• The Ultimate Evil

  • The Search for the Sons of Sam
  • By: Maury Terry
  • Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 24 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (414 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The true-crime cult classic that inspired an upcoming Netflix documentary series and companion podcast, The Ultimate Evil follows journalist Maury Terry’s terrifying investigation into the true evil behind the Son of Sam murders.

On August 10, 1977, the NYPD arrested David Berkowitz for the Son of Sam murders that had terrorized New York City for over a year. Berkowitz confessed to shooting 16 people and killing six with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver, and the case was officially closed.

Journalist Maury Terry was suspicious of Berkowitz’s confession. Spurred by conflicting witness descriptions of the killer and by the Queens District Attorney, who was convinced Berkowitz didn’t act alone, Terry spent decades researching, gathering evidence, and interviewing those involved in the case. He released his initial findings in the original publication of The Ultimate Evil in 1987, in which he presented his theory that Berkowitz was a member of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, a cult responsible for the Son of Sam murders as well as other ritual murders across the country. After Terry’s death in 2015, documentary filmmaker Josh Zeman (Cropsey, The Killing Season, Murder Mountain) followed leads Terry left for him, which form the basis of his upcoming docuseries with Netflix and a companion podcast. Taken together with The Ultimate Evil, which includes a new introduction by Zeman, these works reveal the stunning intersections of power, wealth, privilege, and evil in America - from the Summer of Sam until today.

©1987 Maury Terry. Introduction © 2021 by Joshua Zeman (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Ultimate Evil

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

Antiquated Satanic Panic Bluster Mars the Research

Very good narration and moments of solid research can't save this flawed true crime story. Despite my inclination to agree with many conclusions and lines of speculation, my eyes roll out of my head when hearing such matter of fact telling of how Yonkers was overrun with Satan Worship, human sacrifice, occult subterfuge, and more witches per capita than Salem, Mass, in "the burning times."

I did enjoy the detail of witness reports, but the author falls into the ol' Robert Graysmith folly of making the story more about the tribulations they faced while writing. It isn't Renner-level self-serving, but the narrative is saturated with personal detail. Full disclosure, I highly disliked the very popular I'll Be Gone In The Dark for the same reason.

Worth a credit? Yes. Three stars is average, and this audiobook has just as many good points as bad.

20 people found this helpful

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Exquisitely researched.

A monumental classic. A true work of epic proportion‘s. This is one of the most important books written in the last 50 years. Terry details A true life conspiracy of monsters proportions stretching from coast to coast. There could be no denials.

13 people found this helpful

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Listen with the lights on

Let me state right up front that I’ve read Maury Terry’s opus several times since it was originally published. I picked up this audible version because 1) I like Keith Szarabajkas narrative talents and 2) I wished to see if certain newer revelations had made their way into this new version. So far, and I’m only through the first, Stanford chapter, they have not. SPOILER ALERT. Because we now know who brutalized and murdered Arlis Perry in 1974, DNA revealing his identity within a 99,9 percent certainty. It was the Campus security guard who called in the horrific slaying, Steve Crawford, who when confronted with the authorities in 2013 took his own life right then and there. He may have been evil as all get out but not a satanist linked to the Son of Sam or Manson slayings. None of this should keep anyone from forging ahead, however. It only proves that in prison ”Sam’s son” kept up with classic True Crime. In THE ULTIMATE Maury Terry throws spaghetti on the wall to see if some of his theories will stick. And some clearly do as you will learn.

5 people found this helpful

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one of the best true crime novels ever written

I love this book it's definitely one of the best true crime novels ever written it is right up there with Helter skelter and righteous Carnage and in Cold blood. I first heard about Maury Terry and the ultimate Evil on an episode of unsolved mysteries back in the day and I went to the local Barnes & Noble and I bought me a copy and the rest as they say is history

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent material

I really want to know more about the things I learned here. The only problem is that the narrator tends to run through all the info without intonation at times. This could be partly due to the way it’s written but it’s all just a little jumbled. He does do great work accents and voices though.
I really love it though. These are my favorite kinds of books and this is a great one.

4 people found this helpful

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I wish I had my credit back

This book was not as I had hoped for. I would not recommend this to anyone.

2 people found this helpful

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A Wild Ride

It would be mathematically impossible for every branch of this story to be connected but there is certainly enough smoke that it is hard for me to not believe there is fire somewhere.

