Allan R. May has no shortage of sordid crime stories to share about the Mahoning Valley.
"Crimetown, USA" is May's second book about the history of organized crime in Warren-Youngstown area, and two more books are in the works.
The Cleveland-area author returns to the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library on Tuesday for a program on "The History of the Mahoning Valley Mafia."
While 2012's "Welcome to the Jungle Inn" focused on Trumbull County's ties to organized crime in the 20th century, "Crimetown, USA" focuses on the greater Youngstown area between 1933 and 1963, the year the Saturday Evening Post hung that unflattering nickname on Youngstown.
"I'm going to do a swipe through the book, telling people about the key points, focusing on some of the main figures," May said.
May's own fascination with organized crime started when he first saw the television series "The Untouchables."
"Over the years it slowly picked up," he said. "I read the book 'The Untouchables' and wanted to learn more about Al Capone and the Chicago mob. It just flowed from there."
The crowds that come to hear May speak at the library, where he's appeared several times, prove he's not the only one interested by the topic.
"I just think there is a fascination in our culture with gangsters and organized crime," he said. "You saw the result with 'The Sopranos' and some of the movies, 'The Godfather' and 'Goodfellas.' There's just a group of people that like that genre. Because it's part of the local history, it just adds to it."
Still to come from May are books focusing on organized crime in the Valley after 1963 and a book that explores crime in the region during Prohibition and the early 20th century.
May has a personal library with more than 900 titles devoted to organized crime, and that knowledge and resource base helps him put the local tales in context.
"I can look at something happening in Youngstown and say this is where it started, this is how it was handled in other cities," May said.
The author believes organized crime flourished in the area because the public wanted what it provided. In turn, organized crime isn't as prevalent today because many of its illegal businesses have been legitimized.
"I think most of it was the residents," he said. "They wanted to play 'the Bug,' just like people want to play the lottery today. If you look at it going back to Prohibition, now alcohol is legal. Gambling was outlawed; now you can go just about anywhere and gamble."
May will speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Warren-Trumbull County Library, 444 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren. Admission is free, and copies of May's books will be available for purchase.