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The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

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Overview

After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned sixteen years and ...

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The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

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Overview

After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned sixteen years and nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When, in March of 2006, Charles Cullen was marched from his final sentencing in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, courthouse into a waiting police van, it seemed certain that the chilling secrets of his life, career, and capture would disappear with him. Now, in a riveting piece of investigative journalism nearly ten years in the making, journalist Charles Graeber presents the whole story for the first time. Based on hundreds of pages of previously unseen police records, interviews, wire-tap recordings and videotapes, as well as exclusive jailhouse conversations with Cullen himself and the confidential informant who helped bring him down, THE GOOD NURSE weaves an urgent, terrifying tale of murder, friendship, and betrayal.

Graeber's portrait of Cullen depicts a surprisingly intelligent and complicated young man whose promising career was overwhelmed by his compulsion to kill, and whose shy demeanor masked a twisted interior life hidden even to his family and friends. Were it not for the hardboiled, unrelenting work of two former Newark homicide detectives racing to put together the pieces of Cullen's professional past, and a fellow nurse willing to put everything at risk, including her job and the safety of her children, there's no telling how many more lives could have been lost.

In the tradition of In Cold Blood, THE GOOD NURSE does more than chronicle Cullen's deadly career and the breathless efforts to stop him; it paints an incredibly vivid portrait of madness and offers a penetrating look inside America's medical system. Harrowing and irresistibly paced, this book will make you look at medicine, hospitals, and the people who work in them, in an entirely different way.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…a stunning book with a flat, uninflected title that should and does bring to mind In Cold Blood…Both [Mr. Graeber] and Mr. Cullen know that the story appeals to prurient interests, as does any graphic tale of true crime. But The Good Nurse succeeds in being about much more than Mr. Cullen's murderous kinks. The causes of his pathology are not interesting. But the eagerness of ambitious hospital administrators to cover up his misdeeds is revelatory. And the police investigation that brought him down is a thriller in every sense of that word.
Publishers Weekly
Taking advantage of his exclusive access to serial killer Charles Cullen, journalist Graeber makes the most of the dramatic story of a nurse who began killing patients in 1991, and who eluded prosecution for over a decade. Experts estimate that he may have murdered up to 300 people before his arrest in 2003. Without excusing or condoning Cullen’s crimes, the author presents a picture of the killer’s horrific childhood, which may provide an explanation for his descent into violence—a journey that began with animal cruelty and emotional withdrawal from his increasingly frightened wife. Cullen began tampering with IV bags at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey, and patients on the road to recovery, or who were at least stable, started dropping like flies. Incredibly, Cullen was able to move from one nursing job to another even after being forced out of employment because of suspicions that he was responsible for the deaths. Graeber doesn’t pull punches—his description of the effects of insulin poisoning are chilling, and he needn’t resort to hyperbole to damn the hospital administrators who failed to take it upon themselves to stop Cullen from claiming more lives. A deeply unsettling addition to the true crime genre. Agent: Susan Golumb, the Susan Golomb Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Put this one on the shelf next to Ann Rule's classic about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me - it's that good. Grade: A"—Entertainment Weekly

"A stunning book...that should and does bring to mind In Cold Blood....the story appeals to prurient interests, as does any graphic tale of true crime. But THE GOOD NURSE succeeds in being about much more than Mr. Cullen's murderous kinks. The causes of his pathology are not interesting. But the eagerness of ambitious hospital administrators to cover up his misdeeds is revelatory. And the police investigation that brought him down is a thriller in every sense of that word."—Janet Maslin, New York Times

"The most terrifying book published this year. It is also one of the most thoughtful.... From a long series of conversations with Cullen, the detectives who solved the case and Amy, a nurse who once was Cullen's best friend and eventually got him to confess, among many other sources, Graeber has crafted a book that is a revelation. THE GOOD NURSE is gripping, sad, suspenseful, rhythmic and beautifully documented (the endnotes to this book are impressive)."—Kirkus Reviews

"Graeber doesn't pull punches... A deeply unsettling addition to the true crime genre."—Publishers Weekly

"Riveting"—People

"A standout true-crime book, one that doubles as both a thrilling horror story and a cautionary tale, and frightens and frustrates in equal measure."—The Boston Globe

