I wished I could stop, but I could not. I had no other thrill or happiness.

— Dennis Nilsen
rss feed icon

The Charming Drifter – Brian Lee Tucker


The Charming Drifter is a book about a gruesome serial killer that terrorized New York – Joel David Rifkin. The book was written by by Brian Lee Tucker, who was kind enough to give an exclusive interview for Twisted Minds’ readers. I hope you’ll enjoy this terrifying book that gives insight into his twisted mind as much as I did, and don’t forget to check the book out on amazon.com.


Rape, sodomy, strangulation, stabbing, murder, and dismemberment. So was some of Joel David Rifkin’s favorite “hobbies” that he inflicted on mostly drug addicted or alcoholic prostitutes from 1988 to 1993.

Brian Lee Tucker offers an inside look into the mind of one of the most vicious serial killers in New York history and a nightmarish glimpse into the final moments of his victim’s lives.

I see that most of your books are crime related. What is it that draws you to this twisted world of serial killers?

Brian Lee Tucker: I have always been amazed at how long these killers got away with their crimes before they were captured. You must admit, it doesn’t say much for our justice system or our law enforcement investigative techniques. Then again, believe it or not. A lot of these killers were highly intelligent, which gave them an advantage from the start. In answer to your question, I guess I wasn’t really drawn to this type of writing more than I was just intrigued by how smart some of these killers were. Then the choice to write these type of books – and making a living doing it – just naturally followed.

How did you feel while writing this book? Did you at any time while you were doing a research on Joel David Rifkin felt like you could understand him?

Brian Lee Tucker: Well, when writing a book like this, I always try to place myself in the MIND of the killer in question, in order to see things from THEIR point of view, because the more you understand them, the more authentic your book will be. But no, at no time did I actually understand Rifkin; most serial killers are impossible to really understand, no matter how much you try to do so. Their mind is a deep, dark, desolate place that most of us wouldn’t WANT to understand.

Do you think that this kind of behavior is mostly caused by troubled childhood or you believe a person is just born with certain predisposition to act that way?

Brian Lee Tucker: I have heard that some criminal psychologists believe that some killers are born with a “killer gene” in their DNA, that causes them to eventually become a murderer. I myself don’t believe in that theory. I believe that at a certain age, you know right from wrong, and if you take another person’s life you should be punished for it. As far as a troubled childhood is concerned, I will admit that some of these killers – Henry Lee Lucas comes to mind – are born into a hellish world in their own home, whether it be their mother or father or both who abused them, molested them, etc., and that childhood trauma leads them to be dangerous outcasts in our society, that are prone to violent, often -times lethal behavior. All of us are born into this world normal, but some of us, unfortunately, are also turned into monsters through years of systematic abuse.

In the book you describe the killings in gruesome details, it’s hard to feel any empathy for Joel David Rifkin. Seems like he didn’t feel any remorse, do you think he realized what he did was wrong?

Brian Lee Tucker:: That’s one reason I described the acts in such gruesome detail; he deserved no empathy whatsoever. I wanted the reader to see what him for what he REALLY was; a heartless, remorseless, vicious killer. And he has stated in interviews that he knew what was doing was wrong, but didn’t care, mainly because most of his victims were drug-addicted prostitutes. But there were human beings. They didn’t deserve to die that way.

What would you describe as the main reason that he picked prostitutes for his victims? It seems to me that he didn’t feel hatred towards women in general.

Brian Lee Tucker: I think it was because he believed that they wouldn’t be missed. He knew that they were looked upon as the “expendables” of our society, because of their life style, and knew they would not be missed as much as a high- profile victim, say like a female Senator or police officer. He picked LOW PROFILE victims because he knew it was not only a lot easier to abduct them, but because they wouldn’t be missed, either.

If you had a chance to talk to him what would be the first question you would ask him? What fascinates you the most about his behavior?

Brian Lee Tucker: In all honesty? I wouldn’t have any questions to ask him. I have gotten to know him {his mind} quite well by writing this book. That’s enough for me.

Are you planning to write any more books and what would be your next subject you would like to write about?

Brian Lee Tucker: Yes, I am working on a book right now entitled THE DEVIL’S BEST FRIEND, about serial killer Richard Ramirez. It should be finished soon, and I will keep you updated. I am also working on a series “mini-audio books” entitled PSYCHOBABBLE, that will be narrated by a very talented man by the name of John Michael Kuczynski, which will be released on Amazon Audible {ACX} as well as Amazon.com and ITunes soon. I will keep you updated on that as well.