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In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Featured on Dateline and CNN, the true story of a young man destined for greatness on the football field—until a few wrong turns led him to a ten-year prison sentence. He was offered an impossible mission: Coax a confession out of a fellow inmate, a serial killer, and walk free.

Jimmy Keene grew up outside of Chicago. Although he was the son of a policeman and rubbed should
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 5th 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Nov 13, 2012 Jennifer Wardrip rated it really liked it
Very hard for me to read this one. I grew up with Jessica Roach, the girl Larry Hall was eventually convicted of murdering. She was four years younger than I was; I was 18 when she went missing. We grew up in the same very small town (Georgetown, IL, population 3,600), belonged - at the time - to the same very tight-knit religious sect (Jehovah's Witnesses), and I never in a million years believed something like that could happen in my town, to someone I knew. The story saddened me, but knowing ...more
Mi dispiace, ci rinuncio. Non avevo letto bene la copertina e pensavo si trattasse di un romanzo, quando in realtà è una specie di documentario scritto. Magari un giorno lo riprendo.
Erik Nelson
Jan 20, 2014 Erik Nelson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
"Based on a true story." Just that small phrase can make any movie or book much more interesting. If it's a comedy, the phrase makes the world more slapstick. If it's a drama, the phrase makes the world more serious. If it's a horror, the phrase reminds us that not only is there a Heaven but that there also just might be a Hell. If it's a thriller, it gives us a harsh reminder that the world is a freighting place to live. In the Midwest, several young girls go missing. Some are found dead while ...more
Great book and I hear it'll be made into a movie with Brad Pitt playing James Keene. It'll be a no brainier this story will make a great movie. If you like true crime novels this one must be on your list.

Here's a great synopsis I found on about the book:

"I listen to a lot of detectives stories, but this true crime story had more suspense for me than any fiction. Really, it's two stories. The first story is about James "Jimmy" Keene, the son of a policeman who ends up as a drug dealer
Paul Pessolano
Apr 27, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
“In with the Devil” by James Keene withy Hillel Levin, published by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Category – True Crime

James Keene looked like he had everything going for him. He was a star athlete in high school, had many friends, and a seemingly wonderful home life.

The downward spiral started with his parent’s divorce and his desire for money. He found a very lucrative business in high school selling drugs. Most people thought he would go to a big time college on a football scholarship. Keene decided o
Feb 16, 2014 Malef rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Avec le diable est l'histoire authentique d'un repris de justice, James Keene, condamné à dix ans de réclusion pour trafic de drogue. Le FBI lui propose un marché afin d'annuler sa peine; Il se voit intégrer un centres d'incarcération psychiatrique afin de soutirer des aveux d'un tueur suspecté d'une vingtaine de meurtres de jeunes filles. Nous passons au fil de la lecture par divers centre de réclusions, de procès ainsi que la biographie de ces divers personnages.

Au vu du titre et du quatrième
Mike Gabor
Apr 11, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it it was ok
This is the story of Jimmy Keene, the son of a former police and fireman. He's a star athlete in school and seems set to go to a big time college but instead elects to go to a small community college in Chicago. The reason? He doesn't want to give up his lucrative drug dealing business. Eventually Mr. Keene is brought to justice and given a ten year sentence in federal prison. About a year into this sentence he is approached by Assistant U.S. Attorney, Larry Beaumont, the man who prosecuted him ...more
Dec 01, 2013 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro que cuenta una historia verderamente absorbente de dos hombres que se cruzan de una manera fascinante y única. James Keene es un ex jugador de fútbol americano que parecía tener todo por adelante pero que se involucraba en la venta de drogas y terminó en prisión. Larry Hall es un asesino en serié que fue encarcelado por matar a una joven en Illinois pero del que se sospecha otros asesinos. El fiscal ofrece a Keene un acuerdo: si el puede hacer que Hall confiese y revele dónde está el cu ...more
Jul 28, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
As a fan of watching crime dramas on TV, I greatly enjoyed this book, which read like the plot and script of one of these shows. The story itself, is compelling enough, about a charismatic young drug dealer who was sentenced to ten years in prison and then made a deal with the prosecutor who put him in jail. He was to go undercover into one of the worst prisons in the US, befriend a convicted serial killer, and attempt to get him to confess to other crimes and reveal where he had buried the bodi ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Jody rated it it was ok
It was OK. The narrative jumped around too much without much preamble. Was this James Keene's story or Larry Hall's? Keene certainly was not a sympathetic protagonist. While it was a true story, and therefore one would want things in a straight forward manner, it got rather tedious to read when it pertained to him- it is difficult to stick with the narrative when the main character is so self satisfied. He justified his criminal behavior while superficially taking responsibility, and seems rathe ...more
Feb 21, 2011 Katheryn rated it liked it
I read in either the Chicago Tribune or saw on local news that this is being adapted for a screenplay. If so, it will be an A+ or five star movie.

James was presented with what is seemingly the impossible. His story reveals the strength of character, determination and will to achieve. In his case freedom through a confession. The crimes are all disturbing. It is even more disturbing to think that there are people walking among us, who are capable of such horrific murders. It's also bothersome to
Ashley Helgerson
Mar 20, 2013 Ashley Helgerson rated it liked it
An in-depth look into the life of Jimmy Keene, a man who took a bargain with a prosecutor to lessen his sentence for drug dealing. Keene is sent to the equivalent of one might call an insane asylum for those jailed in the United States for heinous crimes. Keene's job is to get more information about a sociopath killer who killed and raped numerous women across the country in the 1990s.

