What artist hasn’t fantasized about killing off one of his critics? Louis Segretto did more than just dream about it; he strangled a critic as the last act in a string of murders designed to boost the value of his art collection and solve the money woes that began when his painting career hit the skids. Segretto is writing his memoir from Death Row in Texas, where he awaits execution for a killing of which he’s innocent. As his death approaches he reveals himself as the “unsuspected murderer of eight other human beings, about to be extinguished for the one killing I didn’t commit.” The memoir is his “final fuck you,” to be found after his execution and ensure he gets credit for the cleverness of his killing spree.
His memoir details his twisted path from junior-high-school art prodigy in Brooklyn through each murder, “most of them, until now…recorded as accidental deaths. I was that good.” Segretto explains how, as he progressed from one murder to the next, he evolved into someone who killed not simply for the money but for the pleasure of the act itself. “It was a gradual process,” he writes, “like a stalagmite growing inside a cave.” His victims, a diverse crew of oddball downtown Manhattan painters, each betray a fatal flaw Segretto exploits to create the “accidents” that kill them.