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

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

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

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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3 Comments so far »

  1. ghodge said,

    Wrote on December 22, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Avoid this nurse–and these hospitals, April 24, 2013
    By 
    ghodge

    This review is from: The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (Hardcover)

    Charles Graeber is a truly remarkable reporter and a great writer: He has written more than a book about a crazy, serial-killing nurse; it is the contrasting of the nurse’s deeds with the attempts of the greedy, profit-minded hospitals to protect themselves by covering up his deeds and endangering more patients that makes the book a piece of brilliance and a portrait of America now, its corruption, morals, and values. Graeber’s nurse, motivated at least in his own crazy mind by the notion of protecting his patients from pain, seems an innocent compared to the terrible villany of the hospital administrators and p.r. people who lied to the police and the world in order to keep their reputations clean. Like all fine books, Graeber’s documents all the worlds and relationships his story passes through. Particularly fine is his thrilling depiction of the police investigation, his portrait of the disturbed nurse and the family who destroyed him, and the heroes of the story–the cops and those in the hospitals who risked their jobs and livlihoods to stop the killing in the face of the hospitals who held the power to literally destroy their lives and reputations. True, crime seems an incredibly limited way to describe this completely engrossing portrait of the realm of medicine, our society and its monsters and, finally, those with the decency to risk all to overcome them. Buy this book to understand our world. Charles Graeber does. I will read anything I see his name attached to from now on.

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  2. Country Girl said,

    Wrote on December 22, 2013 @ 11:16 am

    41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent true crime!, April 21, 2013
    By 
    Country Girl (Long Valley, NJ United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I bought this the day it came out. I was familiar with the story, of course, and my son actually knows people that he worked with in a couple of hospitals, but I wanted to know how they finally caught and convicted him. I had read a review in the NY Times a couple of days before its release and believed that it would be good, but I didn’t realize how good. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day.

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  3. Bon Vivant said,

    Wrote on December 22, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    115 of 138 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Don’t Buy This Book in Kindle Format, April 16, 2013
    By 
    Bon Vivant (Houston, TX United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (Hardcover)

    This is a great true-crime story, but prospective buyers need to know that the book is heavily footnoted. It’s not uncommon for there to be three footnotes within a page or two of text. Many of the meaty details are in the notes, which appear at the end of the book. When reading this book on a Kindle, it’s very cumbersome to switch back and forth between the text and the footnotes. Many times I could navigate to the footnotes easily but then could not return to the text I had been reading. Buy this book as a hardback and save yourself a lot of frustration!

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