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Publisher's Summary

He was a model citizen. A hospital volunteer. And one of the most sadistic serial killers of all time. But few people could see the cruel monster beneath the colorful clown makeup that John Gacy wore to entertain children in his Chicago suburb. Few could imagine what lay buried beneath his house of horrors - until a teenage boy disappeared before Christmas in 1978, leading prosecutor Terry Sullivan on the greatest manhunt of his career.

Reconstructing the investigation - from records of violence in Gacy's past, to the gruesome discovery of 29 corpses of abused boys in Gacy's crawlspace and four others found in the nearby river - Sullivan's shocking eyewitness account takes you where few true crime books ever go: inside the heart of a serial murder investigation and trial.

©2013 Terry Sullivan with Peter T. Maiken (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Gripping." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

SCARRIEST BOOK I HAVE EVER LISTENED TO!

I always enjoyed true crime stories. I can’t believe any person could do what John Wayne Gacy did. Parts of this book made me sick. I think it is so graphic many listeners will need a strong stomach to get through the entire listen. I tried to feel sorry for this monster but I couldn’t. Even though I don’t believe in the death penily if ever there was one person that deserved death Gacey would be the one. He had to be mentally ill to Carry out these disgusting crimes. GREAT STORY WITH NO DETAIL LEFT OUT. If you haven’t listened to KILLER CLOWN use a credit. It was as great as STRANGER BESIDE ME and HELTER SKELTER. I lived in Chicago during John Wayne Gacy’s reign of terror and remember all the national news coverage that took place after he was apprehended.
Thanks for reading my review. Steve

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

MANDATORY Gacy book ! ! !

I was SO-Ooo glad to see this come to audiobook! Having this definitive crime classic already in my personal library, it was nice to be lazy and have it read to me :) Squeal.

This is THE Gacy book to get if you can choose only one, or simply just want to avoid wading through the other trash thats out there. In fact, many movies and documentries that feature the Gacy case, often refer to THIS very book as the main source for their script/writing.

Hardcore Gacy crime readers who have NOT yet discovered this gem (if they exist), will glean many new tidbits and interesting factoids for sure. This book was written 3 years after JWG was convicted in 1980, by the man who not only personally conducted the investigative work uncovering all the murders....he was ALSO the Prosecutor at his trial. Now thats first hand information!

Obviously, yes it IS filled with graphic details...but how else can you tell the story of one man killing 32 boys and living with their rotting corpses right under his floor - and NOBODY knew? Wife(s), family, friends, etc coming and going all the time? Yeaaa.

Worth that credit! Dont let the REAL crime be you not getting this!

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Needed An Editor

Gacy is as terrifying serial killer as there’s been. This book is mostly about cops following him around. They follow him up and down the road, they follow him into bars, they follow him into restaurants. This cycle goes on to the extent I thought the Audible app was replaying sections I’d already heard- it wasn’t, the book is just that repetitive. You could skip chapters 3 thru 10 or so and miss absolutely nothing.

I found the narrator very enjoyable- his voice sounds like a cross between Paul Harvey and Dennis Farina. However, a solid narrator cannot save this intolerably boring book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Soooo Many Details

This book was super hard to get through. There were a few parts of the story that were engaging but mostly it was incredibly tedious. The author begins the book when Gacy is suspected of having to do something with a boy's disappearance. Cops are assigned to tail him. Gacy knows about the tail, which results in cops and Gacy eating dinner together & having cocktails. Very bizarre. But, the author goes on for at least 1/3 of the book about the cops that were tailing Gacy. Every single place watched, drink had, steak eaten and how fast everyone drove was described. A cop spills some coffee on his pants. Somehow, this incident is supposed to stand in for some sort of drama in the story. (It does not.) When this part of the story concludes, it turns out it only went on for 13 days! What? The endless details made it seem as if this was happening for 6 months.
Parts of the trial were somewhat interesting. The epilogue was beyond sappy, wistful and repetitive.
The narrator did not help this story, either. I had to speed it up slightly. He sounded like Eeyore and Walter Cronkite had a love child.
"And...that'sh the way it ishz."
Do not recommend

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing story

What did you love best about Killer Clown?

Details of the investigation and trial

What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His calm voice

Any additional comments?

For me bring Casy to justice in a non digital world was amazing. What a great team they were, and how this writer put it all together.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The horror, the horror

Well written account by the man who prosecuted John Wayne Gacy, unrepentant POS serial murderer and poster boy for the death penalty. The investigation is fascinating, the killings are truly ghastly and gut-churning, and the trial affirms one’s belief in the justice system. Like other readers, I am not in favor of the death penalty in most cases simply because mistakes can be made that can never be righted. However I’m starting to think that there needs to be a different set of rules for the Gacys and the Bundys of the world. The narrator is a tad dreary, but that may be a good thing when the tale so disturbing. Overall: very good read, but bring a strong stomach.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Compelling and gruesome

I lived in the Chicago area during the time of the murders but tuned out the details. When I started the book I did not realize the extent of this horrific crime. Did I finish it? I did but I’d recommend it with eyes wide open. It’s not an easy read/listen as many details are given.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

5 hours into the book = 10 days of surveillance??

Seriously folks. I’m 5 hours into the book and it’s been nothing but following Gary here, following Gacy there, following Gacy everywhere. When the comment was made in the book that they were only 10 days into the investigation...say, what now???
It needs to get a whole lot better than this, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt with premature 3 stars. Don’t like the narrator much either.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Half of it was good !

i enjoyed the first half of this book. i bought it to hear about the Gacy murders, etc... This book is apparently written by a member of the prosecution team for the trial, and the book sort of became about him somewhere after the halfway point. I do not know who he is and was not interested in his personal story, so the book sort of lost steam for me. But the first half is excellent!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Informative, a bit dry and surprisingly un-clowny

Would you listen to Killer Clown again? Why?

Once is enough. I'd never really known much about the Gacy case, outside of the fact that he was the killer clown. So it was mildly surprising that very little of the book dealt with any aspect of that part of his life. The story is solid and forthright, though a bit dry in its style. It deals with a lot of the minutiae of surveillance and procedure for warrants, arrests and indictments. And though he doesn't paint himself as the hero of the piece, the author does, at times, come off a bit like the slightly too sure of himself prosecutor who in other true crime instances might seem like one to overreach his authority.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It strangely had the feeling of an episode of Columbo (though not nearly as skilfully done), insofar as there was little or no mystery presented in the text, as to who the villain was. Right from the start, Gacy is in the crosshairs of the police, though not fully understanding the scope of his crimes. The non-chronological presentation is a bit jarring at first, but is reasonably effective.

What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

The narrator did a good job to present the author's voice. In as much as it's a first person account of a prosecutor of the case, it was effective in making me believe I was listening to the actual person.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not that it moved me, but the psychological evaluations of Gacy that were presented sounded an awful like someone who is very prominent these days. Let's just say it might not be a bad idea to look for bodies buried in various golf courses.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful