John "Red" Shea, 40, was a top lieutenant in the South Boston Irish mob run, led by James "Whitey" Bulger. An ice–cold enforcer with a red–hot temper, Shea was a legend among his peers in the 1990s South Boston, as much as John Gotti, Bugsy Siegel, and Al Capone were in their time and place. When the actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, raised in nearby Dorchester, learned of a script based on Shea's life circulating in Hollywood, he immediately committed to playing the gangster on screen. A major feature film project is now in development.
From the age of thirteen, when he started robbing delivery trucks, to the age of twenty–seven, when he began serving a twelve–year federal sentence for drug trafficking, Shea was a portrait in American crime – a bantam–weight, red–headed terror, brutal with his fists and deadly with a lead pipe, a baseball bat, or a knife. At fifteen he was selling marijuana . At seventeen he was handling Bulger's cocaine. At eighteen he was loan sharking and laundering Bulger's money. At twenty, initiated into Bulger's inner circle at the point of an Uzi, he was running a multimillion–dollar narcotics operation for his mentor.
RAT BASTARDS was the first–ever, firsthand account of mob life that wasn't told by a rat. Red Shea did his crime, then did his time––and never informed, unlike Henry Hill of Wiseguy, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano of Underboss, and so many others. Holding fast to the code of his upbringing, he remained a man of honor.