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.
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 am rarely seen without my headphones on and my iPod clipped on my waist. I love my books.
I bought this book based on favorable reviews. I must say that I was fascinated by this true story. If this book were a fiction novel, I would think that the author was reaching too far to shock the reader with wild and unbelievable stories about a serial killer. I have only occasionally purchased true crime, because I find them boring. This book was well done and I am glad that I purchased it. You won't be sorry to spend your credit on this fascinating 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.
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.)
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