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Book details
  • Genre:TRUE CRIME
  • SubGenre:Organized Crime
  • Language:English
  • Pages:228
  • eBook ISBN:9781667899763
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667899756

Mafia Dreams

A True Crime Saga of Young Men at the End of an Era in Kansas City

by Frank Hayde

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The ruthless and powerful crime family that reigned in Kansas City appeared to be on its last legs in the 1990's. But the Mafia life still called to a cadre of young men with gangster ambitions, and the FBI was still aggressively pursuing the organization that would stubbornly survive into the next millennium. Agents in KC were also pursuing a massive insurance fraud enterprise run by the Riley family, a criminal organization unto themselves whose youngest member, Joseph Riley, had his own dreams of gangster glory. Big-time white-collar crime would soon collide with the gritty underworld of a Mafia town in a deadly drug sting that attracted nationwide attention and tested the limits of a controversial legal doctrine. Through copious research and interviews with principal participants, author Frank R. Hayde pieces together an epic true crime tale with surprising connections and startling events.


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.

About the author
Frank R. Hayde is a career law enforcement officer and the author of four previous books including The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob; Stan Levy: Jazz Heavyweight; Zion National Park: The Story Behind the Scenery; and Italian Gardens: A History of Kansas City Through its Favorite Restaurant. Descended from Irish-American bricklayers and machine politicians, Hayde's roots in Kansas City stretch back to the 19th Century, and he enjoys the local honor of being the last man to be officially inducted into the Sabenadica Club.