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The Night Stalker

The Life and Crimes of One of America's Deadliest Killers
Narrated by: Jeff Harding
Length: 22 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, True Crime
4.5 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)

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Summary

Twenty-five years after Richard Ramirez left 13 dead, paralysing the city of Los Angeles, his name is still synonymous with fear, torture, and sadistic murder. Philip Carlo's US best seller The Night Stalker, based on three years of meticulous research and extensive interviews with Ramirez, reveals the killer and his horrifying crimes to be even more chilling than anyone could have imagined.

From watching his cousin commit murder at age 11 to his 19 death sentences to the juror who fell in love with him, the story of Ramirez is a bizarre and spellbinding descent into the very heart of human evil. Incredibly, after The Night Stalker was first published, thousands of women from all over the world started to contact Carlo, begging to be put in touch with the killer. Carlo began to interview them and, in this compelling new edition, presents their disturbing stories and the dark sexual desires that would drive them towards a brutal murderer.

Also, in an exclusive death-row interview, the killer himself gives his thoughts on the 'Ramirez Groupies' - and what he thinks they really want.

Philip Carlo was the author of the international best seller The Ice Man, as well as The Night Stalker, Gaspipe, and The Killer Within. He lived in New York until his death in November 2010.

©2011 Philip Carlo (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"With brutal honesty, Philip Carlo writes from the heart" (Robert De Niro)
"An astonishing portrait of a killer not seen since In Cold Blood" ( New York Daily News)
"An exceptionally well-told true crime tale" ( Publishers Weekly)
"The details are amazing, told from many points of view; very scary indeed" ( Los Angeles Times)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Lee
  • Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
  • 12-03-14

Excellent True Crime. Shocking and Insightful.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. It was horrifying at times but it would have done a disservice to the victims to attempt to soften Ramirez' vile acts. The writing moved along at a pace and a lot of it kept you on the edge of your seat but it never felt at the expense of detail.

What did you like best about this story?

The first part of the book, the investigation, that was fascinating and shocking. The second part, the court case, sagged a little due to the length of the trial but was still always fascinating.

What does Jeff Harding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He was excellent and brought a lot of heart to the reading. Parts of the book, like the trial, could have dragged with a lesser reader but he brought the whole thing to life, giving characters voices and personalities that really created a sense of you 'seeing' it happen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The crimes themselves were horrendous and hearing what he put people through and the repercussions throughout their families, was heartbreaking at times. Almost as shocking were the seemingly endless line of women who wanted to be with Ramirez, despite knowing what he'd done. That was a fascinating and quite disturbing insight into the human
psyche.

Any additional comments?

Excellent true crime, in depth, exciting, intriguing and expertly read and written. Highly recommended.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Dominic
  • KIDLINGTON, United Kingdom
  • 22-04-14

Starts well then heads down hill

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The first half is good but I have just skipped through most of the 2nd half. It is a blow by blow account of what happens in court - very boring!

Would you ever listen to anything by Philip Carlo again?

Yes, I have listened to a few of his books but this is very bloated.

What three words best describe Jeff Harding’s performance?

Clear, Concise and engaging

Do you think The Night Stalker needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no, it needs to be massively edited to 5 hours from the 20 hour bore it is now.

Any additional comments?

Shame, it just needs a good editor to keep the flow and excitement going.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Poorly written and poorly considered.

As someone who works in forensic psychology I thought this would be really interesting and informative. I was wrong and gave up on it after a while. Incredibly sensationalist writing that made me cringe continuously, exacerbated even further by the style of the narrator. The prologue where the author was so full of his own self importance was utterly embarrassing. Really odd and irritating how the author felt the need to describe the physical characteristics, weight and height of every single new individual introduced, and what elements of the females were attractive - which was done in a manner that felt particularly ill considered given the offences committed. Very badly written throughout and very dry indeed, which I would have thought impossible but apparently not. I didn’t make it past a few hours before I gave up on this, which I’ve never done before. It seems from other reviews that it gets even worse than what I heard. What a shame and how poorly considered an approach, with little thought it would seem for any of the individuals who were involved in any way. Would not recommend at all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Unnecessarily long

The first half of the book was interesting as it covered Richard's early life and crimes, however the second half gave an excessively detailed, repetitive and at times very boring account of everything that happened during the court proceedings

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ok, in parts

Dragged a little and not much insight into the mind of the serial killer, more a factual retelling of events

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Ruined by the narrator.

