Chin: The Life and Crimes of Mafia Boss Vincent Gigante

CHIN                                                          LARRY McSHANE

Vincent "Chin" Gigante. He started out as a professional boxer--until he found his true calling as a ruthless contract killer. His doting mother's pet name for the boy evolved into his famous alias, "Chin," a nickname that struck fear throughout organized crime as he routinely ordered the murders of mobsters who violated the Mafia code--including a contract put out on Gambino family boss John Gotti.

Vincent Gigante was hand-picked by Vito Genovese to run the Genovese Family when Vito was sent to prison. Chin raked in more than $100 million for the Genovese family, all while evading federal investigators. At the height of his power, he controlled an underworld empire of close to three hundred made men, extending from New York's Little Italy to the docks of Miami to the streets of Philadelphia--making the Genovese Family the most powerful in the U.S.

And yet Vincent "Chin" Gigante was, to all outside appearances, certifiably crazy. A serial psychiatric hospital outpatient, he wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in a ratty bathrobe and slippers, sometimes adding a floppy cap to complete the ensemble. He urinated in public, played pinochle in storefronts, and hid a second family from his wife. On twenty-two occasions, he admitted himself to a mental hospital--evading criminal prosecution while insuring his continued reign as "The Oddfather." It took nearly thirty years of endless psychiatric evaluations by a parade of puzzled doctors for federal authorities to finally bring him down.

This is an American Mafia story unlike any other--a strange and shocking account of one man's rise to power that's as every bit as colorful and bizarre as the man himself.


A book about Chin Gigante who would be better known as the bathrobe, Don. Most of the material or information it seemed to me comes from his older brother who also happens to be a Priest. You do get a little of what he would do around the neighborhood walking around in a bathrobe and slippers. Also showing up at court like that as well. He did rise through the Genevese crime family to actually run it at one time.
It would have been nice if the author would have gotten some of the old trial transcripts from early on when he was actually let go with an insanity plea and would go to a mental hospital occasionally just to keep the act going once, he passed the first doctors test. You do get some background but not as much as I have read from other books.
It would take years to take him down and to discover his second home. It would have been nice to have more of the investigation in what it took to take him down and the fact that someone actually on the task force saw him one night when he was not in his bathrobe after one of his associates killed a female detective. Still, this was a good book that I thought could be better. Another interesting fact is one of the few men to botch a hit when he was younger and still rise to the top. I received this book from I gave it 3 stars Follow us at

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