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The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers | [Pete Earley]

The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers

From New York Times best-selling author Pete Earley: the strange but true story of a man who suffers a traumatic brain injury and as a result is given the ability to converse with the world's most terrifying criminals.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (347 )
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  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 01-16-12
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 01-16-12 Member Since 2008

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

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    "Outstanding True Crime Story-- with a twist!"

    First off, this book pulls no punches. A lot of it contains letters from REAL serial killers, and believe me, they are even more messed up than you can imagine! The author did an excellent job of letting the letters pretty much guide you through the story. I had never heard of most of these serial killers, but the author gives them a voice that makes them unforgettable. This book is graphic, and very gory at times, so be warned. However, if you like true crime books, this one is a MUST. Imagine your 3 favorite true crime books rolled into 1, and this is what you get.

    Narraration is spot on. Couldn't have chosen a better reader.

    Highly recommend!

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Alberta, AB, Canada 02-21-12
    Tracy Alberta, AB, Canada 02-21-12 Member Since 2008

    Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.

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    "Fascinating true story"

    True conversations between convicted serial killers and one young man that detail the serial killers crimes in every graphic and horrific detail. Very well written and narrated. Please do not download if you would be offended by detailed murder and crimes that to the general population are unimaginable because you will be offended. This book is for you if you enjoy true crime. Awesome book.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cole Maryville, TN, United States 05-02-12
    Cole Maryville, TN, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a 34-year old litigator, father of three young sons. I listen to a lot of business books, suspense/thrillers, bios, and history.

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    "Definitely graphic, entertaining"

    This book was better than average. It is very graphic. I have read a lot about serial killers, but this definitely adds something.

    For me, the book was more about Tony and the way his family dealt with a very difficult situation in a humane, kind, and ego-free manner than it was about the serial killers, per se.

    I suppose from my prior reading on the subject of serial killers, I was aware of the depravity of which the human mind is capable. What I took away from this book is admiration for the courage shown by Tony's family. It couldn't have been easy for them to let their disabled son write to serial killers, but instead of judging him, they made the best of it. The truth of the matter is, had his parents behaved as almost any parents would, it would likely have pushed Tony over the edge and likely resulted in his own death. Interesting book in that regard.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Anderson Los Anchorage, AK 03-15-12
    E. Anderson Los Anchorage, AK 03-15-12 Member Since 2002

    Panic Blog

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    "Pete Earley hit another one out of the park"
    Would you listen to The Serial Killer Whisperer again? Why?

    Yes. the story was captivating and kept my interest throughout.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Obviously Tony is the protagonist but I thought his dad was interesting as well.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Digging in the orange grove, just so well written.


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

    Not necessarily. The letters to/from the killers were good places to stop and reflect.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved Earley's book

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 09-08-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "The Banality of Evil"

    In 1996, FBI profiler John Douglas, (the inspiration for Thomas Harris' Agent Jack Crawford of "The Silence of the Lambs" (1988)) wrote a book with Mark Olshaker called "Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit." Douglas had profiled, and hunted, serial killers including Arthur Shawcross, who killed 13 people and Robert Hansen, an Alaska hunter who made his own real life version of Richard Connell's 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game", taking women hostage, raping them, letting them go, and hunting them down in the wilderness.

    Douglas is able, with great difficulty, to understand these psychopaths, but that work almost killed him. Tony Ciaglia, "The Serial Killer Whisperer" has Douglas' ability to communicate with the same psychopaths, but without the moral constraints and judgments that Douglas has. Ciaglia survived a traumatic brain injury, and gained the ability - and desire - to explore what creates and sustains these killers. Ciaglia is not, by any measure, a psychopath - but he does not have the filter that causes almost everyone to recoil in horror from these individuals. Ciaglia's family supports his 'hobby', and he has helped victims families. His story is much more fascinating than any of the killers in the book.

    I've heard the phrase "the banality of evil" for years, but I didn't quite understand what it meant until I listened to "The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers" (2012). Hannah Arendt wrote a book called "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" (1963). Earley's book gives a picture of individual psychopaths while Arendt deals with the political conditions that created a whole sociopathic society, Nazi Germany. What fascinated me about both books is that, after pushing through the sheer horror of individual killers or an entire society of killers, just how pathetic and repetitive the people who do these things really are. It's almost as if the lack of conscious causes no sense of self, leaving the psychopath to create himself only in relation to how he controls others.

    The book is more graphic than Ann Rule's books - it contains numerous excerpts from serial killers' letters recalling the details of their crimes. I liked the narrator's voice, but the audio could have used an edit - I kept hearing distracting intakes of breath.

    [If this helped, please press YES]

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George carrollton, TX, United States 03-28-13
    George carrollton, TX, United States 03-28-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Inspiring story"
    What did you like best about The Serial Killer Whisperer? What did you like least?

    Best.....inside story's from murderers.Worst...a bit too much personal info on author to maintain interest.


    Would you recommend The Serial Killer Whisperer to your friends? Why or why not?

    Depends on the friend.


    What about Alan Sklar’s performance did you like?

    earthy...good.


    Did The Serial Killer Whisperer inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I know you should never critique a book half way through it....but as talented a writer, and as inspiring as it is.....about half the information about Tony's brain injury & private life could be removed, and replace this space with more on the killers, would make it better for me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Springdale, AR, United States 03-19-13
    Katie Springdale, AR, United States 03-19-13
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    "WOW!"
    Would you listen to The Serial Killer Whisperer again? Why?

    Yes, there is so much information to process.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Serial Killer Whisperer?

    The graphic letters


    Have you listened to any of Alan Sklar’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but I was very impressed.


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

    No, but I would listed for 5+ hours at a time.


    Any additional comments?

    Very graphic, if you are easily offended don't buy this book. If you want a glimpse into the inner workings of a serial killer's mind this is just the book for you. I have read a lot on the topic and let me tell you I was shocked at the level of disclosure in this book. Amazing read!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 02-25-12
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 02-25-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Narration was Killer!"

    The narrator Alan Sklar is one of the best narrators living. He nailed this one.
    ****warning - this is not just a true crime book. This book is filled with actual letters/conversations of the killers themselves. It contains very descriptive graphic language.
    If you dont believe in capital punishment now you WILL after this book.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon litchfield park, AZ, United States 04-23-13
    Brandon litchfield park, AZ, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2012

    I' am awesome!... Well I try to be atleast. I love true crime stuff, hate to read but love to listen!

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    "The book that started it all!.. For me and anyway."
    Would you listen to The Serial Killer Whisperer again? Why?

    Yes, its amazing how fast this book sucks you in.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Serial Killer Whisperer?

    The conversations between the main character and the killers. Very disturbing but couldn't turn it off.


    Any additional comments?

    Found myself sitting in the driveway after work listening till my wife came and got me. Couldn't stop listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 04-05-13
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 04-05-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Good story, very disturbing and graphic."
    What made the experience of listening to The Serial Killer Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    The narration was very good. The story was pretty disturbing, a bit drawn out, but a good listen.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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