Fifteen-year-old Tony Ciaglia had everything a teenager could want: good grades, good athletic skills, and good friends - until he suffered a horrific head injury at summer camp. Pronounced clinically dead three times by helicopter paramedics before he reached a hospital, Ciaglia lapsed into a coma. When he emerged, his right side was paralyzed and he had to relearn how to walk, talk, and even how to eat. The areas of his brain that were damaged required him to take countless pills to control his emotions and rages. Abandoned and shunned by his friends, he began writing to serial killers on a whim and discovered that his traumatic brain injury - which made him an outcast to his peers - enabled him to emotionally connect with notorious murderers in a unique way.
Soon many of America's most dangerous psychopaths were revealing heinous details to Tony about their crimes - even those they'd never been convicted of. The killers opened up to him, trusted him, and called him a "best friend". But there was a price. As Tony found himself being drawn deeper and deeper into their violent worlds of murder, rape, and torture, he was pushed to the brink of despair and, at times, forced to question his own sanity - until he found a way to put his unusual gift to use. Asked by investigators for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for help in solving a murder, Tony began launching his own personal searches for forgotten victims, incredibly with clues often provided to him voluntarily by the killers themselves.
The Serial Killer Whisperer takes listeners into the minds of murderers in a way that has never been done before - straight from a killer's thoughts. It is also an inspiring (albeit sometimes terrifying) tale of an American family whose idyllic life is shattered by a terrible accident and how healing and closure came to a tormented man in the most unlikely way: by connecting with monsters.
©2012 Pete Earley (P)2012 Tantor
The book lingers on the graphic sexual violence, trying to illustrate how depraved these killers are, but I felt it was unnecessary to put so much detail into the book. Since most of the readers are not serial killers, a little bit goes a long way toward making the point. And if a reader is a serial killer in a prison somewhere, this is like pornography to them. I wish the book would have focused more on how Tony and his family, through the relationships they had established with the SKs, helped families of the missing, and how it helped Tony realize his goals of having a useful life.
I was stunned that his parents would let their child write to serial killers, let alone become so involved with so many. I found it interesting that the SKs were still so manipulative even behind bars, after all those years. I understand that Tony was initially so interested because he was afraid that he was potentially a serial killer, and over time he realized that in spite of his brain injuries he would never evolve into a killer.
There was no "scene" which was my favorite, but I am glad I finished the book because Tony finds something useful to do with his bizarre relationships with these deeply disturbing people
It has actually put me off reading mysteries with sexual violence in them.
DJW in San Diego
This is a complex, disturbing, and ultimately vindicating story of a young man who, as the result of a head injury, developed a consuming interest in serial killers and their minds. The author himself attributes his success at probing the minds of these killers in part as a loss of the normal judgement that humans make about these monsters. A look into the mind of the homicidally obsessed is always valuable, and this young man has a lot to teach us.
Say something about yourself!
This book was very graphic! It was interesting but I don't think anyone should hear the horrible stories the serial killers in this book told! Wish I could un hear it!
Be careful on this one. I have read a lot of true crime stories but this one takes the cake! OMG!!
Yes if you can handle the details
Yes I had a hard time putting this one down
Crazy Dog Lady
The story was not what I expected. After suffering through the gore and sick delight the killers revealed in retelling their stories, I expected a more substantial ending than finding a few clues about more of their carnage.
Not true crime
Yes, same. He does a good job.
The feel good part of this book is how Tony's family stands behind him.
I like nonfiction, biographies and the occasional novel. BUT I can not pass up a good mystery, crime novel, or really great suspense plot. I am fascinated by an author's creative ability to interweave twists. Since Flynn's 'Gone Girl', the bar for a completely unseen game-changer is pretty high! Challenge extended :)
It was interesting because it did include cases I had seen or heard brief details on throughout the years on different true crime shows. But to truly be able to step into the mind of killer guard down is a different animal all together. Truly sickening and beware it is extremely descriptive and gory from a serial killers perverse own recollection.
I haven't so I can't compare
When they are in the car leaving a visit at a max sec prison and the distant crime story aspect is gone and now any pity he felt for the SKs was gone and focus was again on the Victims & families
Yes but only once! I'm truly amazed at how the killers rationalized or excused their crimes. Sometimes even claimed they were doing them a favor
Narrator kept me listening. Excellent performance
No. I think once was enough for me. The stories of the killing and rapes were sometimes hard to get through but the overall story of Tony and his family made it worth it.
Tony's father. The love for his son was so strong. It was really inspiring.
I don't know if he was my favorite because he was so scary but that was the point so my favorite person who Alan Sklar voiced was Arthur Shawcross.
I was moved throughout the book by the brutality of these men and that they had not remorse. It makes you shutter inside to know that there are these types of people around us!!!
Good book. Disturbing but also hopeful. I do believe that there is true evil walking around in this world but I also believe that Tony and his family were put here to help control that evil.
The actor who reads this out loud gives the laugh that the serial killers pepper their correspondence with a chilling nonchalance that reminds you of where these letters are coming from.
If you have read the multitudes of books that surround serial killers then you have gotten the basic profile down. In this book "Tony" is the investigator in all of us that simply asks, "Why? Ok I see you killed them but WHY did you do it?" Sometimes he gets an answer and sometimes not but even the dodges are interesting to read.
The first time he laughed as "Arther Shawcross" it really grabbed my attention ha...ha..
Yes and I have relistened to the beginning again already. This story is fascinating and the insight it gives the listener on top of that, quality.
The letter from the killers themselves are chilling, but this is why I chose this book.
Perfect voice for reading a killer's words. It grumbled ever so slightly when reciting the letters from serial killers without ever going overboard while reading everything else.
Some reviews mark down the book because it is graphic, but what kind of book did they think they were listening too? The letters from serial killers in this book are obviously going to be graphic, but please don't mark the book down because you expected otherwise from these murderers. Much of this book exposes what serial killers did and thought at the times in their lives when they performed these horrible acts. Gross yes, but a glimpse into something you can't find in many other books on the subject.
The love and struggle of a very strong family. How their support molded the positive outcome in a tragic situation.
The father in the family was such a great mentor to his son. I think that if this young man had not have such a great supporting family his life could have taken a devastating outcome.
The book really got into the insecurities of the serial killers. That seemed to be the common thread between all of them.
Not for someone with a week stomach. This book vividly goes into the dark side of these monsters.
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