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Invisible Darkness: The Strange Case Of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The horrifying sex murders committed in southern Ontario by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka caught the attention of the media and public of Canada like few, if any, cases in that country's history. Readers of either of the two previous books about the case (Deadly Innocence and Lethal Marriage) may be skeptical that another retelling is necessary, but Invisible Darkness benefits from Stephen Williams's prodigious research and his unique perspective on Karla's culpability. Williams had to jump several legal hurdles unique to Canada's "Crown disclosure" protocols, but eventually was able to gain access to more than 70 hours of videotaped police interviews with Karla, interviews with Paul by his defense attorney, and even psychiatrist's notes. Williams uses vivid vignettes to tell the story, and refrains from unnecessarily graphic details about the crimes. As the Winnipeg Free Press writes, "If any readers still believe [Homolka] was a victim of post-traumatic stress, abused into submission by Bernardo, this will put that idea to rest."

Review

"By far the most intelligent and subversive of the Bernardo triptych." -- Lynn Crosbie, The Globe and Mail, Dec. 1997

"I found Invisible Darkness a superior example of a dying breed the straight, unhyped, literate work of true-crime." -- Jack Olsen, Edgar-Award winning author of "Son" and "Doc," Jan, 1999

"If any readers still believe she was a victim of post-traumatic stress, abused into submission by Bernardo, this book will put that idea to rest." -- Ted Wakefield, The Winnipeg Free Press, Sep. 1996

"Invisible Darkness offers up Karla Homolka, 17 years old at the time she met Paul Bernardo, as a Devil Incarnate just waiting to meet her Svengali." -- Maggie Siggins, The Globe and Mail, Aug. 1996

"Readers will leave Invisible Darkness knowing that it's nothing short of obscene.....Homolka could be out of prison as early as next year." -- Leonard Stern,The Ottawa Citizen, Sep. 1996

"There is much in this book of merit....He begins intriguingly....with a nun waking up to see a pert Karla Homolka sitting in bed beside her....One moment in the book, Bernardo and Homolka are two suburbanites...caught up in their own melodramas, the next moment they're raping teenagers and severing heads." -- Pete McMartin, The Vancouver Sun, Aug. 1996

"This book lets it all hang out....You can't help but be drawn in by this tale of sex, death, lies and videotape...." -- Helen Dolik, The Calgary Herald, Sep. 1996

"Williams has performed a remarkable, if unconventional, feat in the annals of true crime." -- Judge Lynn King, The Toronto Star, Sep. 1996

"You may think you've heard enough but you haven't heard the half of it. It's a must read ....Based on court documents....as well as countless interviews with police, lawyers, psychiatrists and friends of Paul and Karla, it is well-researched and thought-provoking." -- Bart Johnson, The Edmonton Sun, Sep. 1996
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055356854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553568547
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike some of the other books about Paul and Karla Bernardo, this book balances the facts, and the blame for the horrific murders, fairly.
The story seems to be told from an unbiased point of view and delves into the early lives of both Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo offering the reader a greater insight into the minds of these two coldblooded killers.
The book is a disturbing read because it deals with horrendous crimes but in my opinion, it is the best of the books written to date about this deadly duo.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many, many books on true crime and this one of the MOST disturbing, perplexing cases I have heard of. This story brought tears to my eyes especially in the chapters that focus (in full graphic detail)on the rapes and torture of these young girls.If they were still alive today these girls would be about a year or 2 younger then me and I can't help but think of my younger self in the early 1990's. My heart was literally breaking for these families, at many points I had to put the book down because I felt it was revealing too much....but tragically it is all to true... Even after finishing this book I am still thinking about these 3 beautiful lives that were ended by the pure evil of others.I cannot imagine the jury and prosecuters having to watch these tapes.I feel Stephen Williams does an excellent job in portraying Karla AND Paul as equally responsible in their crimes..I mean HOW much can someone make YOU do???? To rape your sister? Molest and rape 2 girls? To help dismember a body?...yes Karla may have been abused but does that excuse her in abusing others????I felt that some other books on the case were more sympathetic to Karla yet Williams stays more factual and allows us to see the whole scope of this horrific crime...I do have to warn: NOT for the faint of heart...it is compelling and emotional
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Format: Paperback
True evil is not glamorous,colorful, or even all that noticeable. This book captures this notion at all different angles. It is a documentary account, written with little editorial content that draws the reader to Paul and Karla and makes one ask "Why"? Mr Williams accounts of the criminals, the heartbreak of the families, and a soliphistic legal system is outstanding, and makes this a higly entertaining, and both troubling read. The accounts of Paul and Karla's behavior is of course beyond stomach turning, but the author is able to report in a way that makes each horror more than speak for itself. My only quibble is that Paul and Karla's family backgrounds are not covered more extensively, but then again maybe that is the point. Too much information leaves the reader not searching for answers, and this is what will make me re-read this extra-ordinary true crime book again to determine what factors can make such ordinary people go on a crime spree such as Paul and Karla.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book I've read in the Bernardo/Homolka series. Deadly Innocence was the other one I read, and found it to be a chilling account, extremely well written and comprehensive. Invisible Darkeness wasn't as well-written and comprehensive. It seemed like Williams had written up a bunch of notes and then just stuck them all together haphazardly. As a writer, I had some problems with grammar and structure in this book. Williams is not a great writer by any means. Sometimes I found myself shaking my head wondering what the heck he was talking about.
However, what I did love about this book was the fine detail and how it told the truth about Karla. The other books kind of painted her as the victim. She was not a victim, she was one of the perps. Williams was very clear in pointing that out. While the other book sometimes glossed over the details, this book got down to the nitty-gritty. Very difficult to read. I thought Deadly Innocence told the whole story, but this book told so much more. For example, the truth about Karla's parents and how nutty they were. The night Tammy Lyn died, they went to bed and had sex??? They gave Karla a going away BBQ party before she went off to jail? I mean, how morbidly inappropriate are these people? It just gave me the sense that they had NO conscience, no morals, no sense of right and wrong at all. Sick sick people. They just DO NOT CARE. I also found it very frustrating that the cops had all this evidence on Paul during the Scarbourough rapes, the plate numbers on his car and everything, and he was never arrested.
I guess I am fascinated with this case because it happened in Canada. And Leslie and Kristen were 15 in 1991 just like I was. I could have gone to school with them. They could have been my friends.
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By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story of the monstrous Paul Bernardo and his disgusting and self-serving psychopathic wife Karla Homolka is enough to gag a maggot and send readers screaming for a series of scalding showers. The story itself is so nauseating, so repulsive, that it almost begs the question of why anyone would even want to write it down.
Nevertheless, if you can stomach the facts of the case (and many will not be able to do so) this is a well-written, clear and disinterested piece of reporting. I don't remember when I have been as repelled by a couple of perps as by these two. Particularly engaging is the elegant frou-frou wedding in upscale Niagara-on-the-Lake, which Homolka forced on her parents even as they grieved the death of their young daughter whom the bride and groom had killed just months before in one of their squirrely, drug-fueled sex games.
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