"Absolutely frightening."—The Detroit News

"Alarming"—CNN.com

"The story is consistently incredible, but credit it you must, for it is the truth... I couldn't put this book down."—PopMatters

"Fascinating and frightening... A scary page turner about one man's quiet reign of terror, those dedicated and brave enough to end it, and the dangers that can lurk in the places we may feel safest. "—BookReporter"A very scary book. It will reach out and grab you and not let you go. You will forgo food, talking, work, anything just to get to the climactic moment of this true crime story."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Engrossing...hard-to-put-down.. On one level, The Good Nurse is an absorbing story of a serial killer operating within the walls of what most view as a trusted institution. On another, it's an intriguing detective story. And on another it's an indictment of the hospital industry."—The New Jersey Star-Ledger

"A literary thriller with legs... Meticulously crafted... a book that demonstrates the transportive power of literary journalism while simultaneously helping to restore its credibility."—The Brooklyn Rail

"A remarkable new book...gripping and brilliantly written."—Healthcare Risk Management Review

"A gripping look into a killer's mind...THE GOOD NURSE is as suspenseful as any crime novel."—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Entertainment Weekly
"Put this one on the shelf next to Ann Rule's classic about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me - it's that good. Grade: A"
Janet Maslin - New York Times
"A stunning book...that should and does bring to mind In Cold Blood....the story appeals to prurient interests, as does any graphic tale of true crime. But THE GOOD NURSE succeeds in being about much more than Mr. Cullen's murderous kinks. The causes of his pathology are not interesting. But the eagerness of ambitious hospital administrators to cover up his misdeeds is revelatory. And the police investigation that brought him down is a thriller in every sense of that word."
People
"Riveting"
The Boston Globe
"A standout true-crime book, one that doubles as both a thrilling horror story and a cautionary tale, and frightens and frustrates in equal measure."
The Detroit News
"Absolutely frightening."
CNN.com
"Alarming"
PopMatters
"The story is consistently incredible, but credit it you must, for it is the truth... I couldn't put this book down."
BookReporter
"Fascinating and frightening... A scary page turner about one man's quiet reign of terror, those dedicated and brave enough to end it, and the dangers that can lurk in the places we may feel safest. "
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"A very scary book. It will reach out and grab you and not let you go. You will forgo food, talking, work, anything just to get to the climactic moment of this true crime story."
The New Jersey Star-Ledger
"Engrossing...hard-to-put-down.. On one level, The Good Nurse is an absorbing story of a serial killer operating within the walls of what most view as a trusted institution. On another, it's an intriguing detective story. And on another it's an indictment of the hospital industry."
The Brooklyn Rail
"A literary thriller with legs... Meticulously crafted... a book that demonstrates the transportive power of literary journalism while simultaneously helping to restore its credibility."
Healthcare Risk Management Review
"A remarkable new book...gripping and brilliantly written."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"A gripping look into a killer's mind...THE GOOD NURSE is as suspenseful as any crime novel."
Kirkus Reviews
The terrifying, true tale of nurse Charles Cullen, a man who worked with the most vulnerable of patients for 16 years, delivering life or death on a whim. A whodunit where the culprit is identified on page one is as strange as a thriller with no surprise ending, but journalist Graeber presents these facts right from the beginning, never doubting the strength of the story. It works. Even without an uncertain finale, this true-crime tale delivers mystery and intrigue. The author begins with the satisfaction Cullen felt in his work, the good money he made and the doors open to him despite the litany of problems littering his professional and personal record. The author describes how Cullen came to nursing, how he felt a sense of belonging and distinction in his role, and the dysfunction of his personal life. Soon, Cullen was exerting control over his world by taking the lives of patients. Graeber does a particularly good job of showing the mounting evidence against Cullen as his misdeeds were originally discovered, following the nurse from accusation to accusation. The author imbues the story with an intense level of anticipation, with one question constantly in the background: Who will stop this man and when? Graeber describes the administrators who refused to report Cullen in the same way as the whistle-blowers who insisted on involving the police. The author's cut-and-dried delivery serves to make the many paradoxes more poignant and lend some humor to a dark subject. A thrilling and suspenseful page-turner that is sure to be loved by the majority of readers, who will be both horrified and fascinated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410460356
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 9/11/2013
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 601
  • Sales rank: 938,238
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Graeber is an award winning journalist and contributor to numerous publications including Wired, GQ, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Vogue, Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Travel + Leisure, and The New York Times, and an occasional guest on CNN, NPR, and other radio programs. As a former medical student and researcher, his co-authored papers appeared in scientific journals including Kidney International. His work has been honored with prizes including the Overseas Press Club award for outstanding international journalism, the New York Press Club prize for the year's best magazine spot news reportage, several National Magazine Award-nominations, and inclusion in numerous anthologies including The Best American Crime Writing, The Best American Science Writing, The Best American Business Writing and The Best of National Geographic Adventure. Born in Iowa, he now lives in Nantucket, MA and Brooklyn, NY. For more information, you can visit www.CharlesGraeber.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The Good Nurse

