Lethal Marriage
WARNING: This book contains graphic descriptions of violence.Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo might look like the ideal couple, but they were a nation's most despicable killers. Karla began their depraved sex and murder spree by stealing drugs to knock out her little sister. While Paul raped and sodomized the unconscious girl, Karla dutifully caught it all on videotape. Unbelievably, the worst was yet to come. In a brazen daylight kidnapping, Karla lured schoolgirl Kristen French to their car and helped Paul force the struggling, screaming teenager inside. Then, just as she had with fourteen-year-old Leslie Mahaffy, Karla videotaped Paul's repeated beatings and rape of his sex slave, violated the terrified girl herself, then simply watched as Paul choked the life out of his victim.The entire nation was horrified by these crimes in what became the costliest and, by far, most controversial manhunt and most sensational trial in Canada's history. Now the full shocking story--considered too grisly for newspaper and television coverage at the time--can finally be told. . . .

Lethal Marriage Details

TitleLethal Marriage
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 22nd, 2010
PublisherBallantine Books
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, True Crime, Nonfiction

Lethal Marriage Review

  • Eva Leger
    January 1, 1970
    This is by far one of the most disturbing true crime stories I've ever encountered and I've encountered many. What these two "people" did to Homolka's little sister and the other women they abducted is beyond words. The book itself is written in a very easy way- the story itself is VERY difficult to read. I think anyone who isn't a seasoned true crime reader might have serious problems. I'm glad this wasn't my first true crime read. Or my hundredth. I might not have read any more were that the c This is by far one of the most disturbing true crime stories I've ever encountered and I've encountered many. What these two "people" did to Homolka's little sister and the other women they abducted is beyond words. The book itself is written in a very easy way- the story itself is VERY difficult to read. I think anyone who isn't a seasoned true crime reader might have serious problems. I'm glad this wasn't my first true crime read. Or my hundredth. I might not have read any more were that the case.Pron does a wonderful job of setting up the story like more true crime authors do. We learn about Homolka and her boyfriends pasts and when they met and all through their relationship, if you can call what they had a relationship.I'd only recommend this to very, very hardcore true crime readers and no one else- I would go so far as to say that those who are hard core readers shouldn't miss this.
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  • Julia Sapphire
    January 1, 1970
    DNF about 150 pages in I didn't DNF this due to flaws with the writing or with the structure of this. By far this is the most DISTURBING book I have ever read! Reading this hits so close to home for me and is truly terrifying to read about. I read 150 pages for my law class as I am doing an essay on this case but I can't bring myself to finish this book. The rape scenes and the abuse and murder is so DETAILED. It feels like your right there and it is beyond difficult to read in depth scenes wit DNF about 150 pages in I didn't DNF this due to flaws with the writing or with the structure of this. By far this is the most DISTURBING book I have ever read! Reading this hits so close to home for me and is truly terrifying to read about. I read 150 pages for my law class as I am doing an essay on this case but I can't bring myself to finish this book. The rape scenes and the abuse and murder is so DETAILED. It feels like your right there and it is beyond difficult to read in depth scenes with these two lover criminals. I don't understand how this was published with the VERY descriptive scenes this book includes. Mind you there is a warning on the back for violence but I did not expect what I read. I think the case could have been told just as well without the graphic descriptions. By know means did I want the case to be written untruthful but it didn't need to be this descriptive. I would not recommend this to anyone who is triggered by RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT. etc. If you are a true crime reader and you think you can read it, maybe give it ago. I have heard now that there are some better books having to do with this case though.
