Phil Carlo grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, amidst the world's highest concentration of Mafia members. His intimate knowledge of their walk and their talk helped him become a successful crime writer. Carlo lived in New York City.
This stomach-turning account of the multiple atrocities committed over 43 years by Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski-as sadistic a killer as most readers would ever want to encounter in print-seems like more of an as-told-to than an independent journalistic narrative, though Carlo says that he verified Kuklinski's accounts where possible. But rather than critically assess Kuklinski's largely self-serving tales of his roles in such major mob killings as those of Jimmy Hoffa and Gambino boss Paul Castellano, Carlo (The Night Stalker) seems to accept them. Instead of applying objective insight into how such a murderer-who researched methods that would prolong his victims' suffering-came to be, the author presents instead chapter after chapter of Kuklinski summarily killing criminals he was hired to eliminate or randomly gunning down someone on the street to test out a new weapon. By disregarding the questions raised by Mafia experts such as Jerry Capeci about Kuklinski's credibility, Carlo has fumbled an opportunity. Sloppy errors (e.g., Rudy Giuliani served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District) also detract from the book, which ends with a bizarre invitation to the reader to write to Kuklinski at the Trenton State Prison. (July 11) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Carlo (The Night Stalker) has written another captivating true-crime book. This one tells the spine-chilling story of Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. "the Ice Man" because he liked to freeze his victims to throw off forensic investigators. Born into an abusive family, Kuklinski claimed to have killed for the first time at age 14. After a run-in with the Gambino family, he became a hit man for the mob, managing to live the double life of a professional assassin and devoted family man. The author spent over 200 hours interviewing the incarcerated Kuklinski and his family. If one is to believe Kuklinski, he killed upward of 200 individuals, including Jimmy Hoffa, Carmine Galante, and Roy DeMeo. It was only through the diligent work of New Jersey police officer Pat Kane, who spent six years building a case against Kuklinski, that the killing spree ended. This work is written like a novel; readers will become so engrossed in the details that they'll forget that this is a true story. Highly recommended for readers of true crime; perhaps the finished version of this book will provide the update that Kuklinski died on March 5, 2006, at age 70 of natural causes. Michael Sawyer, Rangeview Lib. District, Thornton, CO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.