Selig Harry Lefkowitz, alias Big Jack Zelig, was New York's first great gangster boss. Like many of his pre-Volstead contemporaries, his historic impact has been overshadowed by Al Capone and Murder Inc. He is listed in today's crime anthologies primarily because four members of the gang, along with corrupt cop Charles Becker, died in the electric chair for the July 1912 murder of gambler Herman Rosenthal. In New York City from 1908 to 1912, however, Zelig inspired admiration and fear, and he was synonymous with the word 'gangster.' New York editor Herbert Bayard Swope recalled that The Starker (Yiddish for 'Big Boss') threw terror into the heart of the New York underworld like no one has before or since. Based on dozens of interviews and years of painstaking research, The Starker introduces readers to a story from New York's criminal past that is dazzling in its audacity and criminal in the success of the people responsible for the murders in covering up their own crimes.