“Dark Spell,” the second book in Leveritt’s trilogy about the infamous case of the West Memphis Three, picks up where her best-selling “Devil's Knot” left off. She follows Jason Baldwin, skinny and near blind, into the adult penitentiary he entered at sixteen. Few expect him to last in that violent place, especially in light of his conviction for having murdered children as part of a Satanic ritual.
But Jason endures. He prevails over nights of loneliness and days of hatred and abuse to earn the respect of guards and prisoners alike. By accompanying Jason through this hard coming-of-age, readers learn—as Jason must—that the realities of his own trial, beleaguered appeals, and life in prison bear almost no resemblance to the spic-and-span civics he studied in school.
At first, Jason survives on his own. Then an unknown “friend” writes a letter. Slowly, with the passage of years, support for the West Memphis Three develops. A global citizenry arises to lend encouragement, money and, finally, essential legal acumen. Knowing now how stealthily “justice” can move, however officiously it may come cloaked, Jason welcomes this needed help. Even so, as this second book ends, the powers that have thrown him into an isolation cell still loom dark indeed.