When my book The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob was published in 2007, it led to a surge of interest in the syndicate’s role in local and national history. Other books and films followed, but the story always ends in the 1980’s, when the leadership of the KC Outfit was taken down in the FBI’s historic Strawman case. While it was definitely a crippling blow, Strawman did not eliminate traditional organized crime in Kansas City. The case of the fatal drug sting described in "Mafia Dreams" serves as a window into the post-Strawman underworld of the 1990’s, when certain young men in KC still aspired to be part of a dying way of life. This book stands on its own as the story of young men with gangster ambitions, but it’s my hope it will also serve as something of a sequel to The Mafia and the Machine, which provides the backstory to some of the people and events discussed in this book.