Confessions of a Bronx Bookie

Fiction - Urban
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 06/15/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Billy O’Connor came to America by boat from County Cork, Ireland, and grew up on the Bronx streets. After Vietnam, Billy was a Teamster, a Pub and restaurant owner, and before becoming a N.Y.C. firefighter for 23 years, an illegal bookie. He has sailed, dove and traveled the world burdened by his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
After the tragedy of 9/11 and the loss of 343 of his brother firefighters he sobered up and attended the University of Florida. At the age of 62, he earned his journalism degree and began to write
He has written two highly praised weekly columns, two screenplays and numerous political pieces. He also finished in the finals out of nearly 400 contestants in Arizona’s funniest comic contest two years in a row.
“Confessions of a Bronx Bookie” is his much-anticipated first novel.
Every Amazon review has been phenomenal, all five stars. Most see the novel as a movie or series.
Unlike many authors who come directly out of college, O’Connor waited to write until after he had something to say.
If anyone personifies that life truly begins at 60, it is Billy O’Connor.
You can reach Billy at:

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

Confessions of a Bronx Bookie by Billy O'Connor takes you on a wild ride starting in the 1950s in the Bronx, and to Vietnam and back again. Follow Connor Kelly as he goes through life; he is a gambler, addict, alcoholic, misogynist and lover of women. When he sees a problem he just jumps in with both feet and laughs. He has charmed Lady luck and has no interest in doing anything but living his life ... until it goes off the rails and he has to start a whole new life.

This is a fun, full throttle running book that puts the pedal down on page one and keeps on going through the entire book. I love a fun loving adventure and stories that start out in the 1950s just give me a big smile. You can't help but enjoy a bygone era when things were either more buttoned up or more let go and enjoy - depending on where you hang out. Connor is a let go and enjoy kinda guy! Billy O'Connor has written a book that is fun and has a great flow to it. If you want to read a story that is as real as it gets about a flawed man who could be any one of us out in the world, this is the book for you, and you will truly enjoy it. Dig in and spend some time with a flawed human being who has a great story to tell.

Sherry W

Get ready for one harrowing experience after another! And a trip down Memory Lane: Life as it was growing up in the 50's and 60's...Billy O'Connor captures the innocence of youth that transgresses into the over-the-top indulgences of youth in a way that will amaze even the most jaded! His raunchy yet touching re-telling of Connor Kelly's adventures will keep you turning page after page. You'll laugh at his mishaps, feel his fear , enjoy his triumphs and feel his pain at life's tragedies. Connor is the most likeable hero in a long time. Turning his life around, going back to college at age 60, becoming sober and an inspiration for all struggling with demons will inspire the reader as well. Thanks for a great read, Billy and can we look forward to a sequel?? My final thought on the last pages: "How can this man STILL be alive and walking this earth?!?!" Read it and found out! Best wishes to you on your future endeavors!

Chris Roth

"This book is like that lap dance you never want to end!"

Rosemary Goudreau

It takes courage to confess your sins in public, which is why the raw telling of Connor Kelly’s story is so riveting. You find yourself rooting for this flawed but likable character who drinks way too much, gambles with abandon and wins women over easily. For despite his self-destructive mania, he’s a likable guy whom people find attractive, partly because he shows respects no matter their station in life, and partly because he buys most of them a drink. You come away from this book understanding that you will never win by betting against the house, that alcoholism kills even as it enlivens, and that sometimes, good guys still win. O’Connor’s book is a page-turner that hooks, informs and entertains with gritty, fast-paced storytelling. It’s worth your time

Tom Monahan

A hilariously written tragicomedy that takes you on a jaunt through the tumultuous and chaotic adventures of one wild and crazy dude and lets you experience the madness of it all! Both riotous and poignant, it describes the merry-go-round life of Connor Kelly from hedonism to deliverance. Gives added meaning to the adage, “Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess!” A MUST read, especially if you're from The Bronx!

Tracie Hauser

Engrossing true story that you literally cannot put down!


So great, I've read it twice! (A rarity these days!)

Ray Kryzyk

Absolutely amazing ... a MUST READ!!!

Confessions captured the spirit and vibe of a era when the country lost it's innocence! Billy doesn't hold back, putting Connor out there showing his dark side, manic side and a heart of gold. All this in a time span when the country was on fire ... how fitting that the central character was a Lt. in the FDNY in Harlem and Bronx when it was really burning!

