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)
You enjoy an incredible true crime story and chilling psychological profile. Not for the squeamish. I couldn't stop listening. The narrator has just the right "news man" tone that fits this tale perfectly. Yes, the narrative is redundant at times. You notice how certain phrases are repeated, but they didn't annoy me. I first saw "The Ice Man" HBO documentary and was riveted. This man is both an attractive character and monsterous. This tension drives the tale as well as the "creative" way he devises his crime.It will make you feel vulnerable. You will shutter unless you don't have a conscience. I'm serious. This is the real deal.Decadence and black humor and moments that will make you cry. You'll be glad there are some heroes in this tale. At times I had problems keeping track of all of all the Mafiosi, but it doesn't matter. I plan on listening to this again. The bonus material is incredible. I kept thinking, "What was I doing in my life when all this was going on?" because I don't recall seeing it on the news. This is also a story about abuse-unrelenting abuse: the making of a sociopath. It is also a story about mercy. Just get it. Nothing fancy here - just a great story. I hear a movie is planned, but don't wait. The film will have a lot to live up to.
This one is a rough ride but it is a very good book. It is a descent into the worst kinds of evil and depravity of the human heart. Even so, the author manages to provide a certain kind of wry sympathy for his monstrous subject. If even half of Kuklinski's claims are true, he was a very tragic figure. By the way, this biography is the second to claim credit for killing Jimmy Hoffa ("I Hear You Paint Houses"). So I don't know which story to believe -- they can't both be true.
I found the writing very engaging. There were a few harmless repetitions. I thought the story was evenly paced over all. The narrator was quite good. (My benchmark for all-time worst is professional actor Elliott Gould reading my beloved Raymond Chandler.)
I found myself making excuses to listen to this book. More errands around town, walking the dog more and more, playing fetch with him in the backyard... this book was wearing out my dog.
The last book I read was about the BTK killer -- also from Audible. These stories are not for the fainthearted. But they are stories well told.
I really enjoyed listening to this. It is a good reading by the narrator. Gripping description of this killer's life, personna, psyche. Provides, as an aside, a gloss over of modern NY/NJ mafia history. I would recommend it. You just better have a strong stomach. Some gruesome passages. Overall it makes me want to find and watch the HBO documentaries that are discussed at the end (i.e. wanting more).
BUT, the book's editor should be fired. I don't know how many times the writer repeated the same phrase or theme. We know, we get it ('it' could be one of 20 points that are seriously repeated 50x each)
I found this book fascinating. Much of it was a detailed, true account of dozens of the individual people that Richard Kuklinski killed. And yet I never found the writing repetitive. I couldn't stop listening. The subject matter is obviously dark and gruesome. But it's a rare glimpse into the life and mind of cold killer with no feelings of remorse.
The narrator did a very good job. At first I found him a little flat, but he grew on me.
I think some of the negative reviews that I’ve read online are reviewing the subject matter and Richard Kuklinski himself, who is obviously reprehensible, rather than the quality of the writing and the research, which I thought was excellent.
And the narrative really picks up speed in the last third, as the authorities get wind of Richard K. and make their efforts to capture and convict him.
P.S. The last hour or so of the book is an actual interview with Richard Kuklinski, which I found to be very flat. If you are interested in taped interviews and photos, I recommend, “Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman” available for rent on DVD.
Richard Kuklinski represents an extreme case of the ability to compartmentalize. It's the way we all instinctively protect our reason, justify our actions, hide our real intentions, and bolster our amour propre.
I found this story fascinating in the way it juxtaposes our ideas of what constitutes conventional behavior with the life led by a career killer. Considering Kuklinski's terrible childhood, it is remarkable that he ended up leading such a "normal" life.
Philip Carlo's does an excellent job of reporting Kuklinski's story with the minimum of editorializing or moralizing. He is not the typical criminal biographer writer who equivocates by hauling out the "evil" formula while delectating yet another grisly morsel. Carlo presents a factual and non-hypocritical story of one man's long-lived career as a delectatehired killer, conducted for decades, under the radar.
Sucking on horror is the great American past-time, but The Ice Man is much more than a feast for the horror junky, it is an odyssey into the extraordinary parallel world of organized crime.
This book is incredible; Mr. Carlo has certainly grasped the essence of a serial killer and hit man.
I first heard about Richard Kuklinski in the late 90’s when he starred in two HBO specials, "Iceman Confesses" & "Iceman and the Psychiatrist". I was somewhat appalled but very intrigued. Since then he has been brought up in several documentaries on serial killers.
A few months back a late night radio show, Coast to Coast AM interviewed the author Phillip Carlo about his book (and soon to be audio book) The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, and I was sold.
The book was a surprise to me in many ways, I found extreme sadness in his childhood and extreme love in his fatherhood (for his own children). Oddly enough I found myself actually cheering Richard on! I know this sounds absurd but on occasion this cold-blooded killer did a few good deeds.
In one case he happened to run across two men raping a teenage boy in an alley, promptly he put an end to this and them, possibly saving the youths life. Richard ran across several cases of child abuse that he quickly stopped in his own way, as well as performed a few completely brutal “hits” on rapists and molesters.
The brutality in this man’s life was worse than most fiction; from the day he was born to the day he first killed he was abused. On that day he went from hunted to hunter, and hundreds paid.
This download is 19 hours you wont you wont turn off or forget !!!
In this volume, Philip Carol tells us more about Richard Kuklinski - a serial killer for the mob. This is a very entertaining book and, perhaps, will engage individuals tangentially interested in "true crime." After the first few chapters, Carlo's reporting became somewhat repetitive. How many times can he describe Kuklinkski's alledged mistreatment of his wife for example? How often can he tell the reader that Kuklinski was jealous of his son? I hoped for more insight into how a mob hit man thinks. On the other hand, this was a listen that reallly makes a long drive pass more quickly. There are surprises on every page. The narration of Micahel Prichard is excellent. If you are looking for insight, you might be disappointed. If you are interested in being entertained, this audio book just might do it for you.
Yes, it was repetative, but entertaining. It held my attention. If you miss something the first time, don't worry, you will hear it the 2nd or 3rd time it is repeated!!!! LOL. The editing really sucks, its like 4 people wrotes different sections and combined them.
i've seen all the iceman interviews on HBO - super fascinated by this guy, however this book...seriously!?
they have a scene where richard is describing torturing some guy who he thinks gave up info on where a truck of goods was stored. per the book he burned the guys foot until they saw bone - the tortured guy denies everything...then they move onto his testicles - they get destroyed STILL NOTHING but all of a sudden when they head towards his penis, then this guy gives it up?! i don't buy it for a second.
Anyhow - for me, this seemed like a complete exaggeration of his life and crimes.
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
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.