An intimate — and also frightening — glimpse inside the mind of America"s most prolific serial killer, Charles Cullen, whose 16-year lengthy "nursing" career left as many as 400 dead. After his December 2003 arremainder, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly called "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a basic monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, ideal friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many kind of as 300 patients, he was additionally probably the the majority of prolific serial killer in American background. Cullen"s murderous career in the world"s the majority of trusted profession spanned sixteen years and also nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When, in March of 2006, Charles Cullen was marched from his last sentencing in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, courthouse right into a waiting police van, it seemed certain that the chilling secrets of his life, career, and also capture would disshow up with him. Now, in a riveting piece of investigative journalism almost ten years in the making, journalist Charles Graeber presents the whole story for the initially time. Based on hundreds of pages of previously unwatched police documents, interviews, wire-tap recordings and videotapes, and also exclusive jailhome 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 also betrayal. Graeber"s portrait of Cullen depicts a surprisingly intelligent and also complicated young man whose promising career was overwhelmed by his compulsion to kill, and also whose shy demeanor masked a twisted interior life hidden even to his family and also friends. Were it not for the hardboiled, unrelenting work-related of 2 former Newark homicide detectives racing to put together the pieces of Cullen"s experienced previous, and also a fellow nurse willing to put everything at threat, including her project and also the safety of her kids, there"s no informing exactly how many even more resides could have actually been shed. In the legacy of In Cold Blood,The Good Nurse does even more than chronicle Cullen"s deadly career and the breathless initiatives to speak him; it paints an extremely vivid portrait of madness and also provides a penetrating look inside America"s clinical device. Harrowing and irresistibly paced, this book will make you look at medication, hospitals, and also the people that work-related in them, in an totally various means.

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Product Details

Charles Graeber is the Edgar Award-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Nurse. Winner of the Overseas Press Club award for exceptional worldwide journalism, he has actually added to plenty of publications, including Wired, GQ, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times. His work-related has been contained in The Best Amerihave the right to Science Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and various other anthologies. Born in Iowa, he"s currently based out of Brooklyn, NY.

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Charlie taken into consideration himself lucky. The career had discovered him, by accident or fate he couldn"t say. After sixteenager years on the task, Charles Cullen was an completed veteran, a registered nurse through a GED and bachelor of science in nursing. His Modern Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump, and Critical Care Unit certifications earned him a healthy $27.50 an hour in hospitals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Tright here was constantly work-related. Even within the rotted cores of Allentvery own or Newark, clinical centers were still broadening profit centers, each proliferating via new specialties and also services, and each locked in despeprice competition to tempt competent RNs.

By 4:40 p.m., Charles Cullen remained in his vehicle, shaved, gelled, and also dressed in his whites—white top and bottom with a soft yellow cardigan and also a stethoscope draped throughout his neck, such that anybody might guess the handsome young guy was a hospital expert, perhaps even a doctor, despite his baby-blue Ford Escort terminal wagon, ten years old and freckled through rust. After a decade living in a basement apartment in New Jersey, Charlie"s commute now began from across the border, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His new girlfrifinish, Catherine, had a cozy bit cape there, which she"d dress up with little bit card-shop knickknacks—red paper hearts or singing jack-o"-lanterns or accordion turkeys, depending upon the season—and also though Charlie was growing bored with Catherine and also her 2 teenage sons, he still favored being at her area okay, specifically the little bit plot out back where he can putter on heat days, pinching deadheads or staking tomato plants. He also appreciated the five basic minutes it took to cross the Lehigh River to the acquainted slipstream of I-78 East, the aortal artery pumping thousands of employees to shifts at labor-starved hospitals across the Garden State, just 5 or 6 of which were, unofficially, closed off to hiring him.

