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

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  11,808 ratings  ·  1,431 reviews
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 A ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by Twelve
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,808 ratings  ·  1,431 reviews


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Stephen King
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.
Petra Eggs
It was money, greed, profits that allowed the nurse to get away with serial killing.

The American health care system is first and foremost a business like any other, it exists to make money. Its product is health care. Savings can be made by cutting costs. Less nurses, automated drug retrieval and disposal systems. Untruthful, but vague references to cut the odds of the hospital involving another high-profit business, litigation, when someone is 'let go'. Agencies hire and send out staff without
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Matthew
4 to 4.5 stars

A very interesting and shocking story. It is amazing to think that monsters like this could be amongst those who are supposed to take care of and heal us.

This book hit home with me a bit more than it might some as I work in health care and deal with the Pyxis system from time to time - which is referenced frequently throughout the book.

While it did get a little slow (just a teeny, tiny bit) toward the end, it was still an enthralling investigation into madness.

If you think you can
...more
Carol
An informative, but very disturbing look at the inadequacy of the healthcare industry of today. Pretty scary stuff knowing that we will probably all end up there for one reason or another (if we live long enough.) Having had someone close to me spend quite a bit of time there, I have seen the good and the bad in the nursing profession, but I think what upsets me most in this true-crime novel is the "transfer the problem" scenario that killed the 300+ innocent people. Shame on those corporations ...more
LeeAnne
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing

The Good Nurse

The Most Disturbing True Crime Book in Decades


Killer Nurse: Charles Cullin is sworn in during a court proceeding

This is not a script for a horror movie. This is a true story, and it could happen to you or someone you love.

Charlie Cullen was a serial-killer nurse who slowly murdered an estimated 400 patients in 9 hospitals over a span of 16 years, making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.

Cullen would spike hundreds of hospital i.v. bags with insulin or digoxin,
...more
Jaidee
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: two-stars-books
2 stars !

I have the deepest sadness for the 400 victims and their families that were killed by this most evil nurse who killed as easily as picking berries from a bush. I am extremely angry that hospital bureaucrats did nothing at several hospitals and in fact enabled this man to kill nonstop for many years.


The 2 stars is for the quality of the book that made a valiant attempt for a clear trajectory of this nightmare but it failed on many counts:

1. the narrative read more like a low budget crime
...more
Jenna
How could you resist wanting to read a book about a good nurse gone bad? Since I work in the OR myself, I just was so curious about this book because it just seems so unbelievable. I mean, how could someone who is trained to care for patients and be there for their every need want to kill them? I wanted to see what could possess someone to do such a thing.

The first quarter of the book was interesting. It gave some insight to the nurse's background and habits. I was mesmerized by the fact that he
...more
Carol
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
My sincere thanks to all the very dedicated Nurses and other medical staff that I know and love for their dedication to their careers and their patients. I have faith that there are few people like Charlie Cullen.

The Good Nurse depicts Charlie Cullen as an angel of death. In the truest sense this may be the term that is used to describe someone who murders his/her patients. Though angels are not always good, I've always seen them as such. My picture of An Angel of Death is a person, perhaps mis
...more
Kasia
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-not-to-die
Absolutely chilling account of a killing sprees performed by a registered nurse on her most venerable patients. It hits close to home, it really does. All the methods of manipulating medication dispensers on the units, injecting digoxin or insulin into IV bags, or pushing wrong medications directly into patients IVs are still commonly performed and widely accepted on many units, and no one thinks about it twice. Pharmacy sends and restocks medications constantly without second guessing orders. N ...more
Amanda
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of only two true crime books I read this year and it was a truly well-written, gripping, and shocking story. True crime stories can sometimes be boring reads, spending countless pages on dialogue that never really happened. I crossed my fingers as I opened the book, hoping that it would get off to an interesting start. I was more than impressed.

