Kuklinski was Sammy "The Bull" Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano at Spark's Steakhouse. John Gotti hired him to kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, he would make victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with cold-hearted intensity, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over 200 men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique.
Kuklinski's story, once known, captivated the public and became the subject of three HBO documentaries about which the New York Times raved, "Few viewers are ever likely to forget this thoroughly chilling portrait. As for possible movie competition, it would work on the level of The Silence of the Lambs."
©2006 Philip Carlo; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
"Good as an omnibus resource on Kuklinski, this is a fine entry in the burgeoning field of works tracing the decline of the traditional organized crime families and their once impenetrable structures." (Booklist)
I found this book intriguing. Certainly, the subject may have stretched the facts of some stories, but I found it believable. It was interesting seeing life through the eyes of someone on the other side of the average American experience. Be aware, the language is strong, but not constant. I have only found a couple of places in the book that were slow for a short period. I highly recommend this book unless you are easily "grossed out".
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
I never write a review without checking my facts using other sources. But I won't here because the author didn't verify a single fact for this book! All he does is parrot the implausible ravings of a sociopath. Richard Kuklinski was a legend in his own mind. He took credit for just about every unsolved high-profile including Jimmy Hoffa and mob boss Paul Castellano, along with the neighbor who ran over John Gotti's young son. Ridiculous! After allegedly committing over 200 gruesome homicides, he'd never been arrested for so much as traffic ticket. NO ONE IS THAT GOOD! Either he's a criminal genius or the New Jersey PD is the Keystone Kops. This guy could have been arrested with a cap gun and tin badge. I saw the HBO documentary years ago and actually believed that Kuklinski was a cold-blooded killer. But, after this book, I see now that he likely made up all of his crimes, even the ones he was convicted of. The author's writing is that of a first-grader, simplistic and repetitive. No one independently confirms anything in this book. Richard is the one who says he a killer, a good-looking guy, a well-hung adept lover. No one else does. Anyone who's seen or read anything on the mob knows they would never hire an unknown Polish thug from NJ for major hits. Kuklinski claims to have done hundreds of contract murders, trafficked in weed and cocaine, laundered money overseas, killed Colombian drug dealers AND a cop yet he couldn't even afford an attorney for trial. Where was John Gotti's legal team? Wouldn't he want to protect himself after ordering the hit on Castellano? The only "hit" Kuklinski did was beat his wife for decades. When arrested, all he owned was .22 pistol. No assault weapons, no money, no bodies. Both the author and "The Iceman" are delusional. Save your money! Also read the reviews on Amazon.com.)
Educator in Trumbull County,Ohio
After the first few hours . . . it became all the same. Certainly did not warrant 19 hours.
Can't imagine why this was HBO material. The gore he described could not have been easy to hear on national TV
The narrator has the enthusiasm and interest of a person reading tax code. He almost wheezes in between long sentences.
I am fascinated by Kuklinski. Normally I would hang on every word but this book is so poorly read I couldn't wait for it to be over.
Anyone would be an upgrade.
I don't think the problem is with the book, I just think it was poorly read.
Say something about yourself!
Psychopaths are complicated
Probably would not recommend this book without disclaimers of the disturbing details in the book. I had to skip through whole sections that were too graphic to listen to.
He did a great job of voice changes for different characters.
That society creates these monsters who live amongst us and can blend in to the framework of family, church, etc.
This book was a bit hard to follow at times but overall very well done.
This book is hilarious. Supposedly a true account of Richard Kuklinski's life, none of the subject matter is verified and simply taken as truth by the author. Furthermore, as others have stated, the editing is atrocious--the book is repetitous and full of cliches and trite phrases. The author tries to sensationalize everything to the point of non-belief.
The repetition of this book is unbelievable. You will the same ideas over and over and over and over and over and over again.
If I had the patience I would listen to the book again and count the number of cliches in this book. It's got to be in the hundreds.
I don't think this guy was connected to the mob--just a wannabe. Not too many specific details in this book, just vague generalizations. I don't doubt this guy is nuts and killed a few people but I think most of this is fantasy.
As far as the story goes, it's fairly interesting if you tolerate the repitition and the triteness.
I suggest you read some reviews on Amazon before you decide to invest a credit into this book.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
A tad far-fetched. Not sure how we're supposed to believe this is true... there's no proof offered for any of it and it sounds just like a sociopath's fantasy... so that's probably what it is...
I'm sure Richard was a bad guy, but don't go trying to tell me he murdered 50 street people in the mid-fifties and nobody noticed? yeah, uh-huh... sure... he definitely fantasized about all that... but actually doing it? Nah, that's probably more on the fiction side...
This is supposed to be a biography, so even if you accept all the "facts" without any evidence you'll still be wondering why on earth the author felt it important to mention what Richard ate for Christmas dinner (no, seriously, he listed all the food items served at dinner, several times... like it's significant? I don't think it's realistic in an biography to itemize what anyone ate 30 years before.)
Sigh... all that being said, it's quite an interesting, albeit unbelievable, look at what a serial killer might be like. Treat it like fiction and it's quite entertaining, treat it like truth and you'll have to be very good at suspending disbelief.
I'd have given it 4 stars (as a fictional story) if it had been better edited - I really didn't need to be reminded every chapter that Richard had a bad temper, or that he knew how to use poisons, etc... tell me stuff once or twice throughout the book, fine... but after the 8th time, it is a bit much.
As a little insight into mob goings-on, it is kind of interesting... is it true? No idea.
The author took what could be an interesting story and tortured it to death. The book is 19 hours long and much of the material is repeated throughout. The dialog between characters is amateurish and sounds as if Kuklinski wrote it himself. Many of the deeds he claims happened are hard to believe. Sorry for the spoiler, but ripping a car door off it's hinges with his bare hands is just one example. Most of it sounds like the school yard bully or high school football hero reliving his glory days, exaggerating his feats and bolstering his own ego. The narrator tries to get the voices and inflections down, but I thought he only added to the amateurish sound of the book. He'd be better off reading the evening news then narrating a novel. I made it halfway through the second part and started looking for another book to download.
Maybe. Read "The Butcher," from Philip Carlo but after reading this book, I am wondering how much of that is true.
The book is mostly fiction. The thing about sociopaths is that they are rarely murderers (and Kuklinski is a murder) but they are ALL liars. Kuklinski made up grandiose lies to make himself out to be the greatest psychotic killer of all time and Carlo wrote all that up like it was true. I was tipped off when Kuklinski said that he rescued a group of children from a serial child abductor - I looked online to see what happened to the children that were rescued and found nothing but a lot of people saying that Kuklinsky made the whole thing up. It rings true though. The books reads like a grandiose liar telling everyone how great he is.
This book frightened,appalled and further demonstrated to me that not all violent offenders can be helped. As a man completely devoid of conscience Kuklinski was free to do anything he wanted to anyone, and he did. It might seem that he had a "soft" side for his children, but descriptions of their escape suitcases and Dwayne's hidden weapons does not support that idea. There is a lot of repitition in the text, but I feel it does drive home the point that violent psychopathy does exist in humanity and that we should be aware of it. There are more Kuklinskis out there and this book and all it horrible,graphic detail should be a MUST READ for everyone.
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