It was an amazing journey, from Ireland, to the Bronx, to Viet Nam / Thailand, to New Orleans and back ... with some side stops in Europe to boot. The writing was so descriptive that you could visualize and feel all the elements of the environments.Billy captured the real sites, smells, sounds of places around the world so vividly, that all you had to do was close your eyes and your there! The characters that come and go through the book are so well developed that they come to life. They're like old friends, strangers in the dark, bullies that you knew in life, all parading through the story, with purpose, each adding value and contributing to an incredible story about redemption! They're like the rug in the movie the Big Lebowski, they tie the story together and make it unforgettable!

Billy's style is so refreshing, it's a cross between Hunter Thompson and Kurt Vonnegut. I could only imagine if Hunter Thompson and Billy O'Connor got together on a journey ... I would have loved to see Fear and Loathing in the BRONX and beyond! Kurt and Billy would have an incredible adventure time tripping from place to place, story to story, manic experience to manic experience. In the end, there'd be some great stories that make you laugh, cry, think and give you hope!!!

After I read the book in one sitting, it now is a fixture in my water-room ... one chapter at a time! A book that you'll keep coming back to and will keep you laughing time and time again!

Well done Billy O'Connor

Dina Kucera

I really loved this book! I could hear Billy's voice as I read it. Total adventure! Buy it!!!!


Great read! The book is exciting from beginning to end.

Fred De La Cruz

Great book! *****

Jersey George

An amazing book! I could feel the adrenaline pumping between the pages. This brutally honest account of this man’s escapades took great courage to write. Helluva book Billy! It reminded of my past debaucheries which should have landed me in Central Booking on more than a few occasions.

Dr Daniel Nightingale

This book is an outstanding piece of literature. I have a very busy schedule but could not put this book down once I started to read it. It isn't just a book. The way it is written is both an inspiration and a motivation. I now refer to it when I am treating patients with addictions, depression, etc. I refer to it during lectures as it demonstrates people can change. People can overcome their challenges. Billy O'Connor is an awesome writer.

R Sullivan

Connor Kelly, I'd like to slap you upside the head, but yet I'm rooting for you.
Billy O'Connor caught my attention as no other writer has in quite some time.
As of late, most books have not captured my desire to read and really want to
finish; this book certainly has!
Confessions of a Bronx Bookie.Buy it, read it

Josh Levy

Amazing read.

S Tellman

At first, I was like "whoa, he's all over the place here" but, unlike many books where I can't quite get into them, this kept me hooked from page one. I laughed with Connor and I cried with Connor. Unlike some reviewers, I never didn't like him. I wanted to be there LIVING IT with him. From the brothels in Laos to the bars in the Bronx and even casinos in Las Vegas, what a freaking wild ride. He even has a few run-ins with celebrities "before they were famous."
My only issue was there was a lot of in your face God talk in the early parts of the book and maybe the ending felt a little rushed (it sort of breezed over the transformation).
This book is full of life. I rarely read books a second time but I will. I hope Mr. O'Connor writes a second novel.

Joan Walsh

Not since McMurphy from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest has there been such a memorable main character. You don't know whether to shake Connor, smack him or kiss him as you follow him from Bronx innocent, to Viet Nam, to Europe, to New Orleans. You will root for Connor, even as you gasp with shock and laughter. The writing is fast paced, keeping you hooked from beginning to end. Do yourself a favor, read this book. Connor's spirit will stay with you long after you close the book.

Lu Valentino Show

Gritty, honest & and an absolute fabulous read. Hollywood needs to make this into a movie!

Yvonne Pedersen

Fantastic read! An incredibly well written book, Billy pulls you into the story using such vivid imagery in his writing, you feel every emotion. The story covers many different times and events in his life, keeping you hooked throughout.


Such a GREAT read!


Couldn't put it down!


Very well written entertaining book. If you grew up in the Bronx, Woodlawn or Inwood it will flood you with memories. If you didn't, you will receive an education that you cannot buy. Either way it may help you excise some demons.

Celleste McIntyre

Read this book. The descriptions are full and glorious--you will feel the sticky humid in Viet Nam as well as in New Orleans--the vivid portraiture settles you along side Connor for his living out loud life. Read this book.


Confessions of a Bronx Bookie by Billy O'Connor is a rollar coaster of laughter and tears from beginning to end! I've seen Billy's stand up (also a riot) and read the whole thing in his voice. Billy is a fantastic story teller and he tells this one as only he can. He takes a character with flaws, that when considered subjectively, one would think the reader would have a hard time relating. Such is Billy's talent that you follow Connor Kelly's life, trials, and tribulations as one might Nabokov's Humbert Humbert - with a certain relate-ability and sympathy. Confessions is a great, quick read and highly recommended!

