Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Review - In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene, Hillel Levin

Title: In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption
Author: James Keene, Hillel Levin 
Year: 2010
Page: 256
Genre: Non-Fiction - Real Crime

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from

The unforgettable true story of a young man facing a ten-year prison sentence who was offered an impossible mission: coax a confession out of a fellow inmate, a serial killer, and be free to walk

Jimmy Keene grew up outside of Chicago and was destined for greatness on the football field. By the time he reached his twenties, he was rubbing shoulders with famous actors, porn stars, and the children of powerful politicians. But a few costly mistakes left him with a ten-year prison term and no chance of parole. Less than a year into his sentence, Keene was approached by the prosecutor who put him behind bars. He had convicted another man, Larry Hall, for murder and was fighting his appeal. He offered Keene a deal: Enter one of the most dangerous prisons in the U.S., befriend Hall, and get him to confess to the murder of two young women and tell him where he buried the one whose body was still missing. If he succeeded, Keene would get an unconditional release. If he failed, he’d have no choice but to ride out his term. If he was found out, he could also be killed. A story that gained national notoriety, this is Keene’s powerful tale of peril, violence, and redemption. 

First Sentence:
In life, people can take a few wrong turns that destroy them.

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • I like reading non-fiction crime books. Saw this while browsing at the "new books" section in the library and thought it was interesting. For some reasons I thought it'd be a memoir (since the author's name is on the front) but it's written in 3rd person instead.
First thought:
  • I could not finish the book...
Cover Art:
  • I liked it. It at least attracted me to pick it up!
  • I liked it also, sounded exciting!
  • For some reasons, I just couldn't get into the book, and this type of book is usually right up my alley. I wonder if I would have liked it better if it was written in first person instead (which I seem to prefer?)
  •  I read about 65 pages so roughly a quarter of the book. From what I remembered, it moved a little slow for me because where I stopped, the main protagonist had just started his "mission". Granted, I probably should have kept reading as this was probably the point where it got interesting, but since I was bored, and had to return it to the library, I stopped instead
  • I didn't really care about the main protagonist or his family, so that was another reason why I decided to stop this book. He might have became a hero or redeemed himself later, but it was a little too late for me. 
  • Since I didn't finish the book, I couldn't tell you if I liked it or not!
  • I got bored, hence I stopped reading it...
What I Learned:
  • I think if I was in the right mood to read it, I might have like it better. I definitely prefer faster-paced books. I don't always have to like the people in the book (I used to read a lot of real crime and I definitely did NOT like the serial or mass murderers!) but if that's the case, I need engaging writing to keep me interested
  • I read that Brad Pitt's production company bought the movie rights. Maybe it's one of those I'd enjoy watching the movie more than the book - like the Millennium Trilogy (read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but will watch the movies instead for the rest of the series) and Harry Potter (read 4 books, watched 1 or 2 movies... but after all movies came out, will probably just watch the movies in one go.)
Read this Author again?
  • Probably not...

You can get the best education in the world at being a criminal. (p42)

Overall Rating:
0 Star. Did Not Finish.

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