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by Mary Leo
4.9 stars – 8 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
In the summer of 1966, Richard Franklin Speck, a twenty-two year old Ordinary Seaman, waiting for a berth aboard a merchant ship, murdered eight student nurses inside a townhouse in South Chicago, shocking the surrounding hardworking, religious community to its very core.
Twenty years later, Carly Rocket and her business partner, Mike Holtzer, find themselves inside Stateville Correctional Facility hired to cast extras for a Hollywood movie. Unbeknownst to her, Speck is one of Stateville’s inmates. His infamous murders took place only blocks from her childhood home leaving her with deep emotional wounds. Discovering that Speck is enjoying his life behind bars, Carly is outraged and conspires with a guard to make a video tape of Speck’s uninhibited life in an attempt to change prison regulations. But it backfires, and suddenly Carly finds herself in danger of becoming Speck’s ninth victim.
From the reviewers:
Carly Rockett and her business partner and former boyfriend Mike Holtzer own a casting company for extras in movies. Their newest assignment is for a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger being filmed at the Statesville Prison who’s most famous murderer, Richard Speck, is in residence.
In the summer of 1966, Carly met an intriguing German sailor, Richard Speck, who went on to slaughter eight student nurses near her home in South Chicago. At the time, Carly and her two best friends were obsessed with the Beatles and believed one of them was destined to marry one. They thought that their sailor knew the Beatles personally and would deliver their love letters. The scars left by Speck have surfaced for Carly when she sees how he lives in prison, how he has freedom, lovers and loves his life. Now her life is on course to make him pay and for the prison to be accountable to punish those who deserve it. Her obsession and use of alcohol will propel her to her own personal Hell.
This was a riveting read full of history, strength and struggle. Mary Leo who personally grew up just blocks from the townhouse where the nurses were killed, writes with a sense of ease and confidence about the times and facts. A true storyteller with a great grasp on detail and use of imagination that got me inside Carly’s mind and pain. As Carly’s life unfolds I found myself emphasizing with the real life scars of Speck’s victims’ families and how life must have been for them. – Publisher’s Weekly Reviewed by Michelle
Trusting Evil is a very different kind of suspense novel, a true original, revolving around the heinous crimes of one Richard Speck who tortured, raped and murdered 8 student nurses on July 14, 1966, in Chicago. Speck had Born to Raise Hell tattoed on his arm. All of that is true. Every word. And what is fictional in the novel rings true as well. This is a heartfelt, inspired novel written by Mary Leo, who lived in that time, very near to where it all happened.
Carly Rockett was a young girl, in love with Ringo Star and living the normal life of a teenager when the crimes occurred, and changed her life forever. She is haunted by the brutal murders throughout the rest of her childhood and into adulthood. She is traumatized by what she perceives as her own part in what happened. Only whiskey can fog the horrid memories, and not even then. She is obsessed by Richard Speck. Her life is spiralling downword fast. Carly works in the movie business, and one day finds herself filming a movie inside the very prison where Richard Franklin Speck, in all his ugliness, lives quite happily. Leo portrays with a chilling vividness scenes that make you want to look away, though you cannot.
The prose is fast moving, and as spare as Hemingway’s. The dialogue brilliant, the descriptions and sensory details, always just enough to pull the reader into the story and hold them fast until the last word. It’s more than that, though. It’s also a love story. I promise you, you won’t be able to put Trusting Evil down, and, like Carly, you’ll be haunted
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