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The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters

Overview

In researching his acclaimed true crime books, Phil Carlo has interviewed some of the most infamous criminals and killers of our times in prisons and on Death Rows throughout the country. He has been able to forge trusting relationships with his subjects, enabling him to extract the facts behind their infamous acts and identify what motivated them to commit their horrific crimes.

Carlo's investigative achievements are remarkable, but what wasn't known to his readers is that, ...

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The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters

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Overview

In researching his acclaimed true crime books, Phil Carlo has interviewed some of the most infamous criminals and killers of our times in prisons and on Death Rows throughout the country. He has been able to forge trusting relationships with his subjects, enabling him to extract the facts behind their infamous acts and identify what motivated them to commit their horrific crimes.

Carlo's investigative achievements are remarkable, but what wasn't known to his readers is that, while working on The Ice Man, he learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a terminal illness that causes all of the muscles in the body to atrophy over time. Suddenly, after years of penetrating the minds of killers, Carlo found himself being pursued by the grim reaper. But rather than lying down and succumbing to the disease, Carlo continued to work, and his books are still being published, to both critical and commercial acclaim.

In The Killer Within, Carlo documents his difficult experiences with ALS and explains how he has managed to continue to write prodigiously in the face of adversity. The Killer Within is a gripping, suspenseful page turner that pulls the reader into the netherworld of Mafia bosses, Mafia hit men and serial killers, as well as the hard realities of dealing with a fatal disease.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly
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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590204313
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,295,007
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Carlo is the author of the bestselling books The Ice Man, Gaspipe, and The Butcher. He lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very interesting

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a very informative as well as entertaining book, and it was hard to put down! It is very well written, and I would highly recommend.

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