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"I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa
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"I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,316 ratings  ·  147 reviews
The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his frie ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Steerforth (first published October 7th 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Boyd

I really and truly couldn't care less who killed Jimmy Hoffa, but if he's the catalyst for this book being written--well then, cry me a river. Charles Brandt is the nominal author here, but it's Frank Sheeran's book all the way, and is he ever a genius storyteller! Okay, he killed Hoffa, but let's put that into perspective by noting that Hoffa was just one notch on what was apparently one of the longest gunstocks in the history of man. In between killings--or, as he delicately put it, "taking ca
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Jim
Apr 05, 2014 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I received an offer that I couldn't refuse I figured, what do I have to lose (except maybe an unscheduled trip to Australia)? Actually, the book was loaned to me by my current employer...but it sounds much more threatening when put into 'mafia' terms.
Frank Sheeran, the central character in the book, is a murderous creep, known liar and alcoholic, who was apparently controlled by the mafia. Why should I believe anything in this book? Needless
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Dan
Frank Sheeran tells a good story.
Regardless of your interest in the mafia/teamsters/kennedy story, Sheeran colorfully articulates life in Philadelphia from the Depression through the 1970's. He describes in living detail the odd jobs, the restaurants, the hang-outs, the entertainment, and characters who populated his life story. Even as an old man he describes the affliction of arthritis better than any medical text.
Of course, it helps that Sheeran was a leading character himself in the fascinat
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Becky
While "true crime" is not my genre, I read this on the recommendation of a friend and because I remember all of the publicity about Hoffa, the Teamsters, organized crime, etc. The story is told through two narrators -- Frank Sheeran killer of Hoffa (noted in quotes) and Charles Brandt, the author who intersperses background details.

The book sheds good insight into the character of Sheeran (from his perspective of course) which was aided by the insight of the author through hundreds of hours of i
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Richard
The real story about the infamous Jimmy Hoffa and his surprising demise. Although the author and the reputed gangster that did the deed don't address the question about where his remains are buried (it isn't in the end zone at the Meadowlands according to this account)the account rings true.

A fascinating story about Hoffa's rise to power as the head of the Teamster's Union, his increasing relationship with the mob who made good use of the Teamster's growing pension fund to build out casino's, Ho
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John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rich Jonny's Son
The book, "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, is about Jimmy Hoffa's life and his mysterius death. Jimmy's main Internal conflict was being convicted of jury tampering and attempted bribery. His main external conflict was his death.

While readin this book i made a text-to-world connection. with how politicans are alway landing in hot water. Like Elliote Spitzer for example.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars. The book has action a
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Liz
Wow! After completing this book, you'll be sure you know the real truth behind the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa- and even if you didn't care before, you will now! It's the memoir of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, told to the author over the course of a few years before Frank dies. Not only is it a confession of the Jimmy Hoffa murder, it also lays out in chilling detail just how much power and influence the mafia had (or has?) over the lives of every American, from labor issues to the economy and ...more
Nicole
Though I don't read very much true crime and I actually didn't know much about the historical background for this book going in, I really ended up enjoying it. You get the sense from the afterword that Sheeran didn't reveal nearly as much as he could have, but that what he did was enough. Definitely an interesting window into another world... Also, Brandt does a good job of bringing in conjecture and points from other Hoffa/mob narratives. Overall, would recommend to true crime and/or Goodfellas ...more
Sushant
True Crime is not usually a genre that I'm inclined towards reading. But, when I found out that Martin Scorsese is planning to make a movie out of this novel, I decided to give it a shot. And boy, what an excellent narrative this one has!!

Before this I had never heard of Jimmy Hoffa or the Teamsters. But, reading about his rise and sudden disappearance of the face of the Earth, through the eyes of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, Hoffa's closest aide and friend, and supposedly his kisser(the mob wa
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Jeff Tucker
There are so many revelations in this book that it’s hard to review it without giving something away. Growing up during the depression with an abusive father and then enduring a difficult WWII experience in the army Frank Sheeran evolved into a man capable of almost anything. It’s a fascinating story and it all sounds very plausible to me. It touches on many of the great historical mysteries and conspiracy theories of the last half century. It's a fascinating read.
Carlisle
I enjoyed this book in a way I didn't really expect to. I picked it up to hear the voice of Frank Sheeran but ended up being far more fascinated by the voice of Charles Brandt. Throughout the book, he allows Sheeran's story to come through as a first person narrative, interrupting occasionally to provide analysis and his own commentary. It was insightful and the extra information was really helpful for someone who hadn't heard of the Hoffa case much before - like me.
What I really found interest
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Nathan
This was a tragic but endearing book. The story is about a 6'4" Irishman that went from being a small time crook to hit man to union boss to the man that killed Jimmy Hoffa (his dear friend).

Sheeran did many horrible things in his life (murder, theft, racketeering). I would suggest the worst thing he did was get Joe Biden elected senator of Delaware.
Mike Starkey
If you enjoyed Goodfellas, Casino or Donnie Brasco, this book is a must read. Brandt relays Frank Sheeran's story beautifully, from his rough upbringing all the way to his deathbed. Whether or not Sheeran really did kill Hoffa doesn't really matter because this is a masterfully told story.
Aimee
Frank Sheeran is, almost by definition, an unreliable narrator, but he does manage to sound very convincing throughout his reminiscences. Sociopath though he surely was, he was also colorful and witty and even, in a strange way, likable.
As for whether what he says about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa is true, well, his claim to have killed the notorious Teamsters boss is just one of many; get in line, Frank. The scariest part of it all is not that he might have killed Hoffa, but that he makes it clea
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Harvey Smith
Very interesting book, about Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a gangster hit man who learned to kill without thinking about it by serving many terms on the front lines killing in WWII.