A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder


By Charles Graeber

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Charles Graeber
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-446-50529-1


CHAPTER 1

October 3, 2003


Charlie considered himself lucky. The career had found him, by accident or fate he couldn't say. After sixteen years on the job, Charles Cullen was an accomplished veteran, a registered nurse with a GED and bachelor of science in nursing. His Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump, and Critical Care Unit certifications earned him a healthy $27.50 an hour in hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There was always work. Even within the rotted cores of Allentown or Newark, medical centers were still expanding profit centers, each proliferating with new specialties and services, and each locked in desperate competition to attract experienced RNs.

By 4:40 p.m., Charles Cullen was in his car, shaved, gelled, and dressed in his whites—white top and bottom with a soft yellow cardigan and a stethoscope draped across his neck, such that anybody might guess the handsome young man was a hospital professional, possibly even a doctor, despite his baby-blue Ford Escort station wagon, ten years old and freckled with rust. After a decade living in a basement apartment in New Jersey, Charlie's commute now started from across the border, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His new girlfriend, Catherine, had a cozy little cape there, which she'd dress up with little card-shop knickknacks—red paper hearts or singing jack-o'-lanterns or accordion turkeys, depending on the season—and though Charlie was growing bored with Catherine and her two teenage sons, he still liked being at her place okay, especially the little plot out back where he could putter on warm days, pinching deadheads or staking tomato plants. He also appreciated the five easy minutes it took to cross the Lehigh River to the familiar slipstream of I-78 East, the aortal artery pumping thousands of workers to shifts at labor-starved hospitals across the Garden State, only five or six of which were, unofficially, closed off to hiring him.

Over the course of his sixteen years, Charles Cullen had been the subject of dozens of complaints and disciplinary citations, and had endured four police investigations, two lie detector tests, perhaps twenty suicide attempts, and a lock-up, but none had blemished his professional record. He'd jumped from job to job at nine different hospitals and a nursing home, and been "let go," "terminated," or "asked to resign" at many of them. But both his Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing licenses remained intact, and each time he filled out a new application, Nurse Cullen appeared to be an ideal hire. His attendance was perfect, his uniform pristine. He had experience in intensive care, critical care, cardiac care, ventilation, and burns. He medicated the living, was the first code responder when machines screamed over the dying, and exhibited origamilike artistry when plastic-wrapping the dead. He had no scheduling conflicts, didn't seem to attend movies or watch sports, and was willing, even eager, to work nights, weekends, and holidays. He no longer had the responsibilities of a wife nor custody of his two children, and his downtime was spent primarily on Cathy's couch flicking through channels; a last-second sick call or an unexpected patient transfer could have him dressed and on the highway before the commercial break. His fellow nurses considered him a gift from the scheduling gods, a hire almost too good to be true.

His new job at Somerset Medical Center took forty-five minutes each way, but Charlie didn't mind the drive. In fact, he required it. Charlie considered himself a talker, and he was quick to share cringingly intimate details of his showdowns with Cathy or his comically crumbling home life, but there were some privacies he could never talk about—secret scenes that looped through his head, replayed for him alone. Between shifts, only the commute allowed Charlie to ruminate.

His little Ford hiccupped as it crossed from the cheap Pennsylvania asphalt to the smooth New Jersey tar. Charlie stayed in the left lane until the signs for exit 18, a fierce little one-way toward US 22 Somerville and Rehill Avenue. This was the nice New Jersey, wealthiest state of the union, the Jersey nobody ever joked about—suburban streets, lined with grand trees, well-tended yards uncramped by abandoned bass boats or broken trampolines, pristine driveways featuring leased Saturns rather than old Escorts. He killed the engine in the parking garage, early as usual, and hurried toward the hospital's back entrance.

