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Tag Archives: L.A. Noir

By Anthony Mostrom,

Here in the breezy capital of bland, blond celebrities, it’s hard not to feel a pang of regret after reading Tere Tereba’s engrossing new book, Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.’s Notorious Mobster (ECW Press, Toronto), that Los Angeles lost one of its few genuinely colorful personalities when the gangster died here in 1976.

Cohen’s charisma was off-kilter but undeniable: To Angelenos in the 1950s, he was a shady but humorous character, a “high-stakes gambler” who maybe hung out with too many lowlifes. Straight out of Central Casting in a huge fedora, striped zoot suit and five o’clock shadow, Cohen was in reality an explosively hot-tempered, trigger-happy thug whose motto, “anything to make a buck,” really meant anything dishonest and occasionally lethal.