In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene and Hillel Levin, St. Martin's Press, 272 pages, hardcover $25.99, unabridged audiobook $29.99, [September 2010].
Throughout the 1990s Jimmy Keene was living the two dreams. The first dream was to win football,wrestling and martial arts championships, have rich friends and get an offer from film director Martin Scorsese to take a screen test. The second was a drug dealer's dream: trusted by suppliers, rolling in cash, and aided by loyal friends. A policeman/fireman's son, Keene, financed his father's many failing businesses. He was informed upon by a very close friend since high school, one whom he had saved from a very violent death in Mexico.
Betrayed, he was sentenced for ten years in a mazimum security prison. Just short of his first year in prison, the prosector who put him there, offered a deal: shave years off his sentence in exchange for moving into a high security psychiatric prison and buddy up to a serial killer. If Keene could get confessions and body locations from the killer, then Keene would be back on the street.
In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption reads as a true crime story and as a mystery novel. Much of the book relates Keene's story in Keene's words. Hillel Levin, Keene's coauthor, dramatize events at which Keene was not present. Harrowing on several levels, In With the Devil is reminescent of Midnight Express, Billy Hayes' story of his sojourn in a Turkish prison. There are no easy 'outs' in the story and there is some graphic violence.
Keene and Levin present as much as can be known about Larry Hall, the serial killer who is a twin. With a very harsh upbringing, Larry is not sociable and as comfortable with girls has his brother. The first jolt is that the killer becomes is a Civil War reenactor in an Indiana regiment and presents it as an albi. The killer's biography gets more grounded the mundane details of encampments, class street rod detailing, and janitorial work. In With The Devil is a work of many facets: the business of drug dealing, life in prisons, criminal psychology, and the court system. In With The Devil is not a plotted novel. It is a true story of tragedy and grief, evil and redemption.
The In With The Devil website has images of the reenactor as well as other characters in the book.