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Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger's Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld
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Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger's Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  295 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Martin Scorsese’s The Departed barely touched on his story. Now radio talk show sensation, crime reporter, and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr takes us into the heart of the life of gangster Johnny Martorano in Hitman.

For two decades Martorano struck fear into anyone even remotely connected to his world. His partnership with Whitey Bulger and the infamous Winter Hill G...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Forge Books (first published February 1st 2011)
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There is so much information available about Whitey Bulger that this book risks being left in the middle of the pack. The fact that Bill O'Reilly endorsed the book was a major handicap for this reader. There is the occasional jab at the Democrats; but maybe I am overly sensitive after seeing O'Reilly's name on the cover.

Carr writes very clearly and illustrates the book with many unique images. It is one of the few sources available on the Boston Irish gang wars of the 1950s-1960s. It is a littl...more
Cheryl D
A true, vividly told tale of decades of unchecked corruption, rackets and murder. The Winter Hill Gang, once headed by Whitey Bulger, operated for decades with impunity with FBI cooperation. Unbeknownst to his cohorts, Steve Flemmi,and eventually Whitey Bulger-- horrifically violent, raping, drug peddling murders, was feeding information to the FBI since the 1960s. As informants to bring down the "Mafia" in Boston, they basically blamed on their crimes on them and got away with it for years. Whe...more
Mar 28, 2013 Richard marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A great, detailed account of Johnny Martorano, Whitey Bulger's protege and one of the busiest hit men in the mob. Sort of a principled sociopath, martorano only whacked the guys that deserved it :-) Carr details these events along with the nefarious dealings of the Bosotn office of the FBI now well documented as the protectors of Whitey Bulger and Stefie "The Rifleman" Flemmi who's reign of terror lasted for ~30 years. Good fellas, good times.
Alisa Hedden
This is the story of Johnny Martorano (Whitey Bulger’s hit man), his life story. But it is also the story of Jimmy “the Bear” the Bennett brothers, Stevie Flemmi, Nicky Femia, Barboza, Indian Al, and the entire history of the gang, mob, mafia wars of Boston from 1959 into the 90’s. This is a tale of bargains made with the other gangs, hits gone wrong (and right), informants, crooked cops, politicians and FBI agents. And it tells the story of how it all fell apart. As Johnny explains, it doesn’t...more
I couldn't finish this. SO hard to follow, I feel like there's no narrative holding everything together. I judge a book by whether it holds my attention/I'm able to follow it on the subway, and with this I found myself reading the same paragraphs over and over trying to figure out who everyone was and how it fit in. I stopped reading when I ran into a bunch of mistakes. There was a part that was like "these guys died" and then the next paragraph talked about several months later like they were s...more
A good read. I thought Carr's first book The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century was a better read. I felt this book for the 150 pages was confusing an all over the place. Don't get me wrong it was not a bad read, but you needed to keep track of all the names in Boston's underworld in 1950's - 1960's. However the 2nd half of the book was great. It really got into Whitey Bulger's overthrow of the established crime families and gangs in Boston. Pick it u...more
Well I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't sure what to expect given that this was an ARC but it was a really good read. I had a bit of trouble in the beginning with all the names and how the story jumps around a bit. (Mobsters like to have several different names so it gets confusing.)

I found Johnny's frankness and overall loyalty really kind of interesting considering he murdered 20 people. You don't really feel for him but you can see where he is coming from and why he ended up t...more
Anthony Aqua
This book exposes the fact of there being an organized underworld throughout the United States and the world that works in unison.

Bob Bouley
Had a hard time putting this one down. Living in the area that this took place really added to it's appeal.
Rod Langevin
Poorly written and edited.
Interesting stories but not what I expected.
This book was way better than I would have expected from any work with a cover blurb by famed idiot manchild Bill O'Reilly.

