The Confessions of Al Capone

Written by Loren D. Estleman
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Peter Vasco is an FBI proofreader with stenographer abilities working out of the Washington DC office. In 1944, shortly after Al Capone is released from prison, Vasco is called into the office of the director, J. Edgar Hoover. Because he was trained to become a priest at a Roman Catholic seminary prior to his current position in the FBI, and because his father has worked for Capone as a truck driver during Prohibition, Hoover feels Vasco would have the ability to meet Capone. Al Capone is currently living in Miami suffering from advanced syphilis. Vasco is going to pose as a priest, gain access to Capone (through his father’s contacts), and obtain information that would enable the FBI to arrest other Chicago gangsters.

This is a story not only of the dangerous assignment but also of the interaction between Vasco and his father, who also lives in Miami. Peter and his father have become estranged over the years, and the meetings between them result in a closer relationship and help to heal old wounds.

This is another well-crafted novel written by a popular author of Westerns and other adventure novels. It’s a character-driven novel with interesting personalities, family histories and a plot involving the underworld of the 1940s. At times, it’s a page-turning thriller, although most of the book deals with obtaining confessions, not only from Capone but also from Vasco’s father. Highly recommended.