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Killer Clown

The John Wayne Gacy Murders
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
Length: 14 hrs and 47 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

He was a model citizen. A hospital volunteer. And one of the most sadistic serial killers of all time. But few people could see the cruel monster beneath the colorful clown makeup that John Gacy wore to entertain children in his Chicago suburb. Few could imagine what lay buried beneath his house of horrors - until a teenage boy disappeared before Christmas in 1978, leading prosecutor Terry Sullivan on the greatest manhunt of his career.

Reconstructing the investigation - from records of violence in Gacy's past, to the gruesome discovery of 29 corpses of abused boys in Gacy's crawlspace and four others found in the nearby river - Sullivan's shocking eyewitness account takes you where few true crime books ever go: inside the heart of a serial murder investigation and trial.

©2013 Terry Sullivan with Peter T. Maiken (P)2017 Tantor

What the critics say

"Gripping." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Killer Clown

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    3 out of 5 stars

Awful narration

Wanted to like this book but couldn't get past the terrible narrator. completely toneless and monotonous

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Literary Prozac

How can the sordid tale of one of America's most prolific serial killers bore me to sleep? Look no further than Sean Runnette's sleepy narration. If Sullivan and Maiken's telling of the tale holds any poignancy, we'll never know it through Runnette's flat monotone reading. An utterly coma-inducing performance that should require a prescription.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 2017-12-21

SCARRIEST BOOK I HAVE EVER LISTENED TO!

I always enjoyed true crime stories. I can’t believe any person could do what John Wayne Gacy did. Parts of this book made me sick. I think it is so graphic many listeners will need a strong stomach to get through the entire listen. I tried to feel sorry for this monster but I couldn’t. Even though I don’t believe in the death penily if ever there was one person that deserved death Gacey would be the one. He had to be mentally ill to Carry out these disgusting crimes. GREAT STORY WITH NO DETAIL LEFT OUT. If you haven’t listened to KILLER CLOWN use a credit. It was as great as STRANGER BESIDE ME and HELTER SKELTER. I lived in Chicago during John Wayne Gacy’s reign of terror and remember all the national news coverage that took place after he was apprehended.
Thanks for reading my review. Steve

111 people found this helpful

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  • JayJay
  • 2018-02-20

Needed An Editor

Gacy is as terrifying a serial killer as there’s been, but this book is mostly about cops following him around. They follow him up and down the road, they follow him into bars, they follow him into restaurants. This cycle goes on to the extent I thought the Audible app was replaying sections I’d already heard- it wasn’t, the book is just that repetitive. You could skip chapters 3 thru 10 or so and miss absolutely nothing.

I found the narrator very enjoyable- his voice sounds like a cross between Paul Harvey and Dennis Farina. However, a solid narrator cannot save this intolerably boring book.

56 people found this helpful

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  • Marilyn Morrison
  • 2018-03-31

Not what I wanted it to be

I've seen other reviewers suggest you can skip the first several chapters and not miss a thing. I agree. It is just too bogged down with detail that really doesn't matter. The cops followed him up the street. They then followed him to a job site. They then followed him to a restaurant.. and on and on. Also, I realize police procedures were probably drastically different in the 70's than they are today but it was confusing as to why they allowed him to consistently speed (sometimes as much as 100 miles per hour) while being blatantly tailed (as opposed to being chased) to mundane locations, such as his lawyer's office or a friend's house.. instead of putting a stop to all the reckless driving, they allowed (encouraged?) Gasy to buy them drinks and fancy dinners at the same restaurant they just tailed him at 80 miles an hour to get to.. and the next day they would tail him at breakneck speeds to a different bar where they again sat around drinking cocktails that Gasy bought for them? That whole part just doesn't make much sense and either it didn't belong in the book or else it warranted further explanations.

