The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers

( 16 )

Overview


This is a true story about an average American family whose idyllic lifestyle is shattered by a terrible accident that pushes them to the brink of despair. It's also the story of a tormented man who eventually found purpose in the most unlikely way - by connecting with monsters.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Hardcover
$19.83
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$24.99 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (36) from $1.99   
  • New (18) from $1.99   
  • Used (18) from $1.99   
The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.66
BN.com price

Overview


This is a true story about an average American family whose idyllic lifestyle is shattered by a terrible accident that pushes them to the brink of despair. It's also the story of a tormented man who eventually found purpose in the most unlikely way - by connecting with monsters.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tony Ciaglia’s life changed forever when a traumatic brain injury at 15 left him uninhibited and struggling to control his temper and emotions. Searching for a way to connect, Tony turned to the unlikeliest of pastimes: writing letters to serial killers. Edgar winner Earley (Comrade J) intersperses Tony and his family’s continuing struggles to adjust to life as a TBI survivor with excerpts from Tony’s pen-pal correspondence. While he received letters from over 30 killers, his primary communications were with Arthur Shawcross, Joseph Metheny, and David Gore. Shawcross and Metheny describe in lurid detail the pleasure they derived in raping, torturing —and often eating—their prostitute victims. Tony’s brain injury made it impossible for him to judge the convicts’ heinous actions and the closer he became to his “best friends,” the more convinced Tony became that he could help bring closure to families by drawing out details from the killers about unsolved cases. While Tony’s recovery story is inspiring, the sheer amount of graphic sexual sadism and violence is overwhelming: the warning “not for the faint of heart” is an understatement. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Earley (Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness) here tells the story of Tony Ciaglia, an average 15-year-old boy whose life was tragically transformed after he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while operating a Jet Ski. After the accident, Tony's TBI caused him to become easily obsessed, and when he stumbled across information about a serial killing case online, he soon initiated correspondence with dozens of convicted serial killers, who also exhibited feelings of isolation and rage. Curiously, his therapist condoned the letter writing. His hobby became an obsession that continued well into his thirties, and he meticulously maintained a scrapbook of each killer's letters, even visiting some of them in prison. The effects of Tony's TBI—being both totally tolerant and obsessive compulsive—helped him gain their trust and listen without judgment to the sordid details of their murderous sprees, including torture, rape, murder, and cannibalization. He was then able to help police detectives with their investigations, bring closure to the mother of a missing child, and ultimately find a purpose in life. VERDICT For readers of true crime and psychology and others interested in the workings of the brain.—Krista Bush, Shelton Public Sch. Lib., CT
Kirkus Reviews
A highly disturbing, in-depth look at notorious serial killers. As a young Texan, Tony Ciaglia enjoyed a rambunctious childhood, but a near-fatal jet-ski accident left him comatose at 15. Suffering from brain damage, he was prone to angry rages, depression and obsessions, such as one with an Internet site advertising serial killer "murderabilia." After intensive research and with his therapist's blessing, Ciaglia mailed 41 introductory letters to—and received responses from—a laundry list of killers, including "Cross Country Killer" Glen Rogers, who meticulously described the details of his first murder. Regular communication emerged from the best of the worst: child rapist and cannibal Arthur Shawcross, neurotic sexual sadist David Alan Gore and Joseph Metheny, a career murderer who unremorsefully "enjoyed" the butchering and necrophilic molestation of women. Investigative journalist Earley (Comrade J, 2008, etc.) documents Ciaglia's intensive interplay with a brilliant combination of scrutiny and unobtrusive narration, allowing the verbatim letters to do the book's grisly spadework. The letters incrementally ramp up to reveal the killers' shockingly intimate secrets, including stories of their traumatic childhoods, admitted details on abandoned case files, specific directions to shallow graves and the grotesquely detailed procedurals of a kill. Ciaglia's involvement with these killers, many of whom were sympathetic to his plight, escalated to penitentiary visits, the attempted exhumation of unrecovered remains and, finally, assistance with police investigators working on cold cases. Definitely not for the faint of heart, this as a macabre, stomach-turning glimpse at true crime's most evil villains.
From the Publisher
"For [listeners] of true crime and psychology and others interested in the workings of the brain." —Library Journal
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439199022
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,472,640
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Earley is the author of three New York Times bestsellers. He has won an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit PeteEarley.com.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Serial Killer Whisperer


