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
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Mystery

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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
    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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  • 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... :(
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    How I Came To Read This Book: My parents lent it to me.The Plot: Everyone knows about Paul Bernardo & Karla Holmolka, the famed Schoolgirl Killers of the late 80s/early 90s. Essentially Paul is a sick bastard who was also the Scarborough rapist, whose insanity seemed to escalate once he got hitched to Karla. Aside from accidentally murdering Karla's little sister Tammy during a planned rape, the duo also kidnapped, raped, and murdered at least two other young girls in their early teens. This How I Came To Read This Book: My parents lent it to me.The Plot: Everyone knows about Paul Bernardo & Karla Holmolka, the famed Schoolgirl Killers of the late 80s/early 90s. Essentially Paul is a sick bastard who was also the Scarborough rapist, whose insanity seemed to escalate once he got hitched to Karla. Aside from accidentally murdering Karla's little sister Tammy during a planned rape, the duo also kidnapped, raped, and murdered at least two other young girls in their early teens. This particular version of their story is told largely through the detailed court transcripts (including video transcripts) and the hard, cold, facts.The Good & The Bad: I think this book was definitely one half of the two great books (the other being Deadly Innocence) I wrote on this subject. My parents gave one book each to me and my sister the summer Karla was released from jail - this was my second time around reading the story. I felt like this one did a good job of sticking to the facts as they were presented in court, without veering into too many speculative tangents. This is probably the more gruesome of the two as the transcripts failed to gloss over any of the happenings in the case. I liked that the other book gave more insight into Paul & Karla as people, but I liked that this one focused more on their crimes.The Bottom Line: A good, factual introduction into the world of Paul Bernardo & Karla Holmolka, but best paired with another book on the same topic.50-Book Challenge?: No
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  • Rebecca Saint
    January 1, 1970
    This was the first book I read on serial crime in Canada, and I was fairly young when I first read it (17 I think). For me, the first read was absolutely mind-shattering. Violent crime in Canada is a rare thing - I can name most of our major maniacs off the top of my head. So this book was shocking to me.First, the absolutely horrific nature of the crimes committed are described in shocking detail. This book is not for readers who are easily frightened. Secondly, the book sort of paints Karla Ho This was the first book I read on serial crime in Canada, and I was fairly young when I first read it (17 I think). For me, the first read was absolutely mind-shattering. Violent crime in Canada is a rare thing - I can name most of our major maniacs off the top of my head. So this book was shocking to me.First, the absolutely horrific nature of the crimes committed are described in shocking detail. This book is not for readers who are easily frightened. Secondly, the book sort of paints Karla Homolka as an innocent. She wasn't. Therefore, I highly recommend reading the edited version that was released AFTER the truth of her involvement came out.I tend to read this book over and over. It serves as a good reminder that monsters exist anywhere and everywhere, even in relatively quiet and peaceful Canada. It always brings emotions to the surface for me. I feel a supreme about of sadness for the families of Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French and Tammy Homolka. Nick Pron writes in such a manner that the reader actually understands the terror these girls must have felt at the vicious violence perpetrated upon them by Bernardo and Homolka. I highly recommend the edited version to anyone with an interest in criminal history.
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  • 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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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Going into this book I was only familiar with the names but not with any of the facts of their shocking crimes. Also this is one of the first true crime books I've read.As a book, it flowed very well and I never felt out of place in terms of the timeline. The content, we were warned about at the beginning. so if you don't like it you have no one to blame but yourself. I only read the whole book because I knew nothing about the crimes. Having known what they had done I most likely would not have Going into this book I was only familiar with the names but not with any of the facts of their shocking crimes. Also this is one of the first true crime books I've read.As a book, it flowed very well and I never felt out of place in terms of the timeline. The content, we were warned about at the beginning. so if you don't like it you have no one to blame but yourself. I only read the whole book because I knew nothing about the crimes. Having known what they had done I most likely would not have bothered to finish the book. The author really did do a great job putting everything together coherently, combining Karla's point of view did seem like a slight bias though.Very well put together book of an extremely disturbing collection of violent crimes against school aged youths.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    This one I will never forget as it is very detailed to the point that several times I had to put the book down and let the pit in my stomach settle. I was living in St. Catherines shortly after this book was written and can still see the yellow ribbons around trees and in store front windows to signify the memory of Kristen French who was taken a short distance from where I had lived. This book is not for those with a weak stomach. I would only recommend this book to those who enjoy true crime s This one I will never forget as it is very detailed to the point that several times I had to put the book down and let the pit in my stomach settle. I was living in St. Catherines shortly after this book was written and can still see the yellow ribbons around trees and in store front windows to signify the memory of Kristen French who was taken a short distance from where I had lived. This book is not for those with a weak stomach. I would only recommend this book to those who enjoy true crime stories. My heart goes out to those poor girls and their families who suffered at the hands of those horrific monsters.
