My new non-fiction book, The Serial Killer Whisperer, is being published today, which means that after months of waiting and hard work, the book will go on sale and be judged by professional critics and readers.
I was thrilled that my morning began with two strong endorsements.
Writing in the New York Journal of Books, psychotherapist and serial killer expert, Laura Schultz, wrote:
There are many aspects of The Serial Killer Whisper that make it unique in the true crime genre and as a biography. Author Pete Earley is a talented conduit of this true portrayal of an unlikely and unconventional kinship between lost souls and the frailties of human psyche.
Mr. Earley resists the temptation to either moralize or sensationalize the killers or tout himself as an armchair psychologist. Without commentary on the brutality of the heinous crimes committed, the story speaks for itself. In brilliant journalistic fashion, the author recounts the horrific details and brutality of the crimes with complete objectivity. Each excerpt and word appears to have been carefully considered to accurately depict the tale of interwoven lives and the methodology that develops a complex criminal puzzle and follows it through to its completion.
The Serial Killer Whisper is definitely not for the faint of heart. But readers who are fascinated with this subject matter, particularly true crime aficionados, will be mesmerized by the contents and implications of this book. In the end, many will still be unbearably moved by the grisly nature of the murders and the magnitude of cruelty that comprises the lethal nature of a serial killer. But no one can soon forget the characters in this honest, true crime portrayal.
Writing on the website, CRIMESCAPE, reviewer Dr. Katherine Ramsland wrote:
The Serial Killer Whisperer, is quite unique, because its central figure is an adolescent boy with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that makes him remarkably resonant with some of the meanest men alive. Thus, this compelling narrative revolves around the most salient issue in criminology today: the criminal brain…
The book’s focus is not the killers. Their cold-blooded letters, while sickening, soon begin to sound pretty much alike: “I did this to her and then I did that…” The real story centers on what happens to Tony Ciaglia and his family as they move into this dark realm…
Just because he [Tony] had a similar brain dysfunction did not make him a potential serial killer… With his father’s help, Tony turned his traumatic brain injury into a gift. Because the killers talked about as-yet unsolved murders, they’d provided clues that could help close some cold cases. Tony now had a sense of purpose.
I have published enough books to realize that my new book will not please everyone, especially because of its gruesome and graphic subject matter. But it is gratifying to know that these two reviewers, both of whom have studied serial killers and are well-versed in literature about the criminal mind, have found the story that I have written about Tony Ciaglia and his relationship with some of America’s cruelest killers worth reading.
The letters that Tony Ciaglia exchanged with some of our nation’s most infamous murderers over a six year period are different because the serial killers were writing to someone whom they considered to be a friend and, therefore wrote openly about their feelings, fantasies and desires. What they revealed is truly terrifying.
In her review of my book, Critic Schultz chose two samples to share:
“On the first day of school, it didn’t go well. The kid behind me kept making fun of my shoes because they were hand-me-downs. The class was laughing so I turned around and stuck my pencil through his hand.”
— Serial killer Glen Rogers — aka the Cross Country Killer who bragged about murdering 70 women
“I remember every one of them and every detail with each one. Why did I use my bare hands? To feel life slipping away and then release your grip and bring them back. Ah, that is a feeling. So powerful, so real”
— Arthur Shawcross — aka The Genesee River Killer who confessed to 11 murders
I begin my book with a quote, but it is not from one of the serial killers. It is from one of my favorite authors: Jack Olsen.
I start every book with the idea that I want to explain how this seven or eight pounds of protoplasm went from his mommy’s arms to become a serial rapist or serial killer. I think a crime book that doesn’t do this is pure pornography.
According to the FBI, at any time in the U.S. there are some fifty serial killers walking among us. The Serial Killer Whisperer gives us an insight into their hollow souls thanks to the writings that they exchanged with a young man who found a purpose in his life in the most unlikely way — by connecting with monsters.