wr2There is nothing like a great true-life tale of a shady character in early 20th century Chicago. Seriously, Chicago in the 1920s has been a captivating era for books and movies for decades. From the iconic gangster stories to the growth of the great Second City. In his wonderful book, Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation, author Dean Jobb provides us with a relatively untold story that in many ways encapsulates the era and the place. The story of con man Leo Koretz is incredible and hugely entertaining, and serves as a reminder that history is full of these characters – even today.

About Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb: “It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Enter a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz, who enticed hundreds of people to invest as much as $30 million—upward of $400 million today—in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. This rip-roaring tale of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man on the town, then on the lam, is not only a rich and detailed account of a man and an era; it’s a fascinating look at the methods of swindlers throughout history. As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang-war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. As bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant. Leo Koretz was the Bernie Madoff of his day, and Dean Jobb shows us that the American dream of easy wealth is a timeless commodity.”

Empire of Deception has all the elements of a good book – a true story, a dynamic location, and most of all real people who did incredible things.

Empire of Deception by Dean Jobb is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.