The Good Nurse

The Good Nurse

A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York : Twelve, c2013.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780446505291
0446505293
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 GRAEBER
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 24 cm.

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From Library Staff

"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... Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial ki... Read More »

"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 t... Read More »


From the critics


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r
Russ_A
May 18, 2019

Charlie Cullen is a serial killer, responsible for perhaps as many as 400 deaths. He became known in the press as The Angel of Death when his crimes were finally revealed. He worked as a nurse in several different hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania where he would poison patients by injecting drugs into their IV lines. This fascinating story begins slow. It spends a lot of time detailing how Charlie killed again and again without consequences besides being fired and shuffled off to another hospital to start killing again. The book becomes very frustrating and disappointing until Part II, when the police become involved. The book makes clear how difficult such cases are to investigate and prove, and it clearly identifies some good guys and bad guys. It will make you never want to set foot in a hospital again.

w
WoodneathTaylor
Nov 19, 2018

Horrifying, and utterly devastating at the lack of action from the hospitals in this case. This book reads a lot like fiction and would be great for a novice to the True Crime genre.

k
katieas21
Nov 04, 2018

So so good! It's a great true crime read about a serial killer without the gore if that isn't your thing.

j
Jenkskitten
Apr 30, 2018

If you have ever worked at a hospital, you can visualize this story. I worked on the cardiac care unit and sometimes in ICU and CCU so I was familiar with the drugs in the story. They may bog down those who are not familiar with the medical terms. I could see how also this man got away with it for so many years with the shortage of nursing staff in the medical field and hospitals not wanting a bad reputation. Interesting read that is not gory; but very factual. Great heads up for family members to not be afraid to ask questions and keep your own records of meds being given.

g
Greyelda
Apr 17, 2018

Shocking story of how the health system failed to protect patients. MUST read for medical professionals.

s
slarsen
Feb 07, 2015

I really like the way Graeber uses words to paint a very clear picture in my mind. Story was captivating. Where are his other books? I predict that he is going to be in demand!

JCLBethanyT May 22, 2014

Like any good true crime, The Good Nurse combines suspense with grisly detail, coupled with the catharsis of arrest at the end, but Graeber goes above and beyond, with prose that veers into the haunting and by layering in the sinister overtones of the for-profit hospitals desperate to avoid liability--so desperate that they ended up enabling the Angel of Death's sixteen year career. Nominated for an Edgar and featured on many "Best of 2013" lists, this is a great read for newbies to the genre as well as the seasoned readers.

niftygal Feb 02, 2014

EW top 10 Nonfiction of 2013

athompson10 Aug 25, 2013

Interesting story but sometimes told in a choppy manner. Very erratic footnotes/notes, most of which would better serve the narration if they were part of the main text.

d2013 May 06, 2013

I can't believe this is a true story. Kind of scary I must say.

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