I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
SYNOPSIS: Often, the term ‘psychopath’ tends to be equated with violent and deranged criminality. By examining the 10 worst psychopaths throughout history, this book shows how true psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong. And they appear on the surface to be entirely ‘normal’. Chillingly, they are usually the person you would least suspect. – via Goodreads
I have a crazy fascination with serial killers and psychopaths. It is bad. If I find a book on them, or the topic, I will read it. I think every person has a small corner of them that is intrigued by the darkness showcased by others because we don’t all completely understand it. How does one get to that twisted place in life? This book is a very fast read, which is great, and it doesn’t get too heavy and factual for those who not too interested in the super nitty gritty of the individuals and their crimes, and so serves for a really good introductory novel for someone unfamiliar with the content, or a brush up for those who are familiar with the stories. The writing style flows, and the author has made some interesting choices as to who to include in their round up of the ten worst psychopaths, and I feel that McQueen picked some terrifying individuals, to be sure. The book barrels along and provides you with the details you need to become acquainted with the individuals on the pages, but you will not be reading a long and tedious investigation and account of anyone you are do not care to familiarise yourself with. The book is interesting and I enjoyed it, and could definitely recommend for a quick read. I liked the structure of the book, too, and what McQueen chose to include as relevant information – it paints the quick and violent, shocking nature of each one of the psychopaths, as well as highlights where things started, where they escalated, and how they ultimately ended. This book is a wonderful in between read and well worth looking into, even if just for the sake of curiosity.
Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) meets and marries the woman of his dreams, Deborah Pellicotti (Winona Ryder). Kuklinski claims to have worked for Disney, though it comes out much later that he was actually in the porn business. One night the tapes are not ready, and Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) and his crew comes calling. Kuklinski promises to have the tapes ready, and goes for a meeting with Demeo the next day where Demeo asks him to come and work for him after shutting down the porn business. He feels that Kuklinski is cold and efficient, and asks him to murder a homeless man as proof. Kuklinski does as he is told, and Demeo keeps the gun as evidence.
Kuklinski now works exclusively for Demeo, and is not to take jobs on the side. Kuklinski is happy with the arrangement, and becomes a renowned and respected assassin in his field. Kuklinksi and Deborah now have two children together, Betsy and Anabel (McKaley Miller). Kuklinksi gives his wife everything she has ever wanted and his daughters are in private Catholic school. Life seems to be going well for Kuklinski. However, trouble breeds on the horizon when Demeo has problems with one of his guys and when Kuklinski refuses to kill a seventeen-year-old girl at one of his jobs. Robert “Mr Freezy” Pronge (Chris Evans) tells Demeo that he had to sort out the girl, and ultimately the mob politics lead to Kuklinski becoming unemployed. He is not allowed to take jobs on the side but desperate to stay in the game, he is good at what he does.
Kuklinksi becomes bitter and increasingly angry, scaring his wife and children. He needs to get back into the game or he will lose his mind. He visits his brother who makes the ominous prediction that Kuklinski will end up in prison just like him, with his family writing him off completely. Kuklinski still works very hard to keep his personal and his professional life separate, but since being laid off caution is thrown in the wind. He notices the need to get back to work in fear of scaring his family off, which means the world to him. Striking a deal with Mr Freezy, Kuklinski is now the assassin behind the veil, the person no one knows about. Freezy pulls the jobs, Kuklinski executes the targets, and they both get paid. Together they will then cut up the victim and freeze them, making it impossible for authorities to determine time of death. It goes without say that Demeo cannot know that Kuklinski is working with Mr Freezy. Slowly but surely though people start talking, and Demeo starts asking questions, and just like that Kuklinski’s perfectly created façade starts to crack, and he works hard to pull it all together again and remain in control.
Will Demeo figure out that Kuklinski is working with Mr Freezy, despite his strict ban on working with others? Will Kuklinski be able to keep his family life and business life separated, as much as he wants to? Will his wife and children remain clueless as to his daily activities? Will his past deeds eventually catch up to him?
Michael Shannon was completely amazing to watch, and is probably what saved this movie in the long run. Not that it was bad; there were just a few issues with it. I also enjoyed Chris Evans, his character gave me a bit of a sadistic giggle, though there is really nothing that should actually be amusing in here, you can’t help but find the moments where it happens. Michael Shannon played the family man role down pat, and got the icy and sinister side of his character down too. Ray Liotta was decent for what he did, but there were moments where it simply just didn’t work. The style that the film was shot in was good for what it portrayed. The plot was laid out just fine, and it was not an issue following what happened. However, I really feel that more effort could have gone into wrapping the film up at the end; it left a lot to be desired. It just felt like a bit of a missed opportunity for me, which was really a pity seeing as the cast was fine, and the story was interesting.