Capture (Butch Karp Series #21)

Capture (Butch Karp Series #21)

3.7 33
by Robert K. Tanenbaum

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When a rising starlet dies from a gunshot wound in the fashionable downtown penthouse of an eccentric Broadway producer, New York District Attorney Roger “Butch” Karp and his hard-charging wife, Marlene Ciampi, smell drama. With the help of a fearful witness, Karp wages a relentless battle for justice against a notorious defendant, a legion of experts,


When a rising starlet dies from a gunshot wound in the fashionable downtown penthouse of an eccentric Broadway producer, New York District Attorney Roger “Butch” Karp and his hard-charging wife, Marlene Ciampi, smell drama. With the help of a fearful witness, Karp wages a relentless battle for justice against a notorious defendant, a legion of experts, and a barrage of hostile threats. Meanwhile, a shadowy international power group kidnaps Karp’s daughter, Lucy. As Karp races to decode a baffling series of riddles, a beautiful but deadly Russian assassin hunts him. He must infiltrate the kidnappers before their scheme for world dominion succeeds. Little does he know, the clock is ticking down on New York City as an invisible force prepares to unleash Armageddon.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

New York County DA Roger "Butch" Karp, his wife, Marlene Ciampi, and daughter, Lucy, go up against a cartoonish crop of new and old villains in the over-the-top 21st thriller from bestseller Tanenbaum (after Escape). Their antagonists include Karp's chief nemesis, sociopath Andrew Kane, whose face transplant has failed and left him, well, without a face; David Grale, who may or may not be a foe, but who commands from his lair deep in the city's subway tunnels an army of stinking, filthy homeless men and women; the nefarious Sons of Man, a group that's been plotting against America for hundreds of years; and terrorists bent on striking a blow that will topple the U.S. government. While battling these madmen, Butch is also prosecuting a famous perverted Broadway producer who's killed a beautiful young actress in his apartment. Despite or because of the overkill, Tanenbaum's many fans are sure to be satisfied. (June)

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Kirkus Reviews
New York D.A. Butch Karp and his cast of regulars continue their inflationary spiral in a tale that combines a trial for murder with an attempt to thwart yet another terrorist plot. All the evidence shows that after luring Gail Perez up to his penthouse hotel room with the promise of a juicy role, Broadway producer F. Lloyd Maplethorpe shot her to death when she didn't come up with a quid pro quo. But all the evidence wasn't enough for ADA Stewart Reed to convict Maplethorpe the first time around. Shortly after a meeting in which he urges Stewbie to adopt a less-is-more prosecution, Butch learns that his colleague has hanged himself-unless of course he had help-and decides to retry the case himself. Maybe it'll keep his mind off the quadrilateral duel among Andrew Kane, the sociopathic terrorist risen from the grave to plan a fiendish new strike on New York City; David Grale, the equally indestructible lunatic who rules the Big Apple's sewer system; the Sons of Man, a cadre of well-heeled right-wing zealots determined to seize unprecedented constitutional powers by blaming Iran for the impending outrage; and the ragtag counterterrorists, including Karp's daughter Lucy, under the direction of FBI agent S.P. Jaxon. On the one side is the world's simplest criminal proceeding, on the other an epic stew of double agents, double-crosses and slam-bang action, with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance. Tanenbaum cuts back and forth between the two stories as if they were equally weighty-and in a way they are, because each one is headed toward an absolutely forgone conclusion. "Are we stuck on this counterterrorism carrousel the rest of our lives?" wonders Lucy. Apparently so, sinceher author isn't willing to write finis to any of the continuing plotlines that have increasingly encrusted his recent work (Fury, 2005, etc.). Domestic drama meets domestic terrorism. As one of the several criminal masterminds puts it, "What is this, a comic book?"
From the Publisher
"Tanenbaum's many fans are sure to be satisfied." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Gallery Books
Publication date:
Butch Karp Series , #21
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

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Read an Excerpt


  • A HOWL OF FEMALE LAUGHTER REVERBERATED DOWN THE hallway of the loft to where Butch Karp sat at the kitchen table trying to accomplish the gastronomical feat of eating breakfast and reading the Saturday New York Times without upsetting his stomach. He was losing the battle, too, as he labored through yet another editorial posing as a news story on the front page, under the headline:


    More laughter interrupted his reading further. He looked up, his gold-flecked gray eyes narrowing as he wondered what it might be about. Zak and Giancarlo were already off to Central Park to play football with their friends, and his daughter, Lucy, was...Hmmm, who knows where Lucy is these days...just “away” according to her voice mail.

