“Well, they say ‘never say never’ and they’re right,” Karla wrote in her stunning first letter to author Stephen Williams. “Never in a million years did I think I would write a letter to someone from the media, let alone you who has condemned me so harshly.”
Thus began an eerily intimate and controversial correspondence between an award-winning writer and a remorseless, attractive twenty-something same-sex killer. Written in an intriguing novelistic style the book picks up Karla where Williams’ first best-selling book on the case, “Invisible Darkness”, left her: Painting her nails in her cell in solitary confinement in the gothic tower of Kingston's Prison for Women.
After testifying against her ex-husband during the long, hot summer of 1995, her life in prison was about to take a very dramatic, entirely unexpected turn.
Newsweek dubbed Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka “the Ken and Barbie of murder and mayhem.” Stephen Williams’ definitive inside account of this incomparable serial murder case became “Invisible Darkness”; an unbridled story of young, model-gorgeous, middle-class couple joined together in Holy Matrimony and an unholy Devil’s pact sealed by deviant sex, murder and videotape.
As their seemingly storybook marriage unfolded in the shadow of Niagara Falls; as they rode through the quaint streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake in a white horse-drawn carriage, the police were pulling the cement encased body parts of 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy from a shallow lake not five miles away from the swank hotel balloon-and-flower-filled ballroom where one hundred of their closest family and friends gathered to blithely toast the newlyweds. The story unfolded with all the horrific page-turning intensity of “Silence of the Lambs” except, tragically, none of it was fiction.
In “Karla: A Pact with the Devil”, Williams’ charts the intimate cosmology of the world’s most notorious female sex slayer with an irresistable thriller’s pacing. Part memoir, part woman-in-prison story, part prognostication, part political expose, Williams lets Karla and the key players speak for themselves. And they all have a lot to say - about how and why a woman who actively and willingly participated in the sexual assault and murder of three teenage schoolgirls, one of whom was her younger sister would - in very short order - be considered to have paid her debt to society in full and freed to do as she pleased.
As one reviewer, George Elliott Clarke, described Williams' work: “The true crime is, in the hands of artists like Truman Capote and Stephen Williams, a kind of poetry, a kind of austere grand guignol, exuding gaudy horror.”
“Karla” also asks and answers two essential questions: Who or what is Karla Homolka and, given the atrocities she committed, how did she get out of jail at thirty-five, scot-free, in 2005 with a degree in criminology and psychology? In Texas, she would have been given the needle, not therapy and an education. And, given the fact she is out among us right now, enjoying that future, whereabouts unknown, name-changed and disappeared, those answers have become compelling “need-to-know” information.
Author Stephen Williams was arrested twice because both books tell a backstory about this bizarre crime spree and its untidy aftermath that the authorities wanted kept secret. Charged with over 100 criminal indictments and also sued by the Attorney General as an “enemy of the State,” Williams was relentlessly prosecuted for eight years. After his second arrest in 2003, he received the Hellman-Hammet Award, endowed by American playwright Lillian Hellman in honor of her late companion, the writer and civil activist Dashiell Hammett, to acknowledge and help writers persecuted and oppressed by totalitarian regimes.
“Karla: A Pact with the Devil” has not previously been available in the United States.
About Stephen Williams
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Published April 17, 2012
by S.D.S. Communications Corporation.
Biographies & Memoirs, Crime, Political & Social Sciences.