The Ice Man Book Analysis

TheIce Man Book Analysis


TheIce Man Book Analysis

Thereis crime non-fiction written by the world’s most renowned authors’,but “The Ice Man” is the most disturbing book I have ever read.The likes of Richard Kuklinski are without a doubt the sort of personyou don’t want living next door. You can justify someone’sbehavior because of harsh and hard upbringing. However, even as thisfrom time to time develops the making of some people, it canapparently turn out to be the destruction of others. Philip Carlo,the author of “The Ice Man,” takes us on a journey through theeyes of one of the most horrifying and successful killers of alltimes. Undoubtedly, there have been others, who have been accountablefor the deaths of countless numbers, in times of war or massatrocities. Nonetheless, all of Kuklinski’s killing sprees were oneon one – hand to hand and face to face. This man is a psychopath.Some were killed because he took a personal dislike to them, othersbecause they had caused him offense. The vast majority were killedbecause he was a professional hit man. The Ice Man book is a work ofnon-fiction with numerous cases of murder thus falling in the genreof true crime. It is undeniable that Philip Carlo detail-driven diveinto Richard Kuklinski world brings out the real monster thatKuklinski was. The book draws the reader into the criminal’s mindand provides grist for those attempting to understand the nature ofcold-hearted killers who kill for no good reason. It is a readablebook and interesting for that matter a few chapters, and you getdrawn into the book. This analysis paper focuses on RichardKuklinski, a prolific contract killer who led a double life as adevoted father on one side and a notorious professional assassin onthe other side. Also, the paper offers a comparison between PhilipCarlos work and that of other non-fiction crime authors.

Afterreading the introduction of The Ice Man, one is left convinced thatRichard Kuklinski was destined to become a cold-hearted criminal whotook pleasure in killing. We are told that both his parent wereabusive, his father, in particular, was a drunkard who beat hischildren senseless for no reason. He was so violent that he killedhis first born son. The mother too having being raised in anorphanage also took to beating the children after the father leftwith another woman. There is humor in the manner the writer describesthe father: at one point the writer states that the father slappedKuklinski for saying hi to him in the morning(CARLO,2012).We see a twisted sense of humor also when Kuklinski was attacked bythe two brothers and manages to escape rushes home for safety only tofind his father waiting for him. The beating he gets from his fatherforces him to run out and face the two boys. The society was no lesskind to the young Kuklinski he was bullied at school and in theneighborhood. Even at the church where he took catechism classes thenuns were always picking on him whenever he tried to be funny. At onepoint a nun was beating him with a metallic ruler and when heretaliated he was taken in the priest office and given a thoroughbeating. It wasn’t long after this that he started taking pleasurein killing and making stray dogs and cats suffer before killing them.His hobby was reading crime magazines that nurtured him into becomingthe criminal that he becomes later in life. Killing Charley Lanemarked the beginning of a journey for Kuklinski, a journey that wouldsee the killing of more than 200 people.

Thebook “Telling True Stories” by Matthew Ricketson plays a crucialrole in interpreting and explaining the work done by non-fictionnarrative authors. According to him, a strong narrative can bringabout change in the manner people think. Telling true stories is whatmakes people human and the task of bringing pieces together to comeup with a true story with real people committing the real crime andmurders is not easy. In his book, Mathew discloses the techniquesused by some of the best writers toproduce memorable, authentic and vibrant writing. Without a doubt,this analysis on The Iceman has borrowed a lot from Matthew Ricketsonbook in comparing between the writing of the different authorsmentioned in this paper.

ComparingThe Ice Man to OtherNon-fictionCrimeStories

Incomparing the work of the following writers Philip Carlos, Capote,Helen Garner, Nicholas Pileggi, Gene Mustain &amp Jerry Capeci,Michael Franzese, Michael MacDonald, Selwyn Raab one thing is commonbetween them that conducting research on true crime is a messieraffair. However, in the able hands of these brilliant writers themayhem, science, psychology and the true specter of violence iselevated to literary art. The authors write the novels in an unbiasedmanor, separating themselves from the story they are writing. It`sonly after reading their work does the reader understands theinvestment they put in bringing the pieces together to give trueaccounts of criminals and their lives. The common themes in TheIceman and the rest eight non-fiction crime books are law, religion,human nature, and murder.

Tosustain the tone, it is clear that the author of The Ice Man PhilipCarlos managed to do so by letting the reader remain in tension aboutwhat was going to take place next. For instance when Kuklinski killedfor his first mafia boss Roy DeMeo, given the historical backgroundof Roy DeMeo and his pack vicious killers from Gambino crime familythe reader is curious as to what happens next. Do we see te same inother non-fiction novels? Yes, this is a common style of writers tokeep the reader glued to the book to the end. For instance in murdermachine we find suspense in wanting to know who would kill Roy DeMeoand who did it.

