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, 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.
"Trusting Evil is eerily gripping, spine-tingling and masterfully written, and should help Leo establish herself as a dynamo in the romantic suspense genre. Robust characters, a pulse-pounding atmosphere and a plotline that is brilliantly sketched by real-life events showcase Leo’s superlative storytelling skills." ~ 4 Stars, Diane Morasco, Romantic Times Book Reviews
"A most remarkable, well-written book. Mary Leo has constructed a unique example of one-of-its-kind historical fiction based on actual horrendous murders of extraordinary evil, coupled with a woman's own unknowing proximity to the crime two decades earlier. The flashbacks of story lines, including re-creations of the agony of the victims, certainly are not pleasant, actually shocking, and perhaps not for the weak, as it is freighting to realize how close one comes to trusting someone who truly has evil intentions. This story demolishes any theory, as is frequently heard today, that all fellow humans are inherently good. Because most people never enter the world of evil, never get near a crime scene, or step into prisons - and learn why inmates are there - this story should make any reader realize that indeed there is evil and, moreover, that trusting, or ignoring evil is a serious mistake for the unrealistic thinker and proponent of the politics that good intentions are enough. It is a unique tale, based on terrifying facts. It achieves a new level of historical fiction and is an exploration of a terrible crime from a bystander's point of view after being confronted by inexplicable evil." ~ 5 Stars, H. Nardi, Amazon Reader and Verified Purchase
"Leo does a great job of creating a drama filled fictional story with a chilling historical backdrop. Trusting Evil is a page turner. I was repulsed by Richard Speck and could genuinely feel Carly's pain and guilt. This book is passionate, it is scary and it is romantic, I highly recommend it." ~ 5 Stars, Veronica M. Banghart, Amazon Reader and Verified Purchase
"I found it chilling and fascinating, and the characters are ones you won't soon forget. I totally identified with the "young" version of the heroine. . .anyone will who remembers when the Speck murders took place. This is a well written, haunting story and Mary Leo has handled this horrific tale in an amazing way--I think she's the only one who could have written this story, this way. Warning: you won't want to stop reading once you start!" ~ 5 Stars, Janet Wellington, Amazon Reader and Verified Purchase
"Trusting Evil by Mary Leo is well worth the 2.99 cent price. It grabbed me within the first few pages and I found it really hard to put the book down. This book invoked different emotions in me, from fear, tears anger and great sadness for the girls and their families. It's a well thought out, extremely well written book." ~ 5 Stars, Barbara Sears, Amazon Reader and Verified Purchase
"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 by this gripping story long after you’ve read the last word. Highly recommended."
Joan Hall Hovey
Author of The Abduction of Mary Rose, Night Corridor, Chill Waters, Nowhere to Hide and Listen to the Shadows - Published by Books We Love Ltd.