slick. "Ken Eto was only referred to as 'Tokyo Joe' by outsiders--the press and people who read the name in the newspapers. Insiders called him 'Joe the Jap.' You always knew someone was fibbing if they said they knew 'Tokyo Joe.'

Thursday, April 12, 2007


"Toyko Joe," as he was known, was one of the most colorful, well-known characters of Chicago mob lore, a gambling boss who ran a $200,000 a week bolita empire.

"He was a trusted moneymaker, he'd been around for a long time and actually had kind of a reputation as a violent sort of person," said Elaine smith, former FBI agent.

Elaine Smith worked Ken Eto cases for the FBI in Chicago for more than 20 years. ABC7ChicagoTV interviewed her a few years ago before she retired and Eto died. In a business not known for longevity, the fact that Tokyo Joe lived to age 84 was remarkable. He was supposed to have died in an alleyway on February 10, 1983, a few weeks before sentencing on gambling-related charges.

Outfit bosses, fearing Eto might spill mob secrets to avoid prison, ordered him killed. Hitman Jasper Campise and Cook County Deputy Sheriff John Gattuso were deployed to carry out the murder. But somehow, three .22 caliber bullets ricocheted off Eto's skull and he survived. A few months later, the bungling assassins were themselves killed.

Eto opted to become a government informant and special agent smith interrogated him for months, then helped prepare him for federal prosecutions that put away police officials and mob bosses.

During his cooperation, Smith says Eto admitted to a role in four murders. "He didn't participate in these murders, he set the people up," Smith said.

Eto lived out his days in the federal witness security program under the assumed name Joe Tanaka from Iowa. But on January 23, 2004, he died, a mobster at heart.

"Imagine what it would be like on a day-to-day basis and always show respect and always do what they said to do, unquestioning, with people that are dumb, immoral, selfish, corrupt individuals," Smith said.

Elaine Smith attended a memorial service for Eto after he passed at his Georgia home in 2004. Even at that service, the dearly departed was known as Joe Tanaka, restaurateur.
But by whatever name, Tokyo Joe left behind six children, most of them still carrying the Eto name, a name that their father couldn't live with for the last portion of his life.

The above appeared in a transcription of a news report on ABC7 Chicago TV, June 7, 2006.

Why the interest in Eto on our Mobspeak blog? Well, William "Slick" Hanner and Tony Montana, thanks to the efforts of con artist exposer, George Joseph, landed on a Japanese movie shoot last week in Las Vegas. The subject was Chicago mobster, Ken 'Tokyo Joe' Eto. Tony in particular knew Eto well and gave his account of Eto with the Chicago Outfit. Slick backed Tony up saying he knew the guys close to Eto when Slick lived at Chicago Outfit headquarters.

I've been in touch with one of the Japanese production people, Mariko Ikehara, who said Tony and Slick's contributions will prove invaluable. She added that she will keep me informed regarding release dates, title, etc. when the movie hits theatres. Naturally, yours truly will keep you informed.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Vacation's Over!'s time to get back to work and rev up the blog engines once again.

THIEF! is enjoying some amazing book sales. Consider the following:

McCarran Airport Borders Books in Las Vegas reports that
  • THIEF! sales have outperformed all other books except Secrets last week
  • THIEF! is No. 1 in sales for true crime books in the store last week
  • Sixty % of THIEF! buyers are women
  • Slick sold about 27 copies during his regular Sunday gig at Borders, McCarran (Average booksigning sales are 10 copies)
  • Borders manager, Anna Chapman, says THIEF! sells about 5-10 books when Slick isn't there, far above average for an unknown author
  • Borders at McCarran ordered 40 books today to accommodate anticipated sales
  • Brisk hard cover THIEF! sales defy the normal shopping trend to purchase only paperback books at airport locations which are less bulky to carry

And in that second hotbed of THIEF! activity, Cherie sold out Books-A-Million, Fort Myers, FL inventory of 20 books in under 2 hours last Saturday.

Needless-to-say, both Slick and I are invited to return to these bookstores as often as possible.