The reading list for “Whitey’s Boyos” looks something like this:
- Black Mass: the canonical book about Whitey Bulger and John Connolly. This is where you get the basic history.
- Boyos: a gritty novel by an ex-Southie gangster. Not brilliant but pretty propulsive, and for obvious reasons the author has a good feel for the Southie underworld.
- Street Soldier: in a similar vein to Boyos, but non-fiction. Not as well-written and some have questioned its veracity, but I enjoyed it.
- All Souls: the best of the non-fiction, in my eyes. It doesn’t directly focus on Whitey, but it’s got great detail about growing up in Southie and it’s very well-written. Read this one for balance: it’s the price paid by Southie residents for the kind of things you read about in Street Soldier.
- The Kenzie/Gennaro series: an absolutely searing Boston-based mystery series. Dennis Lehane knows the dirty streets of Dorchester, and he writes the grime as well as anyone. If I can get half the feel of these novels into the game, I’ll be happy. (See also his Mystic River, which is not a Kenzie/Gennaro book but which shares their characteristics.)