Tragic (Butch Karp Series #25)

Tragic (Butch Karp Series #25)

3.6 14
by Robert K. Tanenbaum

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New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Tanenbaum takes legal suspense to dramatic new heights when his hero, District Attorney Butch Karp, goes up against a ruthless union leader with too much power, too many secrets, and too many enemies to silence…or kill.

New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Tanenbaum ’s hero , District


New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Tanenbaum takes legal suspense to dramatic new heights when his hero, District Attorney Butch Karp, goes up against a ruthless union leader with too much power, too many secrets, and too many enemies to silence…or kill.

New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Tanenbaum ’s hero , District Attorney Butch Karp , goes up against a ruthless union leader with too much power , too many secrets , and too many enemies to silence . . . or kill .

Prizefighter tough. Street-hustler smart. Pit-bull vicious. Longshoremen’s union boss Charlie Vitteli clawed his way to the top—and no one’s going to take him down now. Not if they value their lives. Like Vince Carlotta. He accused Vitteli of embezzlement and election rigging. Now Carlotta is just another corpse on the waterfront—allegedly gunned down by an armed robber. Connecting Vitteli to the murder could be the death of anyone who tries . . . unless District Attorney Butch Karp can uncover the one tragic flaw that could bring down the curtain on the cold-blooded villain once and for all. Packed with ingenious twists, diabolical turns, and shocking revelations, Tragic is Robert K. Tanenbaum at his page-turning best.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Roger “Butch” Karp takes on organized crime masquerading as union politics in bestseller Tanenbaum’s overly ambitious 25th thriller featuring the New York County DA (after 2012’s Bad Faith). Recently deceased union leader Leo Corcione left two prospective heirs: ruthless Charlie Vitteli and upstanding Vince Carlotta. Vitteli’s thugs, led by brutal Joey Barros, set out to prove that the nice guy finishes last—by putting a bullet through Carlotta’s head. Karp works to pin Vitteli to the crime, but when Karp’s wife, ADA Marlene Campi, provides crucial testimony, the personal connection threatens to discredit both them and the case. Tanenbaum, himself a criminal lawyer, supplies fluid, authentic dialogue, but overlong courtroom cross-examinations drag down narrative momentum. On the plus side, the expansive cast of characters includes intriguing portrayals of the petty lowlifes who are both agents and victims of Vitteli’s machinations. Constant allusions to Macbeth freight the book with grandiose expectations that are never met. Agent: Mike Hamilburg, Mike Hamilburg Agency. (Aug.)
"There are enough twists and turns here to satisfy lovers of suspense/thrillers and fans of this long-running series."
New York Post
“One hell of a writer.”
Library Journal
The 25th volume (after Bad Faith) in Tanenbaum's series of legal thrillers chronicling the lives and careers of Butch Karp and his wife, Marlene Ciampi, opens at a performance of Macbeth in New York's Central Park, setting the stage for the crime drama that is about to unfold. A mob hit on labor union leader Vince Carlotta, though plotted by corrupt union members, is carried out by a gang of young thugs hired for the task, some of whom quickly find themselves—like Macbeth—haunted by guilt. It is the broad range of characters Tanenbaum presents to his readers that will draw them into the tale while Karp and Ciampi's tenacity in solving the case and bringing the true culprits to justice maintains its momentum. Many will also enjoy the various Shakespearean allusions—including a modern-day trio of witches—that arise throughout. VERDICT Not to be missed by Tanenbaum fans; recommend to readers of true crime and crime fiction alike.—Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT
Kirkus Reviews
Tanenbaum (Bad Faith, 2012, etc.) goes on the waterfront in his latest in his crime series featuring Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi. Charlie Vitteli runs the New York City–based North American Brotherhood of Stevedores. That's bad for its members. Vitelli wants to hold onto power and continue to take bribes for avoiding safety regulations while also dipping into embezzled pension fund money. Using Joey Barros, his razor-toting enforcer, as go-between, Vitteli contracts with a Russian mob wannabe for the assassination of a union reformer. The murder's done, but the ugly punk from St. Petersburg is soon caught, along with two local mopes. That's when Roger "Butch" Karp, district attorney for New York County, steps in. One of the trio turns state's witness. The three are convicted. The Russian wannabe is quickly eliminated in a prison murder engineered by the Brighton Beach–based Malchek bratka. That convinces the other mope to turn state's witness, and Vitteli is indicted and convicted. With killers and motives laid out, this is no page-turning whodunit. Instead, Karp flexes his Jack McCoy muscles, giving courtroom-theater fans something to do when television is bereft of Law and Order re-runs. While Marlene Ciampi is a minor player, the narrative is bloated, with some contradictions and "that can't happen" moments. Most characters are clichés, but two or three break out: Jackie Corcione, weakling son of the union founder who is kept in line by the threat of outing his homosexuality; "Dirty Warren," Tourette's-afflicted, street-wise newsstand operator; and Ivgeny Karchovski, retired USSR colonel and boss of a not-so-bad Russian gang, thugs who are willing to deal in illegal immigration, false papers and black markets but draw the line at drugs, guns and prostitution. Conveniently, Ivgeny is Butch's cousin and part of an underworld pipeline. Tanenbaum tosses in quotes and references to Macbeth--"I have murdered sleep" being handy shorthand for a beleaguered conscience--but that's an elaborate blueprint for a small structure. No action thriller this--it's all courtroom drama.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller Series, #25
