“The Preyers” is a story about the Joey Bats Borgazino family, multiple murders and Eddie Pannoni. Pannoni, known as a drug dealer and gun runner, had a big secret. Pannoni was also Detective Ernie Lijoi, Sr., a deep cover detective and operative who worked with many federal, local and state police agencies on cases that involved drugs, gun running, extortion, rape and murder.
After Lijoi retired, he became an author and now has six published books, “Street Business,” “Shoveling the Tide,” “Chasing Snow,” “Meth or Myth,” “The Cash Mule” and “Destructive Obsession.” The stories in his books are fictionalized accounts of his undercover work. “All of my books are based on real incidents that occurred during my career as the well known Eddie Pannoni,” said Lijoi in a recent email interview. “These books are backed up by news articles and reports from the 1970’s and 1980’s.”
His latest project is “The Preyers,” a movie based on real incidents that occurred during the time Lijoi spent as Eddie Pannoni. Lijoi has developed a movie script and as the executive producer, he is securing funding for the movie. There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the project. “As far as actors go, I cannot discuss any specific names, however I can say that our casting agent is in direct contact with several agents of A-list actors who have shown serious interest,” said Lijoi.
The idea of becoming an author and screenwriter had been implanted earlier in his career, back when it wasn’t feasible to publicize his real role. “In 1980 Sonny Grasso and Eddie Eagan were in Boston working on the movie ‘The Brinks Robbery’ and they asked me to come down to the set,” said Lijoi. “One of my cases had recently made international headlines and Sonny contacted me. I went to the set and met Peter Falk the actor, nice guy. Sonny asked me if they could do a book about me because of my history at that time, I refused because it would have been too dangerous. I was about 36 years old at the time.
“I let it all go and forgot about it. At age 65 I was looking for something to do, I was in the garage and knocked over a box with all of my paperwork from the job. My mind started remembering Sonny and the questions he had about a book. I decided at age 65 to write a book for fun, nothing more. I wanted something to take up my time. To my amazement, that first book was published almost immediately. I sent in another book and to my amazement it was also published.”
Now he has ten books written with six published so far. “So many people were telling me that my books would make good movies, so when I wrote my seventh book ‘The Preyers,’ I decided not to publish it until I tried writing a movie script,” said Lijoi. “I wrote a script and now we are in the funding stages of a movie project. Crazy story! One thing just led to the other.”
He doesn’t consider all the people he ran across while working undercover as being bad people, “I like several of them,” he said. “A person can be in a bad business and still be a good person. I am friends today with a few of the people that I write about in some of my books. I have received letters from men and women that I sent to prison, thanking me for getting them out and away from drugs.”
Book and movie fans can get more information about Ernie Lijoi, Sr., his books and “The Preyers” by visiting his author web site and “The Preyers” official web site and Facebook page.