Incomparing the characters, Kuklinski horrific childhood took away anyhumanity that he might have had. As a reader knowing the viciouskiller, Kuklinski was in real life we are forced to sympathise withthe tragedy he went through as a child. No child would emotionallyhave survived, and neither did he and through this fascinating studythe reader gets an opportunity to enter a psychopath mind and compareit to the criminals during his time, those before him and those thatcome after him. Thewriter depicts the character of Richard Kuklinski as that of supervillain. Philip Carlos masterfully brings out the character ofKuklinski as the murder that he is and develop the plot in such amanner that event surrounding the main character fall into placeuniformly from the time he was young to his life as an adult.

Comparing“The Ice Man” to “The House of Grief” by Helen Garner we cansee a few similarities between the two protagonists one of them beingthe fact that they were both cold-hearted killers who took lifewithout any remorse. The differences between the characters in thetwo books have Kuklinski had a code that killing children and womenwere off limit. On the other hand, we find that Robert Farquharsonhad no problem killing children regardless of the fact that they werehis blood (Garner,2014). There is little comparison between Kuklinski and the maincharacter in Nicholas Pileggi book the “Wise Guy” apart from thefact that they both worked for mafia bosses. However, the differencesare huge first Kuklinski was forced into crime by circumstances andnot by choice while Henry Hill fantasies as a young boy led him tojoin mafia gangs (Pileggi,1990).Henry turned on his former bosses to receive state immunity and hadthe support of his wife in most of his criminal activities that werenot the case with Kuklinski when he went down he went down alone.When it comes to mafia crime story, Kuklinski life as a mafiaassassin is a tip of the iceberg compared to Roy DeMeo and his packof the vicious Gambino crime family. The Family is said to havekilled more than two hundred people who mostly were fellow criminals.The book “Murder Machine” by Gene Mustain &amp Jerry Capecigives an account of Gambino crime family under the leadership RoyDeMeo(2011).A link is provided between this book and Philip Carlos book “TheIce Man” on who killed Roy DeMeo if not his men. From Kuklinskiconfession, we learn that he was the actual murder. The irony beingthe fact that Roy DeMeo was the man who introduced Richard Kuklinskito the mafia crimes as his assassin.

BloodCovenant is one of the most thrilling book writing by a former mobboss Michael Franzese. The difference between this book and TheIceman by Philip Carlos is the fact that the protagonist decides totake a new leaf after he meets his wife. The contrast between the twomain characters in both books is that one is willing to repent andchange from his old ways that Michael Franzese while as on the otherhand Richard Kuklinski shows no remorse for his action (Franzese,2003). The main character in “All Souls” by Michael PatrickMacdonald is a contrast of Richard Kuklinski. Unlike Kuklinski, whoembraced the culture of crime, MacDonald managed to escape from thiskind of life despite growing up a neighborhood full of criminal. AllSouls is more or less like a dedication to those who didn’t survivein Irish ghetto of South Boston (Macdonald,1999). The five families is another thrilling non-fiction story thatclosely compare with “The Iceman” based on the fact that RichardKuklinski worked for the mafia families. The Five Families by SelwynRaab give an account of the rise and fall of the families (2013)..The comparison between the book and The Iceman is that both arecharacterized by numerous deaths.

Weaknessesand Strengthof The IceMan

Thewriter managed to evoke compassion from the reader for RichardKuklinski despite the fact that he was a killer. The tone used inthis novel also shows strength in that it manages to create interestand grips the curiosity of the reader. Nevertheless, the book isrepetitive on various chapters making the reader feel like he isre-reading the same chapter. The book is contradicting to known factsfor instance which actually killed Roy DeMeo while as the book claimsKuklinski did, there are rumors that Roy men killed him. Whileanother claim, it was the cops that did it. Nevertheless, to some thebook may appear to be half-baked based on the fact that it has nocitation.

Allin all, Philip Carlos has managed to offer insight into the life ofthe monster that was Richard Kuklinski. However, his punch lineleaves a lot to be desired his sentiment for Kuklinski are unfoundedand sound offensive to family members of the victims he killed.Ending the book with rest in peace Richard Leonard Kuklinski is goinga bit too far considering that Kuklinski was a cold-hearted monsterwho enjoyed making his family, friends, and enemies suffer.


CARLO,P. (2012). Theice man: confessions of a Mafia contract killer.(Sydney)HarperCollinsPublishers

GARNER,H. (2014). Thishouse of grief : b the story of a murder trial.Melbourne, Australia.Print

PILEGGI,N. (1990).WiseGuy.

MUSTAIN,G., &amp CAPECI, J. (2011). Murdermachine.London, Ebury.

FRANZESE,M. (2003). Bloodcovenant: the Michael Franzese story.New Kensington, PA., Whitaker House.

MACDONALD,M. P. (1999). Allsouls a family story from Southie.Boston, Beacon Press.

Ricketson,M. (2014). Tellingtrue stories: Navigating the challenges of writing narrativenon-fiction.Crows Nest, NSW: Allen &amp Unwin.

RAAB,S. (2013). Fivefamilies the rise, decline, and resurgence of america`s most powerfulmafia empires.New York, St. Martin`s Press.