The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs and Murder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs and Murder

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  292 ratings  ·  46 reviews
When Kentucky Blueblood Drew Thornton parachuted to his death in September 1985carrying thousands in cash and 150 pounds of cocainethe gruesome end of his startling life blew open a scandal that reached to the most secret circles of the U.S. government. The story of Thornton and The Company he served, and the lone heroic fight of State Policeman Ralph Ross against an inter...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by iUniverse (first published 1990)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bluegrass Conspiracy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bluegrass Conspiracy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 534)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book delves into the life of a Kentucky blueblood who apparently had an adventurish streak and evolved from being a Lexington narcotics detective to being found dead on a rural Kentucky farm with a malfunctioning parachute and multiple kilos of cocaine strapped to his body. (I can't remember the exact number but it was well over a hundred pounds if I remember right, and in case you can't figure this out on your own the parachute malfunctioned because it couldn't handle the weight of the cok...more
I read this story because I am from Kentucky. I thought the topic of the book was interesting, and the story line was good. However, this book is hard to read and the majority of it moves slow. There are so many people that are introduced that it's hard to keep up with everyone. At the end of the book, updates were given for certain people. I'll be honest, some of these I don't remember! I felt like I should have been taking notes as I read!

The story itself is very interesting. Showing Kentucky,...more
The Lexington area bluebloods (Old Lexingtonians) were/are struggling to keep their land and horse farms due to the encroachment of development and the offers from developers to buy (yes, we do need several more Walgreens on every corner in Bourbon, Woodford and Jessamine Counties, don't we?) their land. This book details Drew's attempt to hang onto the family farms. I, for one, am more than happy when Sheik Mohammed, his brothers and the Irish horse conglomerates purchase and run the Bluegrass...more
Ben Watson
Great story in need of even greater editing. Don't misunderstand me, I finished the book. But it could be trimmed by 1/3 and still be a stellar true crime book; but at least it helped provide a plot thread for Justified Season 4 with the Andrew Thompson (actually Andrew Thornton from BGC) character.
dean fisher
Apr 30, 2010 dean fisher is currently reading it
So far I feel like it's a bit poorly written, making it a slow read for me. I'm interested in the subject and the story, but I'm just not drawn to it like I want to be!
Anne Stevens
Opening with the true account of Kentuckian Drew Thornton parachuting to his death--wearing a bulletproof vest, night-vision goggles, and $75 million worth of cocaine strapped to his waist--how could this book not be a winner?

Detailing the drug scandal that swept the Bluegrass and involved everyone from the police to "the most secret circles of the U.S. government", Sally Denton spares no names as she depicts this entangled web of drugs, power, and murder; names well-known in Kentucky's high soc...more
Joanne Centa
True story which involves bluebloods, gumshoes, murder, and international drug and gun smuggling in Lexington, KY, in the 1980s. (Of course the Governor is involved--it's Kentucky!)
Interesting story that would have done well with a different editor. Growing up in Lexington, it was surreal to read about the corruption going on right down the road. If you can get through the order the information is given and concentrate on the story being told, you will enjoy yourself.
Tanya Faberson
I had to quit this book a little over halfway through. Just awfully written, and after so many reprints, I don't know how there can be that many typos left throughout. It was really distracting. Also, a book like this with so many players involved in the story really needs to have some photographs included. Half the time, I was trying to find pictures of these people on-line. It just became really old. The writing is disjointed, the story all over the place, and it was a real disappointment. I'm...more
Marcus Beatty
Drugs and uncover CIA wars.. not much as changed
Louise Annetta
There was a LOT of information and it was sometimes hard to keep the people straight. It got easier as i went further into the book.
It could have been helped by a good editor, and by putting much of the information in footnotes. Footnoting details is a way to keep the plot moving in non-fiction.
I would most likely not have finished, but i was reading it for book group and wanted an informed opinion.
Dennis Blewitt
Sally Denton's well researched and insightful investigation of the corruption of the Drug Enforcement cabal is highly accurate from my own experience and is a must read for any student of social structure. It shows why J.Edgar Hoover would not allow FBI agents get involved with drug enforcement while he headed the FBI. Sally draws out the interstate complexity of the police drug selling.
WOW!!!!!! What a mess!!! Really an eye-opener that such a small city police dept could be so corrupt and be corrupt for so long. Also interesting is the fact this corruption went all the way to the governor's office. What a shame and disgrace that Ross's career was ruined when he was trying to do the right thing and get to the bottom of this tangled web of crime, deceit, and corrpution.
I read this for a book club. I did not care for it. It is a true story; and it is very depressing to learn about all of the corruption that existed (s?) in the state of Kentucky. There are so many people and so much detail in the book - it is almost overwhelming and could have been better organized. I'm glad someone dug in and told the story - but it is hard to slog through.

