• The Good Nurse

  • A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder
  • By: Charles Graeber
  • Narrated by: Will Collyer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,164 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $19.99

Buy for $19.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Coming to Netflix this fall starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain⁠—a “stunning book...that should and does bring to mind In Cold Blood” and takes you inside the mind of America's most prolific serial killer, whose 16-year long "nursing" career left as many as 400 dead. (New York Times)    

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 American history.

Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned sixteen years and nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When, in March of 2006, Charles Cullen was marched from his final sentencing in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, courthouse into a waiting police van, it seemed certain that the chilling secrets of his life, career, and capture would disappear with him. Now, in a riveting piece of investigative journalism nearly ten years in the making, journalist Charles Graeber presents the whole story for the first time. Based on hundreds of pages of previously unseen police records, interviews, wire-tap recordings and videotapes, as well as exclusive jailhouse conversations with Cullen himself and the confidential informant who helped bring him down, The Good Nurse weaves an urgent, terrifying tale of murder, friendship, and betrayal.

Graeber's portrait of Cullen depicts a surprisingly intelligent and complicated young man whose promising career was overwhelmed by his compulsion to kill, and whose shy demeanor masked a twisted interior life hidden even to his family and friends. Were it not for the hardboiled, unrelenting work of two former Newark homicide detectives racing to put together the pieces of Cullen's professional past, and a fellow nurse willing to put everything at risk, including her job and the safety of her children, there's no telling how many more lives could have been lost.

In the tradition of In Cold Blood, The Good Nurse does more than chronicle Cullen's deadly career and the breathless efforts to stop him; it paints an incredibly vivid portrait of madness and offers a penetrating look inside America's medical system. Harrowing and irresistibly paced, this book will make you look at medicine, hospitals, and the people who work in them, in an entirely different way.

©2013 Charles Graeber (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Good Nurse

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,376
  • 4 Stars
    1,196
  • 3 Stars
    425
  • 2 Stars
    96
  • 1 Stars
    71
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,222
  • 4 Stars
    964
  • 3 Stars
    375
  • 2 Stars
    97
  • 1 Stars
    67
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,279
  • 4 Stars
    951
  • 3 Stars
    343
  • 2 Stars
    80
  • 1 Stars
    66

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jc
  • 05-28-13

The Good Nurse gets it right

I have read or listened to dozens of true crime books written by authors who are considered to be the masters of the genre. And almost none of them can hold a candle to The Good Nurse for sheer entertainment value.

As an aging attorney who started out in the District Attorney's office nearly 40 years ago, I am usually irritated to some degree by the non-nuanced manner that the criminal justice system is treated in books, TV shows, movies, etc. But Graeber hits the nail right on the head in The Good Nurse. And he does it all without pandering to the perpetrator, the families of the victims, or the cops who eventually solve the case--a claim that in my opinion can be made by only one other true crime author (Vincent Bugliosi). If there is any justice in the world, The Good Nurse will become a classic like Helter Skelter.

And when I finished listening, I couldn't remember anything specific about the narration, which is exactly what I want--a narrator who delivers the goods and gets out of the way. Excellent job by Will Collyer.

Looking forward to more books by Charles Graeber.

236 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

More Chilling than Murder?

Read great reviews on this one, so settled in to hear details about purposeful selection and murder of patients. What I discovered much to my delight and horror was the opposite. Charles Graeber writes from the perspective of a floating, non-judgmental narrator taking you through the events. I (and probably most of us) wanted to believe there was a reason he killed so many people. Was it for mercy or prejudice or hatred or a childhood traumatic event. When the answer is no, the story becomes creepier.

My advice is not to read too much detail from the summary and especially other reviews giving you play-by-play analysis. There is no gore, the shock factor is a slow build. Listen and let the story unfold walking you through the hospital, a place of trust with administrators, nurses, and the mystery of medicine. Was this the perfect storm for a serial killer? You decide.

131 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Profoundly Chilling...

If you were entranced by the style of Robert Graysmith's Zodiac or Bugliosi's Helter Skelter, you will similarly appreciate the hypnotic writing of Charles Graeber (yes, it means "gravedigger" in German) in The Good Nurse... It is easy enough to (falsely) assure yourself about most dangers in life, but what if your caregiver, outwardly diligent and trustworthy, were a cold-blooded killer, a psychopath murdering those whose bodies are made vulnerable to his supposedly healing hands? And these events were recent. Cullen was only caught in 2003. This book will do for the hospital bed what Psycho did for the shower...

99 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Death on the Night Shift

This is a chilling account of how one nurse, Charlie Cullen, was able to get away with killing hundreds of patients while the medical system failed to do anything about it. If not for the bravery of some hospital staff who risked their jobs to get the information to authorities, this nurse would likely still be working the night shift today, and killing when the mood would strike.

Written in the style of In Cold Blood, the author lays out the details of Charlie Cullen's life. He was a very sad, lonely, and troubled person who had a horrific childhood. He attempted suicide many times, starting young in life. Eventually joining the Navy to escape his home life, he then went to nursing school. Upon graduating, it was easy to get jobs where he usually requested to work the night shifts. He started killing, not as any sympathetic reason for patient's who were suffering, but more to make himself feel better and relieve stress. As time went by, and it was so easy to inject IV bags with drugs such as insulin, or heart medication, he just kept doing it. At times he would simply inject several IV bags at one time, not knowing or caring which patient would be on the fatal end of his actions. He learned to "fit in" at the many different hospitals where he worked by being helpful and always available to take extra shifts.