    So something else was tickling his wife’s fancy this morning. Another gale of mirth preceded Marlene Ciampi into the main area of the loft, which included a spacious living room, a kitchen, a library, and a foyer on an open floor plan. She followed close behind, holding up what appeared to be a letter.

    “Look what I found going through those old papers,” she chortled.

    “Nude photographs from our wedding night?” Karp asked with a wink.

    “Now that would be funny.” Marlene smiled. “Especially because I was too drunk to remember it.”

    “All you need to know is that you said I was the best ever.”

    “Yeah, so you’ve told me. A regular Secretariat. But nah, this is real and it’s hilarious.” She laughed again and shook the letter at him.

    Marlene had been fixing up the “den,” which is what they were calling Lucy’s former bedroom now that she’d more or less permanently relocated to New Mexico and parts unknown. His wife had decided that the space could be better used as a home office and that they didn’t need to keep renting a storage unit in Newark for old papers and forgotten memorabilia. So a dozen boxes at a time, she was bringing the flotsam and jetsam of their lives to the loft and going through it “to get rid of anything we don’t need.”

    When she started, Karp had made the mistake of saying he thought it might be a good idea so that someday they could “downsize” now that Lucy was gone and the boys were close to entering high school followed, presumably, by their leaving for college. But that had only earned him an icy stare from his wife, who had apparently not been thinking in terms of becoming an empty-nester in a few years. “We’ll always need a big enough place they can come home to,” she’d replied, as if instructing a not-so-bright pupil. “I’m even going to put a daybed in the ‘office’ so that Lucy will have a place to sleep. I’m not pushing our children out of their home, just cleaning house a bit and making some work space.”

    Having been dressed down for practically kicking their children to the streets, he’d been careful about what he said after that regarding her task and was happy to see her smiling now.

    “So what’s so funny about a piece of paper?” He stood up from his chair and walked over to his wife, who held it away from him. At six feet five, he towered over her so that she had to look up, her dark brown eyes twinkling and her cupid’s-bow lips twisted into a smirk that said “The joke’s on you, buddy boy.”

    That was okay with him as long as it made Marlene happy. She was looking good these days. Not that he ever thought she was unattractive. Since the day they met as young assistant district attorneys for New York County, he’d been drawn to her classic Italian features, the petite but curvy body, and the way her soft, molasses-colored curls framed her face. Not even when she lost an eye opening a letter bomb intended for him, way back when they were first dating, had he thought differently.

    However, the past few years had been rough on her and the rest of the family. After leaving the DAO, Marlene tossed aside her lawyer’s shingle and gave the private sector a shot as a gumshoe for hire. Fate, karma, circumstances—whatever you wanted to call it—had taken her down a road in which she found herself dispensing vigilante justice on behalf of abused women, and then again when her family was attacked—a not uncommon experience. All of her behavior could be justified in an “eye for an eye” way, but she’d found herself caught up in a web of violence that she couldn’t seem to extricate herself from. And it had taken its toll on her physically and emotionally, and on their marriage. As the district attorney for the County of New York and a man who believed in “the system,” for all of its failings and imperfections, he opposed vigilante justice on principle. That his wife was in the middle of it had strained their relationship to the breaking point.

    But they managed, he thought. He’d watched her making focaccia the other night, kneading the dough, lost in her own thoughts. She’d looked up and caught him gazing at her, then smiled and went back to her bread.

    Lately, she just seemed...What’s the word I’m looking for...satisfied?...Yes, she seems satisfied.

    And yet, it had only been a few weeks since she had almost single-handedly stopped a terrorist attack on the New York Stock Exchange. If the terrorists had succeeded, the nation’s economy could have collapsed, ruining lives and throwing the country into pandemonium. She’d killed several men to prevent it from happening, but it would have been hard to argue that every drop of blood wasn’t justified. Still, there was the added trauma of nearly dying with her daughter...and the old bugaboo about people she loved getting caught up in the violence that hovered around her.