Over the course of his sixteenager years, Charles Cullen had actually been the topic of dozens of complaints and also disciplinary citations, and had endured 4 police investigations, two lie detector tests, maybe twenty self-destruction attempts, and a lock-up, but none had blemimelted his expert document. He"d jumped from task to task at nine different hospitals and a nursing home, and been "let go," "terminated," or "asked to resign" at many type of of them. But both his Pennsylvania and also New Jersey nursing licenses continued to be intact, and also each time he filled out a brand-new application, Nurse Cullen appeared to be a perfect hire. His attendance was perfect, his uniform pristine. He had experience in intensive treatment, important care, cardiac treatment, ventilation, and burns. He medicated the living, was the initially code responder as soon as devices screamed over the dying, and also displayed origamiprefer artistry as soon as plastic-wrapping the dead. He had no scheduling disputes, didn"t seem to attend movies or watch sports, and also was willing, also eager, to job-related nights, weekends, and also holidays. He no longer had actually the obligations of a wife nor custody of his 2 kids, and his downtime was spent mostly on Cathy"s couch flicking via channels; a last-second sick contact or an unmeant patient transport could have actually him dressed and also on the highmeans prior to the commercial break. His fellow registered nurses thought about him a gift from the scheduling gods, a hire almost also excellent to be true.

His new project at Somerset Medical Center took forty-five minutes each means, however Charlie didn"t mind the drive. In truth, he forced it. Charlie taken into consideration himself a talker, and he was quick to share cringingly intimate details of his showdowns with Cathy or his comically crumbling residence life, however there were some privacies he might never before talk about—trick scenes that looped through his head, replayed for him alone. Between shifts, only the commute allowed Charlie to ruminate.

His bit Ford hiccupped as it crossed from the cheap Pennsylvania asphalt to the smooth New Jersey tar. Charlie remained in the left lane till the indications for leave 18, a fierce bit one-way toward US 22 Somerville and also Rehill Avenue. This was the nice New Jersey, wealthiest state of the union, the Jersey nobody ever before joked about—suburban highways, lined with grand also trees, well-tended yards uncramped by abandoned bass watercrafts or broken trampolines, pristine driveways featuring leased Saturns quite than old Escorts. He eliminated the engine in the parking garage, at an early stage as usual, and hurried toward the hospital"s ago entrance.

Beyond the double doors lay a thrumming twenty-four-hour city lit by humming overhead fluorescents, the just place Charlie ever before truly knew he belonged. He felt a thrill of excitement as he stepped onto the shining linoleum, a wave of familiarity as he breathed in the scents of home: sweat and also gauze and Betadine, the zing of astringent and antibacterial detergent and also, behind it all, the florid note of humale degeneration. He took the ago stairs two at a time. Tbelow was work-related to execute.

The nursing profession had actually invited Charlie as few other aspects of life ever before had actually, starting through childhood. Charlie described it as "miserable." He"d been a late-life mistake that his working-course Irish-Catholic parents could hardly afford, getting here quickly prior to his father passed away and lengthy after the majority of of his eight siblings had actually grvery own up and also moved out. Their wood row house in West Orange was a dark, unhappy, place haunted by drug-addicted brothers, adult sisters who drifted in and out on tides of pregnancy or need, and strange, unstable guys that came at all hrs to visit them both. Only Charlie"s mommy shielded him from the chaos of those upstairs rooms. He fed desperately on her affections, yet there were never enough to go about. When she was eliminated in a car crash in the time of his senior year in high institution, Charlie was truly alone. He was furious with the hospital that had taken her body, and also beyond consolation. He tried self-destruction, then the Navy, failing at both. Finally, he returned to the very exact same hospital at which his mom had actually passed away, and also discovered his life"s true calling.

In March 1984, Charles Cullen was the only male student at the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing in Montclair, New Jersey. He was bbest and did well. The coursejob-related suited him, as did the unicreate, and also the sisterly dynamic was familiar and comfortable. When the honorary class president dropped out 2 weeks right into the initially semester, among Charlie"s classmates insisted he run in her location. He was a herbal choice for leadership, she told him: Charlie was bright, handsome, and also, the majority of vital, male. Charlie was flattered, yet running for president didn"t sound a lot like him. The more he demurred, the more adamant she became. He wouldn"t have to risk anything, she told him—she"d carry out it all. Charlie found himself surprisingly happy in the passive role of grudging candiday, and also even happier when he won. It was just a symbolic place, yet it seemed to signal the arrival of a brand-new Charlie. Six years after shedding his mother to the Mountainside hospital morgue, Charlie was Mountainside"s liked boy, crowned and also confirmed by a white-uniformed navy of expert nurturers. For the initially time in his life, he was special. It was as close to love as Charlie could imagine.