  • July 23, 1992

A half-dozen boys running barefoot down an embankment into a cove at Possum Kingdom Lake. It was shortly after four o’clock. The afternoon temperature had just peaked at 93.9 degrees. Unlike most man-made reservoirs in Texas, which were muddy, the water in this twenty-thousand-acre playground was clear blue. It was home to Camp Grady Spruce, a popular YMCA getaway about a hundred miles west of Dallas.

Tony Ciaglia, Andy Page, and Grant Cooper were among the first to reach the Yamaha WaveRunner jet-ski there. The boys had met three years ago when they were assigned to bunks in the same tent. They had been inseparable ever since. Best buds forever.

This was the first summer the camp had owned WaveRunners, and anything fast and exciting was a welcome respite at the conservative religious outpost, which traced its roots to 1949. Only in the last nine years had girls been permitted to attend the camp’s two-week sessions. The boys formed a line behind the WaveRunner and with a twist of the throttle, the WaveRunner’s powerful 650-cc engine roared to life. The first rider burst from the cove, sending a rooster spray rocketing from the tail of the red and white machine.

“Tony’s counselor had the day off,” Chris would later recall, “but it was hot and the boys wanted to take a WaveRunner out onto the lake, so they asked another counselor. He gave them the key and then disappeared, leaving them unsupervised.”

WaveRunners were supposed to be ridden only as far as a red buoy bobbing about two hundred yards offshore. After reaching the buoy, the rider returned to shore to let someone else take a turn. Andy was next in line with Tony and Grant behind him. But as the WaveRunner was returning to the cove, Andy yelled to a younger camper named David standing on the dock close to them. He was waiting to go waterskiing. Andy asked David if he wanted to switch places.

David did. He jumped into the lake and got to the head of the line at about the same time as the returning WaveRunner. He climbed aboard the WaveRunner and took off.

As the others waited in the waist-deep water for their turn, Grant splashed Tony and asked, “Have you asked her yet?”

“When we get done here,” Tony replied, smiling.

“You’d better hurry up.”

Tony had a crush on Kelly Christiansen, a fellow fifteen-year-old from Dallas. Blond. Cute. He wanted to take her to the Friday night dance, the last social event before camp ended. Unfortunately, so did Andy. They’d been competing for her affections while Grant played the neutral friend, watching amused from the sidelines.

Tony had first noticed Kelly last summer, but she’d not shown any interest in him or any other boys. Tony had promised himself that this summer would be different. He’d searched for her as soon as his family pulled into the Southern Methodist University parking lot twelve days earlier. It was where campers boarded commercial buses hired to transport kids in Dallas to the camp. Seats in the buses were assigned alphabetically. Because “Ciaglia” followed “Christiansen,” Tony had known Kelly would be sitting near him. He’d get an uninterrupted, two-hour head start over Andy.

Tony had been so eager to talk to Kelly that he’d scooped up his gear from the back of the family’s Plymouth minivan and started running across the SMU parking lot without saying goodbye to his parents or Joey, his kid brother, three years younger. Joey also was going to camp—but at a different site.

Once inside the bus, Tony slipped into his assigned seat and immediately leaned forward to speak to Kelly. That’s when he heard someone rapping on the bus window. Everyone did. It was Al, signaling Tony to come outside.

Tony trudged down the aisle, and when he got outside, his parents—both Al and Chris—hugged and kissed him. Tony was totally humiliated. He could feel all of the kids inside the bus watching him. He wanted to yell, “My dad’s Italian, okay? That’s what Italian families do! They kiss and hug whenever they say hello or goodbye.” Just like in The Godfather.

He’d returned to his seat red-faced, without saying a word.