This book seems to link the mob [whichever segment or family it was] to the killing of President Kennedy, and with the killing of Jimmy Hoffa.

As such, it's fairly convincing as to both things actually happening. Frank Sheeran supplied high powered rifles to the assassins of Kennedy, and he personally killed his friend
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Robin Wray
Well written, true crime story. Good juxtaposition of author's research with Frank Sheeran's direct quotes. Answers mystery of Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.
Sandra
I gotta say I enjoyed reading this book. Sheeran is a complicated man doing complicated things, many of which the law and most people's moralities disapprove of. Yet, as I read along I couldn't help but understand the fascination that the mob life most hold for some. You feel like these are just good ole boys doing the dirty work that nobody else wants to do, reminded me of some guys that my Uncle used to know when I was a kid in the Bronx. So pull up a chair, get some spaghetti with gravy and j ...more
Steve
Whoa!!! Great story
Robert
"I Heard You Paint Houses" came to my attention when I read that Martin Scorsese was in talks to make the movie with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro starring. I've previously enjoyed some of the work that Scorsese's films were based on (Goodfellas being based on Wiseguys). "I Heard You Paint Houses" is the tale of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, one of the most dangerous men during the heyday of the mafia. So dangerous in fact, he was listed as one of the 26 top figures and only one of two non-Italian ...more
Walt
This is a difficult to review. On the one hand it includes some fanciful stories; but it also has some stories that ring true. I think readers need to be cautious with accepting this book. The epilogue includes references to other authors who based their claims on Frank Sheeran's recollections with the casual dismissal that these are incorrect or lies seriously undermines the reliability of this book.

The biggest problem is that the focus of the book is not Sheeran; but rather Jimmy Hoffa. There
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Max Magbee
Interesting oral account of Teamster and Mob hit man, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran's life and work alongside Teamster Boss, Jimmy Hoffa and other organized crime chieftans, as well as his revealing knowledge of the details of Hoffa's "Last Ride".
Written by former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Delaware, Charles Brandt, the narrative is told in Sheeran's own words (with Brandt filling in the gaps for clarification on many details) therefore everything is very matter-of-fact while also being car
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Ruth Ann
So many rumors float around about events that it can be hard to decide what to believe. I think this book dispelled many rumors that I've heard over the years and not just about the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. "I heard you paint houses" is an euphemism about being a professional killer for the mob. Charles Brandt writes about events from Frank Sheeran's experiences with his father, the U.S. Army, and the Teamsters that form Sheeran's personality and lead to his subsequent life in crime. Especially c ...more
Joseph Bruno
“I Heard You Paint House's - Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa,” is the autobiography of mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheehan, written by former homicide prosecutor and Chief Deputy Attorney General of the State of Delaware, Charles Brandt. The main point of the book is that Sheehan, more than 25 years after the disappearance of Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa, finally admitted to putting two bullets in Hoffa's head. The book is interspersed with Brant's writing, which are precise and quite ...more
Allan MacDonell
In fiction, an admitted sociopath relaying the course of events is accepted and enjoyed as an “unreliable narrator.” In a true-life memoir, an autobiographical subject with a self-admitted history of lies and betrayals, especially one who purports to have played a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and to have delivered the bullets that killed labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, can—if “I Heard You Paint Houses” is any indication—be experienced as an enthralling expert witness to an Am ...more
Bill Varon
there's a reason scorsese, de niro, pesci, etc. are making the movie version of this book: it's really good and it finally tells the story behind jimmy hoffa's disappearance and the mob's role in American labor unions, especially back in "the day" ('50's thru the '80's). thru this book i learned the jimmy hoffa story and how our unions were built, something i never paid attention to growing up but had always heard about in the news or tangentially in movies. but what i also really appreciated in ...more
John
i was looking on IMDB or Wikipedia or somewhere @ Martin Scorsese's bio, and saw that this was a book he was thinking of filming, and so that's what piqued my interest. i think Scorsese does best when he film's crime and mob related material. and then when i saw that this was a story about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, knowing that Jack Nicholson starred in a movie about Hoffa, i was curious as to what angle Scorsese might take to film this.

the book is convincing. Frank Sheeran might not have been
...more
David
“I Heard You Paint Houses” were the first words Teamster leader and union boss Jimmy Hoffa spoke to Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. This book is a retelling of some of the most tense economic moments in the 1960s, where mafias ran unions and criminals rose to the top. Charles Brandt managed to sit down with an aging Frank Sheeran and extract first-hand accounts of Jimmy Hoffa’s accounts with the mob and his ultimate death. Hoffa’s disappearance was for 35 years one of the most mysterious unsolved ...more
Matt
I heard you paint houses is a good read. I give this a solid 4 stars. Like many books like this, you have to sift through the bluster, and exaggerations to get a real story. This book reads a little more like an Autobiography, but Brandt fills in the gaps to tie it all together.

Clearly connected to Hoffa and also with several murders on his hands, it is hard to really credit Frank Sheeran with killing Hoffa or his explanation of his whereabouts, you have to be able to absorb the probable lies he
...more
Lynn
Fascinating book! This book was mentioned in a newspaper article about the vast amount of corruption in Northeastern Pennsylvania government. It linked a convicted judge in our county to Russell Buffalino who played a prominent role in the Hoffa story.

The book is based on a series of interviews conducted with Frank Sheeran over a period of years. Much of the book is directly quoted from those interviews. The major focus is Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance and the backstory. Frank's insight into mob a
...more
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