Friday, January 07, 2011
I just got done reading "The Ice Man", Philip Carlo's amazing biography of one of the more notorious monsters the Western world produced in the last century. I want to mention here that I have never owned a Charles Manson t-shirt, or a painting by John Wayne Gacy, or ever even watched "Dexter". Serial killers are not my thing, but Carlo's book is quite fascinating.
Richard Kuklinski was the top porn distributor (legal and otherwise) in New York in the 70's, and that was his veneer of respectability. His real job was a contract killer for the Mafia. And even that amounted to passing in straight society, because he was also a voracious serial killer who maybe killed as many people for his own reasons as he did for pay, and that's no small number. He wasn't the skulking, pervy kind of serial killer, he was a loyal (though abusive) family man who quietly went out looking to get into street fights so he could take guys out face to face. He was a huge guy, gifted with near-superhuman strength (if his wife needed a refrigerator moved, he'd just pick it up), a catlike ability to stalk quietly, and what can only be described as a predator's sixth sense for danger that kept him alive and out of trouble with the law over a thirty-year career. The guy could have been friggin' Batman had he been so inclined, but as it happened his upbringing left him a straight psychopath.
What's truly amazing about Carlo's book is that he so methodically lays the building blocks of Kuklinski's psyche that you almost start feeling like you understand why he took the path he did.