Despite that rocky start, this summer had been Tony’s best. He, Andy, and Grant were CITs, counselors in training. The younger kids looked up to them. It was their year to be the cool, older kids who taught the newbies the camp’s traditions.

Waiting for his turn on the WaveRunner, Tony appeared to be a teenager who had, as Texans liked to put it, “life by the horns.” He’d won more gold medals that week than anyone else in a camp Olympics. Even better, he’d sat next to Kelly several nights during dinner.

Molly Ray, another camper swimming in the lake, noticed Tony and Grant waiting in line for the WaveRunner to return. She thought it was odd because campers were supposed to sign their names on a clipboard the night before if they wanted to ride a WaveRunner. She began swimming toward the boys to claim a turn.

Because Tony was facing Grant in the water, he had his back to the lake and didn’t see the WaveRunner as it rounded the red buoy and began racing back toward the cove. But other kids did. The WaveRunner’s young driver was not slowing down. David apparently planned to make a sharp turn at the last possible second and splash the older boys with the wake.

But the young driver had overestimated his skills. He couldn’t accomplish the maneuver as planned.

Grant Cooper looked up from the water just as the WaveRunner smacked into the back of Tony’s skull.

“It whacked him hard,” Cooper said later. “He took the brunt of it. I tried to duck and turn, but it hit me on the side of my head and I went under.”

Molly Ray would still remember the scene years later. “I saw this flash—this huge thing—suddenly shoot by me as I was swimming. The next thing I noticed was bright red in the water and, I thought, ‘Oh my God! That’s blood. That’s blood in the water. Oh my God! That’s from the WaveRunner and it almost hit me.’”

Grazed on the side of his head, Grant Cooper next remembered waking up on the shore. “I don’t remember getting out of the water or how I got to the shoreline, but when I came to, I was walking around in circles and people were yelling at me because my head was bleeding. I had a gash on the side of my head and a concussion.”

Grant looked for Tony. “He was floating facedown in the water where we’d been standing. People were rushing to drag him out. I remember thinking, ‘Oh shit! Tony’s not moving. I think he’s dead!’”

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2012

    Forget it.

    As a retired big city homicide investigator who worked as the OIC on three serial killer investigations in which the perpetrators were apprehended, including John Eric Armstrong mentioned in the first chapter, the title intrigued me enough to purchase it. I appreciate and applaud the remarkable comeback from his injuries, however, I must confess corresponding with serial killers would not be the route I would let my TBI son to indulge in. First off, they are notorious liars. I think any reader familiar with this subject would recognize from the first letters how self-absorbing and evil they really are. And the description of their sexcapades? Come on, obviously false and maybe titillating to a TBI victim, but certainly not to any rational person let alone parents who would keep there child involved in such obvious garbage. How could his mother allow such descriptions of sex and death continue to inundate this kid, much less sit around the kitchen table for all to hear with no one objecting? Please..... Also, who dreamed up "Psycho Sailor" for John Armstrong? Certainly no one here in Detroit. And just one mention of him and nothing later on in the book? My feeling is that this was dangerous territory for a TBI victim but hopefully he will move on to more rewarding adventures in life. As for the book, poorly written. Sorry I spent my money.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Very graphic

    I liked this book, it is very graphic though.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2012

    A book that can trigger every emotion.

    What an amazing true story. Such an emotional roller coaster. It's a book you must get. You have to read it to believe it. It's one of those stories that if someone told you, you wouldn't believe it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Interesting

    Well done and a glimpse into the twisted minds of some pathetic individuals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reads like a horror novel, but horribly true and very unsettling

    Reads like a horror novel, but horribly true and very unsettling. Although not a way I would choose to deal with the issue with my child, the full circle and ending is justifiable. Intense insight into a killers' mind. Truely, not a place I care to go again. Read - but with caution!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2012

    boring

    Not anything like I expected. I finished the book in hopes of finding something interesting but that never happened.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Highly Recommened

    Excellant book, its a must read for true crime buffs

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)