“Today’s events tomorrow is history, yet event seen by the naked eye and lack the depth of human struggles, triumphs and suffering. Writing history is writing the soul of the past, so that the present generation may learn from the past mistakes and take responsibility for the future”….Epifanio de Los Santos
Michael P. Dineen draws a haunting picture on the affluent tapestry of the criminal culture and drug infused canvas of Long Island New York in the 1980’s. Having experienced it first-hand, Dineen wrote a fictional account of the truth through the eyes of Patrick Hunter born in NYC but raised on Long Island.
Dineen himself was raised in Huntington, Long Island, where he taught Karate for over 20 years and became a trainer to professional athletes. Out of high school, Dineen pursued a life of crime for more than 20 years and lived to tell about it and to write about it. However, Michael Dineen reached deep into the echoes of a revolving door and embraced the void by turning something so darkly negative into the dawn of positivity. His desire is that people and their families affected by drug addictions might learn and benefit from his trials and his past mistakes……
What inspired you to write “Suburban Gangsters?”
It is really weird. Back in the 90’s is when a lot of the stuff was actually going on. Not long after we got involved with the feds and police there was so much insanity for a ten-year period. One of my friends suggested that I write a book. He knew that you couldn’t make this stuff up. I thought I would maybe one day, but it always sat in the back of my mind. But here’s the thing, I never graduated high school and after the ninth grade, I never really took school too seriously. Then I really got hooked on drugs and it took me a long time to get out of that. So, when I got back from Brooklyn in 2010, I decided to try and write the book. I hadn’t been in school in 30 years, so I sat down and wrote two paragraphs. I called a friend of mine who was actually a writer and she loved it. She encouraged me to keep going. So, I did it little by little, but it was hard for me at first because I was dealing with some really bad episodes of depression. Working through that wasn’t easy, but I managed to write a little bit at a time. When I got about 100 pages done, I had a neighbor read some of it and he was blown away by it. He told me it was really, really good which encouraged me further. It inspired me to finish the rest. It had taken me half of a book to figure out how I was going to write it, so I wrote the rest of the book in a better fashion and then at the end I went back and re-wrote the entire thing over again. Now I wish I could go back and add to it because I left so much out. Now that I think about it, I’m sorry I didn’t go into more of the dynamics with the addiction and the families involved. The families of the people in the book suffered tremendously.
Where you born and raised in Huntington?
No. I was actually born in New York City, in Jackson Heights, Queens, but we moved to Huntington when I was about five years old.
Weren’t you a little nervous about writing the book?
I was but then I said “fuck this, I have way too good of a story to tell.” I felt that I had to get it out there. So, what I did was I kind of changed the names and I wrote it in the third person. I wrote details about certain crimes that basically only someone who knew someone who did the crime would know about it. I was very vague about certain descriptions. My friends shot two guys after a bar fight in New York City. One of the guys was the former Staten Island borough president’s son. My friends had an argument inside the place, but when my friends want me to leave at three in the morning the guys, from Staten Island were waiting outside for them. My friends beat them up, but they came back 10 minutes later with sticks and bats. As soon as they got close my friend said “fuck this” and pulled out his piece and shot them. So, what I did instead of saying who shot them I referred to them as one of the boys that was there. I was kind of clever about the way I worded certain things.
What was the scariest adventure you encountered?
There’s been so many….I don’t know where to begin. I’ve had so many run-ins with law-enforcement and stuff. One night I got pulled over in Queens. This is when I was a drug addict and I went in to cop heroin and cocaine. I had about six or seven bundles of heroin and a half ounce of coke and the cops showed up right after the guy dropped it off and put it in my lap. All of a sudden the van rolls up and the cops jumped out at us. So, I took the drugs and put it underneath my “you know what.” Thank God I was wearing bikini briefs instead of boxer shorts. The cops grabbed us and put us outside the car, patted down and they didn’t find anything. They didn’t find anything in the car either. But they did find $1000 and wondered what I was doing with all the money and where were the drugs? Five minutes later two more vans show up and another 10 cops got out. I was saying to myself “Oh, I’m going to get caught.” A guy with a white shirt grabbed me and said he was going to take me down to the station so I might as well give it up now. I explained to him that I had a drug problem once and I owed some drug dealer some money so I was just paying them back so they would get off my back. I knew they found the money. He made me sit there for 5 minutes and then said, “get the fuck out of here.” I would have been in jail for the next couple of years for that.
Do you ever do any time in jail?
Just small stays here and there. I was never in there for any long periods of time, and none of that started happening until I became hooked on drugs myself.
If you had to do it over again would you have done it the same way?
I would kill to be able to turn the clocks back to seventh grade and just pay attention in school, because I was actually a very good student. I would have done everything to do well in school and follow the right path. Get a regular job and lead a very boring and bland life. When you read the book, you will see that there was so much chaos that goes on and I’m surprised that I am still here right now.
Did you ever consider going to high schools and speaking about your experience for the students?
I would love to because I know I would get my point across whereas maybe a lot of other people wouldn’t be able to. I am very candid about what I went through. I’ve been through so much that people usually listen when I start talking because they are in awe of some of these things that I managed to live through. I think that it is very important that I do that at some point. My hope in the end is this: I want my book to turn into a series and what I want to do is start a foundation with that money and be able to help families and people that are in crisis. I’d like to try and get them on a straight path and to be productive and just become normal citizens because the things that people go through at home have a direct effect of what happens later in life. I think that’s very important.
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