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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 Holtzer, 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 available from Amazon.


“This was a riveting read full of history, strength and struggle. Mary Leo who personally grew up just blocks from the townhouse where the nurses were killed, writes with a sense of ease and confidence about the times and facts. A true storyteller with a great grasp on detail and use of imagination that got me inside Carly’s mind and pain. As Carly’s life unfolds I found myself empathizing with the real life scars of Speck’s victims’ families and how life must have been for them.” ~Publisher’s Weekly Reviewed by Michelle

“If you’re looking for a gem and a gritty, profound reading experience, this is for you.” ~Crystal Green

“Warning: you won’t want to stop reading once you start!” ~Janet Wellington

“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.” ~Joan Hall Hovey


Mary Leo grew up on the mean streets of South Chicago, only blocks from the townhouse where the nurses were killed, in the tangle of a big Italian family trying to make their way out of poverty and corruption. She’s worked in Hollywood, Las Vegas and in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Currently she lives in San Diego with her husband, author Terry Watkins, and their sweet cat, Sophie.

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