Beyond the double doors lay a thrumming twenty-four-hour city lit by humming overhead fluorescents, the only place Charlie ever truly knew he belonged. He felt a thrill of excitement as he stepped onto the shining linoleum, a wave of familiarity as he breathed in the scents of home: sweat and gauze and Betadine, the zing of astringent and antibacterial detergent and, behind it all, the florid note of human decay. He took the back stairs two at a time. There was work to do.

The nursing profession had welcomed Charlie as few other aspects of life ever had, starting with childhood. Charlie described it as "miserable." He'd been a late-life mistake that his working-class Irish-Catholic parents could hardly afford, arriving soon before his father died and long after most of his eight siblings had grown up and moved out. Their wooden row house in West Orange was a dark, unhappy, place haunted by drug-addicted brothers, adult sisters who drifted in and out on tides of pregnancy or need, and strange, rough men who came at all hours to visit them both. Only Charlie's mother shielded him from the chaos of those upstairs rooms. He fed desperately on her affections, but there were never enough to go around. When she was killed in a car crash during his senior year in high school, Charlie was truly alone. He was furious with the hospital that had taken her body, and beyond consolation. He tried suicide, then the Navy, failing at both. Finally, he returned to the very same hospital at which his mother had died, and discovered his life's true calling.

In March 1984, Charles Cullen was the only male student at the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing in Montclair, New Jersey. He was bright and did well. The coursework suited him, as did the uniform, and the sisterly dynamic was familiar and comfortable. When the honorary class president dropped out two weeks into the first semester, one of Charlie's classmates insisted he run in her place. He was a natural choice for leadership, she told him: Charlie was bright, handsome, and, most important, male. Charlie was flattered, but running for president didn't sound much like him. The more he demurred, the more adamant she became. He wouldn't have to risk anything, she told him—she'd do it all. Charlie found himself surprisingly happy in the passive role of grudging candidate, and even happier when he won. It was only a symbolic position, but it seemed to signal the arrival of a new Charlie. Six years after losing his mother to the Mountainside hospital morgue, Charlie was Mountainside's chosen son, crowned and confirmed by a white-uniformed navy of professional nurturers. For the first time in his life, he was special. It was as close to love as Charlie could imagine.

Charlie paid for his schooling with anonymous franchise shift work, racking up hours pushing powdered donuts or shoveling piles of shaved meat. He restocked boxes or filled condiment bars and mopped floors in between—there was always mopping to be done. He found it ironic that, just as the recruiter had promised, his military experience so neatly translated into civilian skills. And just like the Navy, each of his civilian jobs required a uniform. For Dunkin' Donuts, it was the orange-and-brown shirt and a visor. For Caldor, the uniform was also orange and brown but the stripes were different. Charlie had to be careful to grab the right one from the pile from the floor. Roy Rogers required a rust-colored shirt seemingly designed to hide barbeque sauce the way casino carpets hide gum. It was a hideous garment, except when Charlie's manager, Adrianne, wore it. He especially liked the way her name tag hung.

Adrianne Baum was a different class of girl from the ones Charlie had known in West Orange, an ambitious, newly minted college grad with a business degree and student loans to pay. Charlie watched her, mooning over his mop handle as he worked cleanup in her West Orange Roy's location. But Adrianne had a boyfriend and was scheduled to be transferred. Charlie quit, and doubled his hours at the Caldor next door, but he still took his lunch breaks at Roy's, just in case. When Adrianne was transferred back a month later without the boyfriend, Charlie was there, waiting.

The relationship moved as quickly as Charlie could accelerate it. He needed her attentions and pushed for it every way he could, showering her with gifts and playing the model boyfriend for her family. Adrianne was surprised to discover that hidden inside the shy, wide-eyed boy she'd watched wiping the sauce station was a surprisingly confident man. Charlie obsessed on gaining her affection, and he kindled its flame with constant gifts, flowers, or candy, little things from the mall. Any little thing Adrianne mentioned liking, Charlie needed to get her, until Adrianne finally had to tell him to stop. She pretended to be annoyed—but really, how could she be? She was aware how many girls would have killed to take her place. The boy was a catch. That Charlie seemed to be constantly quitting or getting fired could be chalked up to his high standards and busy schedule. Adrianne told her girlfriends, wow, here was a guy working three jobs, president of his nursing school class, as serious about his career as she was about hers. Yes, so, he was a goy—he wasn't perfect. But he was close enough.