Lisa Fico

I devoured this book in 48 hrs. So well written, Billy O'Connor takes you on a page turning journey from The Bronx to Vietnam and back again. Much more than a Bronx tale, it's book is as addictive as Connor Kelly's vices! Looking forward to your next book, Billy O'Connor

Journo Girl

Hello, Hollywood? Line 1? This book is the real deal, funny, tragic, true to time and place. And screenplay ready. Billy O'Connor has offered us a great read and a fascinating character -- a book that seems destined for the screen. Read this book. No. It's that good!

Theresa Mumford

Am so glad someone with intelligence and true writing ability documented the Bronx Irish Catholic experience of the 70 through. 2001 years.Viet era vet,25 year FDNY,bookie and all around knock around guy who was eventually redeemed ( maybe,probably,possibly)wrote the type of book that bothers you because it ends.So those of you that perk up when you hear "French Charlys"the Jolly Tinker, Mosholu,204th,donkey and narrow back give O'Connors Confessions of a Bronx Bookie a shot.You will thank me.

Brandy Flores

I love Billy and love the book

Nick Kuntz

Wow! What an incredible ride!!! This book completely transported me to another place and time. So visually descriptive, I almost shared in Connor McCarthy's drug experiences! I could feel the rain in the jungles of Vietnam, smell the jasmine in the French Quarter, and taste the Whiskey in Queens. I could not put this book down, and could not wait to see what lived on the next page. This is a story about love, loss, drugs, friendship, community, gambling, and redemption. It's a story about life, and all it's wonderful ups and downs seen through the eyes of wild eccentric!

Endlessly entertaining and hilarious - I would love to see this played out on film with Scorsese at the helm! Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Confessions of a Bronx Bookie, you won't be disappointed - although a quick warning that you may piss yourself from laughter, feel COMPLETELY underwhelmed by your own experiences, and also shed a tear. I cannot wait for the next one - a true study of exceptional talent.

Xen Stenicki

Amazing story. Reading this book felt exactly like sharing a bar stool with Billy and getting sucked into his engaging world in person. Nobody tells a tale quite like this guy... With each passing chapter, you'll grow to suspect he either lived his life with the sole purpose of having the greatest possible Twain-esque set of s*** to write about at the end of the day OR he's full of it. It's neither. This is the story of a guy who grabbed life by the balls and lived for decades on an edge most people would be scared to tow for 24 hours. All the good, all the bad; it's all here and it is one hell of an entertaining ride. Thanks for putting this on paper so I can share you with friends, man.

Kimberly Kenny

I couldn't put this baby down -- it was a page turner right from the start. You hate him, you're pissed off at him, but ultimately, you will fall in love with 'Connor Kelly', as his heart and soul take charge and win over his addictions. This book is a page into a man's heart, and his story will take you to places you never knew existed -- it's tough, it's harsh, but it's real. That is what I love about Billy O'Connor's book --it's real -- it's the good, the bad and the ugly, and through Billy's amazing tale, you will see that love always conquers all. Thank you for the ride, Billy -- it was bumpy, but amazing.


This is something special!!! Being someone with severe ADHD reading has alway been difficult because nothing keeps me engaged. I read two pages and remember nothing BUT that's not the case here I'm hooked on every page actually giving purpose the the phrase LOL. You can feel the truth in the grit. The only breaks are to recount my own similar stories. This book is a gem and a fast read. Enjoy

Bobby DeBenedetto

Great read, brought me back to the old neighborhood.
Thanks Billy.

Elisa Day

Real, raw, captivating, enjoyable. The journey experienced by the reader is intriguing, heartfelt, authentic, tragic at times, and hopeful. It is a story about life, complete with mistakes, addictions, epiphanies, spirituality, adventure, love, confusion, and ultimately redemption. Read this book. This Bronx Bookie knows how to engage you and allow you into his world both past and present. If you are looking for honesty, adventure, and hope, you will buy this book.

Brain MacMurrow

I was blown away from the beginning. I couldnt put the book down and read it in one sitting. I am from the Bronx and am of the same time period as the author. I am also a Vietnam era vet (65-67), and a retired Firefighter, Cant wait for his next book. O'Connor is a brilliant storyteller not to mention one funny bastard. Excellent read!!!!

John F.

Good book. Couldn't put it down.
Want more.

Adam Bird

LOVE the Book, read it 2x! pissed myself a few time. Great job my friend!

Stephanie Dapolito

Wow, great book. I often can't find the time to read but couldn't put this book down.

