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Publisher's Summary

Decades after Richard Ramirez left 13 dead and paralyzed the city of Los Angeles, his name is still synonymous with fear, torture, and sadistic murder. Philip Carlo's classic The Night Stalker, based on years of meticulous research and extensive interviews with Ramirez, revealed the killer and his horrifying crimes to be even more chilling than anyone could have imagined. From watching his cousin commit murder at age 11 to his 19 death sentences to the juror who fell in love with him, the story of Ramirez is a bizarre and spellbinding descent into the very heart of human evil.

Incredibly, after The Night Stalker was first published, thousands of women from all over the world contacted Carlo, begging to be put in touch with the killer. Carlo interviewed them and here presents their disturbing stories and the dark sexual desires that would drive them towards a brutal murderer. And in an exclusive death row interview, the killer himself gives his thoughts on the "Ramirez Groupies" - and what he thinks they really want.

©1996 Philip Carlo (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This book will provide true crime readers a chilling inside perspective of a serial killer." (Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Night Stalker

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another True Crime classic...! (yay)


Its been a little while since a new "classic" true crime audiobook has been released...well, wait no more! I rate this in my TOP 5 (Helter Skelter, Green River Running Red, etc) along with several others. This was SOOO good. I know I will be re-listening to it many more times! I never knew *all* the intricate details surrounding the numerous crimes/murders of Richard Ramirez (aka "The Night Stalker"), I just recall seeing the somewhat censored tv news segments at the time. Wow. Unh. Wow. Putting eyeballs in a jewelry box? Electric cord shocking? Raping next to the freshly killed husband? And that's not all! Holy sheet! He covered every base of everything evil you can think of. Stabbing, shooting, clubbing, etc. He was bold, daring, arrogant and fearless - often attacking while multiple people were present in the home - and they didnt even have a chance. I dont think there has been another killer quite like him since.

The book is done in several segments. The first part details ALL the crimes (night after night of mayhem, torture and murder) ...in *every minute* detail. The second part, chronicles his childhood and youth - not meant to be a "oh boo-hoo feel sorry for me" thing, but certainly its clear that times were hard for him and especially his family. Then of course his capture and trial - which I found quite interesting as well; hearing about his defiant behaviour in court, and his lawyers trying to come up with SOME kind of defense for him. This book was written in 1995, and was slightly updated in 2005. It does cover quite a bit of additional material including tales of his devoted groupies and prison marriage, but not his death. There is also an "interview session" between him and the author at the end.


This one is totally WORTH THE CREDIT! Worth ignoring everyone you know for a few days while you listen to it. Lol. True Crime fans rejoice!!!

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Forgets the Satanic Panic W

This book is pretty good if you don't know much about the Night Stalker and you want to know the story. The performance is great. However, Philip Carlo seems to forget that the Satanic Panic of the 1980s wasn't in response to actual Satanists, but a moral panic about Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal music, punk rock, and laughable goofballs like Satanist Anton LeVey.

This comes out in the book in things like the many many mentions and long descriptions of how he listened to heavy metal music and how he thought AC/DC's Highway to Hell was really connecting him to Satan. It's not that that isn't true, but the book has the tone I remember from the 1980s that treats this all as real. Rather, Ramirez' story is life imitating art. Let me explain.

Ramirez embraced Satanism not because he listened to heavy metal music or Anton LeVey's hackneyed Satanic Bible (which I too read as an angsty teen in the 80s). Rather, it was for two reasons First, because he was raised in a hyper Catholic home, particularly that brand Latin American Catholicism that treats Satan as a real entity walking the Earth and believes in the use of magic. Second, he witnessed horrific violence as a young child and in the absence of any treatment, began to identify with and fantasize about that violence. As the latter process took hold, he began to think Satan (who was definitely real for him thanks to Catholicism) was more his jive than Jesus. After that, it was a short hop to get to heavy metal music, Anton LeVey, etc, In his Satanism he was imitating and embodying the fears already around him in the Satanic Panic. He was not the final proof positive that the panic was legitimate.

AC/DC used to fill stadiums. Almost none of them became serial murderers.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great & Bad at the same time.

It starts off getting right into the interesting parts, but then slows down entirely and becomes a 7 hour courtroom transcript marathon that is almost as horrible as what Richard Ramirez did. Narrator does a good job, as does the author in half the book.

33 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent ! *5 STARS*

I get the chills from the warning of Richard Ramirez as a Stalker:
Be Aware of your surroundings. No one is safe.
Well-researched and well-narrated book!
Thank you Mr. Carlo.

25 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but then not so much..

In the first two thirds of the book, the author does a pretty good job bringing everything to life. There must have been a massive amount of research into each of these people's lives, and it shows! Then we get to the courtroom section...which then just drags on and on (and on).. there are some characters sprinkled here and there, but we don't get to know them that well (some we probably don't want to know at all) but I'm guessing the bulk of this section is just a regurgitation of the court transcripts. Mildly interesting, but also stuff we really don't care about, such as that day the Judge dismissed court early so he could go to a meeting.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

definitely worth it!

I was reluctant to buy this book after reading everyone else's reviews. But I'm happy I did.

Yes, the narrator has trouble pronouncing some words. Does it bug? Not enough for it to detract because it's sporadic.

Yes, the last half of the book is the trial of Richard Ramirez. The reviews led me to believe it was more transcript less prose. But it was a part of the story and I thought it was akin to Ann Rule 's Ted Bundy story.

I enjoyed every minute and am sad it wasn't updated past 2006. But you should definitely get this book- holistic approach to all involved in these crimes.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not enough insight.

The book was very detailed in regards to the horrible murders, the trial & the Ramirez groupies. The chapters describing the trial & the jurors became tedious, with certain details being repeated over & over. What I think it lacked was any real insight into why he did what he did or why his groupies were so fascinated with him. The author said he spent time with Ramirez & the groupies but there was very little of their voice in the story. The last chapter, that details letters the author received from the groupies was ridiculous. It seemed almost salacious. Overall, the book is okay, if one is interested in knowing the story and details of this particular serial killer but a bit long.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator shouldn't "do" the voices

Would you consider the audio edition of The Night Stalker to be better than the print version?

I never read the print version

What did you like best about this story?

The story was fascinating. I left LA shortly before all this took place, so I never experienced all the horror and shock Angelenos felt.

What aspect of Tom Zingarelli’s performance would you have changed?

Please, please don't do the voices. It's offensive when you try and do a Spanish accent (or your idea of a Spanish accent), or when you make your voice higher for a woman's voice, especially since you didn't give each male character a different voice to distinguish one from the other. I understand this is a performance, but it's not a stage play. You have a pleasant voice, so a straight reading would have been great.

Any additional comments?

Great story. I knew the bullet points of extreme violence, a neighborhood of concerned citizens catching Ramirez, and the fan clubs, but the specifics were shocking.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

The court precedings were long but interesting. Nice background on the monsters family. I was annoyed by the groupies and his family.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really good!

Detailed and interesting. It is sectioned into 3 parts with most of the action happening in the first part as others have mentioned, the details are adequately detailed to get the full scope of his crimes but written in a respectful manner. The rest of it is still interesting with in depth information about Richard Ramirez, his background and then his trial and family. Great narrator!

3 people found this helpful