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on November 15, 2009
The Craigslist Murders: A Novel is a flaming arrow into the dark heart of Manhattan's filthy rich, and also a sharp portrait of our culture's psychological health. Cullerton knows this milieu and her portrait is all in the details a la the New Journalism that stormed the Sixties. Perhaps it's no mistake that Cullerton's heroine, or rather anti-heroine, is named Charlotte Wolfe. This Charlotte -- as opposed to Tom Wolfe's recent, ridiculously dated I Am Charlotte Simmons -- is a true embodiment of her time, contemporary compulsions at war with distant ideals. And while she's murderously troubled, she's also amazingly sympathetic. This is not easy to do. The book flies cinematically, riffs ferociously, and then floats in moments of poetic contemplation and longing. Swift, sensational, The Craigslist Murders reads scathingly and emotionally true. A tour de force!
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on December 22, 2009
I read this gem of a book in one greedy gulp. Brenda Cullerton has created one of the great and unforgettable characters in any novel -- her Charlotte Wolf is a deliciously nasty piece of work, a complicated and believable mess of a woman, one of those villains you can't help loving and even rooting for. Go, Charlotte, go! Kill the bastards!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 27, 2012
Charlotte Woolf is an interior designer to the super rich of New York. She fends calls from women wanting to move their swimming pools ten feet so they don't obstruct views or who demand prison toilets in their libraries. Quite frankly, her clients are driving her to madness. During this wonderful book we are given glimpses of Charlotte's unhappy childhood - a terrible trauma that left her relationship with her mother shattered, as well as her current problems with work, men, her health and money. During her free time, Charlotte has an obsession with Craiglist - an online marketplace which I'm unfamiliar with, but which sounds something like ebay. Targeting women who are selling incredibly expensive goods, Charlotte finds solace in 'freeing' or 'releasing' these women from their lives. In other words, killing them. I have to say that rarely have I empathised with a murderess as much as I did in this book, which is, frankly, rather worrying! Some of Charlotte's clients were so awful that I could appreciate her desire to polish her poker and set out in search of retribution. The novel is great fun and you somehow hope that Charlotte will escape the downward spiral of hatred and disgust she has embarked on. This is a very original novel and I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to more from this talented author.
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on December 24, 2013
There's a tantalizing touch of irony in the title the Craigslist Murders, since this superbly-paced serial killer story takes place in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world among characters so rich they need neither to buy nor to sell anything through that internet flea market to get what they want. As written by Brenda Cullerton (a New York based writer for the interior design industry), this unconventional crime novel is an engrossing exercise in satire and psychology, set in the apartments and homes of investment bankers and models living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It's there that successful interior decorator Charlotte Wolfe looks through Craigslist ads trying to find ones placed by trophy wives selling luxury goods who she then kills with a poker. She claims she is liberating these women from their gilded cages and never steals more than a trinket from their luxurious homes. Charlotte's childhood memories with her cold, distant and status seeking mother factor into the book's darkly comic mood and complex emotional landscape; this is a book in which past and present are inseparably intertwined, and motivations remain rooted in the past, making it all the more interesting when buried truths are revealed. In addition to being a biting and caustically satirical portrayal of the Upper East Side and it's denizens, the Craigslist Murders includes some inside information on the world of interior decoration, like how to spot a fake antique, and many smart remarks about the way we live now like "Parents didn't know how to say 'no' anymore. They didn't dare. Only children did." This short, diverting novel, while it isn't the best serial killer book you'll ever read, has some funny and true things to say about the super super rich.
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on November 18, 2009
I loved "The Craiglist Murders." I never read Woolfe's, "I am Charlotte Simmons." I read about it, and couldn't stand the thought of it. I haven't read anything by Woolfe since "Bonfire of the Vanities." Woolfe is all facade, and never moves inward. I love Brenda Cullerton's writing, in the book, and in her blog ([...]), where I discovered her upon the recommendation of James Wolcott. At the heart of the satire is beauty. It is a sublime humanness. I think she captures this in what at first one thinks will be a procedural novel about a killer. The "of the moment" device of Craigslist; but this Charlotte is popping off the villains in the service of a wound so deep as to be forever open. She is functioning in a world of treachery, just waiting to be triggered. Loss, over and over. The coda/postscript, is funny and macabre. And perfect. I am a fan forevah. Oh, and there is a lollipop sucking UPS guy, and a sly nod to the Madoffs, and so many other New York characters make cameo appearances in the neighborhood. The neighborhood of Cullerton's finely observed Manhattan.
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VINE VOICEon July 5, 2011
Charlotte Wolfe is a successful decorator to the very rich of NYC's Upper East Side. She helps them spend millions on redecorating thing their various expensive properties, while they treat her like a therapist, whining about dealing with BBS- Birkin Bag Syndrome, like carpal tunnel from carrying those heavy expensive handbags, their cheating husbands, and ungrateful children. They buy and buy and are never happy. Charlotte hates them. One day while meeting one of these types of women who was selling something expensive on Craigslist, Charlotte snaps and kills her with a fireplace poker. It made her feel so good, that she becomes addicted to perusing Craigslist for items being sold by Upper East Siders, finding more women to kill. But with each kill, she comes closer to being caught.