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  • Nevada-blue Groulx
    January 1, 1970
    I prefer Stephen Williams books on the case of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. I found that "Nick Pron" (if that's his real name) seems to buy up the story that Homolka was doing all she did because she feared for her own life. It all comes down to personal opinion but I think she had an equal part in the crimes and received a slap on the wrist. I found myself saying out loud a couple of times: "OH COME ON!" But again, if you read all of the books on this case, you can formulate your own opinio I prefer Stephen Williams books on the case of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. I found that "Nick Pron" (if that's his real name) seems to buy up the story that Homolka was doing all she did because she feared for her own life. It all comes down to personal opinion but I think she had an equal part in the crimes and received a slap on the wrist. I found myself saying out loud a couple of times: "OH COME ON!" But again, if you read all of the books on this case, you can formulate your own opinion and meet somewhere in the middle. I do believe that Karla was a battered spouse but I do believe that she had the power to stop the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristin French and she chose to do nothing. Decent book, but a tad bias.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    This is probably the most disturbing set of criminals I have read about. Their actions and what they did to their victims was disgusting. I found myself getting sick to my stomach at some points of the graphic descriptions of the crimes against these poor girls. The issue I have with this book is that there were so many typos that it was very distracting at points. Also I didn't really like the voice of the author and felt this book would have benefited from someone with a stronger writing style This is probably the most disturbing set of criminals I have read about. Their actions and what they did to their victims was disgusting. I found myself getting sick to my stomach at some points of the graphic descriptions of the crimes against these poor girls. The issue I have with this book is that there were so many typos that it was very distracting at points. Also I didn't really like the voice of the author and felt this book would have benefited from someone with a stronger writing style and less biased opinion. The author clearly feels pity for Homolka and for the majority of the book paints her more or less as a victim of Paul Bernardo's abuse. That is not to say the alleged abuse Homolka suffered at the hands of her husband wasn't horrific. However there was too much she did on her own, before the abuse started to write her off as innocent. I was appalled at the leniency of Holmolka's sentence in the end.
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  • Sherry
    January 1, 1970
    I was interested to learn more about this case having worked as a CSI and having an interest in true crime, especially such a famous case from my new home country. However, I struggled to finish this book and did skip sections. Whilst I accept that the true crime genre can have a voyeuristic quality, this went too far with a multitude of very long detailed descriptions of certain events that went well beyond what could possibly be known from the transcripts. Poetic licence has no place in this t I was interested to learn more about this case having worked as a CSI and having an interest in true crime, especially such a famous case from my new home country. However, I struggled to finish this book and did skip sections. Whilst I accept that the true crime genre can have a voyeuristic quality, this went too far with a multitude of very long detailed descriptions of certain events that went well beyond what could possibly be known from the transcripts. Poetic licence has no place in this type of book and I was disappointed at the blatant attempt to shock, as these crimes were shocking enough.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I come from Buffalo, NY, not too far across the US/Canadian border from where these crimes occured. Once I started, I couldn't put the book down. I spent much of the time reading it crying, so it took longer than normal to read. This book gives actual quotes from the videotapes made of the murders. Mr. Pron writes about the murders of Tammy, Leslie and Kristen, using language from the tapes and transcripts of the trial. The reader gets a detailed account of Paul abnd Karla's sick & twisted r I come from Buffalo, NY, not too far across the US/Canadian border from where these crimes occured. Once I started, I couldn't put the book down. I spent much of the time reading it crying, so it took longer than normal to read. This book gives actual quotes from the videotapes made of the murders. Mr. Pron writes about the murders of Tammy, Leslie and Kristen, using language from the tapes and transcripts of the trial. The reader gets a detailed account of Paul abnd Karla's sick & twisted relationship. I am glad Paul will never get out of prison. My only hope is that Karla will never have a decent night's sleep nor a day of peace. And I send my thoughts, prayers and good vibrations that her son (yes, she had a baby after getting out of prison!) will survive life with this "Mommy Dearest"!
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  • Ambre
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most horrific books I ever read. And a catalogue of errors that should have seen Bernardo in prison long before he was finally captured. It took me a long time to read this because it was just so awful.I have given it 4 stars - not because ~I 'really liked it' but because of how powerful an effect it had on me and how everyone should remember how monstrous some people are. What I find so completely unbelievable is that the evil bitch was ever let go and I hear she's had children! How One of the most horrific books I ever read. And a catalogue of errors that should have seen Bernardo in prison long before he was finally captured. It took me a long time to read this because it was just so awful.I have given it 4 stars - not because ~I 'really liked it' but because of how powerful an effect it had on me and how everyone should remember how monstrous some people are. What I find so completely unbelievable is that the evil bitch was ever let go and I hear she's had children! How on earth could anyone allow that monster to have an innocent child in her grasp?
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    This True Crime was a little close to home, since it happened right around the corner from here. I even remember one of the guys I used to work with told me he had once been on vacation with Paul and a bunch of other guys. Creepy to the extreme! I think both of these two should have been shot, dismembered and dragged behind a horse while being set on fire.
