Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - The Want-Ad Killer

The Want-Ad Killer
The WantAd Killer
Author: Ann Rule
After his first grisly crime, Harvey Louis Carignan beat a death sentence and continued to manipulate, rape, and bludgeon women to death--using want ads to lure his young female victims. — And time after time, justice was thwarted by a killer whose twisted legal genius was matched only by his sick savagery. — Here, complete with the testimony of w...  more »
Info icon
ISBN-13: 9780451166883
ISBN-10: 0451166884
Publication Date: 9/1/1983
Pages: 286
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 121 ratings
Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I wish she would have written this one later in her career as the book would have been even more detailed. Nonetheless, it is a story that can make the hair on your neck prickle from the absolute evil in some people.
gigi avatar reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 355 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Only 229 pages long, but this true story of a brutal man who rapes and bludgeons women to death, along with 8 pages of photos, makes for a good read if you like Ann Rule.
reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book scared the pants off of me
reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Creepy, creepy, creepy.
CodiAvonSales avatar reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I love true stories this one did not disappoint me .....a true crime story based in Anchorage Alaska..a crime that began in Washington state that began in the summer of 1957....about one of the most savage sex killers of our time...
Read All 26 Book Reviews of "The WantAd Killer"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 72 more book reviews
This book was written in a way that made it seem like a fictional story. Unfortunitly the events in the book actually took place. Sad but excellent. Gave me nightmares. Very quick read
reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on
This is a decent book from Ann Rule. Nothing like any of her current work, as this book was originally written in 1983 and her work has improved by leaps and bounds since then.
However, don't let this stop you from reading the book, it's a chilling story of a man with no conscious, no concern and a lust for terrorizing young girls. It will truly make you look at "want ads" a little differently.
reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 37 more book reviews
Rule is wonderful!!! This story hit a little closer to home as a lot of it took place in my state of Minnesota!!
jjares avatar reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 3254 more book reviews
This is an earlier Ann Rule novel, before the time of fancy forensics and DNA. Harvey Carignan was apprehended in 1974, and this book was first published in 1983. Ann Rule molded the true crime novel into what it is today. Her careful attention to detail and explanation of the victim's feelings evokes sympathy and compassion in the reader. Perhaps the author chose this title because it was catchy, but most of Harvey Carignan's victims were opportunistic, not solicited by the newspaper.

Harvey considered himself to be brilliant and far more intelligent than any policeman. He ensured his victims were found in different areas of the state (Minnesota) or other states so his trail would be hard to trace. He knew various police departments had limited interaction with each other (at that time). The book's first part explains Harvey Carignan's rageful and violent attacks on women. Some of the descriptions are absolutely unbelievable. It is stunning that a human could survive such punishment. Then, the author takes readers through the trials.

Minnesota law limits a person's incarceration to 40 years. During the second trial (for additional crimes), the judge complained (!) that Carignan had already been convicted and sent to prison for 30 years, so what was the point of spending the money to heap more time when the limit would be another ten years?

The prosecutor explained that the purpose was two-fold. The victims needed to have their day in court, and when Carignan came up for parole, having multiple sentences would give parole boards pause before they decided to release the man. However, the second jury gave Carignan another 30 years in prison!

The third trial for the death of Eileen Hunley (whose only crime was trying to lead him into religion and deciding that she did not want to be his girlfriend anymore) ended in a conviction. Now he had a prison sentence of a total of 100 years plus life. Unfortunately, they would run concurrently; he could seek parole after 17 years. The Minnesota Supreme Court listened to his appeal in 1977 but unanimously upheld Carignan's conviction.

It is unknown precisely how many women Harvey killed. The range offered is between three and more than five. This book recounts five murders (and convictions) and more than three violent attacks. However, it is expected that there were more that were never found. Incredibly, Harvey Carignan is still alive today. He is 95 years old and still in a Minnesota maximum-security prison.
reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 19 more book reviews
This is a scary tale and should be read as a precaution by every teenager. Goes to show that trusting strangers is not the thing to do. Very well written and highly recommend this book.
wallyngina avatar reviewed The Want-Ad Killer on + 4 more book reviews
I love a good Ann Rule book. Greeat account of what happened to these women. Very sad, but at least justice was served. Although I am sure not enough for the families. I wanted to reach in the book and hurt this sick man. For some reason I was drawn in this book for the plight of the women.