A comprehensive telling of an horrific story where, rarely for such books, the victims are given a voice.

The downside is the awful narration - what the he’ll is going on with him narrating women’s voices with some awful, patronising high pitched, weak tone?

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A Masterpiece

From the very start I was hooked! Living as I was for days with a Serial Killer and Rapist ........ I could not put this down! I went to bed with headphones and got up with headphones! It is superbly written and the narrator Jeff Harding made the character come to life! Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book!

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Brilliant

Really good book, there was just one part where he suddenly changed the subject and went on to speak about Richard's family and their upbringing, I think he went on for to long on that part, I didn't understand this, as the book is suppose to be about Richard and his life, but as soon as that bit passed I got straight back into it, overall I can't knock it and still give it a 5 star, brilliant book

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Fantastic narration

Totally recommend this book, the narrators voice really puts you in the story, ten out of ten.

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Another from Philip Carlo

Great listen with lots going on. Only down rated it slightly as the trail towards the end drags on too much.

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  • The Book Bandit
  • 19-01-19

I wasn’t sure what to expect...

...but I was impressed. There is so much detail and explanation from the author, and yet not in a way that glorifies the gruesome realities of Ramirez’s crimes. It made all the people involved truly human — so many times, my heart broke for total strangers who I suddenly felt like I knew. This is impressive to me because I come from a law enforcement/emergency services background, and so I’m used to remaining appropriately detached. I choose books like this because I want to understand the psychology of the psychopath, but Philip Carlo brought much more to this book than just that.

Parts of interviews with Ramirez were also included, which was a nice surprise. He confirmed the opinion I’ve developed of serial killers that they know exactly what they’re doing when they do it — they’re not “crazy” in sense of having lost control. There’s no diminished capacity — they do what they do because they like it.

I was really pleased with the narration, too. Jeff Harding is easy to listen to, as well as well-spoken. He also modified his voice accordingly so it’s easy to follow which character is speaking.

I learnt so much, and I’d definitely consider titles by this author and this narrator again in future.

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  • The book lover
  • 10-07-16

Insightful

I found this book very insightful and informative.

Only issue I have is when a male narrator turns his voice into a female voice. I know it's to make it as authentic as possible but it sounds annoying. But else the narrator did a good job

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  • Greg Cahl
  • 17-06-15

A great example of serial-killer true crime!

"The Night Stalker" by Philip Carlo is certainly one of the most detailed and exhaustively-researched works of true crime I have ever read. Of particular interest are his insights into Ramirez's character and the workings of the mind and motivations of this infamous killer. Very impressive!

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  • Robyn
  • 18-04-14

one of the best of this genre

Philip Carlo has structured this book in a most effective way - three parts, with an epilogue. Part 1 recounts the sequence of Ramirez's dreadful crimes and the victims and their families; Part 2 is the story of the Stalker himself and his family; followed by Part 3, the story of the trial. The epilogue features an interview with Ramirez. The book held my interest from start to finish, but I found the interview frustrating because Carlo didn't ask Ramirez the thing I most wanted to know: how Ramirez would have felt if someone had done to his mother or sister what he had done to his victims. The story of Ramirez's life does suggest that despite his God-fearing, hard-working, law-abiding parents, there were a lot of negative influences on his childhood and teen years which can be seen as contributing to the monster he became. In the end, I was left wondering whether anyone or anything could have, at any point in Ramirez's life prior to these crimes, steered him away from the course he took. The narrator does a great job, he is good with accents and voices, and has just the right voice for true crime.