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Review – Mary Burton King’s Beatrice Belladonna’s Black Magic Web

Black Magic Web

black magic web13 years ago Beatrice Belladonna Joyce Watley Harlow was convicted of seven counts of murder. However four years into her life sentence she escaped, fled and subsequently killed a police officer. Convicted in a federal court of several crimes, including the killing of a cop, Beatrice Belladonna is on Death Row with a mere 5 months to go until her scheduled death by lethal injection. Keen for notoriety after death she agrees to be interviewed by A&E network, fully disclosing the details of her crimes.

What follows is her account of a sexual abuse-filled childhood, her rise to the role of voodoo priestess and all the details of the murders and atrocities that she has been a part of. Well, at least those the police know about…

You’ll be pleased to know, Burton King does a fine job of telling the tale – It feel a little like you‘ve stumbled across one of those ‘true crime’ specials. Belladonna’s total lack of empathy is clear for all to see and the nonchalance with which such a person would have discussed the murders is well portrayed. The story is interesting and very nearly kept me fully engrossed the whole way through. Even the voodoo/supernatural elements are kept within the realms of possibility. So often now magic elements in books are limitless. It’s actually quite refreshing to witness someone’s limited power (or perhaps influence) over their prey.

There is in fact just one point that left me feeling a little deflated. It goes without saying that this is merely a personal reflection. Due to the nature of the book and the interview set-up the first 12 pages (yes, twelve) pretty much tell you the whole story – baring the odd twist and turn. All crimes and escapades are covered and it leaves little to the imagination in what is coming up. That’s not to say that what followed wasn’t enjoyable, because it was. It’s just I get the feeling I would have enjoyed the not knowing a lot more. I loved the fact that you got to feel that you were inside Beatrice Belladonna’s head. I just wish it could have been told chronologically – the surprise element is a very powerful tool. That being said, I did not see that ending coming!

All told, this is a Black Magic Web well worth getting caught in.

**** Four stars


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