Soon, whatever spare time the young couple could winnow between their respective shifts and Charlie's schooling was spent together. They were a unit, complete but closed. They called it love, and six months after their first date they were engaged. They married the week after Charlie graduated nursing school. The rented hall in Livingston, the tuxedos, the honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls—it was like a fairy tale to Adrianne. They returned a day early so her prince could start on his new job in the Burn Unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. The hospital was willing to allow him extra time, but Charlie was adamant. It had to be that day; he didn't want to be late. Adrianne waved good-bye, and she felt the future rolling out before her like a strange red carpet.

CHAPTER 2

June 1987


Saint Barnabas Medical Center had the only certified burn unit in the State of New Jersey, so it took everyone—the horrible husks of humans, people burned in car accidents, house fires, industrial spills; men and women and most often children, burned to stubs, without hair or eyelids, their body surfaces cooked beyond repair. Charlie's job was to clean these burn victims on a metal gurney—to scrape and wash away the charred, necrotic skin with antibacterial soap. Even within the field of critical care medicine, this is an almost unimaginably gruesome procedure; as a first job straight out of nursing school, it's something close to hell.

All burns start with a story. A mother in a nightgown reaching for the teakettle, a paraplegic with a dropped cigarette, a drunk feeding a flagging campfire, the punctured gas tank of the crumpled car. Fire is the punch line. The body reacts predictably to the trauma. Third-degree burns are more deadly—complex layers of the skin, nerves, veins, arteries, and muscle cooked and dead—but second-degree burns are more painful because the nerves are still alive. Even in the 1980s, burn wards were scream wards. The drug of consolation was morphine.

Some patients will recover; others are kept on the ward only to suffer and die. The nurses know which is which. Fate in the burn unit is a statistic written on skin. Sooner or later, all nurses can read it. It's always the same drawing on the burn sheet: a human figure, bald and naked, ageless, sexless, hairless. Its toes point toward an unseen ground. Its arms stretch palms up in the universal expression of supplication and surrender. The figure's eyes are open and lidless, its lips full but without expression. You can tally the figure precisely, marking the drawing for pieces of thigh, a half a leg, a piece of the head. One point for the genitals, 1.25 for each palm. But there is an easier way.

It's called the rule of 9s. Each big piece—a leg, the back, the head—counts as 9. Add up the total, then add that to the patient's age; the sum is the mortality rate. By this rule, a fifty-year-old patient burned over half his body is 100 percent dead. If not now, soon. The rule helps soften the blow of the inevitable, indicate where on the burn ward the meager rations of hope are best invested. Every burn nurse knows there's no point talking about it; you use the formula, then try to forget it. The impending death is like a black car you see in the rearview mirror, always there if you look. So why look?

Meanwhile the pain on the burn ward is unbearable, and the nurses have no options for treatment except to hit their patients with more and more morphine. When these patients die, it isn't always clear whether they've overdosed or simply died of unsustainable wounds. All anyone knows is they aren't in pain anymore.

They may arrive in surprising ways, on stretchers or walking, alone or in packs. Sometimes they are lucid, talking, worried about their watch or a missed hair appointment. That's shock. Reality follows soon enough.

Burn victims are connected to machines, lines snaked into wrists and femoral arteries, plastic tubes shoehorned into holes top and bottom. Saline, electrolytes, pain meds, anxiety meds, liquefied food; the body swells with the fluids, sometimes doubling in size. The scrotum inflates like a beach ball, the eyes puff to slits, lips balloon and break like overcooked sausages. The body swells against the skin until the patient is as hard as carved marble. The blood vessels are squeezed shut. The core begins to die. And so they cut. It is simple surgeon's work. A blade runs the length of the arms and legs, front and back. Even the hands, puffed fat as udders, get cut. The knife runs tendon deep, five whisker-flicks beneath the knuckles like vents on a leather glove. The cuts allow space for the insides to expand, like pleats on pants, sighing open along a sudden fault line, canyon walls of yellow fat, a valley welling blood. The smell can be terrible, but the bleeding is a good thing. If it bleeds it is alive. But bleeding makes more work.