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  • Vlad
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book for my criminal psychology class, and I think this is arguably the most graphic true crime book I've read, so far. I see this book being akin to a non-fiction version of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    I feel bad giving it a 4 star rating due to the circumstances of the book. However, it was a good read. I can't get over how people can hurt people that way. So sad... :(
  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I don't even know why I read this book to be honest. I guess I had a morbid curiosity regarding the ins and outs of the crimes Karla and Paul committed together, but even so I should have known better. I also don't even know where to begin when it comes to rating this book. I feel terrible giving it 4 stars because of the horrific subject matter but I do think it was well written. I haven't read many true crime books but I really enjoyed how this one read as if it were fiction even First of all, I don't even know why I read this book to be honest. I guess I had a morbid curiosity regarding the ins and outs of the crimes Karla and Paul committed together, but even so I should have known better. I also don't even know where to begin when it comes to rating this book. I feel terrible giving it 4 stars because of the horrific subject matter but I do think it was well written. I haven't read many true crime books but I really enjoyed how this one read as if it were fiction even though it was not. It made the story easier to follow and honestly wasn't dry at all. I did read the warning attached to the book prior to purchasing it and for some reason I still thought I would be able to handle it. I was overly confident, that's for sure! I can't believe how graphic many of the scenes were throughout the book and often found myself skimming them because I felt dirty just reading it. I feel absolutely horrible thinking of what those poor girls had to go through. It was so cruel and unbelievable that I found myself constantly Googling images of Paul and Karla because it was just so hard to believe that anyone would be capable of the crimes they committed. I can't imagine being a mother and knowing the unspeakable things their babies had to endure during their time spent with the Bernardo's. I agree with some of the other reviews on here that at times Nick Pron portrayed Karla Holmolka as a battered woman that didn't choose to partake in these crimes and was forced into becoming an accomplice. As someone that has been in an abusive relationship (albeit one that wasn't nearly as abusive as Paul and Karla's), I can't justify the thought that Karla was any less guilty than Paul was for the rape and murder of all three girls. Its devastating that she was let off so easy despite an utter lack of remorse or regret for the LARGE part she played in it all. Some reviews on here question why the grotesque nature of this book was necessary, but I think it's important to make these details known so the world sees Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka as the monsters they truly are. I also think that it's also a great cautionary tale. These girls were defenseless but unfortunately in today's world Paul and Karla were not the first and won't be the last of their kind.If you intend to read this book, heed the warning and only do so if you have a strong stomach. It's far worse than you could possibly imagine.
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  • Marsmannix
    January 1, 1970
    Warning: this books contains extremely graphic language taken directly from videotapes of the crime.that said, i read this in 2 days. couldn't put it down. two disgusting human beings: should rot under the jail.
  • Jeremy Hannaford
    January 1, 1970
    This was an intense book. Anyone who says that this book victimizes Homolka clearly didn't read the authors note at the beginning and read it until the end. The graphic detail was hard to read but it was necessary to emulate the true evil that Bernardo inflicted on his victims. Pron's means of narrative choice was excellent and truly put you in the moment and made the book incredibly engaging. I zoomed through it and am still thinking about it. The fact that he not only incorporates what happene This was an intense book. Anyone who says that this book victimizes Homolka clearly didn't read the authors note at the beginning and read it until the end. The graphic detail was hard to read but it was necessary to emulate the true evil that Bernardo inflicted on his victims. Pron's means of narrative choice was excellent and truly put you in the moment and made the book incredibly engaging. I zoomed through it and am still thinking about it. The fact that he not only incorporates what happened with Bernardo and Homolka but also the stages of the investigation, including the blunders and delays the police went through, the unbelievably daft choices law enforcement made and just how much Bernardo was able to get past police.This was an amazing read and if anyone can stomach what this book dishes out, you are in for an incredible read.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    A reasonably well-written account of the atrocities committed by this husband and wife team of monsters. This case was notable because of the infamous gag order effectively preventing the press from reporting on many details of the murders. The book contains transcripts of the notorious murder video recordings and the reader is warned that much of this is graphic and gruesome. If there were any real justice in Canada, this pair would be dancing at the end of a rope.
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  • Rebecca McNutt
    January 1, 1970
    Lethal Marriage offers shocking info on a very disturbing series of crimes. Detailed and accurate, this book is impossible to forget.
