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Deadly Charm
The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer

McCay Vernon and
Marie Vernon

May 2010

Reviews: Publishers Weekly, SIGNews
  $18.95 (t) paperback, ebook

From SIGNews

Deadly Charm was written by McCay Vernon and Marie Vernon. From the day he was born, Patrick McCullough faced hardships and reacted with untendered anger. His mother, a soon-to-be-divorced military wife, was late to realize that he was deaf and never learned how to handle his outbursts. Eventually, she abandoned him by petitioning for him to be a ward of the state. Stints in mental institutions and dismissals from several schools punctuated the rest of McCullough’s early years. Despite this severe childhood, no one could have predicted the outcome of his life described in Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer.

       He is the first and only deaf man ever to be identified as a serial killer. McCay Vernon’s personal encounters with him both in and out of prison add an authoritative tone to this psychological probe of a man with a volcanic anger and an inability to accept rejection. Despite his IQ of 120, McCullough’s relatively late diagnosis of deafness impeded his development of language skills and trapped in a silent world. Already unmanageable as a three-year-old, McCullough went on to spend time in mental institutions and seven years in prison for two murders committed in the 1980s. His tragic life ended in 2001 with a murder-suicide. Unlike most serial killers, McCullough did not kill for sexual pleasure but because of his rage and inability to accept rejection. Drawing on a range of sources from court records to interviews with McCullough’s friends, the authors provide a disturbing portrait of a typical serial murderer.

       Authors McCay and Marie Vernon present a compelling story about McCullough, a strikingly handsome man with a winning personality. His charm was endearing, but his incendiary temper resulted in increasing aggression and abuse. Eventually, he was convicted for the murder of two men. Yet, McCullough served only seven years in prison. Once free again, he resumed his pattern of sweetness and mayhem. He beguiled sympathetic women whom he later abused and stalked. Finally, his rage ended up in a rise of destruction. Deadly Charm depicts a deaf serial killer driven by frustration and violence and leaves much to consider. Perhaps his vicious impulses could have been abstained if his time in mental institutions had been more productive than his time in prison.

       I could not put the book down when I started to read it. It is just a good book with details. I cannot imagine myself having a childhood like Patrick did. Being rejected is no fun. Anyone does not like being rejected for sure. I am sure that his outbursts and possessive personality was due to his rejection in his life. I can see that he was afraid to lose someone. I hope to see that book being made into a movie. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

McCay Vernon was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at McDaniel College and a homicide forensic expert in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Marie Vernon is a freelance writer in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

ISBN 978-1-56368-443-2
256 pages. 5½ x 8½. 22 photographs.
$18.95 (t)

ISBN 978-1-56368-448-7