    Of course, Karp worried that some new incident would push her back down the stairs of mental health. She’d get a taste of some act of violence and like an alcoholic who’d been on the wagon for many years and then tries “just a sip,” she’d be hooked again. So he’d watched for some sign of distress—a warning that the old addiction was kicking in again. But after she’d taken a few days to hang out with their friend John Jojola in the New Mexican desert, she’d seemed to bounce back to her new normal as devoted wife and mother.

    Maybe it’s been too easy, he thought, but then chided himself for doubting that she was coming to peace with who she was and her role in the world. Her present mischievousness seemed genuine enough. He smiled and held out his hand for the letter. “Come on, give it up, gorgeous.”

    “Hmph, well, if you’re going to say nice things like that, you will spoil all my fun,” she said, pretending to pout. “Anyway, I was going through a box with some of your old law school papers and found this...I guess you could call it a letter of recommendation, from Robert H. Cole.”

    “My torts professor?” At the mention of his old Boalt Hall law professor at UC Berkeley, Karp smiled. He recalled many a fine classroom debate with Cole; he’d realized only after the fact that the professor was using those debates to push his headstrong and occasionally overly emotional pupil to perfect his use of reason and logic in order to win the argument.

    “Good old Bob Cole...what a mentor that guy was for me,” Karp said. “He was a master at the art of logic and persuasion. I learned more about how to problem solve from him as anybody before or since, except maybe Garrahy.”

    “Well, the man certainly had you pegged.” Marlene giggled. “The letter’s addressed to Francis Garrahy.”

    Karp perked up. New York District Attorney Garrahy was already a legend by the time Karp arrived as a snot-nosed, wet-behind-the-ears assistant district attorney out to save the world by locking up all the bad guys. The old man had seen something in him, a raw, hardworking Jewish kid from Brooklyn who aspired to a career in the Homicide Bureau, and he’d taken him under his wing.

    The DAO required applicants to have three letters of recommendation, so Karp had asked Cole for such a letter and was glad he’d kept a copy of it. “So if you’re not going to let me read it, what’s it say?”

    “‘Mr. Karp is an able and intelligent man,” Marlene began lightly. “He is highly motivated toward law and public service, and well trained. He is competent and fully qualified for excellent service in any law office.’”

    “That’s what had you laughing like a lunatic? Have you been hitting the cooking sherry again?”

    Marlene stuck her tongue out at him. “I’m getting to it if you’ll allow me to continue. ‘He has had a remarkable career of extracurricular activities, which testify to his energy, well-roundedness and complexity of interests, a principled devotion to public service, and his ability to do a great deal of work successfully. In college he was a star varsity basketball player...’”

    Karp winced. His promising basketball career had ended with a blown-out knee that had required major reconstructive surgery and finished any thoughts he’d entertained of playing pro ball.

    “‘...and a major student leader on a campus of over 25,000 students.’”

    “I still don’t see what’s so humorous. If you ask me, it’s a rather dry recitation of these extraordinary facts as they pertained to me.” Karp grinned with a raised eyebrow and an “I gotcha” wink.

    Marlene rolled her eyes. “Yeah, Saint Butch. Anyway, what I was laughing about was what Cole wrote in the last paragraph. ‘He is a forthright, strong-willed, outspoken man, and his combination of aggressiveness and determination has no doubt made him controversial at times and has occasionally annoyed people.’”

    Karp’s wife, his darling companion, his one and only, burst out laughing and had to wipe the tears from her eyes before she could speak again. “Boy, this guy Cole was a master at the understatement. ‘Has occasionally annoyed people.’ Oh, that’s rich!”

    “Yeah, well speaking of that it?”

    “No, he goes on, ‘Moreover, his manner is not entirely suave....’ He sure got you right, baby boy,” Marlene chortled.

    “Give me that,” Karp growled, snatching the document from her hands. He read silently for a moment before smiling and reading aloud: “‘Yet, I would consider these attributes as more desirable than not. They suggest a kind of earthy ability to understand ordinary people and a willingness to see even the unpopular jobs through to the end. I recommend him to you without hesitation.’ I suppose you were going to leave that out?”

