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The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder | [Charles Graeber]

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.
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Publisher's Summary

After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned 16 years and nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

When, in March of 2006, Charles Cullen was marched from his final sentencing in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, courthouse into a waiting police van, it seemed certain that the chilling secrets of his life, career, and capture would disappear with him. Now, in a riveting piece of investigative journalism nearly 10 years in the making, journalist Charles Graeber presents the whole story for the first time. Based on hundreds of pages of previously unseen police records, interviews, wire-tap recordings and videotapes, as well as exclusive jailhouse conversations with Cullen himself and the confidential informant who helped bring him down, The Good Nurse weaves an urgent, terrifying tale of murder, friendship, and betrayal.

Graeber's portrait of Cullen depicts a surprisingly intelligent and complicated young man whose promising career was overwhelmed by his compulsion to kill, and whose shy demeanor masked a twisted interior life hidden even to his family and friends. Were it not for the hardboiled, unrelenting work of two former Newark homicide detectives racing to put together the pieces of Cullen's professional past, and a fellow nurse willing to put everything at risk, including her job and the safety of her children, there's no telling how many more lives could have been lost.

In the tradition of In Cold Blood, The Good Nurse does more than chronicle Cullen's deadly career and the breathless efforts to stop him; it paints an incredibly vivid portrait of madness and offers a penetrating look inside America's medical system. Harrowing and irresistibly paced, this book will make you look at medicine, hospitals, and the people who work in them, in an entirely different way.

©2013 Charles Graeber (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (574 )
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  •  
    Betty 12-28-14
    Betty 12-28-14 Member Since 2015

    diverduck

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nurse Charlie Cullen filled a cemetery!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is the most disturbing book I have read in years...since Coma. This is a true crime story and I barely got thru the first couple of chapters because of the graphic details of a burn ward.
    After finishing this book, I kept wondering about how many other nurses, aids and doctors are out there killing patients and when caught or suspected, receive walking papers with a good or neutral recommendation for their next job.
    Charlie Cullen obsessed with killing himself with attention seeking suicide attempts found a way to satisfy his driving need for self harm by proxy. He killed patients with a roulette type system of infusing glucose bags with deadly doses of insulin. He also directly injected patients with a drug that makes the heart stop...for good. New Jersey Poison Control Center detectives are the people that cared enough to go after this man and stop him permanently. It is estimated that Charlie killed around 400 people (conservative number) during his career. Hospital administrators and their attorneys are responsible for Charlie's 16 year long career of killing people. He should have been stopped YEARS ago! I can't help but be cynical and paranoid when walking into a hospital now.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Galadriel 03-24-14
    Galadriel 03-24-14 Member Since 2008

    I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "True crime at it's best"
    What other book might you compare The Good Nurse to and why?

    The Mad Sculptor, The Stranger Beside Me


    What about Will Collyer’s performance did you like?

    Pretty good reader, fine overall. As some health professionals have said his pronunciation of "dig" as an abbreviation is annoying to even me, (should sound like dijj, not dig like digging a hole and I'm not even a nurse) but otherwise he does a fine job.


    Any additional comments?

    Creepy and fascinating, well reported and especially gripping when it comes to Amy's point of view in the second half of the book.The author does his very best to delve into the mind of Charlie Cullen, to answer the unanswerable question: why why why? One of the better true crime stories I've read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon L. Divis Valencia, California USA 04-22-13
    Sharon L. Divis Valencia, California USA 04-22-13 Member Since 2015

    I am the Evil Mama

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quick read and enjoyable too"

    I have to admit I had not heard of Charles Cullen and this was a very enjoyable nonfiction book that I would recommend to true crime lovers!

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Pennsylvania 09-02-13
    Kindle Customer Pennsylvania 09-02-13

    Jengmd

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "OMG it's "Didge""
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Every medical professional (including nursing and medical students) in the country knows that the spoken abbreviation for digoxin is pronounced "didge". This was so distracting and unprofessional that I believe that it should be corrected.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    'Olena Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States 05-05-13
    'Olena Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States 05-05-13 Member Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Not the real meat of the story. Flawed narration."
    Any additional comments?

    The tough questions weren't addressed. Why did he slip through the medical and mental health care system after all those suicide gestures? How does the threat of lawsuits rule the decisions and policies of hospitals? Those are the real stories of import to our society, completely ignored. And the "dig" flaw in narration is no small point, someone made a bad decision to let this go to market as is.

    9 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Plano, Tx, United States 04-30-13
    Joan Plano, Tx, United States 04-30-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting story...poor narration."
    Would you recommend The Good Nurse to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend the audio-book. I do recommend the text-version.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Will Collyer?

    I think that the criteria for choosing the narrator of this book should have been an actor familiar with proper pronunciation of healthcare terminology and possibly experience in healthcare. I felt the narrator's discomfort with the subject matter, the characterizations and the medications so crucial to the story.


    Any additional comments?

    The short form of "Digoxin" is pronounced "didge" not "dig". A "Q.R.S." is not a "O.R.S." An injection of Xanax 8mg is unheard of as Xanax is not available as an injectable.

    11 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer los angeles, ca, United States 06-06-15
    Amazon Customer los angeles, ca, United States 06-06-15 Member Since 2011

    Osprey

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness,"

    Could not decide between 4 or 5 stars for story. Came away wondering what made him the way he was, or some reason for his actions. I realize he didn't seem to have much of anything going on in his head, and that was the point. Knowing about how hospitals cover up and don't investigate employees was quite disturbing. Know of someone that we always suspected was a victim of a "Good Nurse" and now know it is quite possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica 05-01-15
    Jessica 05-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Medical terminology"

    Very good book and interesting story, especially as a nurse myself. However the pronunciation of the medical terminology was horrible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pianogirl 04-16-15
    pianogirl 04-16-15
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    "Gripping"

    A truly captivating story that delves into the mind of this murderer. Couldn't put down the book. It is long but made easy with audio

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica 04-14-15
    Erica 04-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent!"

    I loved this book and it was perfectly narrated. Wow!!! Thank you to the author - enjoy this read! Well worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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