Mr. Untouchable by Leroy Barnes

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From inside the Federal Witness Protection Program, the "Black Godfather" chronicles the 1970s New York City underworld and the most devastating urban crime wave in history.

1962 LEROY "NICKY" BARNES walks out of Green Haven State Prison. There are an estimated 153,000 heroin abusers in the United States.

1977 Two million junkies score $100 million worth of Barnes's smack a year. Sporting flashy suits, riding in a Citroën with a Maserati engine and satisfying a wife while pleasuring a harem of mistresses, Barnes presides over a staggering multinational dealership that pushes dope and launders money with the efficiency of a Fortune 500 company. Despite President Nixon's creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration and New York State's adoption of the no tolerance Rockefeller drug laws, Barnes's operation seems impregnable.

How does a small-time hustler and heroin addict end up on the cover of the New York Times Magazine as MR. UNTOUCHABLE, the one gangster the Feds can't touch? And how is the future Mayor of New York City Rudolf Giuliani involved? With Machiavellian pragmatism matched with biblical fury, Barnes lays bare his life's remarkable trajectory--a rise, fall and resurrection defined by brutality, brotherhood and betrayal.


About Leroy Barnes

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Published February 6, 2007 by Rugged Land. 308 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crime. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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It’s low life living the high life, tax-free, with lots of freaky sex, many penthouse apartments, pricey cars and heavy bling before it was called bling.

Jan 15 2007 | Read Full Review of Mr. Untouchable

AV Club

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Legendary '70s heroin kingpin Leroy "Nicky" Barnes is filmed like a deposed king in exile in Mr. Untouchable, Marc Levin's slick look at one of New York's most notorious criminal masterminds.

Oct 25 2007 | Read Full Review of Mr. Untouchable

Entertainment Weekly

Mr. Untouchable, the notorious heroin kingpin Leroy ''Nicky'' Barnes' tale, packs all the wallop of a Jay-Z album: juicy details of the drug trade wrapped up in breezy wit.

Mar 02 2007 | Read Full Review of Mr. Untouchable

The Telegraph

Reading Mr Untouchable, the story of Leroy "Nicky" Barnes's life as the heroin king of Harlem, is like having your head shoved down a public toilet.

Aug 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Untouchable


As the film shows Black Santa, Gerhold observes bleakly that Barnes “was giving something back to the community that he was raping, and abusing, and killing.” Again, Barnes doesn’t answer the question provoked by such hypocrisy, but the film poses it repeatedly, showing how closely Barnes follows...

Oct 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Mr. Untouchable

Time Out New York

The first stream in a celluloid pissing match with American Gangster, splashing onto screens next month, Marc Levin’s repetitious but revealing profile of onetime Harlem drug kingpin Leroy “Nicky” Barnes (adversary to real-life Gangster protag Frank Lucas) trades in tired blaxploitation tropes, t...

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