The pleated skin is loose, a greased shirtsleeve of leather. It takes time for nurses to acclimate to the point where they can effortlessly handle this tactile detail of damage. When these details become too much, they leave. Some nurses leave the burn Intensive Care Unit right away, switch to something—anything—less brutal.

Nearly a third of the patients on the unit are children. Sometimes their burns were delivered as punishments, for peeing on a mattress or forgetting a chore. Nurses recognize the signs of abuse. There are burns from radiators and cigarettes, lighters and stove tops, red-hot water scalds and blackened electrical scorches. Each has its unique signature of pain. Charlie saw them all.

Some pain blossomed across skin in crenulated carnations of tissue, some blistered or knifed in thin white stalks. The nurses did their best to hide the pain beneath gauze and tape, behind the mask of drugs. But Charlie knew that pain could be held in secret, a banked ember, burning from the inside, endured without expression. Especially by children. Unlike adults, children didn't scream when he cleaned them, they didn't whimper in their beds. Children tolerated the pain and held their secrets to avoid being punished again. Charlie's mother had never used a stove top or a hot pan to punish him, but he'd been punished, pushed around, hit by his sister's boyfriends, big guys with rings and Camaros and bulging jeans. He'd felt their adult power, and he had never forgotten what it was to be a child abnegated in its shadow. One of his sisters had a live-in boyfriend, who had beaten her ruthlessly through her pregnancy. She had run away, but the boyfriend would not leave, and Charlie had known that man's relentless attentions, too.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber. Copyright © 2014 Charles Graeber. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 99 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    I've never read any serial killer novels until now; however, I a

    I've never read any serial killer novels until now; however, I always was curious what their mindset was like such as how they got this way, do they have plans, do they pick their victims at random or not.  I decided to pick up the book because I'm in the medical field and was so surprised that there are evil people out there especially who take the oathe to care for the sick and harm innocent people.  Patients expect the medical team to do their work by making sure they are well taken care of and there will be no harm to them.  It is an unfortunate that a man like Charlie Cullen, a Navy Vet, a nurses aid, then returned to school to receive his Bachelors degree in Registered Nursing.  A reputable career choice in Registered Nursing when women were predominantly in the work field during the last 80's.  Back in the midcentury of medieval times, men were considered nurses during war time.
    I think it's a norm where there are lots of Nurses that have so many employers.  Nurses have so much better opportunities for them other than working in acute hospital, hospice, and now they can work at corporate companies as on-site nurses, or pharmaceutical companies now.
    Charlie was very intelligent, but lacked social skills.  He appeared to be a very good worker like being employee of the month and was the face of  the hospital's advertisement recruitment pamphlet for nurses.  Charles Cullen had issues and acted out his rage on his patients out while caring for his patients even for the ones that were not assigned to him.  

    What a shame!!  The health care system that hired Charlie Cullen suspected there was something going on with him in particular; however, they rather terminated him or let him quietly leave so the hospital's reputation would not be tarnished with the publicity  The health care system should be a shame that they would save their reputation than try to save their patients all because of numbers.  

    I think this book is worth reading, you always wandered what type of drug he would use next to harm his patients.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2013

    Equal parts medical primer and murder mystery, "The Good Nu

    Equal parts medical primer and murder mystery, "The Good Nurse" by Charles Graeber is a romp of a read. Chronicling the 16-year killing spree of male nurse Charlie Cullen, the level of research, detail, and recollection required to write this book is astounding. Part two of the saga could have been written by David Simon for an episode of The Wire. With its code-speak, cop talk dialog, the homicide police are finally called in to solve this stone cold whodunnit. I read until my eyes hurt.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Really worth the read. A perfect story of good triumphing over e

    Really worth the read. A perfect story of good triumphing over evil. The 'evil' being the hospitals who tried to cover it up. The dynamic between the investigators and the CI was interesting. Brave girl.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Finished this book wondering, how corrupt is todays hospital sys

    Finished this book wondering, how corrupt is todays hospital system? Scary thought if you or your loved ones are ever in the hospital.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Apparently seven years of reporting and writing went into this

    Apparently seven years of reporting and writing went into this book and if so, it was worth it.

