Are you going to write my story of my life, the truth? Some things they sound bad, they look bad, they were bad. You can put it in there but the truth not fiction. I don’t want any fiction.
Joseph Conforte to the author, Rio de Janiero, 2001
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MR. MADAME is currently being revised to make it shorter and tighter for the many readers who don’t have patience to enjoy subtle details, or huge swaths of history for that matter. Subscribe to my email list and you can be in the loop on my progress, have access to articles I’ve written, get notice of speaking engagements and other announcements of my work. Research inquiries are accepted.
Mr. Madame: Portrait of America’s Biggest Little Criminal
Part crime exposé that lays bare the messy lives of one of America’s most notorious couples. Part biography that’s gritty and at times raunchy, full of twisted love and betrayal, crime and corruption. Set in the 1970s, MR. MADAME is a voyeuristic high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse, written in omniscient narrative.
The story begins with the grand opening of the Mustang Ranch brothel: a monument to Joe and Sally’s success. Sally pursues her dream of managing a world heavyweight boxing champion and getting rid of Joe with disastrous results, ending in the murder of her lover and protector, seventh-ranked heavyweight Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena–the pride of Argentina. The event crushes her soul, along with that of the nation of Argentina, and then she and Joe are convicted of tax evasion. Now, instead of seeking vengeance against Joe, she joins with him to fight the Feds.
Joe’s always two or three steps ahead of law enforcement until he’s caught regularly destroying financial records and cheating on his tax filings. Joe pushes back, but after all his legal maneuvers and attempts to influence judges and tax laws peter out he’s faced with spending the next several years in prison, and with the IRS on his back.
Between the Confortes in northern Nevada and the Mafia in southern Nevada, the state had become a cesspool of organized crime. The FBI and Department of Justice send in Agent Joseph Yablonsky to Las Vegas to “plant the American flag in the desert”. Yablonsky sets his sights on Nevada’s four federal judges and singles out the honorable Harry Claiborne, who’d been a vocal thorn in the side of the Feds in and out of court. Claiborne was also Joe and Sally’s former attorney, friend, and client before he became a judge, who had wiped the courtroom floor with federal prosecutors on several occasions in defense of high-ranking mobsters and the Confortes, too. Yablonsky then enlists Joe Conforte’s trusted attorney, Stan Brown Sr., to get Joe to bribe Claiborne.
At the precipice of Joe’s incarceration for tax evasion, when unknown to him the FBI sting of Harry Claiborne is underway, he must choose between what he holds most dear–his freedom–and going to jail. Yet the cards had not all been played…
“fab premise, and I would certainly read more”
– Daisy White, author
“I am enjoying this journey into the history of the ranch.”
– David Burgess, a character in the book
“your book on any standard was interesting and captivating throughout with so much information unknown”
– Dean Brymer, a character in the book
“You’ve got the facts and have a compelling style of writing. You give life to these characters…”
– Krista Hill, editor
Quality Control Supervisor
A little tongue-n-cheek.