Books by John Driver

Released: Nov. 9, 1994

In a tawdry account, Barbara Kuklinski describes 25 years of abuse at the hands of her husband, a convicted New Jersey hit man who claims to have killed dozens of times. Driver, formerly a producer of TV's America's Most Wanted, splices segments from his prison interviews of hit man Richard Kuklinski with the reminiscences of his wife, Barbara. Claiming that she ``made a career out of not asking'' her husband questions, Barbara Kuklinski recalls that in 1960, when she was 19 and dating Richard, she learned that he was already married and had two children. She tried to break up with him, but he changed her mind by cutting her with a knife. Later, when she was pregnant with their child, he knocked her out for kissing her own father hello. As she describes such incidents and the later violence and terror to which he subjected her and their three children during their marriage, Barbara reiterates that Richard was often generous and kind, that there was ``a good Richard and a bad Richard.'' A pool hustler, petty criminal, and porno-film dealer in his early 20s, Richard claims that he ``connected'' with ``wiseguys'' he'd played poker with and began working as a collector, ``a reliable independent contractor.'' He says he'd already killed someone by the time he was 17 (Driver substantiates precious few of Richard's jailhouse boasts). He describes killing several men using a variety of methods (``I can't even remember them all''). He also hints that he killed Roy DeMeo, ``a Gambino crew boss,'' and that the hit was `` an unnamed organized crime figure.'' He's serving four 30-year sentences in Trenton (N.J.) State Prison. This portrait of an ugly marriage and a brutal, bullying sociopath is about as insightful as an afternoon talk show. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour) Read full book review >