Charlie paid for his schooling via anonymous franchise shift work, racking up hours pushing powdered donuts or shoveling piles of shaved meat. He restocked boxes or filled condiment bars and also mopped floors in between—tright here was always mopping to be done. He discovered it ironic that, simply as the recruiter had actually promised, his army suffer so nicely interpreted right into civilian abilities. And simply favor the Navy, each of his civilian tasks compelled a unicreate. For Dunkin" Donuts, it was the orange-and-brvery own shirt and a visor. For Caldor, the unicreate was also orange and also brown but the stripes were various. Charlie had actually to be careful to grab the appropriate one from the pile from the floor. Roy Rogers required a rust-colored shirt seemingly designed to hide barbeque sauce the means casino carpets hide gum. It was a hideous garment, except as soon as Charlie"s manager, Adrianne, wore it. He particularly preferred the method her name tag hung.

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Adrianne Baum was a different course of girl from the ones Charlie had recognized in West Oarray, an ambitious, newly minted college grad via a organization level and also student loans to pay. Charlie watched her, mooning over his mop handle as he functioned cleanup in her West Oselection Roy"s place. But Adrianne had a boyfriend and was scheducaused be moved. Charlie quit, and doubled his hours at the Caldor next door, however he still took his lunch breaks at Roy"s, simply in instance. When Adrianne was moved earlier a month later on without the boyfriend, Charlie was there, waiting.

The connection relocated as conveniently as Charlie might acceleprice it. He required her attentions and puburned for it eexceptionally means he can, showering her via gifts and playing the model boyfriend for her family. Adrianne was surprised to uncover that covert inside the shy, wide-eyed boy she"d watched wiping the sauce station was a surprisingly confident male. Charlie obsessed on acquiring her affection, and he kindled its flame via constant gifts, flowers, or candy, little things from the mall. Any little bit thing Adrianne mentioned liking, Charlie essential to get her, till Adrianne lastly had actually to tell him to speak. She pretended to be annoyed—however really, just how could she be? She was mindful just how many type of girls would certainly have eliminated to take her area. The boy was a catch. That Charlie seemed to be constantly quitting or gaining fired can be chalked approximately his high criteria and also busy schedule. Adrianne told her girlfriends, wow, below was a male functioning 3 work, president of his nursing college course, as major around his career as she was around hers. Yes, so, he was a goy—he wasn"t perfect. But he was close sufficient.

Soon, whatever before spare time the young couple could winnow between their particular shifts and Charlie"s schooling was invested together. They were a unit, finish yet closed. They dubbed it love, and six months after their initially day they were engaged. They married the week after Charlie graduated nursing school. The rented hall in Livingston, the tuxedos, the honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls—it was favor a fairy tale to Adrianne. They returned a day beforehand so her prince could start on his new task in the Burn Unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. The hospital was willing to allow him added time, however Charlie was adamant. It had actually to be that day; he didn"t desire to be late. Adrianne waved good-bye, and also she felt the future rolling out prior to her like a strange red carpet.


June 1987

Saint Barnabas Medical Center had actually the only certified burn unit in the State of New Jersey, so it took everyone—the horrible husks of humans, human being burned in auto accidents, house fires, commercial spills; men and also woguys and most regularly youngsters, burned to stubs, without hair or eyelids, their body surfaces cooked past repair. Charlie"s task was to clean these burn victims on a steel gurney—to scrape and also wash away the burnt, necrotic skin via antibacterial soap. Even within the area of crucial care medicine, this is an nearly unimaginably gruesome procedure; as an initial task directly out of nursing school, it"s something close to hell.

