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Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Heroin’s Teflon Don

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Often name-dropped by countless rappers and touted as the “John Gotti” of the 1970s, Leroy “Nicky” Barnes bares his life story in this narrative account.  Written in collaboration with author Tom Folsom, Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Heroin’s Teflon Don (Rugged Land) is the unadulterated story of a Harlem linchpin told in his own words. Look no further for pure, unglorified insight into the mind of a kingpin; not always pretty but real. Neither cautionary nor praiseful of his former lifestyle, Barnes simply tells the truth and nothing but. There are no sob stories here as he objectively outlines his childhood, his drug addiction, his time served in jail and how he became Harlem’s “Teflon Don”. Barnes’ candor makes for a book that you will want to re-read in order to understand the psyche of a man who unabashedly had drug dealing down to a science. He did it well and outlines much of that in this book. But what makes Mr. Untouchable so appealing is that Barnes never seeks approval nor gloats about the money, power and respect he had in his heyday, although much of what he did (parties at the Time Life Building, high-speed chases with NYPD in foreign sports cars) was unheard of for a Black man during his era, especially one involved in illegal activities. Mr. Untouchable highlights much of what most people don’t know about Barnes and The Council, the infamous drug-dealing outfit he belonged to. Members’ personalities and character flaws are exposed along with specific events that led up to the demise of the organization. No one is spared as Barnes gives it straight, no chaser about his women (“She was just a girl I knocked up on our first date whose needs I provided for as a gentleman”), his enemies (“I want you to read every word of my story and see where I put you and ask yourself, was it worth it?”) and even what led to his cooperation with law enforcement which resulted in release from prison in 1998 at age 64. Replete with vivid imagery and brutal honesty, Barnes’story will take you on a vibrant ride through Harlem that’s better than any blaxploitation movie you could ever watch. But unlike a movie, this story is true and recounts the regret, loneliness and betrayal felt by anyone who has ever been part of America ’s drug trade and prison system.

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