True Story of a Serial Killer Nurse

The Good Nurse: book cover of The Good Nurse by Charles GraeberA True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

by Charles Graeber
Twelve, 2013
ISBN: 9780446505291
276 pages
Narrative Non-Fiction/True Crime

9 hospitals. 16 years. Dozens or possibly hundreds of deaths. Is Charlie Cullen the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history? In 2006, former nurse Charlie Cullen was convicted of murdering 22 patients at hospitals in New Jersey. He’s confessed to at least 40 murders. But, Charlie himself does not even remember how many patients he’s killed, although some experts estimate the number of victims could be up to 400.

The Good Nurse is a narrative non-fiction book about Charlie’s life that reads like a suspense book. As we read, we can see what Charlie is doing, but how will he finally be stopped?

Charles Graeber is the first person to be granted interviews with Charlie. He pieces together Charlie’s life: his multiple suicide attempts, his attention-seeking behaviors, his disturbing relationships with women, and his work as a nurse. The dispassionate, random way Charlie kills his victims is scary enough. We never quite fully understand why Charlie kills the patients he does. In fact, Charlie often doesn’t know which patient will end up with a poisoned IV bag. What is even more frightening is the way Charlie gets away with murdering patients, many of whom would likely have survived, for sixteen years. Many of the hospitals Charlie worked at suspected what he was doing, but simply asked him to leave to avoid controversy, allowing him to continue to take lives.

The Good Nurse is a fast-paced read and a fascinating look into the mind of serial killer  that reads like fiction. If you are the type of person who watches the news and wonders what drives people to commit crimes and other horrifying acts, you might like The Good Nurse, which is sure to catch the eye true crime fans and mystery/thriller fans alike.

Click here to find The Good Nurse at Saint Paul Public Library

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