Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents with the World's Most Charming Con Man

By David Howard
Read by Joe Ochman

10.21 Hours 10/10/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9780525499206

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A thrilling true crime caper, bursting with colorful characters and awash in ‘70s glamour, that spotlights the FBI's first white-collar undercover sting   1977, the Thunderbird Motel. J.J. Wedick and Jack Brennan—two fresh-faced, maverick FBI agents—were about to embark on one of their agency's first wire-wearing undercover missions. Their target? Charismatic, globetrotting con man Phil Kitzer, whom some called the world's greatest swindler. From the Thunderbird, the three men took off to Cleveland, to Miami, to Hawaii, to Frankfurt, to the Bahamas—meeting other members of Kitzer's crime syndicate and powerful politicians and businessmen he fooled at each stop. But as the young agents, playing the role of proteges and co-conspirators, became further entangled in Phil's outrageous schemes over their months on the road, they also grew to respect him—even care for him. Meanwhile, Phil began to think of Jack and J.J. as best friends, sharing hotel rooms and inside jokes with them and even competing with J.J. in picking up women.   Phil Kitzer was at the center of dozens of scams in which he swindled millions of dollars, but the FBI was mired in a post-Watergate malaise and slow to pivot toward a new type of financial crime that is now all too familiar. Plunging into the field with no undercover training, the agents battled a creaky bureaucracy on their adventures with Phil, hoping the FBI would recognize the importance of their mission. Even as they grew closer to Phil, they recognized that their endgame—the swindler's arrest—was drawing near…    Anchored by larger-than-life characters, framed by exotic locales and an irresistible era, Chasing Phil is high drama and propulsive reading, delivered by an effortless storyteller.

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Summary

Summary

A thrilling true crime caper, bursting with colorful characters and awash in ‘70s glamour, that spotlights the FBI's first white-collar undercover sting
 
1977, the Thunderbird Motel. J.J. Wedick and Jack Brennan—two fresh-faced, maverick FBI agents—were about to embark on one of their agency's first wire-wearing undercover missions. Their target? Charismatic, globetrotting con man Phil Kitzer, whom some called the world's greatest swindler. From the Thunderbird, the three men took off to Cleveland, to Miami, to Hawaii, to Frankfurt, to the Bahamas—meeting other members of Kitzer's crime syndicate and powerful politicians and businessmen he fooled at each stop. But as the young agents, playing the role of proteges and co-conspirators, became further entangled in Phil's outrageous schemes over their months on the road, they also grew to respect him—even care for him. Meanwhile, Phil began to think of Jack and J.J. as best friends, sharing hotel rooms and inside jokes with them and even competing with J.J. in picking up women.
 
Phil Kitzer was at the center of dozens of scams in which he swindled millions of dollars, but the FBI was mired in a post-Watergate malaise and slow to pivot toward a new type of financial crime that is now all too familiar. Plunging into the field with no undercover training, the agents battled a creaky bureaucracy on their adventures with Phil, hoping the FBI would recognize the importance of their mission. Even as they grew closer to Phil, they recognized that their endgame—the swindler's arrest—was drawing near… 
 
Anchored by larger-than-life characters, framed by exotic locales and an irresistible era, Chasing Phil is high drama and propulsive reading, delivered by an effortless storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Exhilarating and cinematic.” Shelf Awareness
“In the genre of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction, Chasing Phil is a standout. What a wild, wonderful story of cons and crooks, told with great style and swagger.” Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief
“Here is an infectiously good tale about the art of the con. In David Howard’s capable hands, a lost world of sharks in tailored suits and their bodacious scams comes to crackling life on the page. I could feel the trickles of sweat from the high-stakes lies, could hear the muffled voices over primitive FBI surveillance gear. And as I read along, I kept checking my back pocket to make sure my wallet was still there.” Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail
“I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun with a true crime book. The plot bobs and weaves, the 70s underworld jet-set scene is rendered with groovy precision, the main characters are big, vibrant, and complex, and the supporting cast seems snatched from a John D. MacDonald caper. Chasing Phil is superb reportage mixed with edge-of-your-seat storytelling.” Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines and Anatomy of a Miracle
“You’d never have wanted to invest with Phil Kitzer—con man extraordinaire, the criminal who initiated the FBI’s age of undercover operations—but boy would it have been great to hang out with him. What a life! David Howard’s suspenseful, propulsive, 1970s-infused book is the closest any of us will ever come to a boozy, airplane-hopping evening with Phil. Chasing Phil is an outstanding, heart-thumping read.” Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods and True Story
“David Howard takes you so deep inside the FBI’s high-stakes, high-testosterone pursuit of one of the 70s great con artists, you can practically taste the Camels and the Cutty Sark. A terrific true-crime tale, masterfully told.” Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu
Chasing Phil snared me with a tale as spellbinding as Catch Me If You Can and American Hustle: A world-class swindler, two FBI agents on his tail, and all the high drama and bad hair the late 70s had to offer. David Howard’s story of the FBI’s first body-wire undercover mission crackles with sharp dialogue and hairpin plot turns. Strap in. This is a true-crime thrill ride.” Bruce Barcott, author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: David Howard

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Runtime: 10.21
Audience: Adult
Language: English