Michael P. Dineen grew up in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He studied and taught karate for over 20 years. He was a trainer to professional athletes.
After high school, Dineen pursued a life of crime for more than 20 years and survived to tell this story, his story.
“Suburban Gangsters: A Compelling Tale Of Life In The Drug Trade”
Sometimes in life the direction you choose could come down to making a choice that at the time didn’t seem like a big deal, only looking back you knew it wasn’t smart. Had his conversation gone differently with his father in the spring of 1985, Patrick may never had become a criminal. While shooting hoops with his old man that breezy afternoon in April, they struck up a conversation. Patrick had been kicked out of Walt Whitman High School a few months earlier, but had been working full-time ever since. He was working hard at the time and would have kept at it. But his dad’s rejection, and the way he did it, burned Patrick badly.
Patrick doesn’t blame his dad for becoming a criminal, but that was the final straw. Somehow, he was determined to find a way to get that Mustang GT his dad wouldn’t cosign for him. Selling cocaine would help him to achieve that. That’s when he began hustling.
This was just the beginning of Patrick’s drug selling days. He sold and trained and trained and sold. He worked with the cops, the FBI, and the DEA.
It may feel like a quick high. You may think just one more big sale and you can get out. But you’ll learn that the life of drugs and crime doesn’t pay.
Do you have many regrets from your former life?
Yes, many regrets. My biggest one is that I didn’t take school serious enough starting in 9th grade. The heavy pot smoking played a big part in that. Even though I played sports still, it was affecting my concentration and my schoolwork. It was there where the seeds were planted for what was to come eventually. That would continue up through high school where I began dabbling in harder drugs at times. For myself, and my pals whom I hung around with, this foolish lifestyle would eventually back us into a corner, not giving us many options without an education. Everyone wanted to get rich quick, and the only way to do that was to jump into the hustle game. Cocaine had exploded by 1985, so it seemed like the only option was to sell it if we wanted to cash in. Each one of us wanted our own slice of the American dream. Unfortunately, it would be carved right off the back of an American nightmare. Then after everything that took place, if you are lucky enough to survive it, you are filled with nothing but regrets. The pain, the deaths and wasted time, all to end up back at the starting gate trying to start over at 40 or 50 years old. There isn’t enough room on this page to list the regrets I live with.
Have you learned anything that has helped you in the life you’re leading now?
Of course. Life moves so fast that you cannot sit around procrastinating or it will pass you by. Do what you set out to do and make each day count. That’s weird considering this pandemic has put most people’s lives on hold, so it’s more difficult to do certain things you may have wanted to do. Here is another thing I learned; If you want something done you better not count on anyone else but yourself to do it cause 99% of the time you will be left disappointed.
Will there be a sequel to your book?
I doubt it. I was thinking about doing a revised edition. When I wrote “Suburban Gangsters” it was the first thing I had written since 9th grade. Although it came out really well, I had left quite a bit of the story out of it. I should have really elaborated on how bad the families suffered during this time period and how deeply it affected them. It was profound and should have been added in the book. But I had nobody to coach me through this while I was writing, so I didn’t capture certain things that needed to be addressed. So, I am thinking about doing the revised edition.
What do you hope people get out of reading your book?
One thing I hope is that nobody tries to romance any of the things that happen in the book. I pray that the reader figures out that life is about choices. How imperative it is to make the right ones in life, regardless of how small it may seem at the time. One of these choices may chart the course for the rest of your life, so you better think it through before making any!
Do you see those adventures that you had still going on today?
No, not at all. Most of the people in the story died or went to prison, or are home after doing their prison time and want nothing to do with any illegal activity. The only fool that is dumb enough to do that is the villain from my story.
Would you ever go back to what you did in the past?
I doubt it. I’ve had opportunities in the last 10 years and always turned them down. If I was desperate enough at some point possibly. But highly unlikely because I know all too well what those consequences are that follow. No money is worth my freedom at this point. Not at my age.
Was there an element of excitement being a gangster?
Absolutely. There is so much danger while you are caught up living in the hustle game. Cops, robbers, you name it. There is excitement everywhere you turn. Being 23 years old and walking into a club and watching the crowd part like the red sea is intoxicating to anyone who commands such respect. The women, the vacations and all the money flying around, there is nothing like it. It’s like living in a fantasy world. And then that bubble bursts. In the end, you’d give your right arm to hit the do over button, and take a time machine back to 9th grade where it all started to go wrong, and just live a normal boring life with a 9-5 job and some real serenity!!
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