CWA GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2005
Gregg and Gina Hill for On The Run
The cheque for £2000 and the Dagger were presented by CWA Chair Danuta Reah.
'The hidden victims of Mafia crime by the children of Henry Hill of 'Goodfellas' infamy. A moving antidote to standard gangster literature.'
By the son and daughter of Henry Hill — immortalised in the book Wiseguy and the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas - On The Run is the harrowing account of a childhood spent coping with an explosive father whilst dodging Mafia payback. Henry Hill's business partner, Jimmy Burke has whacked every person who could possibly implicate him in the infamous Lufthansa robbery at JFK airport. On his way to prison, lifelong gangster Henry is given two options: sleep with the fishes, or enter the FBI's Witness Protection Program. Gregg and Gina are dragged along for the ride. Like nomads, they're forced to wander from state to state, constantly inventing new names and finding new friends, only to abandon them at a moment's notice and living under constant fear of being found and killed.
But Henry, the rock Gregg and Gina so desperately need, is a heavy cocaine user and knows only the criminal life. He is soon up to his old tricks and consistently putting their identities in jeopardy. And so it continues until the kids, now almost grown, can no longer ignore that the Mob might be less of a threat to them than remaining under the roof of their increasingly unbalanced father.
Gregg and Gina Hill were swept away from their lives at a very young age to enter the Witness Protection Program with their father and mother. This is the first time they've spoken about their experiences. They currently live in different parts of the US under aliases.
On the Run is published by Hutchinson.
The judges summarised the entries as 'An interesting range of books with a strong historical perspective stretching from Socrates through the Middle Ages to the present day Mafia.' Here are their comments on the other four books on the shortlist:
'A history of centuries of murder and plunder around the treacherous coasts of Britain. Jamaica Inn - fact or fiction?'
The Last Duel
'A vivid narrative of medieval trial by combat with a riveting account of a real duel over a woman's honour.'
'An intriguing examination of the roots of The Trial in superstition, religion and culture. Carried through to present sensations such as the O J Simpson case.'
A Serpent in Eden
'An illuminating look at the murder of Sir Harry Oakes in Nassau by an author with family connections who has revisited the evidence.'
Joan Lock (Chair) - fiction and non-fiction crime writer and former Metropolitan police officer
Andrew Cresswell - Chief Crown Prosecutor For Devon & Cornwall, solicitor
Professor Allan Jamieson - Director of the Forensic Institute
Sir Bernard Knight - crime writer and former Home Office pathologist
Robert Richardson - journalist and crime writer