    “I was getting to it,” Marlene replied, grabbing the letter back. “Give me that...I’m going to have it framed.”

    “Simple minds, simple pleasures,” he suggested.

    “Uh, I wouldn’t talk, big boy. If I remember correctly, simple pleasures were about all you had on that extraordinary mind of yours last night.”

    “I beg your pardon? I am a very emotionally complex man with a great variety of needs and am quite capable of multitasking.”

    “Don’t I know it, Romeo.”

    Karp grabbed for his Juliet, who deftly avoided his grasp. “What’s next week look like for you?” she asked. “The usual Monday morning meeting, I assume.”

    “Yeah, but I have two others before that,” he said.

    “Your mistress and who else?”

    “She couldn’t fit me to speak,” he replied, which caused his wife to make a gagging sound. “So instead, I’m going by Moishe’s shop. The old geezers in the Breakfast Club are looking for a new place to meet now that the Kitchenette moved, so I was going to introduce them to Moishe and Il Buon Pane.”

    “I should have known. You’ve been mumbling about cherry cheese coffeecake in your sleep.... So what’s the other meeting?”

    Karp held up a hand. “Guilty as charged on the coffee cake.” Then he frowned and tapped the front page of the Times. “After that I’m sitting down with Tommy Mac to talk about where to go now with the Maplethorpe case.”

    Marlene nodded. Tommy “Mac” McKean was a longtime friend at the DAO who’d recently been made chief of the Homicide Bureau by her husband. “I still can’t believe the jury hung and that scumbag’s walking around town like he’s been vindicated. I read that ‘news story.’ It said he’s even going ahead with his new show, Putin: The Musical, if you can believe that. And how poor Maplethorpe has been persecuted because he was trying to help out some nutcase who offed herself in his living room.... You’re going to retry him, aren’t you?”

    “Without a doubt, kiddo,” Karp replied. “We’ll be asking Judge Rosenmayer to put us on the calendar for a new trial forthwith. But we’d better figure out where we went wrong, or the next time the jury just might acquit.”

    “How’s Stewbie taking it?”

    Karp thought about the question. Stewart “Stewbie” Reed was the assistant district attorney who had tried F. Lloyd Maplethorpe for the murder of Gail Perez. Stewbie was one of the most experienced and professional prosecutors in the Homicide Bureau. He’d won and lost cases before, but this one had been different—with all the publicity and scandal surrounding a famous Broadway producer, and up against a legendary defense attorney. There were a lot of pitfalls in such a case, and one of them was to get caught up in the hype and allow one’s ego to get involved. A hung jury could mean a loss in Reed’s confidence and the objectivity necessary to retry the case.

    “That’s one of the things I want to talk to Tommy Mac about,” he replied. “I haven’t said anything about it to Stewbie, except that no one was blaming him. But he’s probably taking it pretty hard. It’s been, eight months since Maplethorpe’s arrest? He put a lot of time and energy into the case.”

    “And if I know Stewbie, a lot of his soul, too,” Marlene added. She had once been the chief of the DAO Sex Crimes Bureau and had known Stewart Reed for many years, even working with him on several homicide cases that also involved sexual assaults. “He’s a good man, Butch.”

    Karp nodded. “Yeah, I know, and a great prosecutor. He probably just needs a pep talk, and an extra set of eyes to help him plug any holes. Then he’ll be good to go again.”

    “That’s my guy,” Marlene replied, and blew him a kiss as she turned to go back to the office. “So where are you off to now?”

    “Thought I’d catch the train to Central Park and watch the boys. Maybe treat them to a hot pastrami and corned beef at the Carnegie Deli on the way back.”

    “Sounds nice. Do try to avoid annoying anyone if you can help it.”

    Karp laughed. “If I don’t know that I’m doing it, how can I help it?”

