Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Editor reviews

Judge Sam L. Amirante and Danny Broderick’s John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster is an unforgettable work, a rare chilling glance behind the scenes of a universally well-known story, that of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Amirante and Broderick, Gacy’s public defender, have constructed a gripping work that not only reveals for the first time new facts about one of America’s most infamous killers, but grapples with great questions of humanity, including the question of what it means to deserve defense - even if your crimes are as great as Gacy’s. Actor Robin Bloodworth’s performance is emotionally powerful and well-paced, and he excels especially at emphasizing those new elements of Gacy’s story which make this audiobook a must-listen.

Summary

For the first time Gacy’s lawyer and confidant tells his chilling tale of how he defended an American serial killer.

“Sam, could you do me a favor?”

Thus begins a story that has now become part of America's true-crime hall of fame. It is a gory, grotesque tale befitting a Stephen King novel. It is also a David and Goliath saga - the story of a young lawyer fresh from the public defender's office whose first client in private practice turns out to be the worst serial killer in our nation's history. This is a gripping true crime narrative that reenacts the gruesome killings and the famous trial that shocked a nation.

©2012 Sam L. Amirante and Danny Broderick (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible writing

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I thought this book was for me. I wanted to get some insight into what would cause a man to kill 33 teenagers. Instead I had to listen to the authors long winded essay for an English 101 course (make that English 98 course).

What was most disappointing about Sam L. Amirante and Danny Broderick ’s story?

They moved away from the story. There were more accounts about bar room brawls, the flowing black gown of the judge and his glistening glasses. I had to stop listening because I'm sure a sex scene by the author would emerge.

What character would you cut from John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster?

The author who interjects himself into horrible story and poorly tries to make himself the author of the century, rather than writing about one of Americas worst serial killer. I could care less that you were the one that drank only 1 beer on a night out, and that the reporter was asleep during the brawl. What in the heck does that have to do with John Wayne Gacy!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bizarre

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes. No. Yes. It's absurd.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

That the author is more insane than John Wayne Gacy. So self congratulatory it's unreal, similar anecdotes over and over, never stopping to remind you of their (attorneys') popularity and fame, their preparedness for the case, how they were always getting one over on other people. It reads like Alan Partidge had written it. I genuinely began to feel sorry for John Wayne Gacy.

Very little about the victims themselves and who they were. It's mostly about John Wayne Gacy, then pretty much the attorneys.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

A bit drawn out.

Do you think John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

The author's should never be allowed to write again.

Any additional comments?

I really don't recommend it as a piece of work but it's so odd that it's worth listening to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

First part - great. Second part - dull

Definitely a book of two halves. The first describing Gacy's lifestyle, crimes and capture is fascinating though clearly somewhat embellished in places (ie, he tells us what some of the victims were thinking!). The second half of the book concerns Gacy's trial and rather than focus on the detail of the case, there is far too much spiel about the various lawyers' personalities and the legal technicalities of the trial. It really falls down when the author repeatedly harps on about how the American Justice System is the best in the world, and even claims at one point it was only because it was so good Gacy was convicted. This, despite earlier detailing how Gacy at one point confessed his crimes to almost anyone who happened to be passing his cell!

4 people found this helpful

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

Author's tone grated throughout

I was hoping for a lot more from this book. The author's tone grated on me throughout, particularly his gleeful recounting of horrendous behaviour towards one witnesses and fairly callous comments about others. Didn't really feel I got much insight.

The narrator is fine, but I didn't understand why his "narrating accent" and that of the same character speaking to others were different.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Degrading, sexist, homo/ transphobic TERRIBLE

Horrified that the author of this book should have ever been allowed in a court of law - doesn't say much for the American justice system, the reputation of which preceedes itself.
The description of women, of mental illness, of gay/ trans men and women is at first amusing in its nonesense and antiquity but increasingly grates as the book continues. By the time I got to the trial, I just couldn't listen anymore.
This book is self-serving, self-congratulatory, inaccurate and bigoted - if you want the facts of the case, you'd be better served by Wikipedia.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lots of new information

I am a huge fan of learning about serial killers, and what makes them do it and this book is great. There is a lot of information I hadn't previously heRd, so it was great for me. I loved hearing the court process as well. I really enjoyed my learning experience through this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerising

