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Hit Me!: Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers

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In 1970s Las Vegas—a heyday of Mafia misdeed in Sin City—a fearless young man launched a crusade to eradicate organized crime in the casinos. In the process, he revolutionized gaming law enforcement, came within a hair’s breadth of death, and wasbetrayed by a system that was dirty to its core. Hit Me! is his story.


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In 1970s Las Vegas—a heyday of Mafia misdeed in Sin City—a fearless young man launched a crusade to eradicate organized crime in the casinos. In the process, he revolutionized gaming law enforcement, came within a hair’s breadth of death, and wasbetrayed by a system that was dirty to its core. Hit Me! is his story.

30 review for Hit Me!: Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    I have a bias towards this book. I knew the subject of the book, Dennis Gomes, for many years before his untimely death in 2012. Like many others in the casino industry, he had a major impact on my career, for which I will always be grateful. The book is a faithful re-telling of many stories I heard from him over the years. His integrity was unquestioned and when he saw a wrong, he wanted to make it right. So when Nevada officials stepped in his way when he was trying to rid the state of organiz I have a bias towards this book. I knew the subject of the book, Dennis Gomes, for many years before his untimely death in 2012. Like many others in the casino industry, he had a major impact on my career, for which I will always be grateful. The book is a faithful re-telling of many stories I heard from him over the years. His integrity was unquestioned and when he saw a wrong, he wanted to make it right. So when Nevada officials stepped in his way when he was trying to rid the state of organized crime influence over its casino industry, he was livid. But he had nothing else to do but walk away. This book by his daughter is an important step in reclaiming that heritage. It's a compelling book with details that need to be stated to be believed. So many books about the casino and the mob are not credible because those of us in the gaming industry know what happens and what can never happen. So the details are important to this story. Anyone interested in the mob and how it enveloped the Las Vegas casino industry prior to the 1970s needs to read this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    So it turns out that just because I don't work at a Big Six publishing company, it doesn't mean I can't steal any good books from work. When my old editor-in-chief left, he found an ARC while cleaning out his desk that someone had given us as a review copy back when it was first published. The book was Hit Me!: Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers by Danielle Gomes and Jay Bonansinga. The ARC is dated May 2013, making this review three years late, so I don't know if I'm supposed to still So it turns out that just because I don't work at a Big Six publishing company, it doesn't mean I can't steal any good books from work. When my old editor-in-chief left, he found an ARC while cleaning out his desk that someone had given us as a review copy back when it was first published. The book was Hit Me!: Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers by Danielle Gomes and Jay Bonansinga. The ARC is dated May 2013, making this review three years late, so I don't know if I'm supposed to still send the publisher two copies like they asked for. What's the usual practice for this sort of thing? Anyway, publishers, if you wanna send review copies of gambling-related books to Casino City, we'll be more timely in the future, because I'm here now. Hit Me! follows the story of Dennis Gomes, a young accountant with an unshakable sense of justice who is tasked with heading up and reforming the Nevada Gaming Control Board's Audit Division in 1970's Las Vegas. Most of the casinos in Vegas at this time were owned by Mafia groups--usually multiple outfits, as joint ventures--who massively underreported revenues and used the skimmed funds to finance all sorts of other mob operations back in their home territories. A pretty huge proportion of Nevada's political and law enforcement apparatus was also involved, either actively in the mobs' pockets or just unwilling to cross them. This lack of institutional support--plus the occasional active betrayal from inside the house--makes Gomes's job very, very difficult at times. While the word "audit" may conjure up for some readers a rather unsexy image of some desk workers poring over spreadsheets, rest assured that this is a full-on gangster story, with all the clandestine