Title: The Good Nurse
Author: Charles Graeber
Published: Published July 29th 2014 by Twelve (first published April 15th 2013)
Genre: Crime, Non-Fiction, Serial Killers
Notes: Charlie Cullen's kills are thought to be in the multiple hundreds--he may be the most prolific serial killer in American history.
This novel has been on my radar for quite some time but I held out for the paperback release. If I have a choice, I will always wait for the paperback. Paperbacks are just easier to hold while reading and you don't have to deal with the nasty dust jacket that hardcovers come with.
Stephen King's hilarious review of this novel (found on goodreads) :
"You think Annie Wilkes was bad? Check out this chilling nonfiction account of Charlie Cullen, a friendly nurse who may have killed several -hundred patients before he was caught. Now, there’s a real cockadoodie brat."
This book kept my attention until the very last page. Charlie is such a damaged person--extremely depressed with multiple suicide attempts and institution stays, failed relationships and an overall loner. He was a good nurse that did bad things. He truly loved his occupation. His drug of choice for a while was digoxin and insulin but he used a multitude of others to hide his tracks, or at least confuse those who were to ever read his Pyxis print-outs.
What blew my mind was how many hospitals he worked at and was "let go" but authorities were never really called. It seemed as if the hospitals would do anything to prevent a scandal--including looking the other way. Once detectives were on the case, they hospital still lied! They said that you can only recover 30 days worth of Pyxis medication print-outs but in reality, you can go back in time as far as you need. This lie alone kept Charlie on the streets for a long time.
Detectives received help from Amy Laughlin (real name, Amy Ridgway), a nurse friend of Cullen's, and she acted as a CI by recording phone calls and wearing a wire. Here's a video of her on Katie Couric's show. She was incredibly brave and was what the detectives needed to charge Cullen.
No one really knows how many murders Cullen committed. Charlie himself doesn't know. He admitted to about 50 but those invested in the case think it's upwards to 400. This makes him the most prolific American serial killer of all time.