Nashoba Publishing/Julia KacmarekHowie Carr at Ayer Library.
Nashoba Publishing/Julia Kacmarek Howie Carr at Ayer Library.

AYER -- New York Times best-selling author Howie Carr made his way to Ayer last Saturday for a book-signing and to talk about his latest book, "Rifleman."

Ayer Public Library hosted the event as dozens of people filed into the second floor of Town Hall to hear Carr talk.

Carr is most famously known for his two New York Times best-sellers, "The Brothers Bulger" and "Hitman," and his conservative talk radio show, "The Howie Carr Show" on WRKO-AM.

As a journalist, columnist and novelist, Carr has been awarded several recognitions, including placing 51st on "Talkers" magazine's "Heavy Hundred," which ranks talk show hosts whom they find the most popular, influential or entertaining. Carr was also inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008. On top of his books on the Boston mob, he has also written a fiction novel called "Hard Knocks," which gives a fictional look at the last 30 years of Boston crimes.

"The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century" and "Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano" were released in 2006 and 2011, respectively, and reveal, in Carr's view, the inner workings of how Bulger and Martorano controlled the Boston underworld for decades.

"Rifleman: The Untold Story of Stevie Flemmi, Whitey Bulger's Partner" was released in April 2013 and delves into the life of his alleged partner in crime.

Carr brought photographs of the Bulgers, Flemmi and Martorano, presented information about the Irish gang and offered a view into how Bulger is handling prison.


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"He complains a lot about Plymouth now," Car said of Bulger, who is currently being held at Plymouth County House of Correction. "He says it's worse than Alcatraz."

James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger was arrested in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. After years of holding a top spot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, Bulger was found guilty on 31 counts including connections to 11 murders.

Carr spoke about the cost of Bulger's trial for the federal government.

"Whitey's lawyers have already billed the federal government for $2.7 million through the end of June," Carr said. "The trail started in early to mid June and went to early to mid August and they haven't billed for the sentencing or the appeal. So it's probably going to cost us $5 million."

Carr also delved into Bulger's and Flemmi's past, recalling that the men were both in the military.

"Whitey went into the Air Force and got into a lot of trouble," Carr said. Bulger was told that he wouldn't be able to find work if he was discharged.

"The kind of work I'm going into, it won't matter what kind of discharge I get from here," Carr said Bulger responded to the Air Force.

Flemmi served in the Korean War where he got his nickname "The Rifleman," Carr said, when he killed five soldiers on his first mission.

As the brief talk came to an end, the audience asked questions about the Boston mob today and why it seems that so many still feel that Whitey Bulger did some good for Boston.

"There's very little left of the mob now," Carr said. "There's Carmen 'The Cheeseman' Dinunzio, in Fort Dix prison, but his brother is still on the loose." Carr also mentioned two others who face serious charges for their dealings with the mob so many years ago.

"There are very few of them still around," Carr said.

As far as why some may feel Bulger did some good in Boston, "I think they were probably brainwashed," said Carr, because local papers wrote that he kept the drugs out of Southie. "(People also) felt this guy is standing up to the Italians and the reality was that he was killing Irish people, and poor Irish people at that. Everything about (Bulger) was a lie, everything. I thought people would have figured that out by now," said Carr.

All of Carr's books can be found at Amazon.com. His newest book, "Ratman: The Trial and Conviction of Whitey Bulger" will be released on Nov. 18.