Story of New Jersey corruption is a page-turner

The true account of a massive government corruption sting operation isn’t exactly my idea of a beach read, but I spent the early part of the summer reading Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman’s The Jersey Sting: A True Story of Crooked Pols, Money-Laundering Rabbis, Black Market Kidneys, and the Informant who Brought it All Down.

Summer affords many book lovers a little extra time to luxuriate between the covers. And we’re curious to hear what our NewsWorks cohort are finding of interest.

The true account of a massive government corruption sting operation isn’t exactly my idea of a beach read, but I spent the early part of the summer reading Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman’s The Jersey Sting: A True Story of Crooked Pols, Money-Laundering Rabbis, Black Market Kidneys, and the Informant who Brought it All Down.

What drew me to the book is its localism. Though the story is set primarily in northern New Jersey, I recognized most of the geography and enjoyed getting a more detailed account of the crimes that led up to the court cases I’ve been seeing in the headlines recently.

The book, written by two Newark Star-Ledger reporters and told partially through FBI transcripts, provides an inside look into what Chris Christie was doing in his pre-gubernatorial days with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, and what people in power are willing (and able) to do to maintain control.

But what I most enjoyed was getting to know Solomon Dwek. The book is told mostly from his perspective. He’s the title’s “informant who brought it all down” — but not before getting himself arrested for a Ponzi scheme. In the book, he works with authorities to sweet talk one politician and rabbi after another to secure (phony) development deals — and it’s all captured on tape.

The book can be a little dense at times, given the repetitive nature of the sting operation. But I like to give anything local a chance, and The Jersey Sting is a worthwhile read for anyone with even the slightest interest in local politics and corruption.

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