This novel is satirical in nature but also goes further than that. Charlotte has a lot of pent up rage (obviously) and we learn about her childhood, growing up wealthy until her father made some bad investments. But Charlotte's mother was cruel and sadistic as she tried to make her daughter into the perfect little girl. Charlotte has few friends and is quite lonely. She has constant nightmares about her childhood.

Cullerton does a great job of describing all of the shallow, rich, elitists who go through money the way most of us go through water. Sadly, these people are all to real in life. I found myself rooting for Charlotte. One of her clients destroys a $15,000 toilet after catching one of the workers using it. Another is devastated over her husband cheating on her until he takes her on a very expensive and exclusive safari in Botswana. I almost wished Charlotte could kill her clients!

This was a quick, enjoyable read with a little more depth than I expected. Unless you are one of those Upper East Siders, I think you will find this book a good summer read.

my rating 4/5
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on December 13, 2009
Solace for all those lamenting the season finale of Dexter. Charlotte Wolfe takes up the cause following her own carefully cultivated code, ridding the world of serial social climbers. This is a funny, macabre, fast paced novel that captures the outrageous and ludicrous self-absorption of the super rich who mercilessly get their just reward.
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on July 5, 2011
"Charlotte had been getting away with murder for years. Most interior decorators-desecrators, she called them-got away with murder."

So opens the satirical murder spree through New Yorks Upper East Side.Wicked, delightfully evil and so much fun. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...or buy a fireplace poker and a yoga matt and join Charlotte in her quest. Both cynically funny and edge of the seat suspenseful reading. Probably the only crime story you'll read this year that involves a yoga matt, Birkin Bag Syndrome and Private Jet Neck Syndrome. You have to be filthy rich to get those afflictions. "It was almost funny, that the most selfish people on the planet did nothing but talk about empathy." And Charlotte Wolfe was moved to do something about it.

Charlotte is on a mission to rid the planet of these women that live in a world that mistook trend for truth, fame for faith and money for meaning. It was a land of the professional time-killer where a woman's only job was to amuse herself to death. Oh yeah. And to redecorate. So Charlotte hunts the women whose daughter think it is fashionable to have anorexia and shop lift books on Buddhism, freeing them from a useless and empty life as Charlotte sees it. She is doing them a favor.

"The Craigslist Murders" is such a fun read. A fresh voice in the world of crime fiction that I sincerely hope to hear more from.
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on January 12, 2010
Not that there is indeed someone running around killing annoying consumption-based idiots, but it is awfully fun to think that some people could pay for their bad moral taste.

Cullerton has a fine-honed sense of the absurd (the dinner party guest list alone is worth cracking open the covers), and she's touching on a fundamental flaw in our society in general. Do we really measure worth based upon "things" that we stuff into our houses, or wear on our feet? Are the monsters in her novel, moving their swimming pools (yes, swimming pools) while figuratively Rome burns, truly "victims"? Frankly, I cheered on the anti-heroine as she went about her calling, and the ending was pitch-perfect.

Fingers crossed that Cullerton decides to write a sequel. Surely there is more gold to be mined here.
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on November 18, 2009
I opened "Craigslist Murders" and was immediately pulled into Charlotte Wolf's world. I read through the night, fearful at times, but needing to know how Brenda Cullerton was going to seal Charlotte's destiny. It is a powerful book, its impact almost physically felt as one reads it. Charlotte is complex character .Her fragility and compassion are mixed with her judgmental violence in such a way that the reader cannot help but experience the conflicted feelings of revulsion and sympathy towards her. This complexity carries the story and keeps the reader fully engaged. With "Craigslist Murders" Brenda Cullerton has succeeded in weaving a scary, somewhat disturbing, but very compelling tale of murderous envy.
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