While it can get a bit tedious to remember all the names being thrown at you, the information is quite interesting. However, be prepared because there are some info dumps. All in all though, I found it fascinating to read about all these things that happened around the area I was currently living. I also had no idea so much illicit activity was happening in my home state!
I liked this book. It had some editorial weaknesses and ended on a note that left me hanging. It's amazing how drugs and weapons have only permeated the world more and more since then. Money, corruption and power rule the world.

I wonder why Ralph Ross was not interviewed on Dominick Dunne's show about the book, Freefall, and why a conspirator, John Bizzack was.
I thought I should read this since it involves crime in Lexington, and I have to say, it was engrossing to read about all the crazy murders, drug smuggling and police cover-ups going on in the laste 1970s and into the 80s. Anyone living in Lexington or people whp enjoy "true crime" would probably enjoy this book.
Ben Wilson
Mar 24, 2008 Ben Wilson added it
Recommended to Ben by: Mom, Holly
Shelves: neverfinished
Picked up and put down a few times - sub-par writing on a fascinating topic close to my Bluegrass Roots. My mother claims to have met some of the particulars back in the 80s. Small town, high crime - what's not to love? Oh yeah, the dreadful writing.

One day I will read you.
Holly Bond
Oct 09, 2007 Holly Bond rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: conspiracy theorists
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book years ago for a book club, and one of the member's dad was one of the police officers involved in this. So, he came the night that we discussed it. It was really interesting. I have lived in KY most of my life and had never heard of this. Interesting stuff.
I hesitate to call this a study in organized crime. It is the biography of an adventurous drug smuggler; not the story of a "preppy Mafia." The author tried to present a large criminal conspiracy; but the connections between characters was weak and debatable.
Maryellen Walter
This book started out as very interesting and fast paced but then the story dragged. Also keeping track of all the different characters was a chore. Great story of perseverance on the part of one man but something was just missing.
Loved the book. It read like a newspaper article which made it a long read but the story was very interesting. I have met people that are mentioned in this book. I had no idea they had once been a part of a cover up this big.
Kayla Rae Whitaker
Not terribly well-written, but entertaining. It is some degree of beach reading. Snarky but sharp observations on the Lexington Horse Breeding crowd of the 1970s and 80s. Also makes frequent references to horse sex.
Awesome book. I can relate for I am from Ky and I know where a lot of these places are that the author talks about. I remember all this going down when I was younger. Have read this book several times.
Norma Green
I haven't finished this book yet, but so far, very good book. I didn't realize all of this drug crime was swirling around in Kentucky before and during John Y. Brown's term as our governor.
Miranda Boggs
If you wanna know about the underbelly of the drug trade in Kentucky in the 70's read this book. You will be amazed by how rampant the corruption was within the police force and DEA.
I enjoyed the topic / subject matter, but it is a hard book to read. It is like reading a text book. Surprised how many typos were missed in the editing process.
This book is interesting because it is a true story that takes place in Kentucky. It is hard to read, and reads more like a history book at times than an actual novel.
The book was not very well written but was a topic I was interested in learning more about. I actually got more information from a Google search than from the book.
The book itself is eh but the story is so crazy and compelling that you can't help but plow through. Sometimes, the tale does trump how it's composed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Lexington Reads: "The Bluegrass Conspiracy" by Sally Denton 16 42 Jun 12, 2012 08:04AM  
  • The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate's Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History
  • Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America
  • The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old Wild West
  • Nancy Wake
  • Wedlocked
  • It's the Way You Say It: Becoming Articulate, Well-Spoken, and Clear
  • Within Arm's Length: A Secret Service Agent's Definitive Inside Account of Protecting the President
  • Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament
  • The Only Boy for Me
  • Fireflies
  • Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
  • Thread that Runs so True
  • Under God
  • Rendezvous With Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World
  • The Little Book of Heartbreak: Love Gone Wrong Through the Ages
  • Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining andthe Devastation ofAppalachia
  • Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp
  • Head Off & Split
American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman's Passage in the American West The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right Passion and Principle: John and Jessie Fremont, the Couple Whose Power, Politics, and Love Shaped Nineteenth-Century America

Share This Book

“Lexington, Kentucky looks like paradise. Acres of grass as green and tender as a golf course putting green surround hilltop mansions. New Circle Road--a beltway enveloping the city's heartland like a moat--attempts to separate the wealthy landowners from the encroaching strip centers and fast-food joins that are symbolic of the rest of the state .... Combining the traditional feelings of Southerners with the uniquely gorgeous landscape of the bluegrass, Lexingtonians consider themselves and their region the cream of the crop--not only of Kentucky, but also of the nation.” 4 likes
More quotes…