As much as this story was about Charlie Cullen, nurse cum serial killer, it was just as much an indictment about the failure of the Amer
...more
Carol
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it



I think the scariest part of the Exorcist was not the head spinning, stomach writing or projectile vomiting. It was the test and treatments in the hospital. Yes, hospitals can be the scariest place on earth and if you have a nurse like Charlie Cullen working there, run don't walk to the nearest exit.

Charlie Cullen worked the hospitals of Pennsylvania and New Jersey from the late 1990's to 2003 leaving a mysterious trail of dead patients in his wake. Dead from overdoses of insulin and digoxin and
...more
Kirstin
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Cullen confessed to 40 murders but the estimated number is more like 400. What is more shocking is that the hospitals he worked for allowed this to happen out of fear for legal repercussions. He would be caught, then let go(with references). Unbelievable. 16 years this went on. Truth is more frightening than fiction.
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
My rating: 2.5 stars.

I truly wanted to like this more. This whole subject of "Angels Of Death" really fascinate me in terms of serial killer behavior, and I was fully wanting to round the stars up to 3 because it's obviously his first book. I truly couldn't after I read the afterword.

This novel suffers from this distinct issues. The first is the easiest, the other two are tied into each other.

Issue 1: The dialog sucks. This writer couldn't do decent dialog to save his life. The sheer amount of '
...more
PF
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I haven't read a book this quickly in a long time. My first reaction was, "This reads just like fiction, like a really well done murder mystery, but ... it isn't fiction. It's real."

This should be required reading for all hospital managers, at all levels. While I was reading it, I kept looking for something ... unusual, something surprising, other than the murders themselves. It all hung together, and it all made sense. Too much sense. I could imagine this happening, and couldn't see any way to
...more
Gillian Neimark
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spoiler alert in this review.

A bit Raymond Chandler-esque--and slow to warm up, as the first 100 pp or more details the life of Charlie Cullen and how he kills the patients...and I found that a little boring because, ultimately pathology is inexplicable and as awful as it is, it's somehow not that interesting to read about it ad infinitum.

But when we got to the detectives, and to the heroism of his friend, a nurse named Amy, and how they worked together to arrest him, then it became like a reall
...more
Isabelle
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-group
I discovered Charles Cullen case with this nonfiction. Charles Graeber portrays a very disturbed nurse, a sociopath who (probably) killed hundreds of patients by injecting them with lethal medication. He explains how Charles Cullen was able to work in nursing so long and with 9 different hospitals before getting caught. I found this book well documented and disturbing. The second part (the police investigation) kept all my attention. The detectives did a very good job!
Lauren Marotto
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book on NPR. They were interviewing the writer. I've never read True Crime before, but this book sparked my interest. I read this book in two days. It has a fairly gruesome beginning that goes into detail about burn victims, and the medical treatment for them. Even though I work in medical (most likely why I was first interested in read The Good Nurse) I have a bit of a hard time getting through that chapter. But once I did inbound this book very difficult to put down. The aut ...more
Christopher
So here is the whole deal, dear reader: Charles Cullen is a serial killer nurse who injected his (up to 400, possibly?) victims with insulin and other presumably innocent drugs, rendering such victims, well, completely and appallingly victimized. I won't tell you much more than that, because honestly, dear reader and correct me if I'm wrong, that's a good enough hook right?, and I don't want to spoil what's really interesting about the book, i.e. slowly realizing the motive behind this madman's ...more
ALLEN
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
From the mid-1980s to the end of 2003, an intensive-care nurse named Charles Cullen worked a string of hospitals in the northern New Jersey / eastern Pennsylvania region, killing deeply ill people by adding toxic medicines to their I.V. bags. Although Cullen escaped under a cloud from several employers, he was not charged with murder until Christmastime, 2003, though it was presupposed he must have dispatched at least forty ailing patients, probably more. Most frustrating of all, perusal of medi ...more
Laura
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: three-star
This was an odd book, to say the least. Marketed as true crime, the writing style is reminiscent of a fictional thriller. The author has clearly conducted long, in-depth interviews with Charlie Cullen and those involved in the years leading up to his arrest and subsequent conviction for the murders of at least forty individuals, however I found the way in which he presented his research to be often confusing and at times, irritating.

