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Publisher's Summary

Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski led a double life beyond anything ever seen on The Sopranos, becoming one of the most notorious professional assassins in American history while hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey. Now, after 240 hours of face-to-face interviews with Kuklinski and his wife and daughters, author Philip Carlo tells his extraordinary story.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Marilyn
  • Rockville, MD, USA
  • 12-26-08

Overlong and repetitious

I found this book interesting but overlong and repetitious. I did finish but this was one book I would have preferred to have been the condensed version.

There are some extremely gory descriptions of torture.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • Kinston, NC, United States
  • 06-18-08

stay away

Sounds as if it were written by a third-grader. Details were inaccurate and author repeats himself over and over. I couldn't wait for it to be over..

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great listen

I had not heard of the Ice Man prior to listening to this book but I was quickly drawn into his world through a very blunt and honest writing. It's always fascinating to peer inside the mind of a professional killer to see what makes them tick. My only complaint is the writer tends to throw a lot of adjectives at the reader to overstate the "Superhuman" strength of the Ice Man and his fear factor. The narrator also exaggerated the impact of those comments and it took away from my desire to believe everything I was hearing. I still recommend it though, a great read.

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Kirksville, MO, USA
  • 01-27-08

Great Read!

I listened to this while training for my last marathon - made the miles fly by! Although, I did have to stop every once in a while because something I heard stopped me in my tracks...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • plantation, FL, United States
  • 11-28-07

truly fascinating story

I was truly shocked ,moved and terrified by this story, my family had ties to not only his hometown ( Dumont NJ ) but also where he would meet for his "assignments" at the west side of the Tappan Zee bridge--that town was Nyack--where my cousins and grandparents lived..I mean I know there was no real danger for us--but the fact that this man was literally in our midst geographically really made the story come alive for me--a real insight into the callous unfeeling and sometimes downright silly logic of some of the mafia's movers and shakers.A TRUE sociopath and monster was Kuklinsky--a great story and revealing look at the twisted mind of a "for hire" serial killer.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Listen

This book was a great listen and a very scary story. You'll be watching your back for awhile after listening to this one. The book details the life and making of an extremely scary serial killer from childhood.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Diane
  • Ormond Beach, FL, USA
  • 06-11-07


Ive seen the Iceman on HBO but to hear the story in its entirety was utterly fasinating

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Narration top notch! The storyline is excellent. Do not be put off by language later in the book, it is necessary to the account. Don't miss this one, Best since Shadow Divers for holding your attention.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Can't Finish

Although morbidly interesting, I'm unable to continue listening to this book. Every chapter is virtually identical: man beats wife, man gets contract to kill, man kills... there's really no variation or surprise to the story & i've gotten to the point at which i don't really care what happens in the end.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Thomas
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 08-07-13

Total bullshit

Would you try another book from Philip Carlo and/or Michael Prichard?

Maybe. Read "The Butcher," from Philip Carlo but after reading this book, I am wondering how much of that is true.

Any additional comments?

The book is mostly fiction. The thing about sociopaths is that they are rarely murderers (and Kuklinski is a murder) but they are ALL liars. Kuklinski made up grandiose lies to make himself out to be the greatest psychotic killer of all time and Carlo wrote all that up like it was true. I was tipped off when Kuklinski said that he rescued a group of children from a serial child abductor - I looked online to see what happened to the children that were rescued and found nothing but a lot of people saying that Kuklinsky made the whole thing up. It rings true though. The books reads like a grandiose liar telling everyone how great he is.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful