Robert Grey Reynolds, Jr., Self-Publishing Dynamo, Has Written Hundreds Of Books About The Mafia (And Just About Everything Else)

Friends, Romans, Mafia enthusiasts, organized crime watchers, whatchamacallits?....  Chances are those of you who use the web daily, and who share a driving obsession for organized crime -- have a familiarity with the name Robert Grey Reynolds, Jr.

Robert Grey Reynolds, Jr.

He's an author who has written hundreds (if not thousands?) of books about the American Mafia (and a stunningly wide array of other things). 

You can find his work by Google searching Robert Grey Reynolds Jr. He publishes at and

And he's nothing less than a one-man publishing phenomenon, and we feel we'd be remiss to not devote cyberspace to him. So enjoy the following Q&A, yet another exclusive, and it's free of charge, too...

How many mob books have you written?

I’m unsure how many mob related books  I’ve written and published. I’d estimate between 200-300. I research my work through newspapers and books on internet databases. I especially enjoy researching underworld figures who have been passed over by other writers. 

Tell us about a recent effort?

Most recently I wrote about Gambino capo Thomas DeBrizzi who was murdered by order of John Gotti in 1988. DeBrizzi ran Gambino rackets in Connecticut. He was involved in gambling, lottery and the carnival business. A Gambino underboss had let him miss meetings at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry St. in NYC. Unfortunately Gotti wasn’t as lenient. He had the underboss murdered before taking out DeBrizzi. His body was found frozen in the trunk of a car parked in Trumbull Ct.

Why the Mafia?

I write on lots of topics Ed, other than Mafia I’ve published books about sports, airline disasters, American history biographies, Renaissance era painters, the Holocaust, World War II, Playboy Playmates, Nudism, etc. etc. Mafia books sell nicely and that’s a real plus for a writer to see his work accepted and appreciated. Aside from this I focus on mobsters because there’s a great number of underworld figures that are largely unknown. One topic that I explored just awhile ago was a Profaci soldier who was murdered by his girlfriend in a hotel room. In the early 1960s there was an internal mob war between forces of mob boss/olive oil importer Joseph Profaci and the Gallo brothers who’d once provided enforcement for Profaci.

Your background?

I was a philosophy major at UNC-Chapel Hill where I got my BA in 1983. I was in college when Michael Jordan was at Carolina and the Tarheels won the NCAA basketball tourney in March 1982. I worked in the dairy industry as a food broker for several years before I found a job at Duke Med Ctr in Durham, NC. At DUMC I was in the Dept of Neurobiology and worked closely with neuroscientists. I became involved in library research, obtaining much needed references and source material for various faculty members. Research became a passion for me and I’ve used it exceedingly as a writer! I remained at Duke for 22 years and retired in 2012 when my research position was eliminated. I began writing and self-publishing in 2012. My very first work, “Tragic Deaths of Youths in Cary, North Carolina”, my hometown. I was born in Troy, NC and moved to Cary when I was 2. I’ve seen the town grow from 3,000 to 180,000 since 1962. The Research Triangle surrounding the area is a virtual Silicon Valley southeast. I earned an MBA from Benedictine University in Chicago since my retirement from Duke.

Tell us about your approach to writing....

As I have a very curious mind I approach new subjects to write about by entering key words about something I’m interested in at the moment. For example the book I mentioned above led into another about Joseph Profaci’s business holdings in Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York City. Entering key words in a database pulls up multiple newspaper articles about a particular topic. In the last few days I’ve used keyword searches to locate and write about Cosa Nostra figures who were close to Brooklyn waterfront boss Albert Anastasia. He’s quite famous for his murderous career and having been murdered in a barbers chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan on October 25, 1957. One of his associates, Joseph Florino, did time with Anastasia at Sing Sing in 1920-1921. Another, Vito Gurino, has a very extensive criminal record that was published in a 1932 Long Island newspaper I found in a search. Florino and Gurino are shadowy and mysterious mobsters that haven’t been greatly covered by previous writers.

And we cascade you with the following:
Who's the toughest Mafioso who ever lived in your view?
Who was the weakest and why?
An interesting historical place you'd like to go back in time and visit .... why that place? And a wiseguy who's dead who you'd like to go back in time and have dinner with .... Why that wiseguy?

I think that someone like Carmine Galante was perhaps the toughest who comes to mind. He was a stone cold killer who committed a great many murders himself. He was close to Charles Lucky Luciano and helped Luciano bring the mob into Montreal, Canada. Any of the places I write about in the New York metropolitan area are worthy of going back in time and visiting. Among the most intriguing was the Brownsville Brooklyn candy store that served as a front for Murder Inc. This was the first murder for hire ring to operate nationwide in the USA. Anastasia was a lynchpin of Murder Inc and Louis Lepke Buchalter was it’s founder. I think someone like Walter Winchell who published a syndicated column read nationwide would be someone I’d like to have dinner with. Winchell knew mobsters as well as entertainment celebrities. At the end of nationwide manhunt Louis Lepke Buchalter turned himself into Winchell on a street in Manhattan. Perhaps the weakest was Giuseppe Masseria who was a mob leader before the Castellamarese Wars of the early 1930s. In fact his murder at a Coney Island restaurant touched off this war for mob supremacy in 1931. Masseria wasn’t a weak man but he allowed himself to be murdered in a gangland slaying by eating at the same place regularly. It’s likely that Vito Genovese and Lucky Luciano killed him with shotguns in a gruesome and bloody slaying that day in Coney Island.

Can you give an idea of the kind of money you make from book sales?

I’ll tell you this Ed. It supplements my retirement and annuity nicely. But it’s not something I live on daily.