Charlie Cullen is a deeply disturbed man with a long history of
...more
Kristy K
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, true-crime
4.5 Stars

I knew little of this case before reading this book. Graeber does a great job at detailing Cullen's life and crimes as well as the investigation. Cullen, a nurse, indiscriminately killed hundreds of patients in his care over the span of his career. It is astounding that Cullen was able to get away with it for so long. Hospitals seemed more concerned with covering their butts and hiding indiscretions than they did about actual patient care and murder. I applaud the nurse and friend of Cu
...more
Sunya Jones
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book on NPR and rushed out to buy it. Wow. what a book. This book took me through a flight of emotions. As a nurse of almost 17 years I was horrified, angry, confused, and believe it or not a bit tearful at the end. This book clouded my thoughts, invaded my dreams, made me fearful to push cancel at the accudose! The author does an outstanding job researching and telling this story.
Lindsay Nixon
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the scariest psychological thriller I’ve ever read... and it’s all true (!) and made scarier by how the hospital oversight (or lack thereof) enabled him. While two laws were created to prevent this from happening again, I can’t sleep soundly knowing only 35 states have adopted them.

This is a non-fiction book that is written in the style of a fiction thriller (which I like). It's a little like reading, instead of listening to, a crime podcast.

Compared to others in the genre this is so-so
...more
Becky
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book just creeped me out!! Charles Cullen killed under the guise of caregiver, was finally convicted due to two persistent detectives and one very gutsy, honorable co worker, a nurse! There is so much I could say about the nursing profession (yes, I am a nurse) and the whole health care system but that isn't part of my review. A great read, this author truly did his research which is evident on each page. His descriptions of the workings of the Pyxis and Cerner are written so any lay person ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Holy Smokes!!!!
This "Angel of Death" has put H.H. Holmes to shame.
With killing upwards of 300 maybe more people during his career as a nurse.
This true story brings to light problems in our healthcare system, which I know all to well about working as a medical assistant in a over worked/populated client office.
Excellent book for anyone interested in serial killers, medical non-fiction and true stories.
Josen
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-library
I haven't read a lot of true crime books and maybe this is why. This guy was crazy! Lol! I did like the way this was laid out. The first part was the story from Charlie's side and the second part was the police investigation. That made it really interesting, especially since I'm a Law & Order (all of 'em) junkie. And I gotta' hand it to their informant. That takes guts. Scary true story but really good.
Jenny Jo Weir
Seriously messed up! I don't even where to start. I can't believe this actually happened. It's so horrible. Everyone should read this book!
Krista
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Over the course of his sixteen years Charles Cullen had been the subject of dozens of complaints and disciplinary citations, and had endured four police investigations, two lie detector tests, perhaps twenty suicide attempts, and a lock-up, but none had blemished his professional record.

For The Good Nurse, investigative journalist Charles Graeber spent nearly ten years conducting exclusive jailhouse interviews with Charles Cullen – presumed to be America's most prolific serial killer – as well
...more
Bonnie Brody
Most patients go to hospitals when they are extremely ill. They hope to get better and be treated by competent and caring staff. Nurses, especially, are in the front and center of patient care. It is ironic, then, that Charlie Cullen, a board licensed nurse was a serial killer, preying on the sick and dying at nine different hospitals for years. Estimates of his victims hover around 300 patients. He is one of the worst serial killers known. It is also astounding that he got fired or was asked to ...more
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Charles Graeber is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD NURSE: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (published by Twelve).

He is also a contributor to numerous publications including Wired, The New Yorker, GQ, New York Magazine, Outside Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek and The New York Times. His writing has been honored with the Overseas Press Clu
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“Nobody loves you the way they do when you’re dying.” 5 likes
“Access to the vulnerable allowed him to manifest death without dying. He’d learned to kill himself by proxy.” 3 likes
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