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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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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Tragic 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Bedros More than 1 year ago
For fans of Robert K. Tanenbaum, Tragic this will satisfy. It may not be as gripping as some of the previous novels in this series but I certainly enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was the best of Tanenbaum's books. Great courtroom drama and plot; also lived the Macbeth echoes terrific read
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
This book is the newest entry in the Butch Karp/Marlene Ciampi series. Karp is the District Attorney for New York County, ably assisted by Special Assistant D.A. Ray Guma (“the Italian Stallion,” whose significant other is Darla Milquetost, Karp’s receptionist) and Detective Sergeant Clay Fulton of the NYPD. Marlene, his wife and the mother of their twin sons, is the former head of the DA’s sex crime bureau and a defense attorney/p.i., now devoting her most of her time volunteering at a women’s shelter. The plot involves criminality on various levels, from corruption to embezzlement to murder, among the leaders of the New York dockworkers union. When a well-respected and high-ranking member is killed, Marlene investigates on behalf of the girlfriend of one of those picked up for the crime, and Butch takes the lead in the ensuing trials. The novel is replete with wonderful references to Shakespeare’s Macbeth (as well as the film On the Waterfront). The author, himself a former Chief of the Homicide Bureau for the NY DA’s Office, among several other prestigious positions, has written another terrific courtroom drama, with his trademark twists and turns, realistic characters and dialogue. Series fans will love it, and it should find many converts among those not already familiar with the Karp/Ciampi books. Recommendned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another 300 page date with Butch and Marlene is always welcome. I have been pre-ordering this series for years. But as most who have waited egarly for each new book know, the series has changed. Tanenbaum changed ghostwriters after #15 with very mixed results. To the good, Tragic is a competent courtroom drama reminiscent of the very early books in the series. Butch is still Butch and ditto Marlene. It has some of the trademark humor of the early volumes and decent complexity. We also benefit from the absence of larger than life,unkillable Muslim terrorists and rejoice in the fact that Tanenbaum's clunky version of american exceptionalism is only found in the acknowledgements. I liked the read. To the not-so-good, I continue to lament the loss of the finest ensemble of characters in this or any genre. At the series' best complex religious and moral themes penetrated and illuminated the legal procedural. The reader got to, with each volume, work out some idea of how Butch and Marlene managed to stay together; contend with violent vigilante solutions to the many failures of our rule-of-law society; and enjoy a huge cast of colorful characters. All of this is gone from this one-dimensional book and other recent volumes. If you are new to this series and find yourself attracted to the main characters, I suggest you return to the very beginning and read the first 15 books in order. If you have read every one so far and will read the next one regardless, we can only hope that Tanenbaum hands this series back to Michael Gruber. In the meantime, read and enjoy Gruber's Jimmy Paz trilogy and then imagine what the next conversation between Lucy Karp and David Grale could reveal about our moral world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tanenbaum finally got back to the basics that make his books so enjoyable. For a while he got to deep into the occult, while interesting it became the catalyst, and detracted from the basic story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read most of the previous books in this series, and I like the characters and the courtroom drama. I like that Karp is back to prosecuting the bad guys. There were too many previous books about terrorists and evil secret societies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the Robert Tanenbaum books I have read, this is my least favorite. It's almost as if it were written by someone else. Part of what makes the Karp series great is the weaving of family events with storyline. None of that here, with the exception of Marlene's participation as an investigator/lawyer. I'm really disappointed in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Marlene, Lucy, and all the additional characters and missed them tremendously inthis book. Far too little of the extra characters that make these stories enjoyable. Still, worth reading...just not as much fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like to see the entire cast of characters involved in the story.
Anonymous 20 days ago
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