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Time warp to satanic panic

You cannot take this seriously, it was just to much focus on satanism and rubish
Ike that. Tried my best got bored.

2 people found this helpful

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Very interesting book and worth reading

This book does an outstanding job of tracking all the connections David Berkowitz had to certain individuals and In my own opinion it is spot on. This comes with a very big HOWEVER. Some of the connections he made to symbology found in Yonkers and other places I can say with confidence was drawn by teenagers of the time hanging out below the thousand stairs getting baked and graffiti related to bands popular at the time.
Rush for one example.
The opening Lyrics to an Iron Maiden song.
So I give this book a 95/100

1 person found this helpful

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Could have been a great book

The narration was poor to say the least.. The story was almost impossible to follow. With proper editing and narration this would have been a great book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Sinclair
  • 06-02-21

A must read. In depth look at true evil

Listened to this after watching the Netflix documentary. Thoroughly researched and an in depth look into the Sons of Sam conspiracy. The Netflix documentary did not do this story justice and I feel maligned the late Maury Terry. This book puts the record straight and reveals Maury Terry as a diligent thorough investigative journalist who gave so much to give voice to the truth. Well worth a read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel Lee
  • 05-14-21

Wonderful!!

Well written, well preformed. Maury was really on to something big. A must for true crime buffs.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JdB
  • 07-02-22

Heck of a story, but it's all too ludicrous!

Terry has put in a heck of a lot of work, unfortunately for him a lot of his conspiracy theories have since been proven empty. He's a great story teller though, and you have to give it to his investigators, allies, and informants put in plenty of legwork though, and you've got to give credit for that. Voice actor was great though!

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  • HaitchVMMPlane
  • 06-21-22

Great Narration Made Listening A Breeze

Narrator was great, he kept my ADHD brain engaged with different voices for different people in the book. A very interesting true crime book overall, would highly recommend.

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  • Bjayzl
  • 04-27-22

Son’s of Sam … ?

What a strange book ! The author has raised some very good questions about the single killer theory in the son of Sam slayings however he then throws all that away by allowing himself to be played by Berkowitz and others and has a tendency to see things that ain’t there, sometimes in his letters you can plainly see that he ( Berkowitz ) is gathering information on satanic cults and regurgitating it only days later .very strange that Terry or his editor didn’t pick up on this

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  • sitonka MB101
  • 09-26-21

Fact driven True Crime investigation

Enjoyed this after watching the Netflix documentary. so much info and detail. tells story of one journalists willingness and commitment to uncover the truth. only lose one star for the bad Aussie accents!

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  • Dicko
  • 05-25-21

Too Much Detail

Good story but too much detail. Other books similar are able to capture the essence of the story and characters without reviewing the complete work in every aspect of individuals. I couldn't get past about 5 hours. Who knows what was left in the remaining 20 Hours

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-22

must listen

Brilliant investigative journalism by Maury, definetly reccomend this book to anyone interested in true crime or conspiracies.

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  • Fuznut
  • 11-05-21

A and Q

WHY??? We don't need to hear A- answer, Q- Question ALL THE TIME!! Just coz it's in the book the narrator should have had the nous to leave it out of the reading. it's nothing but extremely annoying!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-11-21

Loved it

Loved it!
It was very interesting, Maury really dove into the depths with his research. I also loved Keith's (the narrator's) voice

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-17-21

Exceptional

Thoroughly enjoyed each detailed and factual episode. The narrator had a great voice. I felt each episode went just long enough. An amazing book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-21

Fast paced and thought provoking

This was an amazing listen, and credit to Maury for his relentless research in leaving no stone unturned in his search for proof that there is more to what meets the eye in the Son of Sam killings. Unfortunately we may never know the full truth behind the killings, but this book certainly can back up that this was not a lone shooter involved, and conspiracy with political objectives covered up the truth.

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  • Deborah Frye
  • 07-14-21

Oh dear

With modern psychoactive medication, this book would never have been written. Quite sad/amazing really. more sad than amazing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Yvonne
  • 07-08-21

Good but too much

The story itself is good but too much detail. The narration is excellent and I enjoyed it up to where I stopped as I lost interest

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-21

Loved it!

Absolutely loved this book, it's a deep dive into the son of Sam case and I loved every minute of it.