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Book excerpt: Joe Schoenmann’s ‘Vegas Rag Doll’

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Joe Schoenmann

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Vegas Rag Doll
By Joe Schoenmann and Wendy Mazaros, $25

Wendy lived with a hired killer, but that didn’t mean she could tell one when she saw one.

Tony Spilotro knocked on their Ogden Street home one day in 1976. When she answered the door, his eyes got big.

“You must be Tom’s daughter,” said Spilotro, who by then had earned a Las Vegas reputation as a tough guy, the muscle to enforce the rule of law as laid down by the Chicago Outfit. He couldn’t find Gramby, who lived around the corner. He and Gramby had just started a lucrative robbery operation, targeting jewelry stores.

“I’m his wife,” she said. Spilotro laughed. “Tom got a youngie!”

Tom stood a few feet behind Wendy. He pulled his pistol, stepped outside and grabbed Spilotro by the back of the hair, sticking the gun in his mouth.

“You’re going to apologize for that crack,” he hissed.

With one of his massive hands, he grabbed the back of Spilotro’s neck and pulled him into the doorway.

Wendy backed into the living room, certain she was about to see brains and skull splattered on the front sidewalk. The next thing she knew, Tom put the gun’s muzzle to Spilotro’s temple and ordered him to his knees.

“Apologize!” Tom said. “This is my wife, Wendy.”

Spilotro crawled a few feet toward Wendy, then looked up.

“For chrissake, Tom, put the gun down!” Spilotro pleaded. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

“Tom, that’s enough,” Wendy said. “Please, Tom, stop.”

“Now get the f*ck out of here,” Tom said.

(Excerpted from Pages 121-122.)

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