meetings, undercover surveillance and raiding rooms full of money at gunpoint that that implies. The cast of characters is also pretty loud, on the cop side as well as the mobster side. Fans of the movie Casino will be able to spot some familiar material in the second half of the book as Gomes starts going after the Stardust's Frank Rosenthal and Tony "the Ant" Spilotro. (The first half of the book I'm not sure about 'cause I didn't see Casino until this Friday, because I am the worst gangster movie fan ever.) The biggest strength of this book is that it is very, very detailed--not in a lengthy way, but entire conversations are reconstructed verbatim, accompanied by vivid sights and sounds and smells until you feel you might as well be reading a trashy noir novel. Some of this is because the Audit Division kept extraordinarily detailed notes, and some is apparently because Gomes had an excellent memory, but I'm sure a bunch of it is just because some of this shit is so crazy you could never forget it. Gomes makes a relatable enough viewpoint character most of the time; mostly he comes off as very committed to driving the mob out of Vegas and very frustrated when he can't, which is pretty hard to take issue with. You get a glimpse of a little more of a weird dude right at the beginning and right at the end, but for the bulk of the book he's all Secret Agent Man all the time. I don't know if this is something they may have included in the final printing, but my biggest complaint about this ARC was its lack of photographs. I want some pictures! Mugshots, crime scenes, awful '70s fashion, pics of the tacky old casinos that were there before the tacky current ones. I mean, this should be obvious. The ARC doesn't even identify whose photos are being used on the cover. Overall, though, this is a high-adrenaline true crime tale, and I especially recommend reading it while drinking wine in the bathtub. Originally posted at http://bloodygranuaile.livejournal.co....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This was an incredibly good and fun read. It tells the story of Dennis Gomes, an accountant by trade, but whose goal was law enforcement. He was on the verge of joining the FBI when he got an offer to work on the Nevada Gaming Commission in Las Vegas. As the youngest head of the Audit Division ever (only 26 years old!), his job was to monitor the casinos and make sure that their counts were on the up-and-up. Since this was Las Vegas in the '70s, he obviously encountered plenty of illegal activit This was an incredibly good and fun read. It tells the story of Dennis Gomes, an accountant by trade, but whose goal was law enforcement. He was on the verge of joining the FBI when he got an offer to work on the Nevada Gaming Commission in Las Vegas. As the youngest head of the Audit Division ever (only 26 years old!), his job was to monitor the casinos and make sure that their counts were on the up-and-up. Since this was Las Vegas in the '70s, he obviously encountered plenty of illegal activities and Mob involvement. His most consuming investigation was that of the Stardust, involving the Chicago Outfit guy, Frank Rosenthal, and Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, a psychopathic enforcer who loved to torture his victims. That situation and those characters were covered in the movie "Casino" (a movie I love). Gomes had a deep-seated sense of justice, and it enraged him to see mobsters getting away with blatantly illegal activities, with many Nevada politicians turning a blind eye. My impression of Gomes was that of a kind and decent man who just wanted to see justice done and worked tirelessly to make that happen. The book was co-written by one of his daughters, and her love and respect for her late father shines through. Gomes is apparently a legend in the gaming industry and his memory is still well-respected. I loved this for many reasons, but it was a lot of fun to see some of my favorite places mentioned. We've stayed at the Tropicana, the oldest casino still standing on the Strip, and one of the coolest places in Vegas is the Peppermill. Dennis and his wife visit the Peppermill for a bite to eat, then have a drink at the Fireside Lounge. "As bright and festive as the dining room was, the Fireside Lounge was dark and mellow, but no less over the top. In the center of the room was a flaming pool, and there was always at least one couple brazenly kissing and fondling one another." Vegas, baby! The flaming pool is still there! If you are fascinated by the Mob, you'll enjoy this book. If you are fascinated by Vegas history, you'll enjoy this book. If you are fascinated by the history of the Mob in Vegas, you will love this book as much as I did! Highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gary Braham

