By September 18, 2010 1 Comments Read More →

Reading the Screen: The Ice Man

ice-manAccording to this story at comingsoon.net, Mickey Rourke has been cast to  play Richard Kuklinski, a brutal killer-for-hire who, in the seventies and eighties, was the main go-to guy for organized-crime types who needed someone rubbed out. Rourke is, I think, perfect for the part.

If you’re not familar with the Kuklinski story, you should check out Philip Carlo’s excellent 1996 book, The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer.  It’s based on more than 200 hours of interviews with Kuklinski (who earned the nickname “Ice Man” after he froze a victim’s body to conceal the time of death), and it’s a gripping portrait of a man who was both a vicious killer and a devoted — if sometimes cruel — family man.

True crime, as a literary genre, doesn’t have a great reputation. That’s most because so much of it is pretty awful: quickie paperbacks cranked out by hacks. But the genre also has some fine writers:  Ann Rule, Carlton Smith, Robert Graysmith, Harold Schechter, Jack Olsen.

And Philip Carlo, whose The Ice Man is compelling and haunting. Do yourself a favor: don’t wait for the movie.

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