Its only real failing as a history is that Howie Carr fails to appreciate the difference between "not as big a scumbag as James 'Whitey' Bulger" (a category which includes just about everyone other than Hitler and the aforementioned Bill O'Reilly) and "not a complete scumbag," and consequently ends up lionizing his subject. It's still an entertaining read, and a densely-deta...more
Great book! I moved to Boston in 2008 and found Howie Carr on the radio. I love listening to him and his stories about Boston. This book tells the history of Boston corruption and The Gangs that controlled much of th city. There are a lot of characters to keep straight but it really reads well. I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn a little bit extra (stuff not in the standard history books) about Boston. Thanks Howie, loved it!!
Bebe Burnside
A look at the underworld of Boston in the last couple of decades. It's almost unbelievable how many people were killed, the money that was stolen and spent. A real eye-opener. Scary, sad, and yet so human. It starts to feel like there are no bad guys, just humans who made really, really bad decisions.
Nicky Enriquez
As other reviewers mentioned, I was a little confused by all of the personalities - but Carr's research is exhaustive, and the reader can't help but understand Martorano's position.

A great read for any fan of Boston crime history. The events exposing the federal government are quite appalling!
This book was disappointing. It reads like the Boston telephone endless cavalcade of names, aliases, and relationships, with very little continuity. With Whitey Bulger's capture in the current news, it was a timely book release, but "timely" doesn't always count for much.
It made me realize the depth of corruption in Boston over many decades. Wink, wink, nod, nod. I listen to Howie almost every day, and he is very, very good on the radio. My only beef with the book is the tremendous number of names that I had to try to keep track of.
Wow. Why didn't I know Whitey was bisexual or that he was a former male prostitute? After reading this book I certainly can't serve on Whitey's jury! The first half of the book is murder after murder after murder and this is while Whitey was still in jail. Very violent.
Stephen Libby
He got the Stevie Hughes murder completely wrong he was killed bringing groceries into his pregnant wife in Charlestown they missed killing his wife by 2 minutes. The rest of the book was the same stuff I've read in all the other Boston gangster books.
The first half was a little boring because there were so many unfamiliar names to keep track of. The second half, which zeroes in on Whitey and Stevie was much more interesting. I think this book would appeal to mob story afficionadoes and Bostonians.
Of course I adore the author and his radio show. However I don't really care about gangsters so this book was a little boring for me. There are a lot of names to keep track of. I wish there has been a family tree of gangster names to help keep them straight.
Linda Rheault
I found this book interesting, a story of regional interest. Whitey's trial has just finished. John Martorano was a prosecution witness. Of course, Martorano says he killed 20 people, but only got 12 years for that! Deals are great, aren't they?
The impact of the Bulger brothers on the political and law enforcement landscape in Boston is still felt today. The only good thing about Martorano is that he got oissed off at them the result of which blew the whistle on the entire operation.
Mike King
Once again, Carr produces a gripping and informative read, despite certain technical flaws in his composition. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in crime history, particularly with organized crime in Boston.
May 15, 2011 Maggie marked it as to-read
I won this book in Goodread's giveaway, but have not read it, yet. My 18 year old son "borrowed" it to read, and I don't have it back. Will have to remind him because as I perused it the day it came in the mail, it grabbed me. :)
Joseph Patchen
Brilliant study of a cold blooded professional. This is a remarkable book.
Mark A.
The book is well researched and difficult to put down. The details of the lives of these men are horrific. None of them truly get the punishment they deserve for the many lives and families destroyed.
It was great especially if you are interested in the Boston Mafia and organized crime history. Howie is an excellent author and I enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to getting his other book on Whitey Bulger.
Sue Wargo
Quite the the story of the Boston underworld. Reads like a who's who of gangsters. With the Bulger trial currently going on in Boston, this book was full of details that were shocking but true.
Ironically I finished this book the day before Whitey was arrested. Found this a lot more interesting than expected. Martorano is a more compelling character than I would have otherwise assumed.
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Howie Carr is a columnist for the Boston Herald and hosts a radio talk show syndicated throughout New England. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the true crime biographies The Brothers Bulger and Hitman, and author of the crime novel Hard Knocks. In 1985, Carr won a National Magazine Award, and in 2008 he was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame. He lives in suburban Boston with...more
More about Howie Carr...
The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century Hard Knocks Rifleman Ratman: The Trial and Conviction of Whitey Bulger Plug Uglies

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