  • Muriel
    January 1, 1970
    Disturbing, I could not read parts of the book. Hard to accept that people like this actually exist.
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    Hands down one of the most explicitly graphic, violent books I've ever read. Holy crap. I had to take a break from it at times.
  • Lisa McBrien
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not for the weak of heart. Sadly, I walked away from this story angry at the Canadian criminal justice system. The only winners here were the criminals. Karla, in particular deserves 0 sympathy: She got a sweetheart deal for 3 murders and not only had little remorse on the stand, she managed to wiggle her way out of another charge though she violated the terms of that deal which explicitly stated that she had to be forthcoming about any other crimes that she participated in with Ber This book is not for the weak of heart. Sadly, I walked away from this story angry at the Canadian criminal justice system. The only winners here were the criminals. Karla, in particular deserves 0 sympathy: She got a sweetheart deal for 3 murders and not only had little remorse on the stand, she managed to wiggle her way out of another charge though she violated the terms of that deal which explicitly stated that she had to be forthcoming about any other crimes that she participated in with Bernardo. When asked outright, she claimed her memory was fuzzy, even though her own words prove otherwise. The sickest part of this whole story, not offered by the book, is that supposedly this woman got out, got married, and had a baby all under a new identity as Canada, believes that her privacy should be protected...SICK!!!!!! In the US, she would not have had such protection and would more than likely been required as part of her plea bargain to register as the highest level of sex offender. Given the fact that the crimes she was involved in involved young girls, in the US she would have had her parental rights terminated as well. I don't know what Canada's view is on sex offenders, but here, we know the worst of the worst like Karla and Paul cannot and will not be fixed after release. Even though our system of registering and monitoring sexual preditors is flawed, we at least try to protect innocent victims of these creeps!!!!! Letting this woman change her name is the ultimate slap in the face to Leslie, Kristen, Tammy Lyn, and all of Paul and Karla's victims we don't know about.
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  • Jamie Yu
    January 1, 1970
    3.25/5. Very graphic, disturbing, had an effect on me--so much so that I kind of felt like the author was going for the shock factor, which I tend to be wary of when it comes to true events, particularly such violent and disturbing topics. I don't know if voyeuristic is the right word, but even though I know there were tapes, sometimes I felt like too much liberty was taken with authorship. Reading it, I felt like it was skewed, as most of the events are presented from Homolka's point of view (w 3.25/5. Very graphic, disturbing, had an effect on me--so much so that I kind of felt like the author was going for the shock factor, which I tend to be wary of when it comes to true events, particularly such violent and disturbing topics. I don't know if voyeuristic is the right word, but even though I know there were tapes, sometimes I felt like too much liberty was taken with authorship. Reading it, I felt like it was skewed, as most of the events are presented from Homolka's point of view (which, I guess I can also understand if you only have her word for it because then who knows what happened), because then it makes me feel like the book is biased towards the abused-wife narrative. Which may have been the case, but the point is no one knows. For a true crime book, I was looking for a more rounded interpretation as well as a stronger focus on the investigation as opposed to an interpretation of the horrific crimes. Heavy reading, but interesting, not sure that I would revisit though.
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  • Kamila Goch
    January 1, 1970
    I agree with several of the reviews here, there were parts of the book that were difficult to read and that definitely stick in your memory even after the book is done. As with some of the other reviewers, I did question how Nick Pron could possibly know some of the details he was describing and did some research online. I found that there seemed to be discrepancies and some manipulation of the facts. However, gory details aside I couldn't put the book down and I read it within a matter of days. I agree with several of the reviews here, there were parts of the book that were difficult to read and that definitely stick in your memory even after the book is done. As with some of the other reviewers, I did question how Nick Pron could possibly know some of the details he was describing and did some research online. I found that there seemed to be discrepancies and some manipulation of the facts. However, gory details aside I couldn't put the book down and I read it within a matter of days. I thought the book was well written and enjoyed Pron's style of writing. He truly finished each chapter in a way that held my curiosity and had me asking what happens next. As a true crime enthusiast I would recommend this novel. Personally, I stuck to reading it during the day and took breaks during some of the graphic sections - if your imagination is as visual as mine I would recommend doing the same instead of before bedtime!
