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Bookie Joe ran the gambling syndicate of the city. He had wavy hair and freckles.

Character Biography[]

When Mark Masters (one of Joe's regular betters) became desperate for money, he approached Joe for a loan. Joe refused, so Mark shot Joe and took his cash. Mark's girlfriend Toby Townley stayed behind and took Joe to the hospital where he recuperated.

Joe had his associate Blake kill Mark, then fled the hospital before Dick Tracy arrived to arrest him. Tracy then began an aggressive campaign of dismantling Joe's gambling operations. In retaliation, Joe had Blake kidnap Tess Trueheart. Joe hid Tess in a secluded fairground stables. Tess was able to signal some nearby telephone linemen, who conveyed her whereabouts to the police.

Dick Tracy feared that Joe would kill Tess if an armed police force attempted to storm the stable hideout, so he arranged for Toby to be sent in as a negotiator. Toby confronted Joe and Blake with a gun, causing Blake to break an oil lamp and set the stables on fire as a distraction. Tess escaped the fire with Toby and Blake, who were taken into custody. Joe attempted to flee through the loft to the back exit of the stable, but he fell through the burning floor and became tangled in a horse harness. It is unclear if he burned to death or was strangled by the harness.


  • Joe was only ever referred to as "Bookie Joe". It is not clear if Joe was his real name, or if his entire moniker was an alias.
  • In his early appearances, Bookie Joe seemed to only handle bets at a local racetrack. It was later revealed that he was the head of a large gambling organization, with many operatives and locations.
  • Joe had another trusted henchman who worked closely with Blake to take Joe out of the hospital and to kidnap Tess Trueheart. This unnamed man typically wore a checked coat and a flat cap. He was not present at the fire in the stable, and his fate is unknown.