Mama's Boy: The True Story of a Serial Killer and His Mother

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9780451407481: Mama's Boy: The True Story of a Serial Killer and His Mother

Updated for the paperback version, the story of serial murderer Eric Napoletano recounts how his mother, Carolyn, used blackmail, bullying, and a Ponzi scheme to help her killer son elude capture. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The freakish tale of wife-killer Eric Napoletano and the mother who protected him from the police. Napoletano was reared in New York City by his racist mother, Carolyn, and a smarmy hustler he referred to as ``Uncle Al.'' Al and Carolyn disliked each other but doted on Eric, a surly youth with a taste for Hispanic and black women, those his mother hated most. Napoletano's victims--a girlfriend, a mother-in-law, and his second wife--were murdered with great savagery, and it's clear from phone records and witnesses cited by Pienciak (Murder at 75 Birch, 1992, etc.) that Al and Carolyn knew about the killings. Napoletano, a onetime trucker, dumped the mutilated bodies of his girlfriend and wife along rural roads near New York. He simply shot his mother-in-law in the street. His mother worked for the NYPD and managed to destroy records and files pertaining to her son's crimes. The story is bizarre, and the players uniquely evil, but the narrative is curiously dry and frequently dull. The details of the crimes are vague since Pienciak gives only the most cursory explanations of how they were carried out. It's clear that Eric's sadism had something to do with events in his childhood, but no theories about its origins are offered, and the details given here of Eric's trial for the murder of his wife are hopelessly muddled. The book works best in the brief sections where we are given Carolyn's own corrosive words, which do tell us concretely about these hideous lives. Pienciak's sarcastic tone, from the book's title to his mockery of Carolyn's appearance, repeatedly disrupts the narrative, which never adequately explains what happened, or why. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Pienciak (Deadly Masquerade) details the terrible and simultaneously pathetic story of a young man the FBI described as "a sexually sadistic serial killer" and the mother who protected him. Carolyn Napoletano is bossy, arrogant, and warped. Her son, Nick, appears weak and inept but harbors a deep rage against Carolyn and her treatment of him. His anger has exploded into at least three brutal murders, beginning with the 1984 killing of his girlfriend. Police suspected Nick immediately but couldn't gather sufficient proof. In 1991, Nick became the prime suspect in the disappearance of his wife, and it's at this point that police began to uncover how Carolyn had shielded Nick. An administrative assistant for the NYPD, she tampered with police memos, evidence, and witnesses related to Nick's murder investigations. In spite of substantial proof to the contrary, she still maintains her innocence. Thankfully, Nick--her creation--is now in prison. Brian McCombie

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