The Enforcer: Johnny Pops Papalia; A Life and Death in the Mafia

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9780002000161: The Enforcer: Johnny Pops Papalia; A Life and Death in the Mafia

For close to 40 years, gangsters across Canada bowed to the fearsome will of Johnny "Pops" Papalia, the Mafia chieftain who rose from a working-class ghetto in Hamilton, Ontario to hold a tenuous grip on organized crime.

National Post reporter Adrian Humphreys followed Papalia's career and in his book, The Enforcer: Johnny Pops Papalia--A Life and Death in the Mafia, published by HarperCollins, he tracks the rise to power and gangland slaying of Canada's Capone after more than four decades in the Mafia.

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From the Inside Flap:

A Mafia don. A gentleman known for his charity. A thug who ordered limbs broken for petty debts. A businessman whose name was a valuable commodity. A criminal who never let a deal slip by without making it a swindle. A man known during his lifetime as Johnny Pops, Canada's Capone, Godfather, and The Enforcer.

Johnny "Pops" Papalia was a complicated man of conflicting passions.

Newspaper reporter Adrian Humphreys followed Papalia's career and continues to report on the widening fallout from his brazen slaying. Humphreys uses an intriguing blend of sources -- from gangsters and street rogues to police and honest citizens -- to reveal not only the fascinating life and violent death of The Enforcer, but a glimpse inside the Mafia's inner sanctum and the power it wields.

By the time Johnny Papalia was shot dead at the age of 73 -- on the same small, working-class street in Hamilton, Canada, where he was born and raised -- he was universally feared and considered a "man of respect." Papalia built a far-reaching criminal empire through extortion, loan sharking, and gambling -- and then expanded his family's interests into heroin. Setting up a part of "The French Connection" took him to swank New York City nightclubs with La Cosa Nostra's elite and ultimately to Riker's Island prison with the world's most notorious criminals. Many of Papalia's most productive years were wasted behind bars, perhaps accounting for his zest for life.

How Papalia learned his dark trade reaches back into time and place -- to his forefathers and the underworld of Italy. Papalia's story is one synonymous with the rise of organized crime in Canada. The Enforcer is an absorbing read for any true crime addict.

About the Author:

Adrian Humphreys currently reports on crime and justice issues for the National Post, one of Canada's national newspapers, after an award-winning career at The Hamilton Spectator.

He covered the shooting of Johnny Papalia, attended his funeral, and remains an avid investigator of organized crime. He can be reached through email at humphreys@canada.com

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