Joanna Guierri

Just finished reading it. Billy this is one of the best books ever. Going down memory lane of the neighborhood. From Vietnam to the Bronx. Thank you for sharing your family's life. What you went through. I couldn't put it down. Now I'm sorry it's over. As you stated "There are no Lost Causes." Please continue your life in Journalism and sharing it with us. Thank You

Crickette Gill

Finally finished reading Confessions of a Bronx Bookie by Billy O'Connor​...left me literally breathless and saddened that the story had to end! I felt like I was in another world. I devoured the words like my favorite dark chocolate bits; eagerly anticipating the next enthralling paragraph. I had to control my urge to read ahead as I could hardly wait to find out what happened next! It's been a while since I read a novel that quickened my pulse and I'm more than ready for the sequel. But since the next novel is still in production I will have to just read Confessions of a Bronx Bookie again as I can't get enough of the enigmatic, tenacious, endearing and cunning "Connor Kelly".

Charles Edwards

This is one of the best books I have ever read, and the best one recently ! Billy O'Conner takes you on a rollercoaster ride from his childhood in The Bronx to Nam back to The Bronx ,To The Big Easy , back home to the Bronx. The Bronx Bookie will make you laugh your ass off, cry, and leave you on the edge. A true dose of realality that hits you in the face. Now I will be waiting for the movie to come out !


I sat down to read "Confessions..." and didn't stop until page 120. The next night I finished it. Fasten your seat belts, this story is one roller coaster ride of events. The main character, Connor Kelly absolutely drew me in from the word go. Despite all the character's less than admirable traits, there's just something about him that is absolutely endearing. The pages were flying as I read, from the Bronx and New Orleans to Vietnam, the main character does it all, lives hard, and pays the price. The comradery between the characters in the bars almost reminded me of the TV show Cheers, but an R-rated version of Cheers. Mr. O'Connor is a talented writer. I thoroughly enjoyed his book. My plan is to re-read "Confessions..." and try to figure out how he skillfully transformed this gritty, hard-core character, into such a gem of a hero. Bravo.

Laura Beth Walker

"Confessions of a Bronx Bookie" is beyond stunning and O'Connor's voice and style unique. No fantasy fluff ride, this novel is raw, real and riveting, a balls to the wall fall down the rabbit hole of reality. Masterfully written, this book boasts the finest finish that I've read in all my years of devouring the written word. Once you start this turbulent tour de force ride with O'Connor's protagonist, Connor Kelly, I promise you, you won't put it down until the ride screeches to its final stop. Brilliant.

Manuel Enguidanos

Got connected to this book through my cousin Gary and can
Honestly say it was amazing. Has it all. Please don't take my word for buy it. As we say here in Scotland it was braw.

Zack Lyman

This book was a great read. You can really feel the passion from Billy. I have recommended it to all my friends.

Jennifer Beale

An exciting and compelling read that you won't want to put down. A gallon of brutal reality along with some humor poured in. Both a classic coming of age story and eloquent pilgrimage from corruption to enlightenment, seen from inside the mind of a manic yet chosen soul. A tale as so powerful your senses will experience both the joys and pains of an extraordinary look at the human condition. The 21st century's "Catcher in the Rye".

Gerri Schwartz

I loved the book. I got so involved with it, read it in one night.

Brian Mullan

"I finished reading my good friend and colleague's book a couple days ago.Billy O'connors ' confessions of a Bronx bookie" I've taken a day or so to actually let it set in. To be honest I began reading this book because a friend of mine wrote it , I figured the least I could do was read the thing. Okay I read it in two sittings and here's my thoughts!!! I mean this from the bottom of my heart! First of all I cannot even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book! If Hunter Thompson, Alfred E. Newman and Norman Mailer got together they could only hope to put out something this majestic. His writing is so descriptive and on point, you feel like experiencing every moment, every nuance, every smell---- warts and all. Not only was I incredibly entertained, I went on a journey, from the Bronx, to the wild jungles of Viet nam, and the wild crazy wonderfulness that is new Orleans.....I literally felt like I was right there!! This book is so wonderfully entertaining, you have to stop every now and then and realize, however funny and joyous the ride, there is something much deeper, and means so much more than the stories of one crazy man!!! This book effects me in so many ways, ......the brotherhood and camaraderie of men, the feeling of belonging in a community, the ups and downs ( good and bad) of gambling, womanizing, and drug abuse. Although it's a very optimistic book, there are incredibly poignant moments of loss, I don't want to give those parts away but trust me!! The chapters on the Viet Nam war are again incredibly insightful, maybe me and the author are just kindred spirits but they are just as relevant today as they were back then. Okay my take is .. this book is about laughter , and incredible zest for life and redemption!!! All in all I loved every God Damn sentence!!!!!! 1do yourself a favor ..... read this ........"

