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)
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - 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.)
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.
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.
The story is almost unbelievable, and well written. The narrator does a great job.
My one complaint - and it's a big one to me - is that the editing stinks! It sounds like the narrator is on a ventilator, as you can hear the deep breathes he takes after each long paragraph. Of course, he needs to breathe....not his fault. But a good editor should removes any sound but the words.
Sorry if this sounds knit-picky....but this is a bid peeve of mine. Any noise left in a production is enough to ruin a book completely for me.
people is awesome. but i really enjoyed it . and i think others will .
Richard Kuklinski is a monster...flat out, there is nothing redeeming about this man. I first heard of him while watching an HBO special he filmed from prison. I cannot deny he is intelligent, he came up with some very cleaver ways to kill and dispose of bodies for the mafai, but he was so incredibly good at it because he truly has no feelings. The only time he even remotely begins to show remorse it is when he speaks of his family and how he caused them pain, but this is coming from a man who beat his wife so severly she miscarried her child immediately and caused a second misscarrage by making her sit on a chair in the cold and not move all night threatening to kill her family if she did...so I call BS on any feelings of remorse he claims to have.
What i found most interesting in this story is 1. the background information on what it is like to be a mafia hit man and 2. how Richard's early childhood may have shaped the man he became.
This story is hard to read a times, but it's a very interesting read, but you will need a strong stomach.
What made listening to The Ice Man most enjoyable was (and I'm almost ashamed to admit this) knowing what circumstances motivated his twisted logic. If this was a drinking game, you'd be wasted by chapter 5!
The most compelling aspect of the narrative, in my opinion, was the "nature vs.nurture" of the story. Could he have been different if his upbringing was more structured or was it all genetic? Or both.
He brings to the story a sense of first hand accounts and history of the subject in the story. To hear the words puts the whole thing on a personal level, for me anyway. I was particularly happy because I recognized many of the places and infamous names that I grew up reading about in the newspapers and local TV news.
The only extreme reaction I had from this book was terror. It terrified me on how callous that person was and with every homicidal action, there was a reason or an excuse for it. Forget about remorse! There's people walking around the planet like this! They fit in society so well that one never knows who it is.
I believe this is the best purchase I've ever made for an audio book. I couldn't wait to get back to it and listen (usually while doing something else that didn't require much thought). As a former police officer, the description of odors from decomposing or burning bodies, bought back nauseating scents that I'd rather forget. The frustration of the "cat and mouse game" of investigation and working with other agencies. The mind of a killer trying to live "normally" with his family after being raised as sub-human and poor. Tragic how this one person managed to destroy many lives.
I will be listening to this book again in the future.
Well written and read with perfect voice & expression. True story made it even more incredible. Enjoyed it start to finish.
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