I didn't know a lot of the details of the case, the first couple if chapters are mesmerising as it describes the final murder and events leading to his arrest. Great book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

less about Gacy than I'd hoped

not a bad listen, although the narrator does try to affect character voices on occasion, which is pretty embarrassing. Not as much on Gacy's as I thought there might be - focuses almost solely on Rob Piest, I know very little about his other victims, or the details on what led to their deaths, and, confusingly, seems to be little on the trial too. I mean, I kind of enjoyed the listen, but came away with very extra knowledge on the case at all 🤔

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

First page to last, its excellent. It will make you shout out loud in agreement or dissaprovement.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brisk pace and fascinating

Compelling and addictive, although the lawyer who wrote it sometimes comes across as a self-aggrandising d-bag and the reader is a bit OTT sometimes with the dramatics. Nevertheless, this is brisk and enlightening listen.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A.R.
  • A.R.
  • 03-03-13

Ultimately an excellent listen

This audiobook ultimately rated 4 stars, although I did have some issues with it. However for the most part I was enthralled by the narrative of Gacy's defense lawyer's quest to give his client a fair trial. Most of it was extremely well written, and both interesting and engaging, even for someone familiar with this case. I found myself more interested in the defense lawyer's experiences than I would have expected. It is a bit of a shame that only a couple of murders were dealt with in any detail, although one senses that the authors wanted to refrain from repeating what had been written many times before. The book could have done with some editing most notably the last 2 hours which almost exclusively dealt with the closing arguments of both defense and prosecution. This entire section could have been cut, and made me less enthusiastic about a full star review. Another point I found irritating was the constant repetition of the author's argument that Gacy deserved a fair trial. I thought that the authors made a rather convincing and elegant argument in the introduction, based on the American Constitution's insurance of a fair trial for everyone, no matter how repugnant (as Gacy was). But the authors return again and again to re-word this argument and it beleaguered the point. I couldn't help thinking: Sir, thou doth protest too much! However the absolute BEST thing about this audiobook was the standout performance given by Robin Bloodworth. His portrayal of Gacy's confession to his lawyers was outstanding and riveting. He must surely have studied Gacy's affectations as he nailed it perfectly. On the whole this was an excellent book, and well worth the listen. Recommended!

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kimbrena D. Cravens
  • Kimbrena D. Cravens
  • 30-08-20

Transphobia galore.

Just a quick content warning: the transphobic conversation during the trial is really quite gross.

Also not fond of the authors typical portal of women (bimbos, obsessed with soaps and various sexist POV)

The story of Gacy himself and the work leading up to the trial has been very captivating, though.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Veruka
  • Veruka
  • 02-05-14

Defense of a monster

What did you love best about John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster?
I really enjoyed the smooth tone of Robin Bloodworth, his voice was easy on the ears.

What was one of the most memorable moments of John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster?
The fact that we heard a pretty decent description of what it is like to defend someone so sick. I have always wondered how someone could take on a case like this and now I know. Did John Wayne Gacy deserve the best defense I don't know but in America this is what we pride ourselves on I guess.

Which scene was your favorite?
I cannot answer that question just relief there was no question on whether this guy was indeed guilty, that made it easier knowing he wouldn't walk away from the carnage he left behind.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
A lot of sadness for the parents that lost their sons to this sadistic four letter word.

Any additional comments?
I would feel compelled to justify my defense of a criminal such as Gacy if I had been his defense attorney. Glad he wrote a book, he seemed to be a reasonable enough guy someone had to do the job. I also have to say I am relieved this book did not cover to many gory details making the book stomach-able, when I purchased the book I was prepared to shut it off if it got to personal on the horrible details it was moderate on that level.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Douglas
  • Douglas
  • 10-03-14

After Having Read Many Books On Serial Killers...

I came to the one I had been avoiding. Given the nature of his crimes, I find Gacy to be the most disgusting of the disgusting, and even thinking about what he did is not easy. This book is not easy. But it is professional, reportorial, direct. There are, mercifully, no attempts at sensationalism or inflating the importance of the unspeakable evil that was Gacy.

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Some dude
  • Some dude
  • 17-06-13

It's never what you think

I thought this would go into more detail about the legal process, but it kind of skimmed over the trial. The book mainly talked about JWG's quirks and personality problems, which was interesting enough. It didn't get too much into the gory details, which I appreciated.