The other part I found disappointing was the story focus. Other than a couple mentions that "Gasy dressed up as a clown for parties" there was nothing else on that aspect, so the title is a bit misleading. I wanted to know more about his victims, more about how he lured/tricked them into his web, more about how this average everyday man hid the monster he truly was, but I felt it was lacking in those aspects.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Polly Poizendem
  • 2018-01-10

MANDATORY Gacy book ! ! !

I was SO-Ooo glad to see this come to audiobook! Having this definitive crime classic already in my personal library, it was nice to be lazy and have it read to me :) Squeal.

This is THE Gacy book to get if you can choose only one, or simply just want to avoid wading through the other trash thats out there. In fact, many movies and documentries that feature the Gacy case, often refer to THIS very book as the main source for their script/writing.

Hardcore Gacy crime readers who have NOT yet discovered this gem (if they exist), will glean many new tidbits and interesting factoids for sure. This book was written 3 years after JWG was convicted in 1980, by the man who not only personally conducted the investigative work uncovering all the murders....he was ALSO the Prosecutor at his trial. Now thats first hand information!

Obviously, yes it IS filled with graphic details...but how else can you tell the story of one man killing 32 boys and living with their rotting corpses right under his floor - and NOBODY knew? Wife(s), family, friends, etc coming and going all the time? Yeaaa.

Worth that credit! Dont let the REAL crime be you not getting this!

32 people found this helpful

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  • 6catz
  • 2018-01-16

The horror, the horror

Well written account by the man who prosecuted John Wayne Gacy, unrepentant POS serial murderer and poster boy for the death penalty. The investigation is fascinating, the killings are truly ghastly and gut-churning, and the trial affirms one’s belief in the justice system. Like other readers, I am not in favor of the death penalty in most cases simply because mistakes can be made that can never be righted. However I’m starting to think that there needs to be a different set of rules for the Gacys and the Bundys of the world. The narrator is a tad dreary, but that may be a good thing when the tale so disturbing. Overall: very good read, but bring a strong stomach.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Tinkerbell
  • 2018-01-15

Compelling and gruesome

I lived in the Chicago area during the time of the murders but tuned out the details. When I started the book I did not realize the extent of this horrific crime. Did I finish it? I did but I’d recommend it with eyes wide open. It’s not an easy read/listen as many details are given.

10 people found this helpful

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  • VC
  • 2018-05-26

Still Shocking

Even after all these years, these murders are still shocking and incredibly sad to hear. This book was a wonderful examination of the investigation that also offers a narrative of the young men whose lives were ended by a psychopath. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and felt it was well worth the time.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rob
  • 2018-04-03

Half of it was good !

i enjoyed the first half of this book. i bought it to hear about the Gacy murders, etc... This book is apparently written by a member of the prosecution team for the trial, and the book sort of became about him somewhere after the halfway point. I do not know who he is and was not interested in his personal story, so the book sort of lost steam for me. But the first half is excellent!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kat
  • 2018-02-13

Soooo Many Details

This book was super hard to get through. There were a few parts of the story that were engaging but mostly it was incredibly tedious. The author begins the book when Gacy is suspected of having to do something with a boy's disappearance. Cops are assigned to tail him. Gacy knows about the tail, which results in cops and Gacy eating dinner together & having cocktails. Very bizarre. But, the author goes on for at least 1/3 of the book about the cops that were tailing Gacy. Every single place watched, drink had, steak eaten and how fast everyone drove was described. A cop spills some coffee on his pants. Somehow, this incident is supposed to stand in for some sort of drama in the story. (It does not.) When this part of the story concludes, it turns out it only went on for 13 days! What? The endless details made it seem as if this was happening for 6 months.
Parts of the trial were somewhat interesting. The epilogue was beyond sappy, wistful and repetitive.
The narrator did not help this story, either. I had to speed it up slightly. He sounded like Eeyore and Walter Cronkite had a love child.
"And...that'sh the way it ishz."
Do not recommend

21 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • 2018-06-20

Too Much Needless Detail

Didn't think a story about this subject could be boring. It was. Too much detail.

6 people found this helpful