Over approximately 16 years and nine different hospitals, deaths occurred during his shifts far above what was normal. Although he was suspected of causing the deaths, after a few attempts at investigating with failed results, he was either forced to quit, or just "let go" and usually given neutral references to get rid of him. It turns out, the hospitals did not want to lose their good standing (to say nothing of the lawsuits that would ensue), and so just passed the problem on to the next one. Each hospital in turn, did the very same thing.

The two detectives who eventually investigated and brought justice to the families who lost loved ones, should be rewarded, along with the one hospital employee who risked her job to do the right thing.

Very well written, this true story kept me listening for hours at a time. Although some of the details were difficult to hear, I think it is an important book, and everyone should be aware of what can happen in places we think of as safe-- where we all go for help and healing--hospitals!


66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic journalism, excellent narration

What made the experience of listening to The Good Nurse the most enjoyable?

Graeber's chilling account of Charles Cullen was propelled and made lively by Will Collyer's brisk and engaging narration.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The crimes of Charles Cullen were disturbing on their own, of course, but what made this book so frightening was the discussion of how the hospitals that employed Cullen simply kept passing him along. There was more than one occasion where Cullen was caught, almost in the act, of stealing dangerous medications suspected of being used to harm patients, and hospital administrators would allow him to quietly resign with neutral job references, just so there would be no mark of shame against the hospital.

Which character – as performed by Will Collyer – was your favorite?

This was some of the best voice work I have ever heard. Collyer adopts different voice affectations for the dialogue-- subtly, nothing too over the top-- that allow the listener to keep track of who is talking in fast exchanges.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KM
  • 05-06-13

Chiling!

I agree, as a RN there are many small errors not only made by the narrator, but the author as well. Don't let that stop you. This is based on a true story, scary as that seems. The narrator's voice wasn't the issue for me, and I'm glad I went through with the purchase. This story will shock you at "the system" the hospitals used to cover their selves. The author did a great job with the psychological issues the nurse is having....denial or pure arrogance?

Another book read in 2 days
Enjoy!

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story...poor narration.

Would you recommend The Good Nurse to your friends? Why or why not?

I would not recommend the audio-book. I do recommend the text-version.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Will Collyer?

I think that the criteria for choosing the narrator of this book should have been an actor familiar with proper pronunciation of healthcare terminology and possibly experience in healthcare. I felt the narrator's discomfort with the subject matter, the characterizations and the medications so crucial to the story.

Any additional comments?

The short form of "Digoxin" is pronounced "didge" not "dig". A "Q.R.S." is not a "O.R.S." An injection of Xanax 8mg is unheard of as Xanax is not available as an injectable.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GK
  • 12-28-14

Nurse Charlie Cullen filled a cemetery!

Any additional comments?

This is the most disturbing book I have read in years...since Coma. This is a true crime story and I barely got thru the first couple of chapters because of the graphic details of a burn ward.
After finishing this book, I kept wondering about how many other nurses, aids and doctors are out there killing patients and when caught or suspected, receive walking papers with a good or neutral recommendation for their next job.
Charlie Cullen obsessed with killing himself with attention seeking suicide attempts found a way to satisfy his driving need for self harm by proxy. He killed patients with a roulette type system of infusing glucose bags with deadly doses of insulin. He also directly injected patients with a drug that makes the heart stop...for good. New Jersey Poison Control Center detectives are the people that cared enough to go after this man and stop him permanently. It is estimated that Charlie killed around 400 people (conservative number) during his career. Hospital administrators and their attorneys are responsible for Charlie's 16 year long career of killing people. He should have been stopped YEARS ago! I can't help but be cynical and paranoid when walking into a hospital now.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Will this EVER get going?

Would you try another book from Charles Graeber and/or Will Collyer?

Yes, absolutely.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I am pretty picky about what I fill my head with. I tend not to purchase books by impulse but I heard about this one on a podcast and I saw the excellent reviews. I actually listened to it twice before posting a review as I was sure that I was missing 'something'. Maybe it was because I was a Nurse Practitioner I was being hypercritical but I don't think so. I think that I found the pace really slow. I normally find myself lost in performances but this time I had to keep re- listening. Just not my 'cup of tea' I suppose!

What about Will Collyer’s performance did you like?

Excellent performance with a plethora of voice inflection. Will definitely listen to more of this actor's performances in the future.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes I would.

Any additional comments?

Well written but personally felt far too 'two dimensional' for me. I could not get that wonderful feeling of being 'lost' in the story.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not the real meat of the story. Flawed narration.

Any additional comments?

The tough questions weren't addressed. Why did he slip through the medical and mental health care system after all those suicide gestures? How does the threat of lawsuits rule the decisions and policies of hospitals? Those are the real stories of import to our society, completely ignored. And the "dig" flaw in narration is no small point, someone made a bad decision to let this go to market as is.

16 people found this helpful