The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath

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9780061744655: The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath

New York Times bestselling author Philip Carlo, one of the foremost chroniclers of the New York Mafia and the criminal mind, returns with a shocking exploration of his most twisted and notorious villain yet

Tommy "Karate" Pitera was not like other mafiosi. He was not only a capo in the notorious Bonanno family but also a devoted student of crime—a deadly martial artist who'd been trained in Japan as a teenager. Highly skilled with knives and other lethal weapons, dressed entirely in black, Pitera murdered his way to becoming one of the premier assassins in New York City during the 1980s—he even killed at the behest of John Gotti.

Remorseless and deadly, Pitera took human lives as if he had a God-given right, while at the same time dealing high-grade Sicilian heroin and South American cocaine. There were numerous men within the New York Mafia who killed people, men who weren't afraid of anyone or anything, but all of them looked the other way when they saw Pitera coming. Word on the street was that he didn't just whack people; he made them disappear forever. In hushed whispers people spoke of Pitera's secret burial grounds and the grotesque things he did to his victim's bodies. If the Mafia had a Jeffrey Dahmer, it was surely Tommy Pitera.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Jim Hunt had a gift for bringing down bad guys. During Hunt's stellar career at the DEA, he had arrested his share of criminals and had caught many of the elusive drug lords of New York City. But nothing could have prepared him for what he encountered when he and his elite antidrug unit began investigating Tommy Pitera. What started as a routine investigation into a cocaine and heroin ring in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, grew exponentially as Hunt and his team uncovered the layers of death that surrounded Pitera. Through carefully placed wiretaps, dangerous stakeouts, and fearful informants, Hunt managed to turn Pitera's few confidants against him, but not before Pitera had killed an estimated sixty people.

Offering the first-ever look at the life and crimes of Tommy "Karate" Pitera, New York Times bestselling author Philip Carlo exposes the man behind some of the most horrific murders in Mafia history and the heroic investigator who brought him down. Getting inside the minds of both killer and detective, Carlo masterfully details the delicate and deadly game of cat-and-mouse that resulted in the capture of a Mafia killer unlike any other. A tale of murder, drugs, money, and ultimately justice, The Butcher is Carlo's most frightening portrayal yet of the depraved depths within a psychopath's mind.

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Product Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of Gaspipe and The Ice Man, Phillip Carlo returns with a hair-raising portrait of arguably the most depraved psychopath in the history of the Mafia, mob enforcer Tommy “Karate” Pitera. The Butcher tells the riveting true story of a hit man who loved his work too much—a maniac believed responsible for more than sixty remarkably brutal murders—whom even organized crime’s most cold-blooded assassins feared. Another riveting journey into the darkest corners of the underworld, Carlo’s The Butcher is destined to be a true crime classic alongside Wiseguys by Nicholas Pileggi and Underboss by Peter Maas.

From the Back Cover:

Tommy "Karate" Pitera was not like other men in the mob. Sure he was a made man for the Bonanno crime family. Sure he dealt drugs, kept women, and flaunted his money. Sure he killed people. But there was something different about him, something unhinged. There were lots of guys in the Five Families who killed people, lots of guys who did ghastly things, but most if not all of those killers were afraid of man they called "Karate."

There were stories, rumors really, that floated around about Pitera, and if even half the rumors were true, that was enough to make people stay away from him. The rumors talked about his squeaky high voice--Mickey Mouse with a Brooklyn accent--that didn′t fit his large, lanky frame. They talked about the strange ways that he killed people and the things he did when he was angry. The rumors discussed how people had a way of disappearing when Pitera was around, but instead of turning up dead, they didn′t turn up at all. The rumors spoke of a secret cemetery he had somewhere in the five boroughs, a place where the bodies of his victims would remain forever nameless.

Jim Hunt came from a long line of law enforcement. Originally a member of the NYPD, he joined the DEA and never looked back. Like his father and grandfather before him, fighting crime was in his blood, and during his storied career at the DEA he′d bagged his share of bad guys. But nothing like what he encountered when he first started investigating Tommy "Karate" Pitera. What started as a routine look into a cocaine and heroin ring in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn during the 1980s grew exponentially, as Hunt uncovered the layers of death that surrounded Pitera. Entering into the shadowy world of wire taps, stakeouts, and informants, Hunt managed to turn the handful of Pitera′s closest confidants against him in his pursuit. By the end, Hunt estimated that Pitera might have killed as many as sixty people.

Offering the first ever detailed look at the life and crimes of Pitera, Philip Carlo explores the man behind some of the most horrific murders in the mob′s history and the multi-year DEA investigation that brought him down. Getting inside the mind of both killer and detective, Carlo details the delicate game of cat and mouse that resulted in the conviction of a mafia killer unlike any other. A dual tale of murder, drugs, money, and ultimately justice, Gravesend gives us Carlo′s most frightening portrayal yet of the depraved depths of the psychopath′s mind.

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