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Synopsis

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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