A Pact With the Devil

Publisher: Seal Books
"People want me in max so my life will be hard but it really isn't. There are absolutely no responsibilities here. Everything is provided. We can spend the day sleeping, sun-tanning or doing whatever we want all day every day."
--Karla Homolka in a letter to author Stephen Williams

"Well, they say 'Never say never' and they're right," Karla wrote in her startling first letter to Stephen Williams. "Never in a million years did I think I would ever write a letter to someone from the media, let alone you who has condemned me so harshly." Thus began one of the most controversial correspondences in Canadian history.

Karla picks up where Williams's first book on the case, Invisible Darkness, left her, painting her nails in her cell in solitary confinement in the gothic tower of Kingston's Prison for Women. After testifying against her ex-husband in 1995, Karla's life in prison was soon going to take a very different, dramatic turn.

With a thriller's pace, Karla: A Pact with the Devil charts the inner life of the world's most notorious female prisoner. In Karla, Williams lets Karla and the other key players speak for themselves. And what they have to say will surprise, horrify and enlighten.


“On an aesthetic level, Karla is almost unique in our literature. It is an extraordinary act of the imagination brought to bear on the facts.”
—Barry Callaghan - Exile Magazine
“Williams uses letters from Homolka herself, unreleased psychiatric assessments and police statements along with other courses to craft a controversial account of what happened behind the scenes to land a sweetheart deal for a woman with a lengthy list of murders and rapes to her credit. He lets the copious research he has carefully compiled speak for itself and does an especially good job of presenting an honest portrayal of Homolka.”
—Jeffery Simpson - Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“The true crime is, in the hands of artists like Truman Capote and Stephen Williams, a kind of poetry, a kind of austere grand guignol, exuding gaudy horror.”
—Dr. George Elliott Clarke - Globe and Mail
“Williams book is possessed of a moral authority...Karla continues in Williams’ inimitable vein. It is not light reading, and it exacts attention and discomfort from its readers. As such, it is an imperative contribution to a school of writing that has mangled Capote by way of Yeats, asserting that the best ‘lack all conviction’; ‘the worst...passionate intensity.’
—Lynn Crosbie, Toronto Star
“I truly consider Stephen Williams to be the Norman Mailer of Canada.”
—Peter C. Newman - Macleans Magazine
Karla is no slap-dash quickie aimed at culling sales from those with prurient interest in the degradation and murder of young women. It is investigative journalism at its finest, exposing how the police, Crown and certain psychiatrists have a lot of explaining to do..”
— Trish Wood, Globe and Mail
“He makes a strong case for Bevan (the detective who was head of the investigating task force) having bungled the investigation and then, to protect his own career, concocting a battered-woman/sexual-sadist-victim persona for Homolka in order to make her plea bargain palatable to the public.”
—Douglas J. Johnston - Winnipeg Free Press
Karla is a nightmarish account of police, prosecutorial, judicial and prison bungling that should disturb everyone....this is solid investigative journalism uncovering ineptitude on a massive scale....The contradictions uncovered by Williams are astounding.”
—Jim McNulty - Vancouver Province