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Publisher's Summary

In Northampton, Massachusetts, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kristen Gilbert was known as a hardworking, dedicated nurse - so why were her patients dying?

So many emergencies and sudden deaths occurred while Kristen made her rounds on Ward C that her colleagues jokingly called her the "Angel of Death". Yet most people didn't suspect the horrifying truth behind the nickname: that Gilbert's polished façade concealed a scheming, manipulative liar and a homicidal, narcissistic sociopath.

From August 1995 through February 1996, Gilbert dealt out wholesale death. Her victims were helpless patients who trusted her as a caregiver, only to learn too late that she was a killer, her weapon a drug capable of causing fatal heart attacks.

She got away with murder until three of her fellow nurses could no longer ignore the proliferation of deadly "coincidences" on Gilbert's watch. Investigators believe Kristen Gilbert may have been responsible for as many as 40 deaths. As the law closed in, she struck back, faking suicide attempts, harassing witnesses, stalking her ex-boyfriend, and terrorizing the hospital with bomb threats.

In March 2001, after being found guilty of four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, "Angel of Death" Kristen Gilbert was sentenced to life imprisonment.

©2008 M. William Phelps; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"A first-rate investigative examination." (Dr. Michael Baden, forensic pathologist and host of HBO's Autopsy series)
"Charles' precise reading takes listeners into Gilbert's paranoia." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Men are naive

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, good book about how we see what we want to see. Psychotic people come in all shapes, genders and sizes.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was the poisoned husband because, although he was naive, he loved his family more than his own life. Kind of stupid but who doesn't love a seemingly selfless victim.

Have you listened to any of J. Charles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I have not.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes. This would be a great movie. You wouldn't believe it was true.

Any additional comments?

Listen to this book and maybe if you get sick every time you eat a meal at home, you might suspect foul play before you end up half dead. But that might sound paranoid. Bet this victim wishes he had been wiser to the psychopathic mind.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating and creepy

What did you love best about Perfect Poison?

Well written, hard to put down, intriguing look at a woman with a dangerous borderline personality disorder.

What about J. Charles’s performance did you like?

The reader does just fine when simply narrating and oddly enough does well with the female character's voices. He does seem to go over the top when voicing some of the male characters. Why, for instance, does the DA sound like Ted Baxter from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show?

Any additional comments?

Still a great read especially if true crime stories fascinate you.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Like watching an HD security cam catch the crimes

Flawed by the author's rather simplistic analysis and the narrator's overly folksy tone, the story nonetheless unreels like a movie in which the sanctity of compassion and ethics of healing are crushed by the everyday evil of an actual murdering nurse.
In all sociopaths empty artifice substitutes for empathy. But each is also distinct in degree of evil, level of energy, style of expression and boldness of execution. If I saw a movie where the ICU nurse calls multiple condes after injecting her patients with a deadly dose so that she can flirt with the security guard who shows up as part of the response team . . would I accept the premise as realistic? But here it is in real life. And what can be scarier or sadder than reality when it plays out in the ways it does in this story?
I applaud the author's ultimate indictment of the VA hospital for it's apparantly despicable marginalization of the three nurses who had the courage to see and act where others who should have did not. I would like to see the hospital's rebuttal.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Hillsborough, NC, United States
  • 03-02-09

Great book. The Author really did his homework!

If you like true crime, this is the book for you. You really feel like you are getting the whole story. You will not be bored, but you will be perplexed. How someone could take a life is a sad mystery to all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Greenville, SC, United States
  • 11-02-09

Truely haunting

What a diabolical women. It's hard to conceive of someone so completely evil. I was riveted.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

First Rate Investigative Reporting!

I just loved this one. I was in a funk and couldn't get into any of my audiobooks until I got this one. I looked for excuses to listen! It helped that the story took place in my neighborhood, so it was cool being familiar with all of the places, and even some of the people, mentioned.

Incredible, hard to believe story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fascinating story, weird narration

Phelps has obviously done quite a lot of research for this engrossing story of a nurse who methodically murdered patients at a VA hospital in 1995 and 1996. If you enjoy true crime stories, especially medical ones, you'll certainly like Perfect Poison (although it might make you think twice about going to the hospital).

My only quibble is with the narration. While I've certainly heard worse, I honestly don't think it compliments the story. J. Charles sounds like somebody's folksy grandfather, and I really could have done without the melodramatic interpretation of people's voices - was it really necessary to add sound effects to telephone calls? Charles really tries too hard sometimes, and it can get cringeworthy. If the narrator had been different, perhaps someone with a bit more gravitas, I would have given Perfect Poison 4 stars.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

COULD NOT PUT DOWN

Here is another of my "FIVE STAR READ"! My credo is to only review great reads! If I can't review a book with a 5 STAR rating, I will not say anything. That way you can take what I say to the bank. So much has been said about Kristan as the Killer Nurse. The story got front page headlines throughout the world. For Good Reason...This is one of the most interesting and books I have ever listened to. EVERY WORD IS TRUE. Yes, I do my research as well. Usually I am not a fan of true crime (Female Serial Killers) However, this is so unique and strange, I know any person that enjoys listening to true stories about people that do bad things, you won't be sorry with William Phelps' PERFECT POISON! From her lovers to her life sentence or was it the Death Sentence...You will have to read it to find out. Throughout all of my reviews, I try to rate my best reads or audio listens. This is number 2 in my top 10 list of TRUE CRIMES. It was very close to being number 1. The price is right and the story is unbelievable. Look up female serial killers and read only a small portion of the case. DO NOT SPOIL THE STORY BY READING ALL THE INFORMATION about a nurse that probably killed over 400 people during the time she worked at a Veterans's Hospital. Although, she was only found guilty on five or six very sick men, this unlikely looking murderer probably killed many many more. The book is so well written, your imagination will run wild.

GET THIS READ...YOU WON'T BE SORRY!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • jaye
  • GREENWICH, CT, United States
  • 06-12-12

kudos to phelps and charles for a great read!

Would you listen to Perfect Poison again? Why?

oh yes, i will for sure. it was a well researched book, and well written. the narrator was great!

What did you like best about this story?

the story was complete--i don't like books that leave me hanging.

i felt like i knew the victims and the incidents that happened were described well.

Have you listened to any of J. Charles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

yes i have. i liked both (another phelps book). this one better tho. i liked the inflections in his voice that add to the story. he speaks clearly and the conversations over the phone sounded like they were over the phone.

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

i would have liked to but it was too long. however i read it in two days.

Any additional comments?

a very good story. i enjoyed it immensely.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dennis
  • Arlington, VT, United States
  • 07-22-13

So Outragious I Actually Giggled

That's right, this made me giggle with nervous laughter I could not believe how bizarre this woman's actions were. This has to be one of my all time favorite True Crime books as I have listened to it several times. I have also talked to people who couldn't believe it either - mostly nurses believe it or not, and a a few of them have read it on my recommendation - and they were as dumbfounded as I was.
Excellent book

2 of 3 people found this review helpful