Bibliographic will notice that the book starts back at

Bibliographic Information

Graeber, C. (2014). The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine,
Madness, and Murder. New

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York, NY: TWELVE Books.
272 pages.

Reviewed by Kayleigh
Peterson, Carrington College – Reno.


            The Good
Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, by Charles Graeber, tells
the tale about the investigation and conviction of Charlie Cullen, a nurse who spent
a good portion of his nursing career killing patients.  The murders occurred over the span of his
sixteen-year career throughout random hospitals he worked for.  A haunting tale of one man who may never have
been caught if it wasn’t for one woman who came forward to help the police end
the killing spree.  This is the perfect
book for anyone, not just nurses and those in the medical field, who enjoy a
suspenseful page-tuner, a thriller that will leave you hooked on every word.  A story of the terror that can occur in the
medical field that will leave its readers frightened. 


             When the reader opens up the first page of the
reading they will notice that the book starts back at Charlie Cullen’s
childhood.  Born late in his parents
lives, Charlie was the youngest of eight children and the only boy of them all.  His father died shortly before his birth
leaving him extremely close with his mother. 
Sadly, she passed in a motor vehicle accident and sent Charlie into a
deep depression that in the end led him to joining the Navy to give his life
some purpose.  He ended up despising the
Navy and returning to civilian life.  With
his return to civilian life Charlie enrolled in nursing school as the only male
in his class.  While in nursing school
Charlie met and fell in love with Adrianne, they soon married and began a
family.  Immediately following his
graduation from nursing school Charlie found a job and began his career.  A short time later his wife started to notice
Charlies weird behaviors towards their daughters, their dog, Charlies heavy
drinking, and even to the point of abuse. 
Adrianne soon decided to leave him and took full custody of their two
daughters.  After this Charlie began to
jump from job to job, while always starting out strong and a hard worker would
soon come under scrutiny for suspicious behavior on the job.  Charlie’s first job was at St. Barnabas
Hospital where he was suspected of spiking patient IV bags with insulin, he
then moved on to Warren Hospital.  He
eventually was let go of from this hospital for suspicion of causing the death
of a patient.  From Warren, Charlie went
to Morristown where he was soon accused of neglect of patients and leaving
their rooms in shambles.  Soon after
being let go from Morristown Charlie attempted to commit suicide for the second
time and was admitted to Greystone Psychiatric Hospital again.  “The process was too slow to provide Charlie
with any satisfaction, so he tried suicide instead, telling 911 he’d swallowed
a handful of pills, and knowing the ambulance would be required to bring him to
nearby Warren, where, at least, he was known.” (58)  After his stay at Greystone Charlie got a job
at Liberty, a nursing home, where he appeared to be involved in the deaths of
two men at the facility.  Throughout the
next couple years Charlie continued his pattern of jumping around jobs, another
failed suicide attempt and stay at Greystone, being suspected of more patient
deaths, and throwing away perfectly good medication while stealing others. “Laughlin
brought the sharps bin over and opened the lid, showing it full of boxes and
vials.” (81)  After many years of slyly
getting away with all these killings, Charlie was nearly caught while working
at Somerset Medical Center which soon led to an investigation that later led to
his conviction of thirteen murders in the hospitals where he worked and was
sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.  While only convicted of thirteen murders, Charlie spent three years helping police look through
medical records to identify other victims, slowly uncovering an
estimated 400 patients murdered in 9 hospitals over a span of 16 years.


            Out of all the
books you can find on nurses who kill, The Good Nurse is by far one of the
best.  It tells an intense tale of a malicious
man who not only hurt his victims but also their families.  This book tells about Charlies time in each hospital
in detail while also giving readers an overview of his life before the murders began.
 The author does a great job of making sure
the readers understand major life events for Charlie that lead to his decisions
and further more his incarceration.  This
book can be seen as a look into the inadequacy of the healthcare industry today,
frightening but also extremely informative.  If readers are looking for a book that will keep
them glued to each page, this is the book.