One thing I didn't like, the attorney writing this often paused to wrap himself in the American Flag and rhapsodize about the right to a fair trial- A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with, but he didn't need to beat it into the ground.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dan
  • Dan
  • 03-12-20

Some blatant transphobia in this one.

I was willing to put up with the author’s waxing poetic about the flawlessness of the American justice system for the first 9.5 hours until he recounted the story of his questioning of the witness Donita Gannon, in which he outed her as a trans woman in an attempt to discredit her testimony for the defense and insinuate to the jury that “her entire life was one big lie.” He explicitly states this intention in the book and stands by it. All in the name of defending a literal serial killer. I think maybe he should take society’s disdain for criminal defense lawyers a little bit more seriously.

All of that being said, the story was interesting enough. Good thing there’s a ton of other places you can go to hear it. I recommend picking a different book.

The narration was fine.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Greg Hansen
  • Greg Hansen
  • 17-05-16

Kind of drawn out

I gave this book an overall rate of 4 stars because the information in it was so good. However, when the authors start the trial part of the book, especially from the closing arguments & on, it felt extremely drawn out. It was almost like they needed the book to be a specific length & started stretching the end to meet that length. Overall still a very good book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Derek
  • Derek
  • 01-11-13

What a bizarre person.

Would you consider the audio edition of John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster to be better than the print version?

Robin Bloodworth's performance definitely sets the audio version apart from the print.

What other book might you compare John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster to and why?

Being my first listen of a serial killer I can't make that comparison.

What about Robin Bloodworth’s performance did you like?

Bloodworth's voices and accents allow the listener to distinguish between the characters. The voice of "Gacy" is chilling. This was Bloodworth's first performance in my library, it most certainly will not be the last. Incredible.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Wait for the DVD!

Any additional comments?

I was drawn in immediately upon starting the audio and I could not wait to turn it back on. After the trial began I found myself wanting to skip ahead. At times there are aspects of the trial that are redundant and mundane.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kimberlykate
  • Kimberlykate
  • 13-09-15

Don't let the description fool you

This book does not re-enact any of the killings, in fact it lacks the gory details we tend to find in most books about the lives and deeds of serial killers. As someone who is fascinated by the psychology of these minds, I was truly looking forward to some insight from Gacy's 1st attorney. (One that Gacy himself would later refer to as inept).

This is typical attorney blah blah. There is very little insight into Gacy or the case, and a lot of self important blathering about a young attorney's first client. As the author himself writes in the postscript, there is nothing in this book that hasn't been said somewhere else so he is not violating privilege. There are in fact many more other published pieces that focus more on Gacy, the crimes, and his personality than this book. I kept waiting for it to get better, to hear something shocking, or revealing......and it never happened. I found myself running details of the crimes gathered from other sources over the narration of this book because it was so lacking in detail.

It comes off being a self important missive by a braggart about his first case, which oddly enough, is the same way he referred to Gacy. Funny don't you think?

The only redeeming quality to this book is the authors open mindedness regarding homosexuality. That it is not a choice, but a defect in the body / brain wiring. Ie Right person wrong body. Sadly, that is the only thing I found redeeming about this book.

If you want a more accurate insight into Gacy, read The Serial Killer Whisperer, though be warned, you can't unhear that book and it is truly frightening.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Books on tape
  • Books on tape
  • 24-07-14

Below average.

What disappointed you about John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster?

Sadly what could have been an engrossing true crime book turned out to be a below average attempt on the part of the author. I was immediately annoyed with the insertion of what Gacy's last victim was thinking minutes before he was murdered... really? How did the author come up with the thoughts of the poor victim? I thought this was a true crime book, not historical fiction. I was also put off by the amount of bleeding heart preaching done on the part of the author (Gacy's attorney). What more can be expected from a Chicago trial lawyer? Though there was some new light shed in this book, the overall performance left much to be desired.

Has John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Would you be willing to try another one of Robin Bloodworth’s performances?

Perhaps. But, I have to admit that it seemed more appropriate to hear "This is a Librivox recording", rather than, "This is Audible". There were some distracting long pauses in the middle of sentences and then an ejaculatory finishing of the sentence, for example... "The detectives walked across........THE STREET". This sort of thing was a real bother at first but I got used to it after a few hours.

What character would you cut from John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster?

John Wayne Gacy. It would have been better if he'd never been born.

Any additional comments?

The book wasn't complete trash, but it was a big disappointment.

11 people found this helpful