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  • Rebecca Porter
    January 1, 1970
    Great book! I read lots of details here that I haven't read before in other books or even when researching online. The suffering of the victims is highlighted more than ever, making this a truly unforgettable and often stomach-churning read. I would actually say that this book is by far the darkest of those published - with the most details and unflinching honesty. A lot of work has gone into this. To say I enjoyed it wouldn't be quite accurate... who could *enjoy* reading about the suffering of Great book! I read lots of details here that I haven't read before in other books or even when researching online. The suffering of the victims is highlighted more than ever, making this a truly unforgettable and often stomach-churning read. I would actually say that this book is by far the darkest of those published - with the most details and unflinching honesty. A lot of work has gone into this. To say I enjoyed it wouldn't be quite accurate... who could *enjoy* reading about the suffering of innocent children? Instead, I absorbed it, felt it, and rate it highly. Do not miss this one, if you are interested in the Homolka-Bernardo case.
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  • Stephanie Bryant
    January 1, 1970
    As part of a reading challenge for 2017, it was listed to read a book that was (at some point) banned... so after looking into a few, I thought I'd read this one - as I've read many other true crime stories. This was by far the most detailed true crime story I have ever encountered. The story was well written and detailed; but not I found it focussed highly on painting Karla as "innocent" (and I use that term loosely); whereas in the final few chapters (the trial) it gives us only a slight insig As part of a reading challenge for 2017, it was listed to read a book that was (at some point) banned... so after looking into a few, I thought I'd read this one - as I've read many other true crime stories. This was by far the most detailed true crime story I have ever encountered. The story was well written and detailed; but not I found it focussed highly on painting Karla as "innocent" (and I use that term loosely); whereas in the final few chapters (the trial) it gives us only a slight insight into the possibility that that wasn't the case.
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  • Evelyn Rivera
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, I read this book as a recommendation from a friend and I most said yes was right. The book explain in details all the rapes, sex slave, and murder committed by the couple during the late 80's until 1993. However I was appeal by the Canadian government for the slap on the wrist given to Karla for her crimes. She was as guilty as her husband. Paul Bernardo was a sexual sadism that rape and kill many numbers of women and girls. But the Canadian justice department rape their nation when they ga Wow, I read this book as a recommendation from a friend and I most said yes was right. The book explain in details all the rapes, sex slave, and murder committed by the couple during the late 80's until 1993. However I was appeal by the Canadian government for the slap on the wrist given to Karla for her crimes. She was as guilty as her husband. Paul Bernardo was a sexual sadism that rape and kill many numbers of women and girls. But the Canadian justice department rape their nation when they gave Karla her so call sentence.
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  • Tiffany Harrell
    January 1, 1970
    A very in depth, straight forward telling of one of the worst murder cases in Canadian history. The author didn't attempt to sensationalize the salacious details, he simply put forth the information for the reader to draw their own conclusions. If you're not familiar with the case and have a weak stomach for graphic details of sexual assaults in particular, read a summary of the case before reading this account; it is definitely not for the faint of heart.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put this book down! This is the 4th book I've read on the Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka case, and it is by far the best one... It is very detailed and well written, I wasn't bored at all, which is rare for true crime novels, they usually drag at certain parts I find... But not this one! One of the best true crime books ever written (and one of the most disturbing). Highly recommended by me! :)
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Very factual - kept my attention throughout. Nick Pron well described the criminals in their younger days, which made it easier to follow the crimes. Very explicit! However the only thing that I didn't like was this book, being published later on was supposed to have new facts about Karla in prison and the details of her "sweetheart-deal" come to light - There wasn't much mentioned except for maybe she'd been released it wasn't anything spectacular. Anyway -all and all - good read.
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