Gangbuster Official Home Page


One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan
Published by Kensington Books
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"A colorful real-life legal thriller….Rollicking yet scrupulously researched, this is an entertaining tribute to a brazen crimefighter.”                                                                              -- Publishers Weekly

"Gangbuster busts out of the gate and never lets up in riveting and relentless fashion. I had to pinch myself a few times to remember all of this really happened."                                                                                                                                                                                               -- BookTrib

 A decorated hero of the Great War, Philip Van Cise came home to Denver, Colorado, only to find his town in the grip of mobsters, bootleggers and bunco artists. Using electronic surveillance and other tactics that were decades ahead of their time, he busted up a crime ring that had been thriving in Denver for years--and then launched an undercover operation against an even greater threat, the Ku Klux Klan, which was in the process of taking over state government. Drawing on a rich trove of investigative records, GANGBUSTER takes a you-are-there approach to a dramatic but neglected chapter in the annals of gangbusting. 

"Alan Prendergast has captured Van Cise's bold life and clamorous times with imagination, verve, and razor-sharp reportorial instincts--illuminating a corrupt and dangerous urban netherworld that's fascinating to read about, but one that also resembles, in all too many ways, American city life today."
          --Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers

In the Roaring Twenties, Denver was known as "The Big Store," a wide-open town where smart grifters could fleece wealthy marks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars without any interference from the law, as long as Lou "The Fixer" Blonger got this cut.

District Attorney Van Cise went after Blonger and his city's entire corrupt power structure, an intricate network of bent politicians, professional criminals, and the  leaders of the Colorado Realm of the Ku Klux Klan, a poisonous cabal cloaking themselves in patriotism while preaching white supremacy. His efforts would expose the Klan's crimes and alter the course of the city's history.

"Prendergast does an excellent job of unearthing the hidden history of the Klan in Denver...The tale of Van Cise versus the multitudes of scammers and racists is gripping and, until now, was little known. We need more books like this." 
             -- Ted Conover, author of Cheap Land Colorado and Newjack

"A compelling, deeply reported narrative history that shows how the principled actions of an elected official, against the odds, can help stanch corruption and thwart racist forces.  I was infuriated to learn how deeply white supremacy had permeated 1920s Colorado, and at the same time grateful that Prendergast’s superb book and Van Cise’s example bear insights that can be applied to today’s challenges."
--James Neff, author of Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa                            

A study in how racism and religious prejudice fan the flames of extremist movements, GANGBUSTER  draws parallels to our own troubled times.

"Set in 1920s Denver--a city riven with organized crime, corrupt institutions and sophisticated confidence men--Gangbuster is a vivid mural of a place in time.  Prendergast tells a story--in straightforward prose that belies his intensive search--that is, by turns, terrifying and motivational."

                                                         – Shelf Awareness STARRED Review

"Engaging and well-written...The story takes place a century ago, but there are alarming parallels to the rise and power of the Klan in today's right-wing extremism."                                                                                                                                                           -- The Denver Post

"Prendergast has the pluck and tenacity to look deeply into a dark chapter in our state's past and tell the too-long-untold story of the heroes who helped end it. He's wound up with an exceedingly good story about an exceedingly bad time."
                                                                       -- Colorado Springs Gazette

"Such a smooth and enjoyable read, it almost reads like fiction...such a good writer that the reader will find it hard to put the book down."
                                                              -- The Epoch Times

"If you're captured by US history, this book is a must."
                                                                      --  Men Reading Books



Media Contact:  Ann Pryor,


978-0-8065-4212-6 | March 28, 2023