Review: Marked Man by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro

Marked Man by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro

Marked Man
John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro
Roaring Brook Press
Published March 19, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Marked Man

1971. Brooklyn, New York. Undercover cop Frank Serpico is knocking on a drug dealer’s door. His partners are there to back him up, but when the door opens, he’s staring down the barrel of a gun―and his partners are nowhere to be found.

For more than a century, the New York Police Department had been plagued by corruption, with cops openly taking bribes from gamblers and drug dealers. Not Serpico. He refused to take dirty money and fought to shed light on the dark underbelly of the NYPD. But instead of being hailed as a hero, he became a target for every crooked cop on the force.

In Marked Man, John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro bring this true story of police corruption to life. Join Frank Serpico on his one-man crusade to clean up the largest police force in the United States. And discover the price he had to pay for being an honest cop.

Marked Man on Goodreads

My Review

Wow. This is not the kind of book I would normally pick up off the shelf at a bookstore or library, but I am really glad I read it. The structure of the book is a little unusual in that it’s eight chapters written like a biography—third-person point of view, recounting events chronologically. The chapters are broken down into shorter sections with breaks between them. Between the chapters, Serpico speaks to us directly in short notes in which he discusses how he felt at a particular moment or what he expected would happen next. I loved the way this pulled me into his life story and made me feel connected to him.

The short sections within each chapter make this a pretty quick read, too. I think I read it in a little over two hours or so. I also read it all in one day because I couldn’t stop thinking about it every time I closed the book.

I’m so glad we have brave officers like Frank Serpico who have had the courage to stand up for what’s right, even when it would have been so much easier to look the other way. Reading this book makes me only more convinced that we need outside accountability for police departments everywhere so that if there are issues, they can be fairly addressed.

I think readers who enjoy fast-paced nonfiction, biographies, or true crime stories will enjoy this one.

Marked Man on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Frank Serpico is an Italian American who was a police officer.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used pretty infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
References to prostitution.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Frank overhears or directly hears racist comments against Italians and Black people. Someone shoots a man in the face.

Drug Content
References to drug trafficking.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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