The book has less about Keene's interactions with the serial killer than one would be lead to believe. However,
Jun 01, 2013 Landon rated it liked it
James Keene was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for dealing drugs. Intent on getting out as soon as possible, he accepted a dangerous proposition from his prosecutor. Keene would be transferred to a high security, psychiatric prison. Once there, his assignment was to make friends with an inmate there named Larry Hall. Larry Hall was currently serving a life sentence of abducting, raping, and killing a 15 year-old girl. Investigators supected Hall had raped and murdered between 19 an ...more
Theresa Malloy
Mar 10, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it it was amazing
This was a chilling book about a high school football star, James Keene, who turned into a drug dealer and landed in prison. The feds cut him a deal to befriend Larry Hall, a serial killer, staying in the Springfield mental institution. If he gets Hall to admit to murder and help locate a body, Keene would get an early release. He was able to do that, and Hall eventually admitted to 22 murders across the country. Creepy book with chilling details, but the story also delves into issues in the pri ...more
Nov 05, 2010 Leslie rated it liked it
Keene's larger than life tale of his experience as a jailhouse informant trying to gain a serial killer's confidence is straight-forward and well-told. Not only an interesting examination of how Larry Hall (the serial killer) was caught - and prevented from winning a second appeal by Keene - it also serves as a cautionary tale about life choices. Keene makes it plain that he benefitted greatly in the short term from his drug dealing as a young man, but that it only hurt him and his family in the ...more
Grace P.
Oct 18, 2010 Grace P. rated it really liked it
I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because the details of Hall's courtroom drama got me bogged down. I think they are making this into a movie? I want to see it. Incredible how serial killers can get away with murder. Not even law enforcement knew that Hall killed a total of 22 young women. They only knew about 3 of his conquests. The author tells how our layers of law enforcment do not communicate with each other and are often territorial about their own turfs to the detriment of victims and their ...more
Elizabeth Escobar
Aug 23, 2011 Elizabeth Escobar rated it really liked it
True crime is normally not my kind of book (I picked it out for my husband to give it a try) but it was an easy but revealing plot, that I HAD to know who the serial killer was and how to get him to confess to more deaths!

Scary but sad details on a serial killer who kidnapped, raped and killed women walking along at dusk but interesting info on the process to get him to confess and the survival system in prison.

Well written by journalist Levin who provides some research on serial killers so it a
Jun 09, 2011 Alicia rated it it was ok
I mostly liked this book. I think it glamorized some crimes a little too much. (A little "no fault" drug dealing here and there isn't so bad, right? And all the talks about the serial murders can get gruesome after a while. But It was interesting to see how the FBI is willing to make great deals if you can get them what they want. And how some police depts really don't help out others. Very strange.
Sep 18, 2013 GT rated it liked it
Not sure if my rating is for the way this story concluded in real-life, or for the book that captures the tale? I was really intrigued / disturbed by the concept and through the first 3/4 of the book... Maybe I am a sucker for a Hollywood ending?

A strong 3 stars.

mfgavin's rating criteria:

= Horrid waste of time
= May be enjoyable to some, but not me
= I am glad I read it
= Very enjoyable and something I'd recommend
= A rare find, simply incredible
Mar 23, 2016 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off a little jumpy. You're reading about two completely different characters with unique personalities. About part way through you really get into the interesting part where the two meet and interact. They're both deceptive to each other in a way.

There's a little bit of Illinois politics in there which is interesting to me, hearing some of the names of the towns I drive through. There's some psychology, and trust building as well.
Jan 16, 2013 VerJean rated it it was ok
Read because of connection with Kankakee (had business there for 17 years), although no one that I was familiar with and mostly that the fallen football hero was from there.
A real life episode resembling a TV show. In prison and offered chance for reduced sentence if infiltrates and gets confession from suspected serial killer. Few twists at end make for interesting reading.
Read in 2011
Apr 16, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
If you like Criminal Minds, this is a fascinating book. I listened to it on audiobook and it reminded me of the Serial podcast only that there was so much more evidence and back story available for this story than the sparse details in Serial.
Jun 29, 2011 Shawna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I think this could have been a better book if it had been fictionalized a bit. If it were ever made into a movie, it would be a great one. As it was written the characters really didn't grab me all that much. Still an enjoyable book.
Jul 05, 2013 Orit rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book for our library's bingo game (true crime), but I got hooked and couldn't put it down.
Amazing what a few poor choices can do, the lure of money and for the serial killer what a mental illness can do.
Mar 04, 2013 Sheri rated it it was amazing
This was an AMAZING true story of somebody I have known for years! To hear all that he went through and survived is amazing!!
Jul 14, 2014 cartershoenfelt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read

Very good read

With all going on, I would have liked to know more of the aftermath. This book could have been expanded more for the reader.
Feb 21, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
good book about a man who goes into jail to get a confession from a serial killer. Easy reading and great info about how the FBI and local police work behind the scenes to get a confession.
Nov 13, 2012 Shiela rated it did not like it
This book was boring. Didn't think a book about going undercover to catch a real serial killer could be so boring and laborsome, but somehow, it was.
Sep 25, 2012 Katy marked it as to-read
I have never been a nonfiction, true crimes reader, but I saw this on Thursday's edition of Dateline NBC. Supposedly, they're going to make a movie out of this, and Brat Pitt is interested.
Feb 06, 2011 Elyssa rated it really liked it
Shelves: truecrime
Interesting story about an incarcerated drug dealer who goes undercover into a mental health prison to obtain a confession from a serial killer.
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