    I went to Las Vegas a few times as a child, only once as an adult, but I've always found the city and it's history to be interesting. Dennis Gomes was one of the men on the front line of trying to clear the mob out of Vegas for several years before he became a legitimate casino manager himself. This book focues on the few years he spent as the chief of the auditing division of the gaming control board. The book begins and ends near the present day, with a trial that is based on the work Gomes di I went to Las Vegas a few times as a child, only once as an adult, but I've always found the city and it's history to be interesting. Dennis Gomes was one of the men on the front line of trying to clear the mob out of Vegas for several years before he became a legitimate casino manager himself. This book focues on the few years he spent as the chief of the auditing division of the gaming control board. The book begins and ends near the present day, with a trial that is based on the work Gomes did in the 70's. Gomes daughter is one of the authors of the book, allthough Gomes himself reviewed most of the contents and was interviewed extensiively. The result is a book that's rich in detail, and takes you back into the 70's era Las Vegas as if it were yesterday. We learn of how he got into accounting, and then law enforcement. From there, he reviews many of his biggest cases and investigations he was a part of. But these were the early day's of trying to remove the mob from Vegas. Many people were not on board with what he was doing, and many of his co workers and the polititians he worked for were either jealous, or on the take themselves. The end result was a lot of good and important work, even if a lot did not immediately come of his investigations before he eventually resigned in frustration. I really enjoyed reading this book. There weren't too many technical details on the accounting side of his auditing work. The narrative style of the writing makes it very easy to read, with enough detail to bring you into the moment, but not get bogged down. This was an easy book to pick up, and hard to put down.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I was fortunate enough to read "Hit Me!" because I won it through a goodreads giveaway. I would like to thank goodreads and the authors and publishers for listing this book. "Hit Me!" puts the reader directly in the action of the 1970's corrupted Las Vegas casinos. Dennis Gomes took on the task of finding out the truth and ending mob control in these establishments. He worked tirelessly and faced adversity often but did not allow that to weaken him. After a failing marriage, dealing corrupted go I was fortunate enough to read "Hit Me!" because I won it through a goodreads giveaway. I would like to thank goodreads and the authors and publishers for listing this book. "Hit Me!" puts the reader directly in the action of the 1970's corrupted Las Vegas casinos. Dennis Gomes took on the task of finding out the truth and ending mob control in these establishments. He worked tirelessly and faced adversity often but did not allow that to weaken him. After a failing marriage, dealing corrupted government officials, having star informers be murder and more, Gomes had to risk it all to do what's right in order to succeed, but was it all worth it? I honestly was not expecting to enjoy this book. I assumed it was going to be a dry book about how casinos are run and the dangers of the mob, and I couldn't have been more wrong. Don't let the cover art fool you, this book is highly interesting and informative. Danielle Gomes and Jay Bonansinga infused the right amount of action, conspiracy and romance into the nonfiction narrative. I was completely captivated throughout the story and curious how the mob could in fact skim so much money. It was an easy read and like I mentioned interesting. It was a great real life mob story that captivates the reader. I would recommend this book for people who like mob novels, government conspiracy and deceptive novels.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    It was a good book about Las Vegas in the mob days.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allyson Gray

