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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 (510 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Richmond Heights, MO, United States 03-23-14
    David Richmond Heights, MO, United States 03-23-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    7
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    "Nonfiction that reads as fiction"
    If you could sum up The Good Nurse in three words, what would they be?

    scary, chilling, unbelievable


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Good Nurse?

    realizing how trusting patients in hospitals are of their caregivers


    What about Will Collyer’s performance did you like?

    he did not get in the way of the story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    you couldn't make this story up


    Any additional comments?

    They missed a couple of details in explaining how the tasks were accomplished.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Smartypants Northern California, USA 12-04-13
    Smartypants Northern California, USA 12-04-13 Member Since 2003

    FBGA

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Narrator should check pronunciations"
    What would have made The Good Nurse better?

    If the story had gone into a little more detail and the narrator had checked the pronunciation of the term "dig" which is pronounced dij - a shortened version of the word digitalis, not dig like making a hole in the ground. For me (I am a nurse) it was exceedingly irritating and distracting to hear "dig" instead of "dij" every few minutes.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Charles Graeber? Why or why not?

    Maybe, it seemed that he skimmed over a lot of what could have been included, such as personal interviews.


    What three words best describe Will Collyer’s performance?

    Incompetent, otherwise good voice, good interpretation.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, I did find the story intriguing.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Portland, OR, United States 09-22-13
    Thomas Portland, OR, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating and Chilling"

    A good read of a haunting story about how demented people can be. It is hard to tell who is worse, the medical establishments or the mass murderer. If you like true-life murder mysteries, this is a good one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer VESTAL, NY, United States 07-21-13
    Amazon Customer VESTAL, NY, United States 07-21-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "Excellent"
    What did you love best about The Good Nurse?

    That it is based on fact.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The conflict surrounding the ethical decison of whether or not to allow Charlie Cullen to donate a kidney.


    What about Will Collyer’s performance did you like?

    Good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Repeated mispronounciation of a drug was a bit irritating. Other than that, excellent.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia United States 07-08-13
    Cynthia United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2011

    I'm a trucker of nearly 25 years. Listening to the radio is a matter of habit for me, but hearing the same songs over and over and OVER again became old. Audio books help those miles roll by faster!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Creepy"
    Any additional comments?

    Think of a serial killer with hospital access and extensive knowledge of unhealthy ways to use drugs.

    The story is well told and very thorough, although I was somewhat disappointed in the narrator. I couldn't help thinking the reader was just going through the motions, reading a script rather than making an effort to bring the story alive and add depth to the characters.

    I wonder if another crime may have been committed, though, when considering how long it took to bring this killer to justice.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna KAYSVILLE, UT, United States 06-17-13
    Donna KAYSVILLE, UT, United States 06-17-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Captivating and really well-written."
    Where does The Good Nurse rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I think this is the best audiobook I've ever listened to. It's the only one I've ever been motivated to write a review about.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot was so well done, in that the way each element was approached was in itself intriguing. For instance, the author talks about when a dead body isn't expected, the police are called, and that all bodies are a death but not all deaths are a homicide. He just had a way of introducing and weaving together the different parts of the story that felt layered and very pull-you-in.


    What does Will Collyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Personality of the characters is more in-depth, tone of voice conveys more of a picture of what you're hearing.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    That nurses poisoning patients in hospitals isn't as rare as you would think, and that there are ways to be completely unobtrusive (and uncaught) doing it.


    Any additional comments?

    Mainly the layering and depth of the story-telling. I read/listen to a lot of books and often can't figure out how they got published because the writing is so ponderous or flat. This one stood out as being so different, so creative, so well-done.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Kailua Kona, Hawaii 05-16-13
    Erik Kailua Kona, Hawaii 05-16-13 Member Since 2015
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    "FRUSTRATING to listen to"

    This book is about a nurse who is a psychopath...I would expect the narrator to have taken the time-and the editor to have made certain of the medical terms and pronunciation. I would conservatively guess that the term "dig" as an abbreviation for the drug Digoxin was used more than 200 times in this book-the narrator, who was able to pronounce the full name of the drug mispronounced the abbreviation "dig" to sound like -to dig a hole, when in fact the first three letters of the name Digoxin when abbreviated sound JUST like the Drug name so should sound like "DIJ" -I wouldn't have made such a big deal of it except that the word is used SO frequently I started to struggle to even listen to the story...which is just an account of some horrible man killing people as a hobby and calling it nursing. I thought that I was going to learn something about what this person was thinking and all it is is the author retelling a news article and adding some "feelings" that he sort of assumed were there. Completely awful book-RETURN.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Menlo Park, CA, United States 04-29-13
    Rob Menlo Park, CA, United States 04-29-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Set aside some time - you won't be able to stop"

    Charles Greber has done a fabulous job researching and presenting the characters in this most interesting tale. At first I thought his presentation of the main character's perspective was a little sappy, but then I realized he was able to put you inside his head, and it will spook you. Excellently narrated, the story unfolds at a deliberate but never boring pace that keeps you engaged.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F. Lacy 03-17-14
    F. Lacy 03-17-14 Member Since 2014

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Drama Queen!!!"

    This guy was a drama queen. He had visions of a grand death and callously took the lives of other people because he was desperate for attention. I couldn't even finish listening to his pathetic story.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 10-11-13
    Karen 10-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    9
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    "Amazing he got away with murder for so many years!"
    Would you listen to The Good Nurse again? Why?

    Yes, lots of details to keep tack of and a second listen would help put the pieces together.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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