A new Bulger tell-all

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / April 26, 2011

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There are already plenty of books about Whitey Bulger, but the shelf is about to get a little more crowded. Tom Foley, the former head of the Massachusetts State Police who spearheaded the probe that led to murder charges being filed against Bulger, has inked a deal to write an insider’s account of the Boston gangster. The book, to be called “Betrayal,’’ will trace Foley’s 20-year pursuit of Bulger and his discovery that the FBI not only protected the most-wanted mobster but allowed him to build his criminal empire. The book, which Foley is writing with Cambridge author John Sedgwick, was sold to Touchstone after a bidding war among four publishers. (We’re told Foley’s advance is north of $250,000.) Reached yesterday in Florida, the retired top cop said he’s writing the book to “set the record straight.’’ While there is no shortage of books about Bulger, at least a few of them don’t get the story quite right, he said. “This will be the real true story of what went on, and there’s nobody who can tell that story like I can,’’ Foley said. Of course, that hasn’t stopped others from trying. The list includes “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob’’ by Dick Lehr and Gerry O’Neill; “Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob’’ by former Winter Hill henchman Kevin Weeks; “Street Soldier: My Life As an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob’’ by Edward MacKenzie Jr.; Howie Carr’s “The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century’’; and Carr’s latest, “Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano.’’ (We’re not sure what’s “untold,’’ since Martorano has talked to anyone who’ll listen, including “60 Minutes.’’) Foley said he’ll be focusing on the FBI’s (mis)handling of Bulger because that’s what the publisher wants. “When I said this would be about what [investigators] ran into on a daily basis from the government, they jumped all over it,’’ he said. “We’re going to tell the whole thing, including the good bad guys and the bad good guys.’’ There is no timetable for the book, but Foley told us it’ll be done within a year.