From the Publisher
Praise for Philip Carlo
"The dean of true-crime horror writers and the sometime muse of Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro."
-The New York Times
"A hell of a book, a brutal page-turner."
"We've all read novelists and true crime writers who try to put you inside-the- mind-of-the-serial-killer, but I can't remember one that succeeded with the physical and psychological intimacy of this collaboration between the writer and the killer himself."
-New York Press
"I couldn't put the book down. The details are amazing, told from many points of view; very scary indeed."
-Los Angeles Times
"Carlo has given us an astonishing portrait of a killer not seen since In Cold Blood."
-Denis Hamill, New York Daily News
In a tragic turnaround, bestselling true-crime writer Carlo (TheButcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath, 2009, etc.) was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is forced to reckon with an entirely new—and inescapable—kind of killer.
A native of the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, notorious for its dangerous Mafioso underbelly, the author has never been a stranger to violence. An early memory details his friendship with a neighborhood teenager who once defendedhim from a playground bully; a few years later, the author witnessed his murder by the La Cosa Nostra mob family. Because of experiences like this, he writes that "there is no dark street I am afraid to walk down," an attitude that surely paved the way for the dangerous and dark work he would later dedicate his life to, when "dark streets" would become a metaphor for the gruesome minds he probed as a writer. Serial killers are his specialty, and his crime writing holds nothing back. The same is true for this memoir, in which the narrative alternates between autobiographical vignettes that illuminate how the author became a writer and brutally honest introspection about his diagnosis and search for a cure. ALS is an unforgiving disease, resulting in complete atrophy of the body's muscles. As he composed this book, Carlo was confined to a wheelchair and lacked the use of even his hands. He makes it clear, however, that his strength of will supersedes the physical symptoms, and dictating to an assistant, he continues to write prolifically and refuses to alleviate his discomfort with painkillers. The book he wrote just after his diagnosis,The Ice Man, has now been optioned for a movie, and Mickey Rourke is attached to star. Small comfort, maybe, butit's an inspiring testamentto what the human mind can accomplish in the wake of devastating change.
A brave psychological exploration of a writer's craft and terminal illness.
Carlo, who died last November, was the author of several bestselling biographies of such murderers and criminals as L.A.'s "Night Stalker," Richard Ramirez; Mafia Boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso; and contract killer Richard Kuklinski, aka "The Ice Man." Here he discusses the writing of these books, along with intriguing reminiscences from his own colorful history, using those memories to counterpoint the autobiography's main story—his grueling struggle with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, a crippling infirmity that is killing him as he rushes to finish the book. The result is a profoundly intimate first-person account of the author's final years. Kent Bateman not only finds the perfect voice to match the hard-boiled attitude of the Bensonhurst-born Carlo, he captures his love of life, his pride in his accomplishments, and his frustration with the failure of his once athletic body. The overall effect is so naturalistic and conversational it's easy to forget that the narrator isn't Carlo himself. An Overlook hardcover. (Feb.)