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Publisher's Summary

Was it because they were subconsciously trying to kill the drunken, violent man that was their father that brothers Luke Karamazov and Tommy Searl from Kalamazoo became serial murderers?

Addressing this and other questions, author Conrad Hilberry presents an unusually vivid and detailed portrait of two contrasting psychological types in this account. In 1964, Luke confessed to a five-week murder spree in which he killed five men. Tommy was convicted of the rape and murder of four women in 1972.

Hilberry investigates the relationship between the brothers, as well as their feelings about their parents, about the prison staff, and about the woman who has been married to each of them. With the drama of fiction, the resulting story is bizarre, somewhat grisly, but always psychologically revealing.

©1987 Wayne State University Press (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks

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Sunglasses In Prison...!


This killers background story goes WAY beyond your average sibling rivalry! Luke and his brother (who is ALSO a serial killer himself!!) are highly competitive in murder counts, AND in love - with the SAME woman. And thats not all either - they even attempt to kill each other! But hold on, it gets even crazier than that.

Although Lukes crimes are discussed (not in vivid detail), the primary focus here is on his upbringing, and insight as to whats going on inside his psychopathic mind, through actual interviews with him.

Surprisingly, he is fairly well spoken and intelligent - unlike many other killers who babble on and on about unrelated trivial nonsense while being interviewed. For those who are intrigued by what makes killers behave as they do - this will surely satisfy that desire.

I found one part in particular very entertaining - where his intended murder victim also happened to have his pet chimp with him, (initially unbeknownst to Luke), and how he dealt with that guy. Lol. Overall, I liked this book. I could almost envision certain scenarios as they were being described.

Now, although I was "voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the narrator", I will tell you honestly that I DID find this narrators voice *very* pleasant, and well suited for True Crime. John N. Gully has that serious, yet soothing delivery that I really enjoy and generally prefer. I would listen to another one done by him in a heartbeat.

Thank You :-)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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True Crime At It's Finest

Any additional comments?

It's not often that a true crime story becomes a case study in the psychology of two homicidal brothers, and as a result this one's a doozy. I am personally interested in how the childhood/history of a killer may help to create said killer and this book delves into the lives of two killers who had similar childhoods, making it a particularly interesting read for me. If your brother is a murderer and you're wondering about you, this is a great choice! I would also recommend this story to any true crime or psychology lovers.<br/><br/>I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting read

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. This story was pretty good. Getting insight into the mind of a serial killer is interesting. I found myself getting angry listening to the story of what these brothers did and couldn't understand the women that were married to them. It also made it more attractive to me that this story took place in Kalamazoo Michigan, which is not to far from where I live.

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Two brothers trying to out do the other

Any additional comments?

This is not your normal true crime book it is more like a documentary not to say it wasn’t a good listen it was. It is based on the brothers to the why, how, what life in prison was like, and their emotions at the time of the crime and today. I thought it was an interesting read but at times I found my mind wondering and had to pull myself back in. You won’t get to know the victim but you sure get to know the killers. Two brothers who want what the other has will not be out done by the other. Did they turn out this way because they were set against each other at a young age with a father demanding they compete against the other or was it because their father was abusive or could it have been that he left them and didn’t want anything to do with them, maybe it is just a gene that went wrong , or where they just evil from birth…you decide. Many questions are asked some are answered but in the killer’s words is this truth or fiction? There are many sides to each story, most likely the truth is somewhere in the middle of the two brothers tales. I am not sure we will ever know all the true facts but this was very interesting to see somewhat through the killer’s eyes. Two brothers but kill in different ways, one feel and admit each killer the other said he never did it. How can they both be so different? <br/><br/>Luke I think we heard more about him it seemed he was admitting to the killings but didn’t have any feelings one way or the other. Tommy never admitted any crime and thinks he should be out. Both brothers dated and married the same woman. There are a lot of interesting facts. I would have liked to learn more about how the crime was commended the author does not go into much deals.<br/><br/>Mr. Gully narration was very good, when he was in character voice it was natural not with much feeling but that is how the killer is he really became the killer. I feel he did a wonderful job with the emotions when the brothers got excited, or mad you could really feel the emotion come through the speakers. From what I heard he only went into a few character voices but you knew who was talking and just what they were feeling. The volume stayed the same throughout if breaks were taken I could not tell. There are no background noises just a clean smooth audio with a very nice voice that really does pull you in. There is no repeat of words that the author did not have in the story. I would like to hear more from him with a normal audio where he goes more in to characters see the changes of voices. I thought his performance was outstanding he really had the cold dark voice down for the killers. I do look forward to listening to more of his work.<br/><br/>The author does repeat his self a few times going over what the killer said, repeating it and he might repeat it again. All in all this was a great documentary but I would have liked to have known more about the true facts both from the killer and the law. He talks about the trial but no details are given. I can tell you this I wouldn’t want to meet either of these men on a lonely cold night. <br/><br/>

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Fascinating and interesting

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, the interesting perspective of the two brothers' psychology was moving.

