The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man’s Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World’s Most Terrifying Killers

Pete Earley. Touchstone, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9902-2

Tony Ciaglia’s life changed forever when a traumatic brain injury at 15 left him uninhibited and struggling to control his temper and emotions. Searching for a way to connect, Tony turned to the unlikeliest of pastimes: writing letters to serial killers. Edgar winner Earley (Comrade J) intersperses Tony and his family’s continuing struggles to adjust to life as a TBI survivor with excerpts from Tony’s pen-pal correspondence. While he received letters from over 30 killers, his primary communications were with Arthur Shawcross, Joseph Metheny, and David Gore. Shawcross and Metheny describe in lurid detail the pleasure they derived in raping, torturing —and often eating—their prostitute victims. Tony’s brain injury made it impossible for him to judge the convicts’ heinous actions and the closer he became to his “best friends,” the more convinced Tony became that he could help bring closure to families by drawing out details from the killers about unsolved cases. While Tony’s recovery story is inspiring, the sheer amount of graphic sexual sadism and violence is overwhelming: the warning “not for the faint of heart” is an understatement. (Jan.)