    A stunning and important true story which reads like a thriller. wow. I liked Devil in the White City. But I liked The Good Nurse much more.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Loved!

    Fascinating true story about a serial killer nurse and how he was caught. The writing and story were both great!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Being a nurse myself, I found the book a compelling read; howeve

    Being a nurse myself, I found the book a compelling read; however I found the length to be a little too long. It also makes me wonder how corrupt our health systems are that this carried on. It makes me think twice now before having co-workers help with meds . I don't understand how Charles was allowed to practice across multiple states with so many allegations and charges against him. I would have condensed some of the book because I did feel lost or strung on for a few chapters. The ending kind of left you wondering why and I had a few questions. 

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow. What a story! Very well written. Really gets you to underst

    Wow. What a story! Very well written. Really gets you to understand not why he killed, but how hard people worked to cover it up. Great book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    Good, easy read

    This book was suspensful and a quick read! Sad story but very detailed and interesting.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Will keep you reading and give you chills!

    I couldn't put it down! Well written, easy to follow medical info. Very scary that this goes on for so long. What else are the hospitals hiding?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Wonderfully written and hard to put down! I think Mr. Graeber d

    Wonderfully written and hard to put down! I think Mr. Graeber did an outstanding job on his research and interviews. He really was able to delve into the mind of a killer. Such a scary thought that this was able to continue for so long until a very brave woman helped put a stop to it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Budweiser Reviewer

    You are wrong. Don't spout off about things you know nothing about. Go to nursing school, pass your boards,and then go to your interview- if you ever manage to get one- in a budweiser shirt. Belch a few times, then let me know how it goes. Your thoughtless comments are insulting to the ranks of qualified nurses that are jobless today.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Excellent read and as a long-time hospital employee, was disturb

    Excellent read and as a long-time hospital employee, was disturbed, as many of you were, about the quiet dismissal of this man. Also, it appeared to seem that some of his former bosses gave positive comments about him. I thought in today's world, all that any facility could do was confirm dates of employment. Hard to imagine that some of these clinicians would serve as personal references for someone they had asked to leave. As someone who is presently out of work (and not a clinician), it just adds to my frustration that it is so easy for nurses to get jobs. I often joked to friends that a nurse could show up to an interview in a Budweiser t-shirt and belch and still be hired. This research bears that out. I can imagine, however, the challenges that organizations had proving that he had done any of this. They are not really set up to be detectives and depend almost exclusively on charting for clues. When it is not charted, it didn't happen. Although, it gives me pause that he would have free access to every medical record. That is common for clinicians, but it makes me wonder what the value is in that. This guy could review records of all kinds of current patients; there is no need for that. With his crazy mind, I am sure he would have found another way to harm. The systems are not really set up to only allow today's nurse to see today's patients. Also, it seems strange that he would meet the pharmacy runner every time, insisting on doing the re-stocking himself. I would think that would have been a red flag, especially once the investigation was underway. (I would think the pharm tech would remember these regular interactions and share it with someone.) Again, great read and interesting case. Tragic all around. With all of my years of hospital administration work, it doesn't surprise me that many of his fellow nurses thought he was great. Very common attitude among teams.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    Highly Recommended for lovers of true crime books!

    This was a very intense story of a trusted nurse, killing patients for no reason, it was almost impossible to believe it was true until they interviewed him o 60 minutes during the time I was reading the book!
    He killed to kill. He wasn't even acting as an angel of mercy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Really a great book.   The author did a great job detailing the

    Really a great book.   The author did a great job detailing the acts of Charles Cullen and the hospitals who turned their heads.   Hard to put down once you start reading.  

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    The truth is stranger than fiction!

    Excellent fast paced read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Awesome

    Couldn't put it down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Couldn't stop reading

    Interesting and creepy. As nurse it makes me look at my practice differently

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Scary in many aspecta

    Not sure what is more concerning....what the nurse did or how the hospitals handled it. Lengthy to get to point but decent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Very interesting read

    This book is so fascinating and held my interest the entire time! Graeber does a great job of telling Cullen's story. I can not believe he remained a nurse for so long and that people could not use the evidence to convict him much earlier in his career.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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