    Really loved this book! It was interesting to see the other side of Mob dealings

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This is a very interesting book about Dennis Gomes who in the 1970's worked to get rid of organized crime and the mob in Las Vegas. It has become a way better town with the mob out. This is a very interesting book about Dennis Gomes who in the 1970's worked to get rid of organized crime and the mob in Las Vegas. It has become a way better town with the mob out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Z

    I received this book through GoodReads first reads (though it was supposed to be a book about Ronald Reagan). Half biography, half true crime, Hit Me is the story of Dennis Gomes and his fight against the mob in Las Vegas. I'm not terribly familiar with either the mafia or gambling: the mob in Vegas seems like minor plot point from the Godfather, but it's actually quite serious business. A young CPA with aspirations to join the FBI, Gomes was the ideal appointee for chief of the Audit Division of I received this book through GoodReads first reads (though it was supposed to be a book about Ronald Reagan). Half biography, half true crime, Hit Me is the story of Dennis Gomes and his fight against the mob in Las Vegas. I'm not terribly familiar with either the mafia or gambling: the mob in Vegas seems like minor plot point from the Godfather, but it's actually quite serious business. A young CPA with aspirations to join the FBI, Gomes was the ideal appointee for chief of the Audit Division of Nevada's Gaming Control Board. Despite being barred from holding interest in gambling in Las Vegas, the mob had been skimming money from casinos, and the tax money that had rightfully belonged to the state. However, most public officials had been bought and paid for by the mafia long before their names came out of the ballot box. Like the downfall of Al Capone via the IRS, accountants are well-poised to bring mafia activity out from the shadows and into the light. With wins and losses, proving theft required finding the missing money, often during surprise raids. Sometimes it was as simple as finding a book that listed the amount of money stolen and the date. Other times, money was miscounted using a scale rigged to record 80% of coins with the push of a button or fake machines used to change cash into coins. Catching the mafia also involved gaining the trust of many people employed in casinos to rat out their dangerous supervisors. In addition to several grisly murders of informants, the higher-ups in the Gaming Control Division sabotaged investigations both through incompetence and a mafia-fueled desire to protect the status quo. Eventually, Gomes handed his stuff over the the federal government and resigned. Only decades later would he be able to testify. Overall, I liked the book, though the cliched writing in the beginning and abrupt end were a bit rough. By the time the book neared its close, the names of so many mobsters had been dropped that I had forgotten that the guys at the end were the ones whose deaths the trial that began the book revolved around. The book was co-written by one of Gomes' daughters, allowing a level of detail and access to Gomes that would simply not exist otherwise. However, other parts were like a love letter to a recently deceased father, who died before the epilogue was written. Rather I would have liked to seen more detail on Gomes' decision to leave the casino auditing business for the casino running business. Instead the book ends rather suddenly. At one point, Gomes's first wife threw something at him when he described staying home to take care of two toddlers as doing nothing all day. Yeah, I think I would have thrown something too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jjudyfl

    I won this book from Idon'tknowwhere. There was no e mail/win listing/ or letter from Goodreads. Thank you?? I have never set foot in either Las Vegas or Atlantic City. My knowledge of casinos comes from a few walk-throughs aboard cruise ships. Here is that total knowledge: "Gee, it's LOUD in here," so I was understandably hesitant to read with proper understanding of the book's setting, BUT, no problem. "Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers" is written clearly and thoroughly. It starts with a I won this book from Idon'tknowwhere. There was no e mail/win listing/ or letter from Goodreads. Thank you?? I have never set foot in either Las Vegas or Atlantic City. My knowledge of casinos comes from a few walk-throughs aboard cruise ships. Here is that total knowledge: "Gee, it's LOUD in here," so I was understandably hesitant to read with proper understanding of the book's setting, BUT, no problem. "Fighting the Las Vegas Mob by the Numbers" is written clearly and thoroughly. It starts with a history of how Las Vegas came to be, and how The Mob slithered in. Dennis Gomes (don't say Gomez) was head of The Gaming Control Board in Las Vegas. There were 3 divisions: Audit, Investigation, and Enforcement - No division had the combination of expertise needed for Gomes - and he made considerable effort to gather his own team. Raid after raid went down, Casino after big casino. The Mob stayed on. Despite the years of focus - on audits, snitches, friends and a crack team, The Mob stayed on. In 1977, Dennis Gomes quit. 20 years later, some "justice was finally served." Reading about audits, and surveillance proved too dry for my tastes. For me, the book was just okay.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I received this book as a goodreads giveaway. I enjoy both historical fiction and nonfiction and was looking forward to reading this story about Gomes and his time in Vegas. There were a lot of cliches in the book which I sometimes found to be distracting. I enjoyed the "behind the curtain" point if view and information but felt like there was probably too much detail about some of the drier aspects of what Gomes did that bogged down the pace too much. It was a good story but could have benefitt I received this book as a goodreads giveaway. I enjoy both historical fiction and nonfiction and was looking forward to reading this story about Gomes and his time in Vegas. There were a lot of cliches in the book which I sometimes found to be distracting. I enjoyed the "behind the curtain" point if view and information but felt like there was probably too much detail about some of the drier aspects of what Gomes did that bogged down the pace too much. It was a good story but could have benefitted from a good editor and some tighter writing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben Chapman

    This was a great book, I could not put it down. It was so interesting to learn about the relationship between organized crime and politics in Nevada.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sienna

    Writing not great. But interesting enough story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clay

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill Winn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Esker McConnell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Gagliardi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan L.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Crawford

  22. 4 out of 5

    TJZ

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian Smith

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Carroll

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wenzel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angelika Ursula Dietrich

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Bodden

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