Roger Ross

Billy captures a glimpse of life that many know nothing of. Told with humor and compassion this is a book not to miss.

Confessions of a Bronx Bo

5 star review, Excellent book. Haven't read a book like this ever that made me not want to put it down. A Must Read. Definitely will make the top 5 list!!!!!

Manuel Enguidanos

Got connected to this book through my cousin Gary and can
Honestly say it was amazing. Has it all. Please don't take my word for it just buy it. As we say here in Scotland it was braw braw tell Yer maw.


Great book

Yvette Torrez

Great read so hard too put down...its a rollercoaster of emotions

Steve Kirkwood

I came upon Confessions of a Bronx Bookie by Billy O'Connor while reading another book on my KIndle. It was one of those, if you like this book then.... type of things, so, what the hell it had the word Bronx and Bookie in it, might as well take a look. And, yes I was happy I did. Well written, funny, fast paced it took me back to places and people so very similar to the those in this book. This book is for everyone who is looking for a good read. It will, make you laugh, it will make you think and it will take you on Mr. Toads Wild Ride and back. Check it people. It is worth the time.


Sooooooo funny.


fantastic read from cover to cover !

Arthur B.

What a great read. Coming from the same neighborhood, it brought me back to those days. Don't miss it!

Joe Gangemi

This book is sooooo damn good. It was not at all what I was expecting but it blew me away. I can't recommend it enough.

Kastle Olson

Love this book. An absolutely fantastic read. Hilarious, touching, and totally imaginative. Have fun with this one!

Glennda Stelnicki

I knew Billy was a great stand up comic and didn't know what to expect when i heard he had published a book, but bought it any how. It was great. I was really drawn into the book and had trouble getting other things done until it was finished. Writing was clear, believable and very dramatic. Good job Billy! Can't wait for the next one. I am trying to give this a five star but not sure it is showing up. Hope so.

Julia Boyd

A must read!

Paul DiCaprio

Couldn't put this book down.. Great read.. Looking forward to Billy's next

Tamera Marshall

Fantastic book!


Great read!


Easy read, well written!

Kevin Grace

Just loved the book and the bookie too,well written the good I'd days in Da Bronx N.Y. good luck to Billy O the pride of Ladder Co 17 and Co Cork can't wait til the next one.Bless you BILLIE

Charles Roche

Grew up in the neighborhood. Billy O’Conner brought me back and gave me the Royal Tour. The story is about an, alcoholic, gambler, bookie and badass who you just gotta love. I rooted for Connor Kelly to have another drink, bang another babe, win another bet and then celebrated when he gets out alive. Where’s the movie dammit!

Ellis Amburn

More than an author, more like an unleashed force of nature, Billy O'Connor confronts life headlong in a breakthrough memoir of a life lived to the hilt and beyond. Bravo, Billy O!

Bill Metzar

I enjoyed this book tremendously!

Undine DeFilippo

Any book that makes me laugh,{ often here }, and cry,{ just once ~ thank God ! }, is ACES by me !

mike murphy

One of the best books I have read in a long time. Expect to see it up on the big screen some day soon!

James McSherry

Billy O'Connor throttles you with his humor, pain, angst and jaw-dropping story "Confessions of a Bronx Bookie." A must read!

Jonathan Lee

Confessions of a Bronx Bookie was a great, fast-paced read. It's one of those few books you literally can't put down from start to finish. A must read!


This book took me back to a time and place that shaped me for the rest of my life. With great writing, it turns out you can go home again!

Brian Brosnan

Excellent read! Very hard to put the book down! Tough, gritty and humorous! Best book I've read in a long time!!!

John Cunningham

This is one of those books that end too quickly. You laugh (a lot), you shake your head in amazement and (if your honest), recognize a bit of yourself in Connor's antics and thirst for living life. A great airplane or poolside read.

Laura V. from the Bronx

Wow what a riveting read!

Ken Kavanagh

Great read. Billy is as a good an author as he was bartender and bar owner. Great times when I knew him back then and he elicits great memories in his fast paced story.

Confessions of a Bronx Bo

One of the best books I have read. You can't put it down and when it ends you are left wanting more with tons of questions. He keeps it moving and entertaining…Funny, Shocking and amazing.

Jennifer Lynne Beale

Exhilarating, disturbing, hilarious, O'Connor touches all the bases. Buy this book, read it. It's a grand slam.