All burns start with a story. A mother in a nightgown reaching for the teakettle, a paraplegic via a dropped cigarette, a drunk feeding a flagging campfire, the punctured gas tank of the crumpled vehicle. Fire is the punch line. The body reacts predictably to the trauma. Third-degree burns are more deadly—facility layers of the skin, nerves, veins, arteries, and also muscle cooked and also dead—yet second-level burns are more painful because the nerves are still alive. Even in the 1980s, burn wards were scream wards. The drug of consolation was morphine.

Some patients will recover; others are preserved on the ward just to experience and also die. The registered nurses recognize which is which. Fate in the burn unit is a statistic written on skin. Sooner or later on, all nurses can review it. It"s constantly the exact same drawing on the burn sheet: a human number, bald and also naked, agemuch less, sexmuch less, hairless. Its toes point toward an unseen ground. Its arms stretch palms up in the global expression of supplication and also surrender. The figure"s eyes are open and also lidmuch less, its lips complete but without expression. You have the right to tally the number specifically, noting the illustration for pieces of thigh, a half a leg, a piece of the head. One point for the genitals, 1.25 for each palm. But tright here is an less complicated way.

It"s referred to as the ascendancy of 9s. Each significant piece—a leg, the ago, the head—counts as 9. Add up the total, then include that to the patient"s age; the sum is the mortality rate. By this dominance, a fifty-year-old patient shed over half his body is 100 percent dead. If not now, quickly. The ascendancy helps soften the blow of the inevitable, show wright here on the burn ward the meager rations of hope are finest invested. Eexceptionally burn nurse knows there"s no allude talking around it; you usage the formula, then try to forobtain it. The impfinishing fatality is favor a babsence vehicle you view in the rearcheck out mirror, always there if you look. So why look?

Meanwhile the pain on the burn ward is unbearable, and the nurses have no choices for treatment except to hit their patients through more and more morphine. When these patients die, it isn"t constantly clear whether they"ve overdosed or ssuggest passed away of unsustainable wounds. All anyone knows is they aren"t in pain anyeven more.

They may arrive in surprising means, on stretchers or walking, alone or in packs. Sometimes they are lucid, talking, worried around their watch or a missed hair appointment. That"s shock. Reality complies with soon enough.

Burn victims are connected to equipments, lines snaked right into wrists and feethical arteries, plastic tubes shoehorned right into holes height and bottom. Saline, electrolytes, pain meds, anxiety meds, liquefied food; the body swells through the fluids, occasionally doubling in size. The scrotum inflates prefer a beach ball, the eyes puff to slits, lips balloon and also break like overcooked sausperiods. The body swells versus the skin until the patient is as hard as carved marble. The blood vessels are squeezed shut. The core begins to die. And so they reduced. It is simple surgeon"s occupational. A blade runs the length of the arms and legs, front and earlier. Even the hands, puffed fat as udders, gain cut. The knife runs tendon deep, 5 whisker-flicks beneath the knuckles prefer vents on a leather glove. The cuts permit area for the insides to expand also, like pleats on pants, sighing open up alengthy a sudden fault line, canyon walls of yellow fat, a valley welling blood. The smell have the right to be terrible, yet the bleeding is a great thing. If it bleeds it is alive. But bleeding provides even more work-related.

The pleated skin is loose, a greased shirtsleeve of leather. It takes time for nurses to acclimate to the allude wright here they can effortlessly handle this tactile information of damages. When these details end up being also a lot, they leave. Some registered nurses leave the burn Intensive Care Unit right amethod, switch to something—anything—less brutal.

Nat an early stage a 3rd of the patients on the unit are children. Sometimes their burns were yielded as punishments, for peeing on a mattress or forgaining a chore. Nurses acknowledge the indicators of abuse. There are burns from radiators and cigarettes, lighters and stove tops, red-hot water scalds and also blackened electric scorches. Each has its distinctive signature of pain. Charlie experienced them all.