• Last Gangster in Austin

  • Frank Smith, Ronnie Earle, and the End of a Junkyard Mafia
  • By: Jesse Sublett
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ronnie Earle was a Texas legend. During his three decades as the district attorney responsible for Austin and surrounding Travis County, he prosecuted corrupt corporate executives and state officials, including the notorious US congressman Tom DeLay. But Earle maintained that the biggest case of his career was the one involving Frank Hughey Smith, the ex-convict millionaire, alleged criminal mastermind, and Dixie Mafia figure.

With the help of corrupt local authorities, Smith spent the 1970s building a criminal empire in auto salvage and bail bonds. But there was one problem: a rival in the salvage business threatened his dominance. Smith hired arsonists to destroy the rival; when they botched the job, he sent three gunmen, but the robbery they planned was a bloody fiasco. Investigators were convinced that Smith was guilty, but many were skeptical that the newly elected and inexperienced Earle could get a conviction. Amid the courtroom drama and underworld plots the book describes, Willie Nelson makes a cameo. So do the private eyes, hired guns, and madams who kept Austin not only weird but also riddled with vice. An extraordinary true story, Last Gangster in Austin paints an unusual picture of the Texas capital as a place that was wild, wonderful, and as crooked as the dirt road to paradise.

©2022 Jesse Sublett (P)2022 Blackstone Publishing

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Interesting story but…

I didn’t need a love story of Earl by the author! Earl was self-righteous, and sometimes he abuse his power. He thought he was morality god. He would bend the law to get to his end. A contortionist of the law . He did some good things but that was his job. I will never believe he has the acolyte of goodness the author try’s to portrays!

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As Mean As A JYD

I have been a huge fan of this man's writing since the Martin Fender Mysteries of the 1990s. I absolutely tore through this book in record time. unlike some books that I like to sit and Savor this was a Breakneck wild carnival ride of a book.
once the ride was in motion there was no going back, no slowing down and no stopping,.

Sublett brought to life the events that culminated in a showdown between good and evil in Austin and 1977 every minor character was fully fleshed out and given the leading man treatment. for me I'm repentant bad guy to the spine with Sheriff that supported him to the man who finally brought them both down it is a story you will not soon forget.

I would love to see a movie of this.

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Born in 1940 and raised in Austin

Sublett captures the events superbly and the book brings back many memories of the people and places described herein. My only complaint was the narrator’s pronunciation on Governor Alan Shivers last name.