What about John N. Gully’s performance did you like?

Strong, Meaningful performance with good voice.

Any additional comments?

"This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

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Psychology of Two Serial Killer Brothers

If you could sum up Luke Karamazov in three words, what would they be?

Very different personalities

What other book might you compare Luke Karamazov to and why?

Not sure as there was not very much information on the victims with more details.

Which character – as performed by John N. Gully – was your favorite?

Luke Karamazov

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

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Not What I Was Expecting, But Very Good

What made the experience of listening to Luke Karamazov the most enjoyable?

Honestly? Being surprised by how much it actually drew me in and how much I enjoyed it. It is not your usual "true crime" book. This book is more concerned with why the killer did the things he did, and why he turned out the way he did, than with his actual crimes and the solving of those crimes. You don't really get to know the victims. This book takes you into the head of the killer, and to some extent, the head of his little brother, who is also a serial killer. It asks questions like "what makes 2 brothers, 2 sons, grow up to become serial killers? Why is one given to torture, while the other isn't? Is it nature or nurture?" <br/>The book is mostly in the form of an interview, and the interviewer's reflections on those interviews. And at first, I thought it was going to be a dreadful bore, and I would have to fight to get through it. I like true crime books with an element of who-done-it... Where you get to know the victims, and there's a trial. But this book ended up being quite fascinating, and very dark in its own way. I found myself pondering the very same questions that were being asked by the author. I underestimated this book, and I'm happy I did.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's not possible to have a "favorite" character in a book like this. Luke and his brother were both fascinating to think about. Luke particularly because he is such a paradox.

Have you listened to any of John N. Gully’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I had not. But I found him to be an exceptional narrator, and I would listen to anything that he narrates again without hesitation. He did a wonderful job, and he read with such ease and normalcy. He has a great voice for narration.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That your surroundings can very much form you are at any given time. Which I don't think anyone wants to believe. I think people want to think that they are who they are, and they would be that way no matter where they were. But, here you have a man, who, if he were out on the streets, would be killing and killing and killing. Put him in a prison, and he becomes someone who is respected and relied upon, not just by other inmates, but by the staff as well. Not only that, but he is known throughout the state penal system for his influence. So what does that say about you and me? <br/><br/>This is a truly thought-provoking book and I highly recommend it.

Any additional comments?

I was given this book for free by the narrator in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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Good book, especially if you are into psychology

What made the experience of listening to Luke Karamazov the most enjoyable?

I like psychology so I enjoyed this book. I liked listening to what these men thought of their lives, their crimes and their relationships with others.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Luke's rationalization of his crimes and behavior.

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked hearing about the short interaction Luke had with, I think his name was Mike... He was the man with the chimp who did not try to escape or to kill Luke. I found it interesting that he treated Luke like a friend rather than a threat to his life.

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

Yes, for me it was. (And I did)

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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Seemed very well researched and interesting

What did you love best about Luke Karamazov?

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the narrator.<br/><br/>This book was really fascinating. The character study of the two brothers was intriguing.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The many pieces and parts. Keeping track of which brother a character was involved in at which point in their lives seemed like a Sherlock worthy endevor.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was fine but I found the narrators speaking style to be very slow. I increased the speed to 1.25 and it seemed like the way natural human speech would be. It was very odd. Almost like there was a technical issue with the recording and they slowed it down. Or he was from Alabama. Who knows? :)

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

Not especially.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the narrator.<br/><br/>The forward of the book confused me about what I was going to be listening too. It is written in such a way that I thought it was going to be a character study of Tolstoy characters rather than true crime and for a few minutes I lost track of what this book is actually about. I obviously stuck with it and it became clearer but it was an odd way to begin.

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A psychological profile of really f'd up people

If you could sum up Luke Karamazov in three words, what would they be?

Makes sense to themselves

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The author presents the factual aspects of brothers who are competing serial killers. He goes into details that unless you are a psychologist or criminalist are at times only mildly interesting. I've taken criminal justice classes and have been enthralled with what makes people like these tick. I've read " True Crime" books for five decades. So I was interested in the subject matter.

What does John N. Gully bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

John N. Gully's storytelling skills may have been the reason I was able to listen to the entire audio book instead of quitting three quarters through an e book edition. He's good, very good.

If you could give Luke Karamazov a new subtitle, what would it be?

Two killers and the woman who loves em .

Any additional comments?

Thanks for the opportunity to review it!<br/><br/>This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost. Which I can only assume was voluntary on their part. I am happy to give my honest review of it. I think I'm suppose to mention how reviewing this was voluntary on my part too.