The Ice Man

  • by Philip Carlo
  • Narrated by Michael Prichard
  • 19 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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."

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You must buy this audio only if...

You enjoy an incredible true crime story and chilling psychological profile. Not for the squeamish. I couldn't stop listening. The narrator has just the right "news man" tone that fits this tale perfectly. Yes, the narrative is redundant at times. You notice how certain phrases are repeated, but they didn't annoy me. I first saw "The Ice Man" HBO documentary and was riveted. This man is both an attractive character and monsterous. This tension drives the tale as well as the "creative" way he devises his crime.It will make you feel vulnerable. You will shutter unless you don't have a conscience. I'm serious. This is the real deal.Decadence and black humor and moments that will make you cry. You'll be glad there are some heroes in this tale. At times I had problems keeping track of all of all the Mafiosi, but it doesn't matter. I plan on listening to this again. The bonus material is incredible. I kept thinking, "What was I doing in my life when all this was going on?" because I don't recall seeing it on the news. This is also a story about abuse-unrelenting abuse: the making of a sociopath. It is also a story about mercy. Just get it. Nothing fancy here - just a great story. I hear a movie is planned, but don't wait. The film will have a lot to live up to.
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- Eileen C

Couldn't Put It Down

This one is a rough ride but it is a very good book. It is a descent into the worst kinds of evil and depravity of the human heart. Even so, the author manages to provide a certain kind of wry sympathy for his monstrous subject. If even half of Kuklinski's claims are true, he was a very tragic figure. By the way, this biography is the second to claim credit for killing Jimmy Hoffa ("I Hear You Paint Houses"). So I don't know which story to believe -- they can't both be true.

I found the writing very engaging. There were a few harmless repetitions. I thought the story was evenly paced over all. The narrator was quite good. (My benchmark for all-time worst is professional actor Elliott Gould reading my beloved Raymond Chandler.)

I found myself making excuses to listen to this book. More errands around town, walking the dog more and more, playing fetch with him in the backyard... this book was wearing out my dog.

The last book I read was about the BTK killer -- also from Audible. These stories are not for the fainthearted. But they are stories well told.
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- PT

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-12-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio