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

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By Joe (Chicago, IL) · ★☆☆☆☆ · June 27, 2014
I should say first that I usually try to read a book by being sympathetic to the author's intentions, and I'm probably not being as understanding of the true crime genre as I could be. I just finished reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and probably was overly sensitive to the lyrical potential of w... ...more
By Mike (Beloit, WI) · ★☆☆☆☆ · August 12, 2012
Worst metaphors EVER! At one point Carlo says someone is had "by the proverbial balls."! Being raised Catholic, I may have just missed that particular proverb, but I doubt it. The writing is terrible, and the storyline contradicts the story arcs of other books written by Carlo about the Mafia. If... ...more
By Carmaletta (Urbandale, IA) · ★★☆☆☆ · October 26, 2010
I was really disappointed by this book. I picked this one up to learn about The Butcher, but it ended up being a biography of everyone but him. By the end of the book, I knew more about a person only featured because he was murdered than I knew about the focus of the book. Had this been promoted... ...more
By Walt (Lake Charles, LA) · ★☆☆☆☆ · December 29, 2011
This was a truely disappointing book on the Mafia. It is more of a commercial for the DEA than a biography on Pitera. In fact, there seemed to be conspicously little on Pitera and more on others. There is also cause to question some of the facts. If we believes Carlo, and the superheroes of DEA U... ...more
By Tom (Upper Falls, MD) · ★★☆☆☆ · September 28, 2013
There is nothing more disheartening than a good story told badly. "The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath" by Philip Carlo is a good story told badly. With its unnecessary and insipid similes and metaphors, outright stupid redundancy, it manages to create a teeth-grinding "literary" experienc... ...more
By Sharron · ★★★☆☆ · January 25, 2013
This book was pretty good. Carlo's repetitiveness and overuse of redefinitions and commas gets annoying after a while, but if you can look past that he's really good at getting into these guys' heads... ...more
By Walt (The United States) · ★☆☆☆☆ · August 08, 2011
This just might be the most poorly written book I have ever read. ...more
By matt (San Francisco, CA) · ★★★★☆ · March 12, 2011
this is a great page turner of a book -- compelling story with fascinating, albeit disturbed, characters. of course, we are talking about the mob, so I suppose that's to be expected. The depravity of killers, mob or otherwise, never ceases to amaze me, and knowing this all actually happened makes... ...more
By James (The United States) · ★★★★★ · March 20, 2014
ive read two other books from carlo but never finished.... i liked this one just for the case chapter goes to cops then next chapter is on mob and goes that way thru whole book.... some may not enjoy this book... but not bad for mob stories... ...more
By Emily · ★★★☆☆ · March 08, 2010
While I had no clue about the subject of the book, Tommy "Karate (The Butcher)" Pateira, the author presented it in a way that you were not at all sympathetic to him, nor did he glamorize him or the mafia. He presented the facts with backstory enough for you to get a picture into the killer's min... ...more