The riveting true story of the rise and fall of Murder, Inc. and the executioner-turned-informant whose mysterious death became a legendary moment in Mob history.
In the fall of 1941, a momentous trial was set to begin that threatened to end the careers and lives of New York's most brutal mob kingpins. The lead witness, Abe Reles, had been a trusted executioner for Murder, Inc., the enforcement arm of a coast-to-coast mob network known as the Syndicate. But the man responsible for coolly silencing hundreds of informants was about to become the most talkative snitch of all. In exchange for police protection, Reles was prepared to rat out his murderous friends, from Albert Anastasia to Bugsy Siegel—until the morning of the trial, when his shattered body was discovered on a rooftop outside his heavily-guarded hotel room. Was it a botched escape, or punishment for betraying the loyalty of the country's most powerful mobsters?
Michael Cannell's A Brotherhood Betrayed traces the history of Murder, Inc. through Reles' rise from street punk to murder chieftain to stool pigeon, ending with his face-down death on a Coney Island rooftop. It resurrects a time when crime became organized crime: a world of money and power, depravity and corruption, street corner ambushes and elaborately choreographed hits by wise-cracking foot soldiers in double-breasted suits and zooty fedoras.
For a brief moment before World War II took over everything, America fixated on the delicate balance of trust and betrayal on the Brooklyn streets. This is the story of the one man who tipped the balance.
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