  • What People are saying about this

    From the Publisher
    "Tanenbaum's many fans are sure to be satisfied." — Publishers Weekly

    Meet the Author

    Robert K. Tanenbaum is the author of thirty-one books—twenty-eight novels and three nonfiction books: The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer, Badge of the Assassin, and Echoes of My Soul. He is one of the most successful prosecuting attorneys, having never lost a felony trial and convicting hundreds of violent criminals. He was a special prosecution consultant on the Hillside strangler case in Los Angeles and defended Amy Grossberg in her sensationalized baby death case. He was Assistant District Attorney in New York County in the office of legendary District Attorney Frank Hogan, where he ran the Homicide Bureau, served as Chief of the Criminal Courts, and was in charge of the DA’s legal staff training program. He served as Deputy Chief counsel for the Congressional Committee investigation into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also served two terms as mayor of Beverly Hills and taught Advanced Criminal Procedure for four years at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, and has conducted continuing legal education (CLE) seminars for practicing lawyers in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tanenbaum attended the University of California at Berkeley on a basketball scholarship, where he earned a B.A. He received his law degree (J.D.) from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Visit

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    Capture (Butch Karp Series #21) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
    cewilch More than 1 year ago
    I love the Karp/Ciampi clan stories and of the numerous "hangers-on" that seem to surround them, Dirty Warren is my favorite . . . in this area, in this book, the author did not disappoint. I was never so happy to see the ending and the apparent dissolvement of the Sons of Man. The only thing that would've made me happier would be to see the end of David Grale and the Mole people. I would like ask Mr. Tanenbaum when he is going to continue the story he alluded to in a much earlier book, regarding Trahn and his connection to the death in Vietnam of Jojola's brother? I would like to see the "edge of your seat" courtroom thriller that I know this author is capable of, not the flimsy doomsday scenario with cartoonish side characters which does not interest me.
    harstan More than 1 year ago
    Broadway musical producer F. Lloyd Maplethorpe is counting on his reputation to keep him going as his last few shows have been flops. He hopes his latest venture will prove successful as he is arranging Putin: the Musical for the live theatre. One night he calls the concierge to come up to his apartment; Harry arrives only to see the body of a dead woman who had a part in the show. Lloyd tells Harry "I think I killed her". At his trial, Maplethorpe changes his tune stating she committed suicide; as happens frequently at celebrity trials, the jury is split. New York District Attorney Roger "Butch" Karp intends to prosecute the retrial. His private security specialist wife, Marlene Ciampi finds a frightened witness who she protects.-------------- Meanwhile the Sons of Man, a group with members in all levels of authority, are using the Muslims to create an incident that will surpass 9/11 in horror and death. They plan to make it seem Iran did the dastardly deed so that they can seize total power in a coup. The daughter of Ciampi and Karp, an agent for a top secret government group, Lucy is captured by the group's leader as she had begun to get to close to uncovering their devious scheme. Karp and Ciampi have to change direction as New York City is under internal Armageddon. ----------- Part legal thriller and part ant-terrorist conspiracy thriller, CAPTIVE is an exhilarating fast-paced, but over the top of the Empire State Building tale. Both subplots are fully developed so fans of the series will find each fun to follow. Butch is his usual confident self as he seeks justice in a courtroom while Maplethorpe lines up some powerful defenders. He is also a worried father as his daughter is snatched by his enemy and his wife in support roles has begun to help uncover a conspiracy that if achieved would sink the boroughs under the sea along with the government. Though way out and wild, fans will relish the latest Robert K. Tanenbaum's tense thriller.---------------- Harriet Klausner
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I have read all of the Butch Karp novels and have greatly enjoyed the series. I only have one problem with these books. In every book the author spends the first 100 or so pages introducing all the characters. This is very annoying and boring. This is the 20th book in the series. No one starts a series of books on the 20th book. Either you are a fan of the series and have read all of them or you start with the first book. With that complaint out the way I can say that this book does a really good job of moving the saga if this unique family along. I just wish that Tanenbaum could manage to publish more than one book a year.
    pabenham More than 1 year ago
    Much like another of his books, but still entertaining.
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    Amazing work!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I can't stop laughing when I think about Heather in this scene. You're hilarious! ((And that's kinda scawy. :D))
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    lcswJW More than 1 year ago
    This is a nice continuation of the case of characters. The plot was OK but it was a bit of a slower read than previous books.
    EvangelineAF More than 1 year ago
    I always enjoy this series. The continuity is superb, but the adventures and twists keep the material fresh and exciting. I highly recommend the entire series. But this and all Tannenbaum's Butch Karp books can stand alone as a great read. The only down side? I would love to see Marlene kick some more a*@ !