Devil's Knot - Mara Leveritt

Devil's Knot

By Mara Leveritt

  • Release Date: 2002-10-08
  • Genre: True Crime
Score: 4.5
From 127 Ratings



The West Memphis Three. Accused, convicted…and set free. Do you know their story?

In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt’s The Devil’s Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three. 

For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers—alleged members of a satanic cult—with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state—even upheld on appeal—and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.

With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come.


  • Great book

    By DCjayhawk10
    A must read for all Americans
  • Well researched and informative - format problems on iBooks

    By Boston Bluestocking
    Having just seen all three of the Paradise Lost documentaries about this case, I was interested in the topic but doubted id learn much that was new. However, the level of detail -- especially about the trials and about the backgrounds of the defendants and the families of the victims -- is very impressive. Lucidly written, with a wealth of notes providing even more pertinent facts. The many errors in the handling of the case, the corruption of justice, is laid out clearly, but the book never becomes a strident manifesto. Unfortunately, the formatting of footnotes made it impossible to read in sequence with the text. The footnote numbers in the text link to the page with the note, but the notes are unnumbered and do not link back to the text. I can't believe the quality control on a best selling, $10 iBook doesn't notice this. From this and similar problems with other book downloads, I've concluded that there is no quality control, and if there was, it doesn't care.
  • Unbelievable

    By Suzie Super Girl
    I read Devil's Knot after reading Damien Echols Life after Death. I'm so horrified that there is this level of corruption, collusion, and incompetence in a position of power. Judge Burnett is the worst one of the entire justice group and that says a lot. Exoneration of these 3 men is the only option. Let's make sure our justice system can be relied upon. Based on this case, it isn't. God help us all.
  • Compelling and comprehensive

    By Birdzphan
    It's much easier to read this account knowing that the three of them are now free, but it's sad to think that they've lost 17 years of their lives because of this travesty. It's also sad to think that the actual killer(s) will never be brought to justice for the senseless killing of 3 little boys. All of that aside, a well written book, painstakingly researched, and a tremendous read. Right up there with In Cold Blood as far as true crime reporting goes.
  • Wow

    By Shannaleaflynn
    I grew up just outside of West Memphis, I was personally involved with the victims families. We all just wanted the monsters to be caught, now I realize monsters take all forms!
  • Freedom

    By WM3Supporter
    Since the WM3 have been released, its sad looking back on these books and seeing the injustice these boys went thru.
  • Great book!!!

    By Xidcrikit
    After reading this book I won't ever talk with the police without council. The travesty that was done here to both the boys that were murdered and the defendants is unbelievable. I had heard of the boys murders but hadn't really heard anything about the trials until they were just released. Thank God for people like Mr. Stidman, Mr. Mallet & the Innocence Project and all the volunteers. It is scary to know that there are these unscrupulous people in positions of authority. Mara Leveritt did an amazing job and presented the case fairly and factually. In researching the case prior to reading this book the recommendations for this book have proven true. I hope the authorities will put aside their egos and attempt to find out who murdered these boys. Not only for the sake of justice, but also for the benefit of the victims families and for the Memphis 3.