Hooking up with his old boyhood chum was a last-gasp idea, but Vince Berardi needed money, and Fee Bann, the one-time-ne'er-do-well, had loads of it. As president of a bank full of Teamsters deposits, Bann and his mobster buddies shelled out unpaid loans to Las Vegas casis, fancy resorts and mob-owned restaurants. So helping Berardi secure a Teamsters loan to build some houses in the New Jersey Pine Barrens would have been easy, until Bann was snuffed out by the mob as an FBI informant helping to finger the murderers of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. Bann runs from both the mob and FBI, hiding under their ses in Atlantic City casis, and when their search gets hot, he goes underground in the Pine Barrens. From the Dead blends true crime - what happened to Hoffa? - with fictional characters based on true-life figures, set in New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Detroit area.
As a former reporter of organized crime for The Philadelphia Inquirer, John Hilferty wrote about the New Jersey connection to Hoffa's disappearance, particularly an unsecured $85,000 loan of Teamsters health & welfare funds to a waste disposal company in Michigan where Hoffa's body was to have been incinerated. Hilferty, in 1980, shared a Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting for The Inquirer's coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. He shared an AP Managing Editors' Award for an investigation into the murder of Philadelphia Mafia boss Angelo Bruno the same year. He is also the author of Moonlight in Vermont, a Novel, judged by the National IndieExcellence Awards to be the best independently-published Romance novel of 2007. With his wife, Ellie, he co-authored The Mad River Valley of Vermont, a photographic history published by Arcadia.