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  • Mary Bukovskis
    January 1, 1970
    This is the most shocking book I've ever read. I would give it 5 stars due to the writing and thoroughness, but due to the subject matter, I couldn't make myself give five stars. I can't believe there are people as diabolical as these two in the world. The fact Karla is now out and a mother is so wrong. Granted, she was an abused wife, but she was a willing participant. She could have said "no" when it first started. There is a special place in hell for Paul and Karla - too bad they're not there This is the most shocking book I've ever read. I would give it 5 stars due to the writing and thoroughness, but due to the subject matter, I couldn't make myself give five stars. I can't believe there are people as diabolical as these two in the world. The fact Karla is now out and a mother is so wrong. Granted, she was an abused wife, but she was a willing participant. She could have said "no" when it first started. There is a special place in hell for Paul and Karla - too bad they're not there now.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    A rather bizarre book in that he seems to accept the idea that Karla was only a participant because she was an abused wife- while it was certainly the defense that she used, I don't remember many people believing it even while the trials were going on. It goes into overwhelming detail about the crimes itself- I'm pretty used to true crime books, but this was a hard go. I don't actually think that level of detail was necessary, and it must have caused overwhelming pain to the families.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Saying I enjoyed this book is far from the truth; it was difficult to read, and one of the few books where I felt no guilt in skipping sections. And certainly there was a great deal of bias in its writing. Pron, staff writer for the Toronto Star, is a human being and couldn't have possibly avoided being biased. We all are. It's up to us how we read this book and take the information contained within.This book is right in having a warning in the beginning. Most of the reporting on it should have Saying I enjoyed this book is far from the truth; it was difficult to read, and one of the few books where I felt no guilt in skipping sections. And certainly there was a great deal of bias in its writing. Pron, staff writer for the Toronto Star, is a human being and couldn't have possibly avoided being biased. We all are. It's up to us how we read this book and take the information contained within.This book is right in having a warning in the beginning. Most of the reporting on it should have had a warning. (That's one thing I'm glad a lot of news stories have now, especially if they're of this nature.) But I elected to read it, and as such, I can't fault it for its content. I knew what I was getting into, just not to what extent.It was written well, and difficult to put down, if only because I was horrified the entire time (as should anyone who reads about this case, full stop).
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  • karen reynolds
    January 1, 1970
    Sad storyA little too graphic at times, but I can understand by putting in some of the sickening and horrific details, the reader can fully comprehend the level of depravity of these killers. My feelings from this book are, that while justice may have been served in this case, it should've been a far deeper justice than these two individuals received.
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  • Paula Kneeland
    January 1, 1970
    How can someone be this twisted and evil? The Devil has many disguises. I'm a huge fan of true crime and this book was very interesting. Horrific details of the crimes caused me to step away at times. It will leave you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and pondering why this happens.
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  • Catherine Wetzel
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most graphic true crimes I’ve have read in a long time. A true ‘page turner’ could not keep from reading what happens next.
  • Enigmaticblue
    January 1, 1970
    Given when this book was written, I understand why the author chose to reveal explicit details about the crimes. However, it felt really prurient to me, and I had a hard time actually reading it.
  • Shelby Lamb
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, Paul and Karla are both disgusting. This book left me mentally disturbed. Luckily I was in a hospice while getting through most of this and was somewhat sedated. But it left me depressed for a while. Still reeling...
  • Elisabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Not for the weak-stomached. I'm pretty tough when it comes to true crime, and I found the endless transcripts of teen girls being raped and murdered in this book mind-numbing and nauseating.
  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Sick. Twisted. Disgusting. I loved it! This book was extremely well written but extremely graphic. It is hard for me to imagine that this was something that actually happened. I found myself doing research, watching old newscasts on YouTube, and reading old news stories as I read this book which accounts for the length of time it took me to read it. I couldn't help but think about my sister on her honeymoon at Niagara Falls while this was going on. The poor families who were impacted by this hor Sick. Twisted. Disgusting. I loved it! This book was extremely well written but extremely graphic. It is hard for me to imagine that this was something that actually happened. I found myself doing research, watching old newscasts on YouTube, and reading old news stories as I read this book which accounts for the length of time it took me to read it. I couldn't help but think about my sister on her honeymoon at Niagara Falls while this was going on. The poor families who were impacted by this horrific series of crimes must struggle with the publication of the details. As a father, I cannot even imagine being in their position. However, being that I am not connected with the people or places described in the book I could sort of cast it off as fiction. That was the only way that I could enjoy it.
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